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I am surprised that Homer has made no1 mention of hot springs, when, on the other hand, he has so frequently intro- duced the mention of warm baths: a circumstance from which we may safely conclude that recourse was not had in his time to mineral waters for their medicinal properties, a thing so universally the case at the present day. Waters impregnated with sulphur are good for the sinews,2 and aluminous waters are useful for paralysis and similar relaxations of the system. Those, again, which are impregnated with bitumen or nitre, the waters of Cutilia,3 for example, are drunk as a purgative.4

Many persons quite pride themselves on enduring the heat of mineral waters for many hours together; a most pernicious practice, however, as they should be used but very little longer than the ordinary bath, after which the bather should be shampooed5 with cold water, and not leave the bath without being rubbed with oil. This last operation, however, is commonly regarded as altogether foreign to the use of mineral baths; and hence it is, that there is no situation in which men's bodies are more exposed to the chances of disease, the head becoming saturated with the intensity of the odours exhaled, and left exposed, perspiring as it is, to the coldness of the atmosphere, while all the rest of the body is immersed in the water.6

There is another mistake, also, of a similar description, made by those who pride themselves upon drinking enormous quantities of these waters;7 and I myself have seen persons, before now, so swollen with drinking it that the very rings on their fingers were entirely concealed by the skin, owing to their inability to discharge the vast quantities of water which they had swallowed. It is for this reason, too, that these waters should never be drunk without taking a taste of salt every now and then. The very mud,8 too, of mineral springs may be employed to good purpose; but, to be effectual, after being applied to the body, it must be left to dry in the sun.

It must not be supposed, however, that all hot waters are of necessity medicated, those of Segesta in Sicily, for example, of Larissa, Troas, Magnesia, Melos, and Lipara. Nor is the very general supposition a correct one, that waters, to be medicinal, must of necessity discolour copper or silver; no such effect being produced by those of Patavium,9 or there being the slightest difference perceptible in the smell.

1 Pliny appears to have forgotten the warm springs of the Seamander, mentioned by Homer in the Iliad, B. xxii. 1. 147. et seq.

2 Or rather, as Ajasson says, for cutaneous diseases.

3 See B. iii. c. 17.

4 In conformity with Sillig's suggestion, we reject "atque" as an interpolation.

5 "Mulceri."

6 In spite of what Pliny says, in some cases the use of a mineral bath is recommended for a long period of time together. At Leuk or Læch, for instance, in the Valais, the patients, Ajasson says, remain in the bath as much as eight hours together.

7 To promote expectoration, Dalechamps says; or rather vomiting, according to Holland.

8 This substance, Ajasson says, is still used in medicine; that of the waters of Silvanez, for example, in the department of Aveyron, is highly celebrated for the cure of inveterate ulcers and sciatica. The mud baths, too, of Saint Arnand, enjoy an European reputation.

9 See B. ii c. 106.

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