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We must not omit, too, that the Greeks call by the name of zopissa1 the pitch mixed with wax which has been scraped from off the bottoms of sea-going ships;2 for there is nothing, in fact, that has been left untried by mankind. This composition is found much more efficient for all those purposes in which pitch and resin are employed, in consequence of the superior hardness which has been imparted to it by the sea-salt.

The pitch-tree is opened3 on the side that faces the sun, not by means of an incision, but of a wound made by the removal of the bark: this opening being generally two feet in width and one cubit from the ground, at the very least. The body of the tree, too, is not spared in this instance, as in others, for even the very chips from off it are considered as having their use; those, however, from the lower part of the tree are looked upon as the best, the wood of the higher parts giving the resin a bitter4 taste. In a short time all the resinous juices of the entire tree come to a point of confluence in the wound so inflicted: the same process is adopted also with the torch-tree. When the liquid ceases to flow, the tree is opened in a similar manner in some other part, and then, again, elsewhere: after which the whole tree is cut down, and the pith5 of it is used for burning.6

So, too, in Syria they take the bark from off the terebinth; and, indeed, in those parts they do not spare even the root or branches, although in general the resin obtained from those parts is held in disesteem. In Macedonia they subject the whole of the male larch to the action of fire, but of the female7 only the roots. Theopompus has stated in his writings that in the territory of the Apolloniates there is found a kind of mineral pitch,8 not inferior to that of Macedonia. The best pitch9 everywhere is that obtained from trees planted on sunny spots with a north-east aspect; while that which is produced from more shaded localities has a disagreeable look and a repulsive odour. Pitch, too, that is produced amid the cold of winter is of inferior quality, being in smaller quantity, too, and comparatively colourless. Some persons are of opinion that in mountainous localities this liquid is produced in the greatest abundance, and that it is of superior colour and of a sweeter taste and has a finer smell so long as it remains in a state of resin; but that when, on the other hand, it is subjected to boiling, it yields a smaller quantity of pitch, because so much of it goes10 off in a serous shape. They say that the resinous trees, too, that grow on mountains are thinner than those that are found on plains, but that they are apt, both of them, to be unproductive in clear, dry weather.

Some trees, too, afford a flow of resinous juice the year after the incision is made, some, again, in the second year, and others in the third. The wound so made is filled with resin, but not with bark, or by the cicatrization of the outer coat; for the bark in this tree never unites. Among these varieties some authors have made the sappium11 to constitute a peculiar kind, because it is produced from the seed of a kindred variety, as we have already stated when speaking of the nuts12 of trees; and they have given the name of tæda13 to the lower parts of the tree; although in reality this tree is nothing else but a pitch-tree, which by careful cultivation has lost some small portion of its wild character. The name "sappinus" is also given to the timber of these trees when cut, as we shall have occasion to mention14 hereafter.

1 Apparently meaning "boiled pitch."

2 See B. xxiv. c. 26.

3 This account has been borrowed from Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B is. c. ii. The modern method of extracting the resin of the pine is very similar.

4 There is no foundation whatever for this statement.

5 The pith of the pine cannot be separated from the wood, and, indeed, is not easily distinguished from it. Fée says that in some of these trees masses of resin are found in the cavities which run longitudinally with the fibres, and queries whether this may not be the "marrow" or "pith" of the tree mentioned by Pliny.

6 As a torch or candle, probably.

7 This division of the larch into sexes, as previously mentioned, is only fanciful, and has no foundation in fact. The result of this operation, Fée says, would be only a sort of tar.

8 See B. xxxv. c. 51. He alludes to the bitumen known as asphalt, bitumen of Judæa, mineral pitch, mountain pitch, malthe, pissalphate.

9 These particulars, borrowed from Theophrastus, are in general correct.

10 This is not the fact; the essential oil in which the resin so greatly abounds, becomes volatile with remarkable facility.

11 Most probably one of the varieties of the pine; but the mode in which Pliny expresses himself renders it impossible to identify it with any precision.

12 B. xv. c. 9.

13 The name borne also by the torch-tree.

14 See c. 76 of this Book.

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