). Fire-sticks. One of the earliest methods of
producing fire was by the friction of two specially prepared sticks—a method which
Lucretius (v. 199
) supposes the primitive peoples to have learned
from the ignition of forest trees by friction. (Cf. Thuc. ii. 77; Pliny , Pliny H. N. xvi. 208
). It was the means
prescribed by Roman usage for relighting the vestal fire when by any oversight it became
extinguished. In Greece, the sacred flame was rekindled from the sun's rays by the use of
, 9). Seneca (Nat. Quaest.
ii. 22) speaks
of producing fire from flints, and also from igniaria.
These last were
a block of soft wood with a hollow in it, and called ἐσχάρα
a bit of hard wood (τρύπανον
). The τρύπανον
was whirled around in the hollow of the former. The sparks produced by
this friction were caught in a sort of tinder made of dried grass and shavings. Instead of
this primitive tinder the ancients also used bits of wood smeared with sulphur (ramenta sulpurata
), such as were common in modern times until the invention
of lucifer matches in the present century. With these, the sparks produced from the igniaria
or from the flints were caught; and these more quickly and surely
ignited than the ordinary tinder, saving both time and breath. See Seneca, Nat.
i. 1, 8; Mart.x. 3
; Juv.xiii. 145
; Stat. Silv. i. 6, 73
Pliny , Pliny H. N. xxxvi. 138
, ii. 353, and iv. 407; Tylor, Early Hist.
, p. 237 (1865)
; and Dr. M. H. Morgan in the Harvard
Studies in Classical Philology
, vol. i. (1890)