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The most esteemed wool of all is that of Apulia, and that which in Italy is called Grecian wool, in other countries Italian. The fleeces of Miletus hold the third rank.2 The Apulian wool is shorter in the hair, and only owes its high character to the cloaks3 that are made of it. That which comes from the vicinity of Tarentum and Canusium is the most celebrated; and there is a wool from Laodicea, in Asia, of a similar quality.4 There is no white wool superior to that of the countries bordering on the Padus,5 nor up to the present day has any wool exceeded the price of one hundred sesterces per pound.6 The sheep are not shorn in all countries; in some places it is still the custom to pull off the wool.7 There are various colours of wool; so much so, indeed, that we want terms to express them all. Several kinds, which are called native,8 are found in Spain; Pollentia, in the vicinity of the Alps,9 produces black fleeces of the best quality; Asia, as well as Bætica,10 the red fleeces, which are called Erythræan; those of Canusium are of a tawny colour;11 and those of Tarentum have their peculiar dark tint.12 All kinds of wool, when not freed from the grease,13 possess certain medicinal properties. The wool of Istria is much more like hair than wool, and is not suitable for the fabrication of stuffs that have a long nap;14 so too is that which Salacia,15 in Lusitania, finds the most useful for making its chequered cloths. There is a similar wool, too, found about Piscenæ,16 in the province of Narbonensis, as also in Egypt; a garment, when it has been worn for some time, is often embroidered with this wool, and will last for a considerable time.

The thick, flocky wool has been esteemed for the manufacture of carpets from the very earliest times; it is quite clear, from what we read in Homer, that they were in use in his time.17 The Gauls embroider them in a different manner from that which is practised by the Parthians.18 Wool is compressed also for making a felt,19 which, if soaked in vinegar,20 is capable of resisting iron even; and, what is still more, after having gone through the last process,21 wool will even resist fire; the refuse, too, when taken out of the vat of the scourer, is used for making mattresses,22 an invention, I fancy, of the Gauls. At all events, it is by Gallic names that we distinguish the different sort of mattresses23 at the present day; but I am not well able to say at what period wool began to be employed for this purpose. Our ancestors made use of straw24 for the purpose of sleeping upon, just as they do at present when in camp. The gausapa25 has been brought into use in my father's memory, and I myself recollect the amphimalla26 and the long shaggy apron27 being introduced; but at the present day, the laticlave tunic28 is beginning to be manufactured, in imitation of the gausapa.29 Black wool will take no colour. I shall describe the mode of dyeing the other kinds of wool when speaking of the sea-purple,30 or of the nature of various plants.31

1 The greatest part of this Chapter appears to be taken, with little variation, from Columella, B. vii. c. 2—4.—B.

2 Here Pliny differs from Columella, who remarks, B. vii. c. 2, "Our people considered the Milesian, Calabrian, and Apulian wool as of excellent quality, and the Tarentine the best of all."

3 "Pænula" was a check cloak, used chiefly by the Romans when travelling, instead of the toga, as a protection against the cold and rain. It was used by women as well as men. It was long, and without sleeves, and with only an opening for the head. Women were forbidden by Alexander Severus to wear it in the city. It was made particularly of the woolly substance known as gausapa.

4 The wool of Laodicea is celebrated by Strabo, B. xii.—B.

5 Columella, B. vii. c. 2, particularly notices the excellence of the wool of Altinum, situate near the mouth of the Padus or Po. The following epigram of Martial, B. xiv. c. 155, may be presumed to convey the opinion of the respective merits of the different kinds of wool; it is entitled "Lanæ albæ:" "Velleribus primis Apulia; Parma secundis Nobilis; Altinum tertia laudat ovis." "Apulia is famed for its fleeces of the first quality, Parma for the second, while Altinum is praised for those of the third."—B.

6 About twelve shillings sterling.—B.

7 Varro remarks, B. ii. c. 2, that the term "vellus." obviously from "vello," "to pluck," proves that the wool was anciently plucked from the sheep, before shearing had been invented.—B.

8 "Quas nativas appellant." The term "nativa," as applied to the wool, has been supposed to refer to those fleeces that possess a natural colour, and do not require to be dyed.—B.

9 Martial, B. xiv. Ep. 157, calls the fleeces of Pollentia "lugentes," "mournful," from their black colour; they are also mentioned by Colu- mella, ubi supra, and by Silius Italicus, B. viii. 1. 599.—B.

10 Martial, B. v. c. 37, describing the charms of a lady, says, "surpassing with her locks the fleece of the Bætic sheep," no doubt referring to the colour. In another Epigram, B. xii. E. 200, he speaks of the "aurea vellera," the "golden fleece" of Bætis.—B.

11 Martial has two Epigrams on the wool of Canusium, B. xiv. E. 127, and E. 129. In the former it is designated as "fusca," tawny; in the latter, "rufa," red.—B.

12 "Suæ pulliginis."—B.

13 The term here used, "succidus," is explained by Varro, B. ii. c. 11: "While the newly-clipped wool has the sweat in it, it is called ' succida.'" See B. xxix. c. 9.

14 "Pexis vestibus." According to Hardouin, the "pexa vestis," was worn by the rich, and had a long and prominent nap, in contradistinction to the smooth or worn cloths. He refers to a passage in Horace, B. i. Ep. i. 1. 95, and to one in Martial, B. ii. E. 58, which appear to sanction this explanation. See Lem. vol. iii. p. 524.—B.

15 See B. iv. c. 35.

16 See B. iii. c. 5. Now Pezenas.

17 καὶ ῥήγεα καλὰ
πορφύῤ ἐμβαλέειν, στορέσαι δ᾽ ἐφύπερθε τάπητας.
Od. B. iv. 1. 427. "And to throw on fair coverlets of purple, and to lay carpets upon them."

18 These were probably much like what we call "Turkey" carpets.

19 The name given to this article, "lana coacta," "compressed wool," correctly designates its texture. The manufacturers of it were called "lanarii coactores," and "lanarii coactiliarii."

20 "I have macerated unbleached flax in vinegar saturated with salt, and after compression have obtained a felt, with a power of resistance quite comparable with that of the famous armour of Conrad of Montferrat; seeing that neither the point of a sword, nor even balls discharged from fire-arms, were able to penetrate it." Memoir on the substance called Plina, by Papadopoulo-Vretos, on the Mein. presented to the Royal Academy of In- scriptions and Belles Lettres, 1845 , as quoted by Littré.

21 Pliny probably conceived that by the removal of all the grease from the wool, or the "purgamentum," it became less combustible.—B.

22 "Tomentum;" an Epigram of Martial, B. xiv. E. 160, explains the meaning of this word.—B.

23 See B. xix. c. 2.

24 Probably in the form of what we call "palliasses."

25 The "gausapa," or "gausapum," was a kind of thick cloth, very woolly on one side, and used especially for covering tables, beds, and making cloaks to keep out the wet and cold. The wealthier Romans had it made of the finest wool, and mostly of a purple colour. It seems also to have been sometimes made of linen, but still with a rough surface.

26 From ἀμφίμαλλα,"napped on both sides." They probably resembled our baizes or druggets, or perhaps the modern blanket.

27 Pliny again makes mention of the "ventrale," or apron, in B. xxvii. c. 28.

28 He seems to allude here to the substance of which the laticlave tunic was made, and not any alteration in its cut or shape. Some further information on the laticlave or broad-striped tunic will be found in B. ix, c. 63.

29 About the time of Augustus, the Romans began to exchange the "toga," which had previously been their ordinary garment, for the more convenient "lacerna" and "pænula," which were less encumbered with folds, and better adapted for the usual occupations of life.—B.

30 See B. ix. c. 62.

31 See B. xxi. c. 12.

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