CHAP. 44.—ALEX: EIGHT REMEDIES.
Alex, which is the refuse of garum, properly consists of the
dregs of it, when imperfectly strained: but of late they have
begun to prepare it separately, from a small fish that is otherwise good for nothing, the apua1
of the Latins, or aphua of
the Greeks, so called from the fact of its being engendered
The people of Forum Julii3
make their garum
from a fish to which they give the name of "lupus."4
process of time, alex has become quite an object of luxury, and
the various kinds that are now made are infinite in number.
The same, too, with garum, which is now prepared in imitation
of the colour of old honied wine, and so pleasantly flavoured
as to admit of being taken as a drink. Another kind, again,
is dedicated to those superstitious observances5
strict chastity, and that prepared from fish without6
the sacred rites of the Jews. In the same way, too, alex has
come to be manufactured from oysters, sea-urchins, sea-nettles,
and the liver of the surmullet; and a thousand
different methods have been devised of late for ensuring the
putrefaction of salt in such a way as to secure the flavours
most relished by the palate.
Thus much, by the way, with reference to the tastes of the
present day; though at the same time, it must be remembered,
these substances are by no means without their uses in medicine. Alex, for instance, is curative of scab in sheep, incisions
being made in the skin, and the liquor poured therein. It is
useful, also, for the cure of wounds inflicted by dogs or by
the sea-dragon, the application being made with lint. Recent
burns, too, are healed by the agency of garum, due care being
taken to apply it without mentioning it by name. It is useful,
too, for bites inflicted by dogs, and for that of the crocodile in
particular; as also for the treatment of serpiginous or sordid
ulcers. For ulcerations, and painful affections of the mouth
and ears, it is a marvellously useful remedy.
Muria, also, as well as the salsugo which we have mentioned,8
has certain astringent, mordent, and discussive properties, and is
highly useful for the cure of dysentery, even when ulceration
has attacked the intestines. Injections are also made of it
for sciatica, and for cœliac fluxes of an inveterate nature. In
spots which lie at a distance in the interior, it is used as a fo-
mentation, by way of substitute for sea-water.