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Of cretaceous1 earths there are several varieties; and among them, two kinds of Cimolian earth, employed in medicine, the one white and the other inclining to the tint of purpurissum.2 Both kinds, moistened with vinegar, have the effect of dispersing tumours and arresting defluxions. They are curative also of inflammatory swellings and imposthumes of the parotid glands; and, applied topically, they are good for affections of the spleen and pustules on the body. With the addition of aphronitrum,3 oil of cypros,4 and vinegar, they reduce swellings of the feet, care being taken to apply the lotion in the sun, and at the end of six hours to wash it off with salt and water. In combination with wax and oil of cypros, Cimolian earth is good for swellings of the testes.

Cretaceous earths, too, are of a cooling tendency, and, applied to the body in the form of a liniment, they act as a check upon excessive perspiration: taken with wine, in the bath, they remove pimples on the body. The most esteemed of all these earths is that of Thessaly: it is found also in the vicinity of Bubon5 in Lycia.

Cimolian earth is used also for another purpose, that of scouring cloth. As to the kind which is brought from Sardinia, and is known as "sarda," it is used for white tissues only, and is never employed for coloured cloths. Indeed, this last is held in the lowest estimation of all the Cimolian earths; whereas, that of Umbria is more highly esteemed, as also the kind generally known as "saxum."6 It is a property of this last to increase in weight7 by maceration, and it is by weight that it is usually sold, Sardinian earth being sold by measure. Umbrian earth is only used for giving lustre to cloths.

It will not be deemed out of place to give some further account here of this process, there being still in existence the Metilian Law, relative to fullers; an enactment which C. Flaminius and L. Æmilius, in their censorship,8 had passed by the people,9 so attentive to everything were our ancestors. The following then is the method employed in preparing cloth: it is first washed in an infusion of Sardinian earth, and is then exposed to a fumigation with sulphur. This done, it is scoured10 with Cimolian earth, when the cloth has been found to be of a genuine colour; it being very soon detected when it has been coloured with spurious materials, by its turning black and the colours becoming dispersed11 by the action of the sulphur. Where the colours are genuine and rich, they are softened by the application of Cimolian earth; which brightens and freshens them also when they have been rendered sombre by the action of the sulphur. Saxum is better for white tissues, after the application of sulphur, but to coloured cloths it is highly injurious.12 In Greece they use Tymphæan13 gypsum in place of Cimolian earth.

1 Cimolian earth, known in modern chemistry as Cimolite, is not a cretaceous earth, but an aluminous silicate, still found in the island of Kimoli, or Argentiera, one of the Cyclades; See B. iv. c. 23. Tournefort describes it as a white chalk, very heavy, tasteless, and dissolving in water. It is found also at Alexandrowsk in Russia.

2 See Chapter 25 of this Book.

3 See B. xxxi. c. 46.

4 See B. xii. c. 51.

5 See B. v. c. 28.

6 Beckmann thinks that this may have been our common chalk. Vol. II. p. 105.

7 This seems to be the meaning of "crescit in macerando."

8 A.U.C. 535, it is supposed.

9 As a plebiscitum.

10 "Desquamatur." This is most probably the meaning of the word, though Beckmann observes "that it was undoubtedly a term of art, which cannot be further explained, because we are unacquainted with the operation to which it alludes."—Vol II. p. 104. Bohn's Edition.

11 " Funditur sulphure." The meaning of these words is very doubtful. Beckmann proposes to read "offenditur," but he is not supported by any of the MSS. He has evidently mistaken the meaning of the whole passage.

12 Probably because it was too calcareous, Beckmann thinks.

13 See B. iv. c. 3, and B. xxxvi. c. 59.

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