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The agriculturists of the parts of Italy beyond the river Padus, are such admirers of ashes1 for this purpose, that they even prefer it as a manure to the dung of beasts of burden; indeed, they are in the habit of burning dung for this purpose, on account of its superior lightness. They do not, however, use them indiscriminately upon the same soil, nor do they employ ashes for promoting the growth of shrubs, nor, in fact, of some of the cereals, as we shall have occasion2 to mention hereafter. There are some persons who are of opinion also that dust3 imparts nutriment to grapes, and cover them with it while they are growing, taking care to throw it also upon the roots of the vines and other trees. It is well known that this is done in the province of Gallia Narbonensis, and it is a fact even better ascertained that the grape ripens all the sooner for it; indeed, the dust there contributes more to its ripeness than the heat of the sun.

1 Though ashes fertilize the ground, more particularly when of an ar- gillaceous nature, they are not so extensively used now as in ancient times. Pliny alludes here more particularly to wood and dunghill ashes.

2 This, however, he omits to do.

3 He alludes, probably, to Theophrastus, De Causis, B. iii. c. 22.

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