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But above all things, it was the follies of magic more particularly that contributed so essentially to his success—follies which had been carried to such a pitch as to destroy all confidence in the remedial virtues of plants. Thus, for instance, it was stoutly maintained that by the agency of the plant aethiopis1 rivers and standing waters could be dried up, and that by the very touch2 * * * * all bars and doors might be opened: that if the plant achænis3 were thrown into the ranks of the enemy it would be certain to create a panic and put them to flight: that latace4 was given by the Persian kings to their ambassadors, to ensure them an abundant supply of everything wherever they might happen to be: with numerous other reveries of a similar nature. Where, I should like to know, were all these plants, when the Cimbri and Teutones brought upon us the horrors of warfare with their terrific yells? or when Lucullus defeated, with a few legions, so many kings who ruled over the Magi?5 Why is it too that the Roman generals have always made it their first care in warfare to make provision for the victualling of their troops? And how was it that at Pharsalia the troops of Cæsar were suffering from famine, if an abundance of everything could have been ensured by the fortunate possession of a single plant? Would it not have been better too for Scipio Æmilianus to have opened the gates of Carthage by touching them with a herb, than to have taken so many years to batter down its bulwarks with his engines of war?

Turning to the present moment, let them, by the agency of the herb meroïs,6 dry up the Pomptine7 Marshes, if they can, and by these means restore so much territory to the regions of Italy in the neighbourhood of our city. In the works, too, of Democritus, already mentioned,8 we find a recipe for the composition of a medicament which will ensure the procreation of issue, both sure to be good and fortunate.—What king of Persia, pray, ever obtained that blessing? It really would be a marvellous fact that human credulity, taking its rise originally in the very soundest of notions, should have ultimately arrived at such a pitch as this, if the mind of man understood, under any circumstances, how to keep within the bounds of moderation; and if the very system of medicine thus introduced by Asclepiades, had not been carried to a greater pitch of extravagance than the follies of magic even, an assertion which I shall prove on a more appropriate occasion.9

Such, however, is the natural constitution of the human mind, that, be the circumstances what they may, commencing with what is necessary it speedily arrives at the point of launching out in excess.

We will now resume our account of the medicinal properties of the plants mentioned in the preceding Book, adding to our description such others as the necessities of the case may seem to require.

1 See B. xxiv. c. 102.

2 We agree with Pintianus that the name of some plant here has been lost, the word "condiendis" making no sense.

3 See B. xxiv. c. 102.

4 Some plant as fictitious as the others here mentioned.

5 See B. xxx. c. i.

6 See 1. xxiv.c. 102

7 See B. ii. c. c.9.

8 In B. xxiv. c. 102.

9 In B. xxix. c. 5.

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