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All the grains aræ not easily broken. In Etruria they first parch the spelt in the ear, and then pound it with a pestle shod with iron at the end. In this instrument the iron is notched1 at the bottom, sharp ridges running out like the edge of a knife, and concentrating in the form of a star; so that if care is not taken to hold the pestle perpendicularly while pounding, the grains will only be splintered and the iron teeth broken. Throughout the greater part of Italy, however, they employ a pestle that is only rough2 at the end, and wheels turned by water, by means of which the corn is gradually ground. I shall here set forth the opinions given by Mago as to the best method of pounding corn. He says that the wheat should be steeped first of all in water, and then cleaned from the husk; after which it should be dried in the sun, and then pounded with the pestle; the same plan, he says, should be adopted in the preparation of barley. In the latter case, however, twenty sextarii of grain require only two sextarii of water. When lentils are used, they should be first parched, and then lightly pounded with, the bran; or else, adopting another method, a piece of unbaked brick and half a modius of sand3 should be added to every twenty sextarii of lentils.

Ervilia should be treated in the same way as lentils. Sesame should be first steeped in warm water, and then laid out to dry, after which it should be rubbed out briskly, and then thrown into cold water, so that the chaff may be disengaged by floating to the surface. After this is done, the grain should again be spread out in the sun, upon linen cloths, to dry. Care, however, should be taken to lose no time in doing this, as it is apt to turn musty, and assume a dull, livid colour. The grains, too, which are just cleaned from the husk, require various methods of pounding. When the beard is ground by itself, without the grain, the result is known as "acus,"4 but it is only used by goldsmiths.5 If, on the other hand, it is beaten out on the threshing-floor, together with the straw, the chaff has the name of "palea," * * * * and in most parts of the world is employed as fodder for beasts of burden. The residue of millet, panic, and sesame, is known to us as "apluda;" but in other countries it is called by various other names.

1 This would rather grate the grain than pound it, as Beckmann observes. See his Hist. Inv., vol. i. pp. 147 and 164, Bohn's Ed., where the meaning of this passage has been commented upon. Gesner, also, in his Lexicon Rusticum, has endeavoured to explain it.

2 Ruido.

3 It is surprising to find the Romans, not only kneading their bread with sea-water, but putting in it pounded bricks, chalk, and sand!

4 Beard chaff; so called, probably, from the sharpness of the points, like needles (acus).

5 See 13. xxxiii. c. 3; where he says, that a fire lighted with this chaff, fuses gold more speedily than one made with maple wood.

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