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1 A light soil, and well manured, is usually employed for the purpose. Columella, B. ii. c. 10, recommends a rich, moist soil. It is sown in March or April, and is gathered, according to the season, from June to September.
2 Though rapid in its growth, there are many vegetable productions that grow more rapidly.
3 This was the time for sowing it with the Romans, though in some countries, at the present day, it is sown so late as the autumn.
4 In B. xviii. c. 72, he has spoken of this method of gathering vegetable productions as injurious to the soil, by withdrawing its natural juices.
5 "Censentur hoc reditu?" There is little doubt that the Gauls, like their German neighbours, cultivated flax for the purposes of female dress, and not mainly for the manufacture of sails.
6 "Quod vocant inane." He implies that the boundless space of ocean on the Western coasts of Gaul was useless for any purposes of navigation.
7 See B. iv. c. 33.
8 See B. iv. c. 33.
9 See B. xxxiv. c. 48.
10 See B. iv. c. 31.
11 A family of the Atilia gens.
12 It was, and is still to some extent, a prevalent opinion, that the humidity of caves under-ground is favourable to the manufacture of tissues of hemp and flax.
13 In Spain. See B. i. c. 1, and B. iii. c. 4.
14 Cluvier takes this place to be the same with Litubium in Liguria, mentioned by Livy, B. xxxii.
15 "Lanugo." This is not generally looked upon as a merit in linen, at the present day.
16 Now Tarragona. See B. iii. c. 4.
17 "Carbasus." This was probably the Spanish name originally for fine flax, and hence came to signify the cambrics, or fine linen tissues made of it. It seems, however, to have afterwards been extended to all kinds of linen tissues, as we find the name given indifferently to linen garments, sail-cloth, and awnings for the theatres.
18 See B. iii. c. 4.
19 "Sætas ceu per ferri aciem vincunt." This passage is probably in a mutilated state.
20 There must either be some corruption in the text, or else Pliny must have been mistaken. Nets such as these could have been of no possible use in taking a wild boar.
21 See B. iv. c. 33. Now Querci, the chief town of which is Cahors.
24 Exactly corresponding to our "paillasse," a "bed of straw."
25 This is doubtful, though at the same time it is a well-known fact that the Egyptian flax grows to the greatest size. Hasselquist speaks of it attaining a height of fifteen feet.
26 Our cotton, the Gossypium arboreum of Linnæus. See B. xii. c. 21. The terms xylon, byssus, and gossypium, must be regarded as synonymous, being applied sometimes to the plant, sometimes to the raw cotton, and sometimes to the tissues made from it. Gossypium was probably the barbarous name of the cotton tree, and byssus perhaps a corruption of its Hebrew name.
27 Probably the Arundo donax of modern botanists. See B. xvi. c. 66.
28 Fée says, that the people of Pisa, at the present day, soak the stalks of broom, and extract therefrom a thread, of which cords and coarse stuffs are made.
29 In B. xii. c. 21. He seems there to speak of the cotton-tree, though Fée suggests that he may possibly allude to the "Bombax pentandrum" of Linnæus.
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