Now that the fig is the most useful to man of all the fruits which grow upon trees is sufficiently shown by Herodotus the Lycian, who urges this point at great length, in his treatise on Figs. For he says that young children grow to a great size if they are fed on the juice of figs. And Pherecrates, who wrote the Persæ, says—
If any one of us, after absence, sees a fig,[p. 132] as if there were no ordinary medicinal power in the fig. And Herodotus, the most wonderful and sweet of all writers, says in the first book of his Histories, that figs are of the greatest good, speaking thus:—“O king, you are preparing to make war upon men of this character, who wear breeches of leather, and all the rest of their garments are made of leather; and they eat not whatever they fancy, but what they have, since they have but a rough country; moreover they do not, by Jove, use wine, but they drink water; they have no figs to eat, nor any other good thing.” And Polybius of Megalopolis, in the twelfth book of his Histories, says—“Philip, the father of Perseus, when he overran Asia, being in want of provisions, took figs for his soldiers from the Magnesians, as they had no corn. On which account, too, when he became master of Myus, he gave that place to the Magnesians in return for their figs.” And Ananius, the writer of Iambics, says—
He will apply it like a plaster to his children's eyes:
He who should shut up gold within his house,
And a few figs, and two or three men,
Would see how far the figs surpass the gold.