CHAP. 120.—MALADIES PECULIAR TO VARIOUS NATIONS.
There are certain differences, also, by no means inconsiderable, in the predispositions of the various nations of the earth.
I have been informed, for instance, that the people of Egypt,
Arabia, Syria, and Cilicia, are subject to tapeworm and mawworm, while those of Thracia and Phrygia, on the other hand,
are totally exempt from them. This, however, is less surprising than the fact that, although Attica and Bœotia are
adjoining territories, the Thebans are troubled with these
inflictions, while among the people of Athens they are unknown.
Considerations of this description lead me now to turn my
attention to the nature of the animated beings themselves, and
the medicinal properties which are inborn in them, the most
assured remedies, perhaps, for all diseases.
For Nature, in fact, that parent of all things, has produced no
animated being for the purpose solely of eating; she has willed
that it should be born to satisfy the wants of others, and in
its very vitals has implanted medicaments conducive to health.
While she has implanted them in mute1
objects even, she has equally willed that these, the most in-
valuable aids of life, should be also derived from the life of
another—a subject for contemplation, marvellous in the highest
SUMMARY.—Remedies, narratives, and observations, six hundred and two.
ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Caius Valgius,3
who wrote in Greek, Julius Bassus6
who wrote in Greek, Antonius Castor,7
FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Theophrastus,9
who wrote the "Biochresta," Nicander.17
MEDICAL AUTHORS QUOTED.—Mnesitheus,18
of Citium, Apol-
of Tarentum, Praxagoras,30
of Thebes, Philinus,51
*** Before quitting the Botanical Books of Pliny, it is a duty both to
our author and to the reader, to call attention to the illustrations of a few
passages in this work, which will he found in the Textrinum Antiquorum,
by Dr. James Yates, F.R.S., a book characterized by learning, equally profound and extensive, and the most indefatigable research: it being hut recently, we are sorry to say, that we have been made acquainted with its
The following are selected as among the most useful and interesting results
of his enquiries.
B. vi. c. 20 [V. ii. p. 36]. Dr. Yates is of opinion that Pliny has here
mistranslated a passage of Aristotle, Hist. Anim. v. 19, and that he has
mistaken the word βομβύκια,
"cocoons," for webs, similar to those of
the spider, attached to the leaves of trees. Not understanding the original,
he would seem to have given a distorted account of the simple operation
of winding the threads from off the cocoons of the silkworm upon bobbins,
by the hands of females; the threads upon which bobbins would be afterwards unwound for the manufacture of silken fabrics. See Notes 8 and 9
on the passage in question; also B. xi. c. 26.
B. viii. c. 74 [V. ii. p. 336]. For the word "Sororiculata," Dr. Yates
proposes to read "Soriculata," and he suggests that the cloth thus called
may have been a velvet or plush, which received its name from its resemblance to the coat of the field-mouse, "sorex," the diminutive of which
would be "soricula"
B. xix. c. 2 [V. iv. p. 133] and c. 6 [p. 138]. I)r. Yates expresses it
as his opinion that the words "Carbasus" and "Carbasa" are derived from
the oriental word Carpas,
signifying "cotton," and thinks that Pliny, in
B. xix. c. 2, may have used the word by Catachresis, as meaning linen, in
the same manner as the Latin poets repeatedly use the word "carbasa,"
as signifying various kinds of woven textures. If this view be correct,
the word "Carbasina" in B. xix. c. 6, will probably mean "awnings of
woven material" generally, and not of fine linen, or cambric, as suggested
in Note 55.
B. xix. c. 2 [V. iv. p. 134]. The genuineness of the passage which
makes mention of the "Gossypium," is questioned by Dr. Yates, who
thinks it possible that it is an interpolation: such, however, if we may
judge from the result of Sillig's researches, does not appear to have been
the case. If, on the other hand, the passage is genuine, Dr. Yates is of
opinion that the statement is incorrect, and that cotton was not
Egypt. It seems just possible, however, that Pliny may have had in view
the trees mentioned by him in B. xiv. c. 28.
B. xix. c. 4 [V. iv. p. 137, also p. 134, Note 37]. Dr. Yates has adduced a number of convincing arguments to prove that the "Byssus" of
the ancients cannot have been cotton, but that in all probability it was a
texture of fine flax. The passages of Pausanias, (B. v. c. 25, and 1. vi.
c. 26) in which "Byssus" is mentioned, would certainly seem to apply
to flax, a product which is still cultivated near the mouth of the river
Peneus, in ancient Elis. There is no doubt, however, that Philostratus,
though perhaps erroneously, has used the word "Byssus" as meaning