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Then there was the cabbage. Eudemus the Athenian, in his treatise on Vegetables, says that there are three kinds of cabbage—the kind called the salt-cabbage, and the smooth-leaved-cabbage, and the parsley-cabbage: and that the salt-cabbage is reckoned the finest of all in respect of its delicacy of taste; and it grows in Eretria, and Cyme, and Rhodes, and also in Cnidos and Ephesus: but the smooth-leaved kind is found in every country; and the parsley-cabbage has its name from the curly nature of its leaves, for it is like parsley, both in that respect and in its general thickness. But Theophrastus writes thus—“But of the, ῥάφανος,—I mean the cabbage,—there is one kind with curly leaves, and another with smooth leaves, and a third which is wild.” And Diphilus the Siphnian says—“The finest and most delicious cabbage grows in Cyme; in Alexandria it is bitter; and the seed which is brought from Rhodes to Alexandria produces sweet cabbage for one year, after which time it degenerates again, from the nature of the soil.” And Nicander, in his Georgics, says—
The smooth-leaved cabbage sometimes wild is found,
And then the curly many-leaved plants
Are often sown in beds; . . . . . . .
There is another kind, of reddish colour,
Like frogs in drought; some of bad colour too
Do come from Cyme, like the dingy soles
Which cobblers often sew on worn-out boots;
And these the ancients do the Prophets call
But perhaps Nicander calls the cabbage Prophet, as being sacred; since in Hipponax, in his Iambics, we find some such lines as these,—
He falling down worshipp'd the seven-leaved cabbage,
To which, before she drank the poison'd draught,
Pandora brought a cake at the Thargelia.
[p. 583] And Ananius says—
And, by the cabbage do I swear, I love thee
By far the most of mortal men . . .
And Teleclides, in his Prytanes, uses the oath, “Yes, by the cabbages” and Epicharmus has the same exclamation in his Earth and Sea; and so has Eupolis, in his Dyer; and it appears to have been an Ionian oath: and there is nothing very strange in the fact of some people having sworn by the cabbage, since Zeno the Cittiæan, the founder of the sect of the Stoics, imitating the oath of Socrates, “by the bitch,” was used himself to swear “by the caper,” as Empodus relates in his Memorabilia.

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