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But the choicest unguents are made in particular places, as Apollonius of Herophila says in his treatise on Perfumes, where he writes—“The iris is best in Elis, and at Cyzicus; the perfume made from roses is most excellent at Phaselis, and that made at Naples and Capua is also very fine. That made from crocuses is in the highest perfection at [p. 1100] Soli in Cilicia, and at Rhodes. The essence of spikenard is best at Tarsus; and the extract of vine-leaves is made best in Cyprus and at Adramyttium. The best perfume from marjoram and from apples comes from Cos. Egypt bears the palm for its essence of cypirus; and the next best is the Cyprian, and Phœnician, and after them comes the Sidonian. The perfume called Panathenaicum is made at Athens; and those called Metopian and Mendesian are prepared with the greatest skill in Egypt. But the Metopian is made of oil which is extracted from bitter almonds. Still, the superior excellence of each perfume is owing to the purveyors and the materials and the artists, and not to the place itself; for Ephesus formerly, as men say, had a high reputation for the excellence of its perfumes, and especially of its megallium, but now it has none. At one time, too, the unguents made in Alexandria were brought to high perfection, on account of the wealth of the city, and the attention that Arsinoe and Berenice paid to such matters; and the finest extract of roses in the world was made at Cyrene while the great Berenice was alive. Again, in ancient times, the extract of vine-leaves made at Adramyttium was but poor; but afterwards it became first-rate, owing to Stratonice, the wife of Eumenes. Formerly, too, Syria used to make every sort of unguent admirably, especially that extracted from fenugreek; but the case is quite altered now. And long ago there used to be a most delicious unguent extracted from frankincense at Pergamus, owing to the invention of a certain perfumer of that city, for no one else had ever made it before him; but now none is made there. “Now, when a valuable unguent is poured on the top of one that is inferior, it remains on the surface; but when good honey is poured on the top of that which is inferior, it works its way to the bottom, for it compels that which is worse to rise above it.”
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