). Cotton; an Eastern product, originally called
tree-wool (ἔρια ἀπὸ ξύλου
), like the German
See Herod. iii. 106; and ib. 47. It was brought by the
Phœnicians into Spain. The Greeks gained their first real knowledge of it at the
time of the Indian expedition of Alexander the Great, after which its use became general. The
finest cotton came from Egypt, where the priests wore cotton garments; and from Arabia.
Caecilius Statius mentions cotton at Rome as early as B.C. 180, and later it was used not only
for articles of clothing, but for tentcurtains, awnings, sails, etc. (See Plin.
H. N. xii. 39
; xix. 10; Verr.
v. 12.30; Verg. Aen. iii. 357
.) There were manufactories of cotton goods in Malta, whence cotton clothing
was called vestis Melitensis
at Rome (Verr.
ii. 72.176 et al.
). Raw cotton was used for stuffing pillows in the
East, and the Macedonians filled their saddles with it (Strabo, 693). Pliny speaks of cotton
under the name gossypium
(xii. 39). The word carbasus
is Indian, the Sanskrit form being karpAsa.
On the use of cotton by the ancients, see Marquardt, Privatleben
, pp. 470-474.