With respect to Almonds.—The Naxian almonds are mentioned by the ancient writers; and those in the island of Naxos are superior to all others, as I am well persuaded. Phrynichus says—
He knock'd out all my grinders, so that nowThe almonds in the island of Cyprus also are very excellent, and in comparison of those which come from other quarters, they are very long, and slightly bent at the end. And Seleucus in his Dictionary says, that the Lacedæmonians call soft nuts μύκηροι. And the Servians give that name to sweet nuts. But Arnexias says that it is the almond which is called μύκηρος. We may add, there is nothing which is a greater provocative of drinking than almonds when eaten before meals. Eupolis says in his Taxiarchs—
A Naxian almond I can hardly crack.
Give me some Naxian almonds to regale me,For there was a vine called the Naxian vine. [p. 86] And Plutarch of Chæronea says, that there was in the retinue of Drusus the son of Tiberius Cæsar, a certain physician who surpassed all men in drinking, and who was detected in always eating five or six bitter almonds before he drank. But when he was prevented from eating them he was not able to stand even a very limited quantity of wine; and the cause of this was the great power of the bitterness of the almond, which is of a very drying nature, and which has the quality of expelling moisture. Herodian of Alexandria says, that almonds derive the name of ἀμύγδαλαι, because beneath their green bark they have many ἀμυχαὶ, or lacerations. Philemon says somewhere or other—
And from the Naxian vines some wine to drink.
You, like an ass, come to the husks of the dessert;and Nicander, in the second book of his Georgics, says—
Beech-trees, the ornament of Pan.We also find the word ἀμύγδαλον in the neuter gender. Diphilus says—
“Sweetmeats, myrtle-berries, cheese-cakes, almonds,”using the neuter ἀμύγδαλα.