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Carbăsus

κάρπασος). Cotton; an Eastern product, originally called tree-wool (ἔρια ἀπὸ ξύλου), like the German Baumwolle. 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; Lucret. vi. 109.) 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.

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