previous next



WE have now imparted a knowledge1 of the constellations and of the seasons, in a method unattended with difficulty for the most ignorant even, and free from every doubt; indeed, to those who understand these matters aright, the face of the earth contributes in no less a degree to a due appreciation of the celestial phenomena, than does the science of astronomy to our improvement in the arts of agriculture.

Many writers have made it their next care to treat of horticulture; but, for my own part, it does not appear to me altogether advisable to pass on immediately to that subject, and, indeed, I am rather surprised to find that some among the learned, who have either sought the pleasures of knowledge in these pursuits, or have grounded their celebrity upon them, have omitted so many particulars in reference thereto; for no mention do we find in their writings of numerous vegetable productions, both wild as well as cultivated, many of which are found, in ordinary life, to be of higher value and of more extended use to man than the cereals even.

To commence, then, with a production which is of an utility that is universally recognized, and is employed not only upon dry land but upon the seas as well, we will turn our attention to flax,2 a plant which is reproduced from seed, but which can neither be classed among the cereals nor yet among the garden plants. What department is there to be found of active life in which flax is not employed? and in what production of the earth are there greater marvels3 revealed to us than in this? To think that here is a plant which brings Egypt in close proximity to Italy!—so much so, in fact, that Galerius4 and Balbillus,5 both of them prefects of Egypt, made the passage to Alexandria from the Straits of Sicily, the one in six days, the other in five! It was only this very last summer, that Valerius Marianus, a senator of prætorian rank, reached Alexandria from Puteoli in eight days, and that, too, with a very moderate breeze all the time! To think that here is a plant which brings Gades, situate near the Pillars of Hercules, within six days of Ostia, Nearer Spain within three, the province of Gallia Narbonensis within two, and Africa within one!—this last passage having been made by C. Flavius, when legatus of Vibius Crispus, the proconsul, and that, too, with but little or no wind to favour his passage!

What audacity in man! What criminal perverseness! thus to sow a thing in the ground for the purpose of catching the winds and the tempests, it being not enough for him, forsooth, to be borne upon the waves alone! Nay, still more than this, sails even that are bigger than the very ships themselves will not suffice for him, and although it takes a whole tree to make a mast to carry the cross-yards, above those cross-yards sails upon sails must still be added, with others swelling at the prow and at the stern as well—so many devices, in fact, to challenge death! Only to think, in fine, that that which moves to and fro, as it were, the various countries of the earth, should spring from a seed so minute, and make its appearance in a stem so fine, so little elevated above the surface of the earth! And then, besides, it is not in all its native strength that it is employed for the purposes of a tissue; no, it must first be rent asunder, and then tawed and beaten, till it is reduced to the softness of wool; indeed, it is only by such violence done to its nature, and prompted by the extreme audacity of man, and6 * * * that it is rendered subservient to his purposes. The inventor of this art has been already mentioned by us on a more appropriate occasion;7 not satisfied that his fellow-men should perish upon land, but anxious that they should meet their end with no sepulchral rites to await them, there are no execrations8 to be found that can equal his demerits!

It is only in the preceding Book9 that I was warning the agriculturist, as he values the grain that is to form our daily sustenance, to be on his guard against the storm and the tempest; and yet, here we have man sowing with his own hand, man racking his invention how best to gather, an object the only aspirations of which upon the deep are the winds of heaven! And then, too, as if to let us understand all the better how highly favoured is this instrument of our punishment, there is no vegetable production that grows with greater facility;10 and, to prove to us that it is in despite of Nature her- self that it exists, it has the property of scorching11 the ground where it is grown, and of deteriorating the quality of the very soil itself.


Flax is mostly sown in sandy12 soils, and after a single ploughing only. There is no plant that grows more rapidly13 than this; sown in spring,14 it is pulled up in summer, and is, for this reason as well, productive of considerable injury to the soil.15 There may be some, however, who would forgive Egypt for growing it, as it is by its aid that she imports the merchandize of Arabia and India; but why should the Gallic provinces base any of their reputation upon this product?16 Is it not enough, forsooth, for them to be separated by mountains from the sea, and to have, upon the side on which they are bounded by the Ocean, that void and empty space, as it is called?17 The Cadurci,18 the Caleti, the Ruteni,19 the Bituriges,20 and the Morini,21 those remotest of all mankind, as it is supposed, the whole of the Gallic provinces, in fact, are in the habit of weaving sail-cloth; and at the present day our enemies even, who dwell beyond the Rhenus, have learned to do the same; indeed, there is no tissue that is more beautiful in the eyes of their females than linen. I am here reminded of the fact, that we find it stated by M. Varro, that it is a custom peculiar to the family of the Serrani22 for the women never to wear garments of linen. In Germany it is in caves23 deep underground that the linen-weavers ply their work; and the same is the case, too, in the Alian territory, in Italy, between the rivers Padus and Ticinus, the linen of which holds the third rank among the kinds manufactured in Europe, that of Sætabis24 claiming the first, and those of Retovium25 and of Faven- tia, in the vicinity of Alia, on the Æmilian Way, the second, place in general estimation. The linens of Faventia are preferred for whiteness to those of Alia, which are always unbleached: those of Retovium are remarkable for their extreme fineness, combined with substance, and are quite equal in whiteness to the linens of Faventia; but they have none of that fine downy nap26 upon them, which is so highly esteemed by some persons, though equally disliked by others. A thread is made, too, from their flax, of considerable strength, smoother and more even, almost, than the spider's web; when tested with the teeth, it emits a sharp, clear twang; hence it is, that it sells at double the price of the other kinds.

But it is the province of Nearer Spain that produces a linen of the greatest lustre, an advantage which it owes to the waters of a stream which washes the city of Tarraco27 there. The fineness, too, of this linen is quite marvellous, and here it is that the first manufactories of cambric28 were established. From the same province, too, of Spain, the flax of Zoëla29 has of late years been introduced into Italy, and has been found extremely serviceable for the manufacture of hunting-nets. Zoëla is a city of Callæcia, in the vicinity of the Ocean. The flax, too, of Cumæ, in Campania, has its own peculiar merits in the manufacture of nets for fishing and fowling; it is employed, also, for making hunting-nets. For it is from flax, in fact, that we prepare various textures, destined to be no less insidious to the brute creation than they are to ourselves. It is with toils made from the flax of Cumæ that wild boars are taken, the meshes being proof against their bristles,30 equally with the edge of the knife: before now, too, we have seen some of these toils of a fineness so remarkable31 as to allow of being passed through a man's ring, running ropes and all, a single individual being able to carry an amount of nets sufficient to environ a whole forest—a thing which we know to have been done not long ago by Julius Lupus, who died prefect of Egypt. This, however, is nothing very surprising, but it really is quite wonderful that each of the cords was composed of no less than one hundred and fifty threads. Those, no doubt, will be astonished at this, who are not aware that there is preserved in the Temple of Minerva, at Lindus, in the Isle of Rhodes, the cuirass of a former king of Egypt, Amasis by name, each thread employed in the texture of which is composed of three hundred and sixty-five other threads. Mucianus, who was three times consul, informs us that he saw this curiosity very recently, though there was but little then remaining of it, in consequence of the injury it had experienced at the hands of various persons who had tried to verify the fact. Italy, too, holds the flax of the Peligni in high esteem, though it is only employed by fullers; there is no kind known that is whiter than this, or which bears a closer resemblance to wool. That grown by the Cadurci32 is held in high estimation for making mattresses;33 which, as well as flock,34 are an invention for which we are indebted to the Gauls: the ancient usage of Italy is still kept in remembrance in the word "stramentum,"35 the name given by us to beds stuffed with straw.

The flax of Egypt, though the least strong36 of all as a tissue, is that from which the greatest profits are derived. There are four varieties of it, the Tanitic, the Pelusiac, the Butic, and the Tentyritic—so called from the various districts in which they are respectively grown. The upper part of Egypt, in the vicinity of Arabia, produces a shrub, known by some as "gossypium,"37 but by most persons as "xylon;" hence the name of "xylina," given to the tissues that are manufactured from it. The shrub is small, and bears a fruit, similar in appearance to a nut with a beard, and containing in the inside a silky substance, the down of which is spun into threads. There is no tissue known, that is superior to those made from this thread, either for whiteness, softness, or dressing: the most esteemed vestments worn by the priests of Egypt are made of it. There is a fourth kind of tissue, known by the name of "othoninum," which is made from a kind of marshreed,38 the panicule only being employed for the purpose. In Asia, again, there is a thread made from broom,39 which is employed in the construction of fishing-nets, being found to be remarkably durable; for the purpose of preparing it, the shrub is steeped in water for ten days. The Æthiopians, also, and the people of India, prepare a kind of thread from a fruit which resembles our apple, and the Arabians, as already40 mentioned, from gourds that grow upon trees.


In our part of the world the ripeness of flax is usually ascertained by two signs, the swelling of the seed, and its assuming a yellowish tint. It is then pulled up by the roots, made up into small sheaves that will just fill the hand, and hung to dry in the sun. It is suspended with the roots upwards the first day, and then for the five following days the heads of the sheaves are placed, reclining one against the other, in such a way that the seed which drops out may fall into the middle. Linseed is employed for various medicinal41 purposes, and it is used by the country-people of Italy beyond the Padus in a certain kind of food, which is remarkable for its sweet- ness: for this long time past, however, it has only been in general use for sacrifices offered to the divinities. After the wheat harvest is over, the stalks of flax are plunged in water that has been warmed in the sun, and are then submitted to pressure with a weight; for there is nothing known that is more light and buoyant than this. When the outer coat is loosened, it is a sign that the stalks have been sufficiently steeped; after which42 they are again turned with the heads downwards, and left to dry as before in the sun: when thoroughly dried, they are beaten with a tow-mallet on a stone.

The part that lies nearest to the outer coat is known by the name of "stuppa;" it is a flax of inferior quality, and is mostly employed for making the wicks of lamps. This, however, requires to be combed out with iron hatchels, until the whole of the outer skin is removed. The inner part presents numerous varieties of flax, esteemed respectively in proportion to their whiteness and their softness. Spinning flax is held to be an honourable43 employment for men even: the husks, or outer coats, are employed for heating furnaces and ovens. There is a certain amount of skill required in hatchelling flax and dressing it: it is a fair proportion for fifty pounds in the sheaf to yield fifteen pounds of flax combed out. When spun into thread, it is rendered additionally supple by being soaked in water and then beaten out upon a stone; and after it is woven into a tissue, it is again beaten with heavy maces: indeed, the more roughly it is treated the better it is.


There has been invented also a kind of linen which is incombustible by flame. It is generally known as "live"44 linen, and I have seen, before now, napkins45 that were made of it thrown into a blazing fire, in the room where the guests were at table, and after the stains were burnt out, come forth from the flames whiter and cleaner than they could possibly have been rendered by the aid of water. It is from this material that the corpse-cloths of monarchs are made, to ensure the separation of the ashes of the body from those of the pile. This substance grows46 in the deserts of India,47 scorched by the burning rays of the sun: here, where no rain is ever known to fall, and amid multitudes of deadly serpents, it becomes habituated to resist the action of fire. Rarely to be found, it presents considerable difficulties in weaving it into a tissue, in consequence of its shortness; its colour is naturally red, and it only becomes white through the agency of fire. By those who find it, it is sold at prices equal to those given for the finest pearls; by the Greeks it is called "asbestinon,"48 a name which indicates its peculiar properties. Anaxilaüs49 makes a statement to the effect that if a tree is surrounded with linen made of this substance, the noise of the blows given by the axe will be deadened thereby, and that the tree may be cut down without their being heard. For these qualities it is that this linen occupies the very highest rank among all the kinds that are known.

The next rank is accorded to the tissue known as "byssus,"50 an article which is held in the very highest estimation by females, and is produced in the vicinity of Elis, in Achaia.51 I find it stated by some writers that a scruple of this sold for- merly at four denarii, the same rate, in fact, as gold. The downy nap of linen, and more particularly that taken from the sails of sea-going ships, is very extensively employed for medicinal purposes, and the ashes of it have the same virtues as spodium.52 Among the poppies, too,53 there is a variety which imparts a remarkable degree of whiteness to fabrics made of linen.


Attempts, too, have even been made to dye linen, and to make it assume the frivolous colours54 of our cloths. This was first done in the fleet of Alexander the Great, while sailing upon the river Indus; for, upon one occasion, during a battle that was being fought, his generals and captains distinguished their vessels by the various tints of their sails, and astounded the people on the shores by giving their many colours to the breeze, as it impelled them on. It was with sails of purple, too, that Cleopatra accompanied M. Antonius to the battle of Actium, and it was by their aid that she took to flight: such being the distinguishing mark of the royal ship.


In more recent55 times linens alone have been employed for the purpose of affording shade in our theatres; Q. Catulus having been the first who applied them to this use, on the occasion of the dedication by him of the Capitol. At a later period, Lentulus Spinther, it is said, was the first to spread awnings of fine linen56 over the theatre, at the celebration of the Games in honour of Apollo. After this, Cæsar, when Dictator, covered with a linen awning the whole of the Roman Forum, as well as the Sacred Way, from his own house as far as the ascent to the Capitol, a sight, it is said, more wonderful even than the show of gladiators which he then exhibited. At a still later period, and upon the occasion of no public games, Marcellus, the son of Octavia, sister of Augustus, during his ædileship, and in the eleventh consulship of his uncle, on the * * * day before the calends of August, covered in the Forum with awnings, his object being to consult the health of those assembled there for the purposes of litigation —a vast change, indeed, from the manners prevalent in the days of Cato the Censor, who expressed a wish that the Forum was paved with nothing else but sharp pointed stones.

Awnings have been lately extended, too, by the aid of ropes, over the amphitheatres of the Emperor Nero, dyed azure, like the heavens, and bespangled all over with stars. Those which are employed by us to cover the inner court57 of our houses are generally red: one reason for employing them is to protect the moss that grows there from the rays58 of the sun. In other respects, white fabrics of linen have always held the ascendancy in public estimation. Linen, too, was highly valued as early as the Trojan war; for why else should it not have figured as much in battles as it; did in shipwrecks? Thus Homer,59 we find, bears witness that there were but few among the warriors of those days who fought with cuirasses60 on made of linen; while, as for the rigging of the ships, of which that writer speaks, it is generally supposed by the more learned among the commentators, that it was made of this material; for the word "sparta,"61 which he employs, means nothing more than the produce of a seed.


For the fact is that spartum62 did not begin to be employed till many ages after the time of Homer; indeed, not before the first war that the Carthaginians waged in Spain. This, too, is a plant that grows spontaneously,63 and is incapable of being reproduced by sowing, it being a species of rush, peculiar to a dry, arid soil, a morbid production confined to a single country only; for in reality it is a curse to the soil, as there is nothing whatever that can be sown or grown in its vicinity. There is a kind of spartum grown in Africa,64 of a stunted nature, and quite useless for all practical purposes. It is found in one portion of the province of Carthage65 in Nearer Spain, though not in every part of that; but wherever it is produced, the mountains, even, are covered all over with it.

This material is employed by the country-people there for making66 their beds; with it they kindle their fires also, and prepare their torches; shoes67 also, and garments for the shepherds, are made of it. As a food for animals, it is highly injurious,68 with the sole exception of the tender tops of the shoots. When wanted for other uses, it is pulled up by the roots, with considerable labour; the legs of the persons so employed being protected by boots, and their hands with gloves, the plant being twisted round levers of bone or holm-oak, to get it up with the greater facility. At the present day it is gathered in the winter, even; but this work is done with the least difficulty between the ides of May69 and those of June, that being the period at which it is perfectly ripe.


When taken up it is made into sheaves, and laid in heaps for a couple of days, while it retains its life and freshness; on the third day the sheaves are opened out and spread in the sun to dry, after which it is again made up into sheaves, and placed under cover. It is then put to soak in sea-water, this being the best of all for the purpose, though fresh water will do in case sea-water cannot be procured: this done, it is again dried in the sun, and then moistened afresh. If it is wanted for immediate use, it is put in a tub and steeped in warm water, after which it is placed in an upright position to dry: this being universally admitted to be the most expeditious method of preparing it. To make it ready for use, it requires to be beaten out. Articles made of it are proof, more particularly, against the action of fresh or sea-water; but on dry land, ropes of hemp are generally preferred. Indeed, we find that spartum receives nutriment even from being under water, by way of compensation, as it were, for the thirst it has had to endure upon its native soil.

By nature it is peculiarly well adapted for repairing, and however old the material may be, it unites very well with new. The person, indeed, who is desirous duly to appreciate this marvellous plant, has only to consider the numerous uses to which, in all parts of the world, it is applied: from it are made, the rigging of ships, various appliances of mechanism employed in building, and numerous other articles which supply the wants of daily life. To suffice for all these requirements, we find it growing solely on a tract of ground which lies upon the sea-line of the province of New Carthage, somewhat less than thirty miles in breadth by one hundred in length. The expense precludes its being transported to any very considera- ble distance.


The Greeks used formerly to employ the rush for making ropes; so, at least, we are led to believe, from the name70 given by them to that plant; and at a later period they made them, it is very clear, from the leaves of the palm, and the inner bark of the linden-tree. It seems to me very probable, too, that it was from them that the Carthaginians borrowed the first hint for applying spartum to a similar purpose.


Theophrastus71 informs us, that there is a kind of bulb, which grows on the banks of rivers, and which encloses between the outer coat and the portion that is eaten a sort of woolly substance, of which felt socks, and other articles of dress, are made; but, in the copies, those at least which have fallen in my way, there is no mention made of the country in which it grows, or of any details in connection with it, beyond the fact that the name given to it is "eriophoron."72 As to spartum, he makes no73 mention of it whatever, although he has given the history, with the greatest exactness, of all the known plants, three hundred and ninety years before our time—a fact to which I have already74 alluded on other occasions: from this it would appear that spartum has come into use since his day.


As we have here made a beginning of treating of the marvels of Nature, we shall proceed to examine them in detail; and among them the very greatest of all, beyond a doubt, is the fact that any plant should spring up and grow without a root. Such, for instance, is the vegetable production known as the truffle;75 surrounded on every side by earth, it is connected with it by no fibres, not so much as a single thread even, while the spot in which it grows, presents neither protuberance nor cleft to the view. It is found, in fact, in no way adhering to the earth, but enclosed within an outer coat; so much so, indeed, that though we cannot exactly pronounce it to be composed of earth, we must conclude that it is nothing else but a callous76 concretion of the earth.

Truffles generally grow in dry, sandy soils, and spots that are thickly covered with shrubs; in size they are often larger than a quince, and are found to weigh as much77 as a pound. There are two kinds of them, the one full of sand, and consequently injurious to the teeth, the other free from sand and all impurities. They are distinguished also by their colour, which is red or black, and white within; those of Africa78 are the most esteemed. Whether the truffle grows gradually, or whether this blemish of the earth—for it can be looked upon as nothing else—at once assumes the globular form and magnitude which it presents when found; whether, too, it is possessed of vitality or not, are all of them questions, which, in my opinion, are not easy to be solved. It decays and rots in a manner precisely similar to wood.

It is known to me as a fact, that the following circumstance happened to Lartius Licinius, a person of prætorian rank, while minister of justice,79 a few years ago, at Carthage in Spain; upon biting a truffle, he found a denarius inside, which all but broke his fore teeth—an evident proof that the truffle is nothing else but an agglomeration of elementary earth. At all events, it is quite certain that the truffle belongs to those vegetable productions which spring up spontaneously, and are incapable of being reproduced from seed.80


Of a similar nature, too, is the vegetable production known in the province of Cyrenaica by the name of "misy,"81 re- markable for the sweetness of its smell and taste, but more fleshy than the truffle: the same, too, as to the iton82 of the Thracians, and the geranion of the Greeks.


The following peculiarities we find mentioned with reference to the truffle. When there have been showers in autumn, and frequent thunder-storms, truffles are produced, thunder83 contributing more particularly to their developement; they do not, however, last beyond a year, and are considered the most delicate eating when gathered in spring. In some places the formation of them is attributed to water; as at Mytilene,84 for instance, where they are never to be found, it is said, unless the rivers overflow, and bring down the seed from Tiara, that being the name of a place at which they are produced in the greatest abundance. The finest truffles of Asia are those found in the neighbourhood of Lampsacus and Alopeconnesus; the best in Greece are those of the vicinity of Elis.


Belonging to the mushroom genus, also, there is a species, known to the Greeks by the name of "pezica,"85 which grows without either root or stalk.


Next to these, laserpitium86 claims our notice, a very re- markable plant, known to the Greeks by the name of "silphion," and originally a native of the province of Cyrenaica. The juice of this plant is called "laser," and it is greatly in vogue for medicinal as well as other purposes, being sold at the same rate as silver. For these many years past, however, it has not been found in Cyrenaica,87 as the farmers of the revenue who hold the lands there on lease, have a notion that it is more profitable to depasture flocks of sheep upon them. Within the memory of the present generation, a single stalk88 is all that has ever been found there, and that was sent as a curiosity to the Emperor Nero. If it so happen that one of the flock, while grazing, meets with a growing shoot89 of it, the fact is easily ascertained by the following signs; the sheep, after eating of it, immediately falls asleep, while the goat is seized with a fit of sneezing.90 For this long time past, there has been no other laser imported into this country, but that produced in either Persis, Media, or Armenia, where it grows in considerable abundance, though much inferior91 to that of Cyrenaica; and even then it is extensively adulterated with gum, sacopenium,92 or pounded beans. I ought the less then to omit the facts, that in the consulship93 of C. Valerius and M. Herennius, there was brought to Rome, from Cyrenæ, for the public service, thirty pounds' weight of laserpitium, and that the Dictator Cæsar, at the beginning of the Civil War, took from out of the public treasury, besides gold and silver, no less than fifteen hundred pounds of laserpitium.

We find it stated by the most trustworthy among the Greek writers,94 that this plant first made its appearance in the vicinity of the gardens of the Hesperides and the Greater Syrtis, immediately after the earth had been soaked on a sudden by a shower as black as pitch. This took place seven years before the foundation of the city of Cyrenæ, and in the year of Rome 143. The virtues of this remarkable fall of rain extended, it is said, over no less than four thousand stadia of the African territory; and upon this soil laserpitium began universally to grow, a plant that is in general wild and stubborn, and which, it attempted to be cultivated, will leave the spot where it has been sown quite desolate and barren. The roots of it are numerous and thick, the stalk being like that of fennel-giant, and of similar thickness. The leaves of this plant were known as "maspetum," and bore a considerable resemblance to parsley; the seeds of it were foliaceous, and the plant shed its leaves every year. They used to feed the cattle there upon it; at first it purged them, but afterwards they would grow fat, the flesh being improved in flavour in a most surprising degree. After the fall of the leaf, the people themselves were in the habit of eating95 the stalk, either roasted or boiled: from the drastic effects of this diet the body was purged for the first forty days, all vicious humours being effectually removed.96

The juices of this plant were collected two different ways, either from the root or from the stalk; in consequence of which these two varieties of the juice were known by the distinguish- ing names of "rhizias" and "caulias,"97 the last being of inferior quality to the other, and very apt to turn putrid. Upon the root there was a black bark, which was extensively employed for the purposes of adulteration. The juice of the plant was received in vessels, and mixed there with a layer of bran; after which, from time to time it was shaken, till it had reached a proper state of maturity; indeed, if this precaution was neglected, it was apt to turn putrid. The signs that it had come to maturity were its colour, its dryness, and the absorption of all humidity.

There are some authors, however, who state that the root of laserpitium was more than a cubit in length, and that it presented a tuberosity above the surface of the earth. An incision, they say, was made in this tuberosity, from which a juice would flow, like milk in appearance; above the tuberosity grew a stalk, to which they give the name of "magydaris;"98 the leaves that grew upon this stalk were of the colour of gold, and, falling at the rising of the Dog-star, when the south winds begin to prevail, they acted as seed for the purposes of reproduction. It was from these leaves, too, they say, that laserpitium99 was produced, the root and the stalk attaining their full growth in the space of one year. The same writers also state, that it was the practice to turn up the ground about the plant, and that it had no such effect as purging the cattle that were fed upon it; though one result of using it as food was, that such cattle as were ailing were either cured of their distempers, or else died immediately upon eating of it, a thing, however, that but rarely happened. The first description, however, is found to agree more nearly with the silphium that comes from Persis.


There is another100 variety of this plant, known as "magydaris,"101 of a more delicate nature, less active in its effects, and destitute of juice. It grows in the countries adjacent to Syria,102 but is not to be found in the regions of Cyrenaica. There grows also upon Mount Parnassus,103 in great abundance, a plant to which some persons give the name of "laserpitium:" by means of all these varieties, adulterations are effected of a production that is held in the highest esteem for its salutary qualities and its general usefulness. The chief proofs of its genuineness consist in its colour, which ought to be slightly red without, and when broken quite white and transparent within; the drops of it, too, should melt very rapidly on the application of spittle. It is extensively employed for medi- cinal purposes.104


There are two other plants also, which are but little known to any but the herd of the sordid and avaricious, and this because of the large profits that are derived from them. The first of these is madder,105 the employment of which is necessary in dyeing wool and leather. The madder of Italy is the most esteemed, and that more particularly which is grown in the suburbs of the City; nearly all our provinces, too, produce it in great abundance.106 It grows spontaneously, but is capable of reproduction by sowing, much after the same manner as the fitch. The stem,107 however, is prickly, and articulated, with five leaves arranged round each joint: the seed is red. Its medicinal properties we shall have occasion to mention in the appropriate place.108


The plant known to us by the name of "radicula,"109 is the second of these productions. It furnishes a juice that is extensively employed in washing wool, and it is quite wonderful how greatly it contributes to the whiteness and softness of wool. It may be produced anywhere by cultivation, but that which grows spontaneously in Asia, and Syria,110 upon rugged, rocky sites, is more highly esteemed. That, however, which is found beyond the Euphrates has the highest repute of all. The stalk of it is ferulaceous111 and thin, and is sought by the inhabitants of those countries as an article of food. It is employed also for making unguents, being boiled up with the other ingredients, whatever they may happen to be. In leaf it strongly resembles the olive. The Greeks have given it the name of "struthion." It blossoms in summer, and is agreeable to the sight, but entirely destitute of smell. It is somewhat thorny, and has a stalk covered with down. It has an extremely diminutive seed, and a large root, which is cut up and employed for the purposes already mentioned.


Having made mention of these productions, it now remains for us to return to the cultivation of the garden,112 a subject recommended by its own intrinsic merits to our notice: for we find that in remote antiquity, even, there was nothing looked upon with a greater degree of admiration than the gardens of the Hesperides,113 those of the kings Adonis114 and Alci- noüs,115 and the Hanging Gardens, whether they were the work of Semiramis, or whether of Cyrus, king of Assyria, a subject of which we shall have to speak in another work.116 The kings of Rome cultivated their gardens with their own hands; indeed, it was from his garden that Tarquinius Superbus117 sent to his son that cruel and sanguinary message of his. In our laws of the Twelve Tables, we find the word "villa," or "farm," nowhere mentioned; it is the word "hortus" that is always used with that signification, while the term "heredium" we find employed for "garden."

There are certain religious impressions, too, that have been attached to this species of property,118 and we find that it is in the garden and the Forum only that statues of satyrs are con- secrated, as a protection against the evil effects119 of spells and sorcery; although in Plautus, we find the gardens spoken of as being under the tutelage of Venus. At the present day, under the general name of gardens,120 we have pleasure-grounds situate in the very heart of the City, as well as extensive fields and villas.

Epicurus, that connoisseur121 in the enjoyments of a life of ease, was the first to lay out a garden at Athens;122 up to his time it had never been thought of, to dwell in the country in the middle of the town. At Rome, on the other hand, the garden123 constituted of itself the poor man's field, and it was from the garden that the lower classes procured their daily food—an aliment how guiltlessly obtained! But still, it is a great deal better, no doubt,124 to dive into the abysses of the deep, and to seek each kind of oyster at the risk and peril of shipwreck, to go searching for birds beyond the river Phasis125 even, which, protected as they are by the terrors invented by fable,126 are only rendered all the more precious thereby—to go searching for others, again, in Numidia,127 and the very sepulchres of Æthiopia,128 or else to be battling with wild beasts, and to get eaten one's self while trying to take a prey which another person is to eat! And yet, by Hercules! how little do the productions of the garden cost us in comparison with these! How more than sufficient for every wish and for every want!— were it not, indeed, that here, as in every thing else, turn which way we will, we find the same grounds for our wrath and in- dignation. We really might be content to allow of fruits being grown of the most exquisite quality, remarkable, some of them for their flavour, some for their size, some, again, for the monstrosities of their growth, morsels all of them forbidden to the poor!129 We might allow of wines being kept till they are mellowed with age, or enfeebled by being passed through130 cloth strainers, of men, too, however prolonged their lives, never drinking any but a wine that is still older than themselves! We might allow of luxury devising how best to extract the very aroma, as it were, and marrow131 only from grain; of people, too, living upon nothing but the choicest productions of the confectioner, and upon pastes fashioned in fantastic shapes: of one kind of bread being prepared for the rich, and another for the multitude; of the yearly produce of the field being classified in a descending scale, till it reaches the humble means of the very lowest classes—but do we not find that these refined distinctions have been extended to the very herbs even, and that riches have contrived to establish points of dissimilarity in articles of food which ordinarily sell for a single copper coin?132

In this department even, humble as it is, we are still des- tined to find certain productions that are denied to the community at large, and the very cabbages pampered to such an enormous extent that the poor man's table is not large enough to hold them. Asparagus, by Nature, was intended to grow wild,133 so that each might gather it where he pleased—but, lo and behold! we find it in the highest state of cultivation, and Ravenna produces heads that weigh as much as three pounds134 even! Alas for the monstrous excess of gluttony! It would be surprising indeed, for the beasts of the field to be forbidden the thistle for food, and yet it is a thing forbidden135 to the lower classes of the community! These refined distinctions, too, are extended to the very water even, and, thanks to the mighty influence of money, there are lines of demarcation drawn in the very elements themselves. Some persons are for drinking ice, others for quaffing snow, and thus is the curse of the mountain steep turned into an appetizing stimulus for the palate!136 Cold is carefully treasured up for the summer heats, and man's invention is racked how best to keep snow freezing in months that are not its own. Some again there are who first boil the water,137 and then bring it to the temperature of winter—indeed, there is nothing that pleases man in the fashion in which Nature originally made it.

And is it the fact, then, that any herb of the garden is reared only for the rich man's table? It is so—but still let no one of the angered populace think of a fresh secession to Mount Sacer or Mount Aventine; for to a certainty, in the long run, all-powerful money will bring them back to just the same position as they were in when it wrought the severance. For, by Hercules!138 there was not an impost levied at Rome more grievous than the market-dues, an impost that aroused the indignation of the populace, who repeatedly appealed with loud clamours to all the chief men of the state to be relieved from it. At last they were relieved from this heavy tax upon their wares; and then it was found that there was no tax more lucrative, more readily collected, or less obnoxious to the caprices of chance, than the impost that was levied in exchange for it, in the shape of a property-tax, extended to the poorest classes: for now the very soil itself is their surety that paid the tax will be, their means are patent to the light of day, and the superficial extent of their possessions, whatever the weather may chance to be, always remains the same.

Cato,139 we find, speaks in high praise of garden cabbages:— indeed, it was according to their respective methods of garden cultivation that the agriculturists of early times were appreciated, and it was immediately concluded that it was a sign of a woman being a bad and careless manager of her family, when the kitchen-garden—for this was looked upon as the woman's department more particularly—was negligently cultivated; as in such case her only resource was, of course, the shambles or the herb-market. But cabbages were not held in such high esteem in those days as now: indeed, all dishes were held in disrepute which required something else to help them down, the great object being to economize oil as much as possible; and as to the flesh-market, so much as a wish even to taste its wares was visited with censure and reproach. The chief thing that made them so fond of the garden was the fact that its produce needs no fire and ensures economy in fuel, and that it offers resources which are always ready and at hand. These articles of food, which from their peculiar nature we call "vinegar-diets,"140 were found to be easy of digestion, by no means apt to blunt and overload the senses, and to create but little craving for bread as an accompaniment. A portion of them which is still used by us for seasonings, attests that our forefathers used only to look at home for their resources, and that no Indian peppers were in request with them, or any of those other condi- ments which we are in the habit of seeking beyond the seas. In former times the lower classes of Rome, with their mimic gardens in their windows, day after day presented the reflex of the country to the eye, when as yet the multitudes of atrocious burglaries, almost innumerable, had not compelled us to shut out all such sights with bars to the passers by.

Let the garden, then, have its due meed of honour, and let not things, because they are common, enjoy for that the less share of our consideration—and the more so, as we find that from it men of the very highest rank have been content to borrow their surnames even; thus in the Valerian family, for instance, the Lactucini have not thought themselves disgraced by taking their name from the lettuce. Perhaps, too, our labours and research may contribute some slight recommendation to this our subject; although, with Virgil,141 we are ready to admit how difficult it is, by language however elevated, to ennoble a subject that is so humble in itself.


There is no doubt that the proper plan is, to have the gar- dens adjoining the country-house; and they should be watered, more particularly, by a river running in front of it, if possible; or else with water drawn from a well by the aid of a wheel or of pumps, or by swipes.142 The ground should be opened just as the west winds are beginning to prevail; fourteen days after which it should be got ready for autumn, and then before the winter solstice it should have another turning up. It will require eight men to dig a jugerum, manure being mixed with the earth to a depth of three feet: the ground, too, should be divided into plots or beds with raised and rounded edges, each of which should have a path dug round it, by means of which access may be afforded to the gardener and a channel formed for the water needed for irrigation.


Among the garden plants there are some that recommend themselves by their bulbs, others by the head, others by the stalk, others by the leaf, others by both: some, again, are valued for their seed, others for the outer coat, others for their membranous tissues, others for their cartilaginous substance, others for the firmness of their flesh, and others for the fleshy tunics in which they are enveloped.


Of some plants the fruits143 are in the earth, of others both in the earth and out of it, and of others, again, out of the earth solely. Some of them increase as they lie upon the ground, gourds and cucumbers, for instance; the same products will grow also in a hanging position, but they are much heavier even then than any of the fruits that grow upon trees. The cucumber, however, is composed of cartilage and a fleshy substance, while the gourd consists of rind and cartilage: this last is the only vegetable production the outer coat of which becomes of a ligneous nature, when ripe. Radishes, turnips, and rape are hidden in the earth, and so, too, are elecampane,144 skirrets,145 and parsnips,146 though in a different manner. There are some plants, again, to which we shall give the name of "ferulaceous," anise147 and mallows, for instance; indeed, we find it stated by some writers that in Arabia148 the mallow be- comes arborescent at the sixth month, so much so, in fact, as to admit of its being used for walking-sticks. We have another instance, again, in the mallow-tree of Mauretania, which is found at Lixus, a city built upon an æstuary there; and at which spot, it is said, were formerly the gardens of the Hesperides, at a distance of two hundred paces from the Ocean, near the shrine of Hercules, more ancient, tradition says, than the temple at Gades. This mallow-tree149 is twenty feet in height, and of such a thickness that there is not a person in existence who is able with his arms to span its girth.

In the class of ferulaceous plants we must include hemp150 also. There are some plants, again, to which we must give the appellation of "fleshy;"151 such as those spongy152 productions which are found growing in damp meadows. As to the fungus, with a hard, tough flesh, we have already153 made mention of it when speaking of wood and trees; and of truffles, which form another variety, we have but very recently given a de- scription.154


The cucumber155 belongs to the cartilaginous class of plants, and grows above the ground. It was a wonderful favourite with the Emperor Tiberius, and, indeed, he was never without it; for he had raised beds made in frames upon wheels, by means of which the cucumbers were moved and exposed to the full heat of the sun; while, in winter, they were withdrawn, and placed under the protection of frames glazed with mirror-stone.156 We find it stated, also, by the ancient Greek writers, that the cucumber ought to be propagated from seed that has been steeped157 a couple of days in milk and honey, this method having the effect of rendering them all the sweeter to the taste. The cucumber, while growing, may be trained to take any form that may be wished: in Italy the cucumbers are green158 and very small, while those grown in some of the provinces are remarkably large, and of a wax colour or black.159 Those of Africa, which are also remarkably prolific, are held in high esteem; the same, too, with the cucumbers of Mœesia, which are by far the largest of all. When the cucumber acquires a very considerable volume, it is known to us as the "pepo."160 Cucumbers when eaten remain on the stomach till the following day, and are very difficult161 of digestion; still, for all that, in general they are not considered very unwholesome. By nature they have a wonderful hatred to oil, and no less affection for water, and this after they have been cut from the stem even.162 If water is within a moderate distance of them, they will creep towards it, while from oil, on the other hand, they will shrink away: if any obstacle, too, should happen to arrest their progress, or if they are left to hang, they will grow curved and crooked. Of these facts we may be satisfactorily convinced in a single night even, for if a vessel filled with water is placed at four fingers' distance from a cucumber, it will be found to have descended to it by the following morning; but if the same is done with oil, it will have assumed the curved form of a hook by the next day. If hung in a tube while in blossom, the cucumber will grow to a most surprising length.163 It is only of late, too, that a cucumber of entirely new shape has been produced in Campania, it having just the form of a quince.164 It was quite by accident, I am told, that the first one acquired this shape in growing, and it was from the seed of this that all the others have been reproduced. The name given to this variety is "melopepo." These last do not grow hanging, but assume their round shape as they lie on the ground. A thing that is very remarkable in them, in addition to their shape, colour, and smell, is the fact that, when ripe, although they do not hang from the stem, they separate from it at the stalk.

Columella165 has given us a plan of his, by which we may have cucumbers the whole year round: the largest bramble-bush that can be procured is transplanted to a warm, sunny spot, and then cut down, about the time of the vernal equinox, to within a couple of fingers of the ground; a cucumber-seed is then inserted in the pith of the bramble, and the roots are well moulded up with fine earth and manure, to withstand the cold. According to the Greeks, there are three kinds of cu- cumbers, the Laconian, the Scytalic, and the Bœotian,166 the Laconian being the only one among them that is fond167 of the water.

There are some persons who recommend steeping the seed of the cucumber in the juice of the herb known as the "culix;"168 the produce, they say, will be sure to grow without seeds.


Gourds resemble the cucumber in nature, at least in their manner of growing; they manifest an equal aversion to the winter, too, while they require constant watering and manure. Both cucumbers and gourds are sown in holes a foot and a half169 deep, between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice, at the time of the Parilia170 more particularly. Some persons, however, think it better to sow gourds after the calends of March,171 and cucumbers after the nones,172 and at the time of the Quinquatria.173 The cucumber and the gourd climb upwards in a precisely similar manner, their shoots creeping along the rough surface of the walls, even to the very roof, so great is their fondness for elevated spots. They have not sufficient strength, however, to support themselves without the aid of stays. Shooting upwards with the greatest rapidity, they soon cover with their light shade the arched roofs of the houses and the trellises on which they are trained. From this circum- stance it is that we find the gourd classified into two primary kinds, the roof-gourd,174 and the common gourd, which creeps upon the ground. In the first kind, from a stalk of remarkable thinness is suspended a fruit of considerable weight and volume, and quite immoveable by the action of the wind. The gourd, too, as well as the cucumber, admits of being lengthened to any extent, by the aid of osier tubes more particularly. Just after the blossom has fallen off, the plant is introduced into these tubes, and as it grows it can be made to assume any form that may be wished, that of a serpent coiled up being the one that is mostly preferred; if left at liberty to grow as it hangs, it has been known before now to attain to no less than175 nine feet in length.

The cucumber flowers gradually, blossom succeeding blossom; and it adapts itself perfectly well to a dry soil. It is covered with a white down, which increases in quantity as the plant gains in size.

The gourd admits of being applied to more numerous uses than the cucumber even: the stem is used as an article of food176 when young, but at a later period it changes its nature, and its qualities become totally different: of late, gourds have come to be used in baths for jugs and pitchers, but for this long time past they have been employed as casks177 for keeping wine. The rind is tender while the fruit is green, but still it is always scraped off when the gourd is used for food. It admits of being eaten several ways, and forms a light and wholesome aliment, and this although it is one of those fruits that are difficult of digestion by the human stomach, and are apt to swell out those who eat of them. The seeds which lie nearest to the neck of the gourd produce fruit of remarkable178 length, and so do those which lie at the lower extremities, though not at all comparable with the others. Those, on the other hand, which lie in the middle, produce gourds of a round shape, and those on the sides fruit that are thick and short. The seeds are dried by being placed in the shade, and when wanted for sowing, are steeped in water first. The longer and thinner the gourd is, the more agreeable it is to the palate, and hence it is that those which have been left to grow hanging are reckoned the most wholesome: these, too, have fewer seeds than the others, the hardness of which is apt to render the fruit less agreeable for eating.

Those which are intended for keeping seed, are usually not cut before the winter sets in; they are then dried in the smoke, and are extensively employed for preserving179 seeds, and for making other articles for domestic use. There has been a method discovered, also, of preserving the gourd for table, and the cucumber as well, till nearly the time when the next year's crop is ripe; this is done by putting them in brine. We are assured, too, that if put in a hole dug in a place well shaded from the sun, with a layer of sand beneath, and dry hay and earth on the top of them, they may be kept green for a very long time. We also find wild180 cucumbers and gourds; and, indeed, the same is the case with pretty nearly all the garden plants. These wild varieties, however, are only possessed of certain medicinal properties, and for this reason we shall defer any further mention of them till we come to the Books appropriated to that subject.


The other plants that are of a cartilaginous nature are concealed, all of them, in the earth. In the number of these is the rape, a subject upon which it would almost appear that we have treated181 at sufficient length already, were it not that we think it as well to observe, that; medical men call those which are round "male,"182 while those which are larger and more elongated, are known to them as "female" rape: these last are superior in sweetness, and better for keeping, but by successive sowings they are changed into male rape.183

The same authors, too, have distinguished five different va- rieties of the turnip:184 the Corinthian, the Cleonæan, the Liothasian, the Bœotian, and the one which they have characterized as peculiarly the "green" turnip. The Corinthian turnip185 grows to a very large size, and the root is all but out of the ground; indeed, this is the only kind that, in growing, shoots upwards, and not as the others do, downwards into the ground. The Liothasian is known by some persons as the Thracian turnip;186 it is the one that stands extreme cold the best of all. Next to it, the Bœotian kind is the sweetest; it is remarkable, also, for the roundness of its shape and its shortness; while the Cleonæan turnip,187 on the other hand, is of an elongated form. Those, in general, which have a thin, smooth leaf, are the sweetest; while those, again, the leaf of which is rough, angular, and prickly, have a pungent taste. There is a kind of wild turnip,188 also, the leaves of which resemble those of rocket.189 At Rome, the highest rank is given to the turnips of Amiternum,190 and those of Nursia; after them, those grown in the neighbourhood of the City191 are held in the next degree of esteem. The other particulars connected with the sowing of the turnip have been already mentioned192 by us when speaking of the rape.


Radishes are composed of an outer coat and a cartilaginous substance, and in many instances the rind is found to be thicker than the bark of some trees. This plant is remarkable for its pungency, which increases in proportion to the thickness of the rind: in some cases, too, the surface of it assumes a ligneous nature. Radishes are flatulent193 to a remarkable degree, and are productive of eructations; hence it is that they are looked upon as an aliment only fit for low-bred people,194 and this more particularly if coleworts are eaten directly after them. If, on the other hand, they are eaten with green olives, the eructations produced are not so frequent, and less offensive. In Egypt the radish is held in very high esteem, on account of the abundance of oil195 that is extracted from the seed. In- deed, the people of that country sow this plant in preference to any other, whenever they can get the opportunity, the profits derived from it being larger than those obtained from the cultivation of corn, and the imposts levied upon it considerably less: there is no grain known that yields a larger quantity of oil.

The Greeks have distinguished the radish196 into three different kinds, according to the characteristic features of the leaves, there being the crisped leaf, the smooth leaf, and the wild radish, the leaf of which is smooth, but shorter than that of the others; it is round also, grows in great abundance, and spreads like a shrub. The taste of this last variety is acrid, and it acts medicinally as a strong purgative. In the first kind, again, there are certain differences, determined by the seed, for in some varieties the seed is of an inferior quality, and in others remarkably small: these defects, however, are only found to exist in the kind that has the crisped leaf.

Our own people, again, have found other varieties of the radish: there is the Algidan197 radish, long and transparent, so called from the place of its growth: another, similar to the rape in form, is known as the Syrian radish; it is pretty nearly the mildest and the most tender of them all, and is well able to bear the winter. The very best of all, however, is the one that has been brought from Syria, very recently it would seem, as we do not find it mentioned by any of our writers: it lasts the whole of the winter through. In addition to these kinds, there is another, a wild variety, known by the Greeks as "agrion,"198 and to the people of Pontus as "armon," while others, again, call it "leuce,199 and our people "armoracia;"200 it has more leaves, however, than root.

In testing the quality of the radish, it is the stem more par- ticularly, that is looked at; in those which are acrid to the taste, for instance, it is rounder and thicker than in the others, and grooved with long channels, while the leaves are more unsightly to the eye, being angular and covered with prickles.

The radish requires to be sown in a loose, humid soil, has a great aversion to manure, and is content with a dressing solely of chaff: so fond is it of the cold, that in Germany it is known to grow as large as an infant in size.201 For the spring crop, it is sown immediately after the ides of February;202 and then again about the time of the Vulcanalia,203 this last crop being looked upon as the best: many persons, however, sow radishes in March, April, and September. When the plant begins to grow to any size, it is considered a good plan to cover up the leaves successively, and to earth up the root as well; for the part of it which appears above ground is apt to become hard and pithy. Aristomachus recommends the leaves to be taken off in winter, and the roots to be well moulded up, to prevent the water from accumulating about them; and he says, that by using these precautions, they will be all the finer in summer. Some authors have mentioned a plan of making a hole with a dibble, and covering it at the bottom with a layer of chaff, six fingers in depth; upon this layer the seed is put, and then covered over with manure and earth; the result of which is, according to their statement, that radishes are obtained full as large as the hole so made. It is salt, however, that conduces more particularly to their nutriment, and hence it is that they are often watered with brine; in Egypt, too, the growers sprinkle nitre204 over them, the roots being remarkable for their mildness The salt, too, has the similar effect of removing all their pungency, and when thus treated, they become very similar in their qualities to radishes that have been boiled: for when boiled they become sweet and mild, and eat, in fact, just like turnips.

Medical men recommend raw radishes to be eaten fasting, with salt, for the purpose205 of collecting the crude humours of the viscera; and in this way they prepare them for the action of emetics. It is said, too, that the juices of this plant are absolutely necessary for the cure of certain diseases of the diaphragm; for it has been found by experiment, in Egypt, that the phthiriasis206 which attaches itself to the internal parts of the heart, cannot possibly be eradicated by any other remedy, the kings of that country having ordered the bodies of the dead to be opened and examined, for the purpose of enquiring into certain diseases.

Such, too, is the frivolity of the Greeks, that, in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, it is said, the radish is so greatly preferred to all other articles of diet, as to be represented there in gold, the beet in silver, and the rape in lead.—You might be very sure that Manius Curius was not a native of that country, the general whom, as we find stated in our Annals, the ambassadors of the Samnites found busy roasting rape at the fire, when they came to offer him the gold which he so indignantly refused. Moschion, too, a Greek author, has written a volume on the subject of the radish. These vegetables are considered a very useful article of food during the winter; but they are at all times very injurious to the teeth, as they are apt to wear them away; at all events, they give a polish to ivory. There is a great antipathy between the radish207 and the vine; which last will shrink from the radish, if sown in its vicinity.


The other kinds which have been classified by us among the cartilaginous plants, are of a more ligneous nature; and it is a singular thing, that they have, all of them, a strong flavour. Among these, there is one kind of wild parsnip which grows spontaneously; by the Greeks it is known as "staphylinos."208 Another kind209 of parsnip is grown either from the root transplanted, or else from seed, at the beginning of spring or in the autumn; Hyginus says that this may be done in February, August, September, and October, the ground being dug to a very considerable depth for the purpose. The parsnip begins to be fit for eating at the end of a year, but it is still better at the end of two: it is reckoned more agreeable eating in autumn, and more particularly if cooked in the saacepan; even then, however, it preserves its strong pungent flavour, which it is found quite impossible to get rid of.

The hibiscum210 differs from the parsnip in being more slender: it is rejected as a food, but is found useful for its medicinal properties. There is a fourth kind,211 also, which bears a similar degree of resemblance to the parsnip; by our people it is called the "gallica," while the Greeks, who have distinguished four varieties of it, give it the name of "daucus." We shall have further occasion212 to mention it among the medicinal plants.


The skirret,213 too, has had its reputation established by the Emperor Tiberius, who demanded a supply of it every year from Germany. It is at Gelduba,214 a fortress situate on the banks of the Rhenus, that the finest are grown; from which it would appear that they thrive best in a cold climate. There is a string running through the whole length of the skirret, and which is drawn out after it is boiled; but still, for all this, a considerable proportion of its natural pungency is retained; indeed, when modified by the addition of honied wine, this is even thought to impart to dishes an additional relish. The larger parsnip has also a similar sting inside, but only when it is a year old. The proper time for sowing the skirret is in the months of February, March, April, August, September, and October.


Elecampane215 is not so elongated as the preceding roots, but more substantial and more pungent; eaten by itself it is very injurious to the stomach, but when mixed with other condiments of a sweet nature, it is extremely wholesome. There are several methods employed for modifying216 its natural acridity and rendering it agreeable to the palate: thus, for instance, when dried it is reduced to a fine flour, and then mixed with some sweet liquid or other, or else it is boiled in vinegar and water, or kept in soak in it; it is also steeped in various other ways, and then mixed with boiled217 grape-juice, or else incorporated with honey or raisins, or dates with plenty of meat on them. Other persons, again, have a method of preparing it with quinces, or else sorbs or plums, while sometimes the flavour is varied by the addition of pepper or thyme.

This plant is particularly good for weakness of the stomach, and it has acquired a high reputation from the circumstance that Julia218 Augusta used to eat it daily. The seed of it is quite useless, as the plant is reproduced, like the reed, from eyes extracted from the root. This vegetable, as well as the skirret and the parsnip, is sown both in spring and autumn, a considerable distance being left between the plants; indeed, for elecampane, a space of no less than three feet is required, as it throws out its shoots to a very considerable distance.219 Skirrets, however, are best transplanted.


Next in affinity to these plants are the bulbs,220 which Cato, speaking in high terms of those of Megara,221 recommends most particularly for cultivation. Among these bulbs, the squill,222 we find, occupies the very highest rank, although by nature it is medicinal, and is employed for imparting an additional sharpness to vinegar:223 indeed, there is no bulb known that grows to a larger size than this, or is possessed of a greater degree of pungency. There are two varieties of it employed in medicine, the male squill, which has white leaves, and the female squill, with black224 ones. There is a third kind also, which is good to eat, and is known as the Epimenidian225 squill; the leaf is narrower than in the other kinds, and not so rough. All the squills have numerous seeds, but they come up much more quickly if propagated from the offsets that grow on the sides. To make them attain a still greater size, the large leaves that grow around them are turned down and covered over with earth; by which method all the juices are carried to the heads. Squills grow spontaneously and in vast numbers in the Baleares and the island of Ebusus, and in the Spanish provinces.226 The philosopher Pythagoras has written a whole volume on the merits of this plant, setting forth its various me- dicinal properties; of which we shall have occasion to speak more at length in the succeeding Book.227

The other species of bulbs are distinguished by their colour, size, and sweetness; indeed, there are some that are eaten raw even—those found in the Tauric Chersonesus, for instance. Next to these, the bulbs of Africa are held in the highest esteem, and after them those of Apulia. The Greeks have distinguished the following varieties: the bulbine,228 the seta- nion,229 the opition,230 the cyix,231 the leucoion,232 the ægilips,233 and the sisyrinchion234—in the last there is this remarkable feature, that the extremities of the roots increase in winter, but during the spring, when the violet appears, they diminish in size and gradually contract, and then it is that the bulb begins to increase in magnitude. Among the varieties of the bulb, too, there is the plant known in Egypt by the name of "aron."235 In size it is very nearly as large as the squill, with a leaf like that of lapathum, and a straight stalk a couple of cubits in length, and the thickness of a walking-stick: the root of it is of a milder nature, so much so, indeed, as to admit of being eaten raw.

Bulbs are taken up before the spring, for if not, they are apt to spoil very quickly. It is a sign that they are ripe when the leaves become dry at the lower extremities. When too old they are held in disesteem; the same, too, with the long and the smaller ones; those, on the other hand, which are red and round are greatly preferred, as also those of the largest size. In most of them there is a certain degree of pungency in the upper part, but the middle is sweet. The ancients have stated that bulbs are reproduced from seed only, but in the champaign country of Præneste they grow spontaneously, and they grow to an unlimited extent in the territory of the Remi.236


Nearly all237 the garden plants have a single238 root only, radishes, beet, parsley, and mallows, for example; it is lapathum, however, that has the longest root of them all, it attaining the length of three cubits even. The root of the wild kind is smaller and of a humid nature, and when up it will keep alive for a considerable period. In some of these plants, however, the roots are fibrous, as we find the case in parsley and mallows, for instance; in others, again, they are of a ligneous nature, as in ocimum, for example; and in others they are fleshy, as in beet, and in saffron even more so. In some, again, the root is composed of rind and flesh, as in the radish and the rape; while in others it is jointed, as in hay grass239. Those plants which have not a straight root throw out immediately a great number of hairy fibres, orage240 and blite,241 for instance: squills again, bulbs, onions, and garlic never have any but a vertical root. Among the plants that grow spontaneously, there are some which have more numerous roots than leaves, spalax,242 for example, pellitory,243 and saffron.244

Wild thyme, southernwood, turnips, radishes, mint, and rue blossom all245 at once; while others, again, shed their blossom directly they have begun to flower. Ocimum246 blossoms gradu- ally, beginning at the lower parts, and hence it is that it is so very long in blossom: the same is the case, too, with the plant known as heliotropium.247 In some plants the flower is white, in others yellow, and in others purple. The leaves fall first248 from the upper part in wild-marjoram and elecampane, and in rue249 sometimes, when it has been injured accidentally. In some plants the leaves are hollow, the onion and the scallion,250 more particularly.


Garlic and onions251 are invoked by the Egyptians252, when taking an oath, in the number of their deities. The Greeks have many varieties253 of the onion, the Sardian onion, the Samothracian, the Alsidenian, the setanian, the schistan, and the Ascalonian,254 so called from Ascalon,255 a city of Judæa. They have, all of them, a pungent smell, which256 draws tears from the eyes, those of Cyprus more particularly, and those of Cnidos the least of all. In all of them the body is composed of a cartilage of an unctuous257 nature. The variety known as the setanian is the smallest of them all, with the exception of the Tusculan258 onion, but it is sweet to the taste. The schistan259 and the Ascalonian kinds are used for storing. The schistan onion is left during the winter with the leaves on; in the spring it is stripped of them, upon which offsets make their appearance at the same divisions as the leaves; it is to this circumstance that this variety owes its name. Taking the hint from this fact, it is recommended to strip the other kinds of their leaves, to make them bulb all the better, instead of running to seed.

The Ascalonian onion is of a peculiar nature, being barren in some measure in the root; hence it is that the Greeks have recommended it to be reproduced from seed, and not from roots: the transplanting, too, they say, should be done later in the spring, at the time the plant germinates, the result being that it bulbs with all the greater rapidity, and hastens, as it were, to make up for lost time; great dispatch, however, is requisite in taking it up, for when ripe it rots with the greatest rapidity. If propagated from roots, it throws out a long stalk, runs rapidly to seed, and dies.

There are considerable differences, too, in the colour of the onion; the whitest of all are those grown at Issus and Sardes. The onions, too, of Crete are held in high esteem, but there is some doubt whether they are not the same as the Ascalonian variety; for when grown from seed they produce a fine bulb, but when planted they throw out a long stalk and run to seed; in fact, they differ from the Ascalonian kind only in the sweetness of their flavour.

Among us there are two principal varieties known of the onion; the scallion, employed for seasonings, is one, known to the Greeks by the name of "gethyon," and by us as the "pallacana;" it is sown in March, April, and May. The other kind is the bulbed or headed260 onion; it is sown just after the autumnal equinox, or else after the west winds have begun to prevail. The varieties of this last kind, ranged according to their relative degrees of pungency, are the African onion, the Gallic, the Tusculan, the Ascalonian, and the Amiternian: the roundest in shape are the best. The red onion, too, is more pungent than the white, the stored than the fresh, the raw than the cooked, and the dried than the preserved. The onion of Amiternum is cultivated in cold, humid localities, and is the only one that is reproduced from heads,261 like garlic, the other kinds being grown from seed. This last kind yields no seed in the ensuing summer, but a bulb only, which dries and keeps; but in the summer after, the contrary is the case, for seed is produced, while the bulb very quickly spoils. Hence it is that every year there are two separate sowings, one of seed for the reproduction of bulbs, and one of bulbs for the growth of seed; these onions keep best in chaff. The scallion has hardly any bulb at all, but a long neck only—hence it is nothing but leaf, and is often cut down, like the leek; for this reason, too, like the leek, it is grown from seed, and not from plants.

In addition to these particulars, it is recommended that the ground intended for sowing onions should be turned up three times, care being taken to remove all roots and weeds; ten pounds of seed is the proper proportion for a jugerum. Savory too, they say, should be mixed with them, the onions being all the finer for it; the ground, too, should be stubbed and hoed four times at least, if not oftener. In Italy, the Ascalonian onion is sown in the month of February. The seed of the onion is gathered when it begins to turn black, and before it becomes dry and shrivelled.


While upon this subject, it will be as well, too, to speak of the leek,262 on account of the affinity which it bears to the plants just mentioned, and more particularly because cut-leek has recently acquired considerable celebrity from the use made of it by the Emperor Nero. That prince, to improve his voice,263 used to eat leeks and oil every month, upon stated days, abstaining from every other kind of food, and not touching so much as a morsel of bread even. Leeks are reproduced from seed, sown just after the autumnal equinox; if they are intended for cutting,264 the seed is sown thicker than otherwise. The leeks in the same bed are cut repeatedly, till it is quite exhausted, and they are always kept well manured. If they are wanted to bulb before being cut, when they have grown to some size they are transplanted to another bed, the extremities of the leaves being snipped off without touching the white part, and the heads stripped of the outer coats. The ancients were in the habit of placing a stone or potsherd upon the leek, to make the head grow all the larger, and the same with the bulbs as well; but at the present day it is the usual practice to move the fibrous roots gently with the weeding-hook, so that by being bent they may nourish the plant, and not withdraw the juices from it.

It is a remarkable fact, that, though the leek stands in need of manure and a rich soil, it has a particular aversion to water; and yet its nature depends very much upon the natural properties of the soil. The most esteemed leeks are those grown in Egypt, and next to them those of Ostia and Aricia.265 Of the leek for cutting, there are two varieties: that with grass-green266 leaves and incisions distinctly traced on them, and the leek with paler and rounder leaves, the incisions being more lightly marked. There is a story told, that Mela267, a member of the Equestrian order, being accused of mal-administration by order of the Emperor Tiberius, swallowed in his despair leek-juice to the amount of three denarii in weight of silver, and expired upon the spot without the slightest symptom of pain. It is said, however, that a larger dose than this is productive of no injurious effects whatever268.


Garlic269 is generally supposed, in the country more particularly, to be a good specific270 for numerous maladies. The ex- ternal coat consists of membranes of remarkable fineness, which are universally discarded when the vegetable is used; the inner part being formed by the union of several cloves, each of which has also a separate coat of its own. The flavour of it is pungent, and the more numerous the cloves the more pungent it is. Like the onion, it imparts an offensive smell to the breath; but this is not the case when it is cooked. The various species of garlic are distinguished by the periods at which they ripen: the early kind becomes fit for use in sixty days. Another distinction, too, is formed by the relative size of the heads. Ulpicum271, also, generally known to the Greeks as "Cyprian garlic," belongs to this class; by some persons it is called "antiscorodon," and in Africa more particularly it holds a high rank among the dishes of the rural population; it is of a larger size than ordinary garlic. When beaten up with oil and vinegar, it is quite surprising what a quantity of creaming foam is produced.

There are some persons who recommend that neither ulpicum nor garlic should be sown on level ground, but say that they should be planted in little mounds trenched up, at a distance of three feet apart. Between each clove, they say, there should be a distance of four fingers left, and as soon as ever three leaves are visible, the heads should be hoed; the oftener they are hoed, the larger the size they will attain. When they begin to ripen, the stalks are bent downwards, and covered over with earth, a precaution which effectually prevents them from running to leaf. In cold soils, it is considered better to plant them in spring than in autumn.

For the purpose of depriving all these plants of their strong smell, it is recommended to set them when the moon is below the horizon, and to take them up when she is in conjunction. Independently of these precautions, we find Menander, one of the Greek writers, recommending those who have been eating garlic to eat immediately afterwards a root of beet roasted on hot coals; if this is done, he says, the strong smell of the garlic will be effectually neutralized. Some persons are of opinion, that the proper period for planting garlic and ulpicum is between the festival of the Compitalia272 and that of the Saturnalia273. Garlic, too, can be grown from seed, but it is very slow, in such case, in coming to maturity; for in the first year, the head attains the size only of that of a leek, in the second, it separates into cloves, and only in the third it arrives at maturity; there are some, however, who think that garlic grown this way is the best. Garlic should never be allowed to run to seed, but the stalk should be twisted, to promote its growth, and to make the head attain a larger size.

If garlic or onions are wanted to keep some time, the heads should be dipped in salt water, made luke-warm; by doing this, they will be all the better for keeping, though quite worthless for reproduction. Some persons content themselves with hanging them over burning coals, and are of opinion that this is quite sufficient to prevent them from sprouting: for it is a well-known fact, that both garlic and onions sprout when out of the ground, and that after throwing out their thin shoots they shrivel away to nothing. Some persons are of opinion, too, that the best way of keeping garlic is by storing it in chaff. There is a kind274 of garlic that grows spontaneously in the fields, and is known by the name of "alum." To preserve the seeds that are sown there from the remorseless ravages of the birds, this plant is scattered over the ground, being first boiled, to prevent it from shooting. As soon as ever they have eaten of it, the birds become so stupefied as to be taken with the hand even275, and if they remain but a few moments only on the spot, they fall fast asleep. There is a wild garlic, too, generally known as "bear's" garlic276; it has exactly the smell of millet, with a very small head and large leaves.


Among the garden277 plants which make their appearance most speedily above ground, are ocimum, blite, the turnip, and rocket; for they appear above the surface the third day after they are sown. Anise, again, comes up on the fourth day, the lettuce on the fifth, the radish on the sixth, the cucumber and the gourd on the seventh—the cucumber rather the first of the two—cresses and mustard on the fifth, beet on the sixth day in summer and the tenth in winter, orage on the eighth, onions on the nineteenth or twentieth, and scallions on the tenth or twelfth. Coriander, again, is more stubborn in its growth, cunila and wild marjoram do not appear till after the thirtieth day, and parsley comes up with the greatest difficulty of all, for at the very earliest it is forty days before it shows itself, and in most instances as much as fifty.

The age278, too, of the seed is of some importance in this respect; for fresh seed comes up more rapidly in the case of the leek, the scallion, the cucumber, and the gourd, while in that of parsley, beet, cardamum, cunila, wild majoram, and coriander, seed that has been kept for some time is the best.

There is one remarkable circumstance279 in connection with the seed of beet; it does not all germinate in the first year, but some of it in the second, and some in the third even; hence it is that a considerable quantity of seed produces only a very moderate crop. Some plants produce only in the year in which they are set, and some, again, for successive years, parsley, leeks, and scallions280 for instance; indeed, these plants, when once sown, retain their fertility, and produce for many years.


In most plants the seed is round, in some oblong; it is broad and foliaceous in some, orage for instance, while in others it is narrow and grooved, as in cummin. There are differences, also, in the colour of seeds, which is either black or white; while some seeds are woody and hard, in radishes, mustard, and rape, the seeds are enclosed in pods. In parsley, coriander, anise, fennel, and cummin, the seed has no covering at all, while in blite, beet, orage, and ocimum, it has an outer coat, and in the lettuce it is covered with a fine down. There is no seed more prolific than that of ocimum281; it is generally recommended282 to sow it with the utterance of curses and imprecations, the result being that it grows all the better for it; the earth, too, is rammed down when it is sown, and prayers offered that the seed may never come up. The seeds which are enveloped in an outer coat, are dried with considerable difficulty, that of ocimum more particularly; hence it is that all these seeds are dried artificially, their fruitfulness being greatly promoted thereby.

Plants in general come up better when the seed is sown in heaps than when it is scattered broad-cast: leeks, in fact, and parsley are generally grown by sowing the seed in little bags283: in the case of parsley, too, a hole is made with the dibble, and a layer of manure inserted.

All garden plants grow either from seed or from slips, and some from both seed and suckers, such as rue, wild marjoram, and ocimum284, for example—this last being usually cut when it is a palm in height. Some kinds, again, are reproduced from both seed and root, as in the case of onions, garlic, and bulbs, and those other plants of which, though annuals themselves, the roots retain their vitality. In those plants which grow from the root, it lives for a considerable time, and throws out offsets, as in bulbs, scallions, and squills for example.— Others, again, throw out offsets, though not from a bulbous root, such as parsley and beet, for instance. When the stalk is cut, with the exception285 of those which have not a rough stem, nearly all these plants put forth fresh shoots, a thing that may be seen in ocimum286, the radish287, and the lettuce288, which are in daily use among us; indeed, it is generally thought that the lettuce which is grown from a fresh sprouting, is the sweetest. The radish, too, is more pleasant eating when the leaves have been removed before it has begun to run to stalk. The same is the case, too, with rape; for when the leaves are taken off, and the roots well covered up with earth, it grows all the larger for it, and keeps in good preservation till the en- suing summer.


Of ocimum, lapathum, blite, cresses, rocket, orage, coriander, and anise respectively, there is but a single kind, these plants being the same everywhere, and no better in one place than in another. It is the general belief that stolen289 rue grows the best, while, on the other hand, bees290 that have been stolen will never thrive. Wild mint, cat-mint, endive, and pennyroyal, will grow even without any cultivation. With reference to the plants of which we have already spoken, or shall have occasion to speak, there are numerous varieties of many of them, parsley more particularly.

(8.) As to the kind of parsley291 which grows spontaneously in moist localities, it is known by the name of "helioselinum;"292 it has a single leaf293 only, and is not rough at the edges. In dry places, we find growing the kind known as "hipposelinum,"294 consisting of numerous leaves, similar to helioselinum. A third variety is the oreoselinum295, with leaves like those of hemlock, and a thin, fine, root, the seed being similar to that of anise, only somewhat smaller.

The differences, again, that are found to exist in cultivated parsley296, consist in the comparative density of the leaves, the crispness or smoothness of their edges, and the thinness or thickness of the stem, as the case may be: in some kinds, again, the stem is white, in others purple, and in others mottled.


The Greeks have distinguished three varieties of the lettuce297; the first with a stalk so large, that small garden gates298, it is said, have been made of it: the leaf of this lettuce is somewhat larger than that of the herbaceous, or green lettuce, but extremely narrow, the nutriment seeming to be expended on the other parts of the plant. The second kind is that with a rounded299 stalk; and the third is the low, squat lettuce300 generally known as the Laconian lettuce.

Some persons301 have made distinctions in reference to their respective colours, and the times for sowing them: the black lettuce is sown in the month of January, the white in March, and the red in April; and they are fit for transplanting, all of them, at the end of a couple of months. Those, again, who have pursued these enquiries even further than this, have distinguished a still greater number of varieties of them—the purple, the crisped, the Cappadocian,302 and the Greek lettuce, this last having a longer leaf than the rest, and a broad stalk: in addition to which, there is one with a long, narrow leaf, very similar to endive in appearance. The most inferior kind, however, of all, is the one to which the Greeks, censuring it for its bitterness, have given the name of "picris."303 There is still another variety, a kind of white lettuce, called "meconis,"304 a name which it derives from the abundance of milk, of a narcotic quality, which it produces; though, in fact, it is generally thought that they are all of them of a soporific tendency. In former times, this last was the only kind of lettuce that was held in any esteem305 in Italy, the name "lactuca" having been given it on account of the milk306 which it contains.

The purple kind, with a very large root, is generally known as the Cæcilian307 lettuce; while the round one, with an extremely diminutive root and broad leaves, is known to some persons as the "astytis,"308 and to others as the "eunychion," it having the effect, in a remarkable degree, of quenching the amorous propensities. Indeed, they are, all of them, possessed of cooling and refreshing properties, for which reason it is, that they are so highly esteemed in summer; they have the effect, also, of removing from the stomach distaste for food, and of promoting the appetite. At all events, we find it stated, that the late Emperor Augustus, when ill, was saved on one occasion309, thanks to the skill of his physician, Musa310, by eating lettuces, a food which the excessive scruples of his former physician, C. Æmilius, had forbidden him. At the present day, however, lettuces have risen into such high estimation, that a method has been discovered even of preserving them during the months in which they are out of season, by keeping them in oxymel311. It is generally supposed, also, that lettuces have the effect of making blood.

In addition to the above varieties, there is another kind of lettuce known as the "goats' lettuce,"312 of which we shall have occasion to make further mention when we come to the medicinal plants: at the moment, too, that I am writing this, a new species of cultivated lettuce has been introduced, known as the Cilician lettuce, and held in very considerable esteem; the leaf of it is similar to that of the Cappadocian lettuce, except that it is crisped, and somewhat larger.


Endive, though it cannot exactly be said to be of the same genus as the lettuce, still cannot be pronounced to belong to any other313. It is a plant better able to endure the rigours of the winter than the lettuce314, and possessed of a more acrid taste, though the flavour of the stalk315 is equally agreeable. Endive is sown at the beginning of spring, and transplanted at the end of that season. There is also a kind of spreading316 endive, known in Egypt as "cichorium,"317 of which we shall have occasion318 to speak elsewhere more at length.

A method has been discovered of preserving all the thyrsi or leaves of the lettuce in pots, the object being to have them fresh when wanted for boiling. Lettuces may be sown all the year319 through in a good soil, well-watered and carefully manured320; two months being allowed to intervene between sowing and transplanting, and two more between transplanting and gathering them when ripe. The rule is, however, to sow them just after the winter solstice, and to transplant when the west winds begin to prevail, or else to sow at this latter period, and to plant out at the vernal equinox. The white lettuce is the best adapted for standing the rigours of the winter.

All the garden plants are fond of moisture; lettuces thrive, more particularly, when well manured, and endive even more so. Indeed, it is found an excellent plan to plant them out with the roots covered up in manure, and to keep up the supply, the earth being cleared away for that purpose. Some, again, have another method of increasing their size; they cut them321 down when they have reached half a foot in height, and cover them with fresh swine's dung. It is the general opinion that those lettuces only will admit of being blanched which are produced from white seed; and even then, as soon as they begin to grow, sand from the sea-shore should be spread over them, care being taken to tie the leaves as soon as ever they begin to come to any size.


Beet322 is the smoothest of all the garden plants. The Greeks distinguish two kinds of beet, according to the colour, the black and the white. The last, which is the kind generally preferred, has but very little seed, and is generally known as the Sicilian323 beet; just as it is the white lettuce that is held in the highest degree of esteem. Our people, also, distinguish two varieties of beet, the spring and the autumn kinds, so called from the periods of sowing; although sometimes we find beet sown in June even. This is a plant, too, that is sometimes transplanted; and it thrives all the better, like the lettuce, if the roots are well covered with manure, in a moist soil. Beet is mostly eaten324 with lentils and beans; it is prepared also in the same way as cabbage, with mustard more particularly, the pungency of which relieves its insipidity. Medical men are of opinion that beet is a more unwholesome325 vegetable than cabbage; hence it is that I never remember seeing it served at table. Indeed, there are some persons who scruple to taste it even, from a conviction that it is a food suitable only for persons of a robust constitution.

Beet is a vegetable with twofold characteristics, partaking of the nature of the cabbage in its leaves and resembling a bulb in the root; that which grows to the greatest breadth being the most highly esteemed. This plant, like the lettuce, is made to grow to head by putting a light weight upon it the moment it begins to assume its proper colour. Indeed, there is no garden plant that grows to a larger head than this, as it sometimes spreads to a couple of feet in breadth, the nature of the soil contributing in a very considerable degree to its size: those found in the territory of Circeii attain the largest size. Some persons326 think that the best time for sowing beet is when the pomegranate is in flower, and are of opinion that it ought to be transplanted as soon as it has thrown out five leaves. There is a singular difference—if indeed it really exists—between the two varieties of beet, the white kind being remarkable for its purgative qualities, and the black being equally astringent. When wine in the vat has been deteriorated by assuming a flavour like327 that of cabbage, its original flavour is restored, it is said, by plunging beet leaves into it.


Cabbage and coleworts, which at the present day are the most highly esteemed of all the garden vegetables, were held in little repute, I find, among the Greeks; but Cato,328 on the other hand, sings the wondrous praises of the cabbage, the medicinal properties of which we shall duly enlarge329 upon when we come to treat of that subject. Cato distinguishes three varieties of the cabbage; the first, a plant with leaves wide open, and a large stalk; a second, with crisped leaves, to which he gives the name of "apiaca;"330 and a third, with a thin stalk, and a smooth, tender leaf, which with him ranks the lowest of all. Cabbages may be sown the whole year through, as we find that they are cut at all periods of the year; the best time, however, for sowing them is at the autumnal equinox, and they are usually transplanted as soon as five leaves are visible. In the ensuing spring after the first cutting, the plant yields sprouts, known to us as "cymæ."331 These sprouts, in fact, are small shoots thrown out from the main stem, of a more delicate and tender quality than the cabbage itself. The exquisite palate, however, of Apicius332 rejected these sprouts for the table, and his example was followed by the fastidious Drusus Cæsar; who did not escape, however, the censures of his father, Tiberius, for being so over-nice. After the cymæ have made their appearance the cabbage throws out its summer and autumn shoots, and then its winter ones; after which, a new crop of cymæ is produced, there being no plant so productive as this, until, at last, it is quite exhausted by its extreme fertility. A second time for sowing cabbages is immediately after the vernal equinox, the plants of this growth being transplanted at the end of spring, that they may not run up into sprouts before coming to a top: and a third sowing takes place about the summer solstice, the transplanting being done in summer if the soil is moist, but, if too dry, in autumn. When moisture and manure are supplied in small quantities, the flavour of the cabbage is all the more agreeable, but when they are supplied in greater abundance, the plants attain a larger size. Asses' dung is the best adapted for its growth.

The cabbage, too, is one of those articles so highly esteemed by epicures; for which reason it will not be amiss if we speak of it at somewhat greater length. To obtain plants equally remarkable for their size and flavour, care must be taken first of all to sow the seed in ground that has had a couple of turnings up, and then to follow up the shoots as they appear above ground by moulding them up, care being taken to throw up the earth over them as they increase in luxuriance, and to let nothing but the summit appear above the surface. This kind is known as the Tritian333 cabbage: in money and labour it costs twice as much as any of the others.

The other varieties of the cabbage334 are numerous—there is the Cumanian cabbage, with leaves that lie close to the ground, and a wide, open head; the Aricinian335 cabbage, too, of no greater height, but with more numerous leaves and thinner—this last is looked upon as the most useful of them all, for beneath nearly all of the leaves there are small shoots thrown out, peculiar to this variety. The cabbage, again, of Pompeii336 is considerably taller, the stalk, which is thin at the root, increasing in thickness as it rises among the leaves, which are fewer in number and narrower; the great merit of this cabbage is its remarkable tenderness, although it is not able to stand the cold. The cabbage of Bruttium,337 on the other hand, thrives all the better for cold; the leaves of it are remarkably large, the stalk thin, and the flavour pungent. The leaves, again, of the Sabine338 cabbage are crisped to such a degree as to excite our surprise, and their thickness is such as to quite exhaust the stem; in sweetness, however, it is said to surpass all the others.

There have lately come into fashion the cabbages known as the "Lacuturres;"339 they are grown in the valley of Aricia, where there was formerly a lake, now no longer in existence, and a tower which is still standing. The head of this cabbage is very large, and the leaves are almost without number, some of them being round and smooth, and others long and sinewy; indeed, there is no cabbage that runs to a larger head than this, with the sole exception of the Tritian variety, which has a head sometimes as much as a foot in thickness, and throws out its cymæ the latest of all.

In all kinds of cabbages, hoar-frost contributes very materially to their sweetness; but it is apt to be productive of considerable injury, if care is not taken to protect the pith by cutting them aslant. Those plants which are intended for seed are never cut.

There is another kind, again, that is held in peculiar esteem, and which never exceeds the height of an herbaceous plant; it is known by the name of "halmyridia,"340 from the circumstance of its growing on the sea-shore341 only. It will keep green and fresh during a long voyage even, if care is taken not to let it touch the ground from the moment that it is cut, but to put it into oil-vessels lately dried, and then to bung them so as to effectually exclude all air. There are some342 who are of opinion, that the plant will come to maturity all the sooner if some sea-weed is laid at the root when it is transplanted, or else as much pounded nitre as can be taken up with three fingers; and others, again, sprinkle the leaves with trefoil seed and nitre pounded together.343 Nitre, too, preserves the greenness of cabbage when cooked, a result which is equally ensured by the Apician mode of boiling, or in other words, by steeping the plants in oil and salt before they are cooked.

There is a method of grafting vegetables by cutting the shoots and the stalk, and then inserting in the pith the seed of another plant; a plan which has been adopted with the wild cucumber even. There is another kind of wild cabbage, also, the lapsana,344 which has become famous since the triumphs of the late Emperor Julius, in consequence of the songs and jokes of his soldiers more particularly; for in the alternate lines sung by them, they used to reproach him for having made them live on lapsana at the siege of Dyrrhachium, and to rally him upon the parsimonious scale on which he was in the habit of recompensing their services. The lapsana is nothing more than a wild cyma.345


Of all the garden plants, asparagus is the one that requires the most delicate attention in its cultivation. We have already346 spoken at considerable length of its origin, when treating of the wild plants, and have mentioned that Cato347 recommends it to be grown in reed-beds. There is another kind, again, of a more uncultivated nature than the garden asparagus, but less pungent than corruda;348 it grows upon the mountains in different countries, and the plains of Upper Germany are quite full of it, so much so, indeed, that it was a not unhappy remark of Tiberius Cæsar, that a weed grows there which bears a remarkably strong resemblance to asparagus. That which grows spontaneously upon the island of Nesis, off the coast of Campania, is looked upon as being by far the best of all.

Garden asparagus is reproduced from roots,349 the fibres of which are exceedingly numerous, and penetrate to a considerable depth. When it first puts forth its shoots, it is green; these in time lengthen out into stalks, which afterwards throw out streaked branches from the head: asparagus admits, also, of being grown from seed.

Cato350 has treated of no subject with greater care than this, the last Chapter of his work being devoted to it, from which we may conclude that it was quite new to him, and a subject which had only very recently occupied his attention. He recommends that the ground prepared for it should be a moist or dense soil, the seed being set at intervals of half a foot every way, to avoid treading upon the heads; the seed, he says, should be put two or three into each hole, these being made with the dibble as the line runs—for in his day, it should be remembered, asparagus was only grown from seed—this being done about the vernal equinox. It requires, he adds, to be abundantly manured, and to be kept well hoed, due care being taken not to pull up the young plants along with the weeds. The first year, he says, the plants must be protected from the severity of the winter with a covering of straw, care being taken to uncover them in the spring, and to hoe and stub up the ground about them. In the spring of the third year, the plants must be set fire to, and the earlier the period at which the fire is applied, the better they will thrive. Hence it is, that as reed-beds351 grow all the more rapidly after being fired, asparagus is found to be a crop remarkably well suited for growing with them. The same author recommends, however, that asparagus should not be hoed before the plants have made their appearance above-ground, for fear of disturbing the roots; and he says that in gathering the heads, they should be cut close to the root, and not broken off at the surface, a method which is sure to make them run to stalk and die. They should be cut, he says, until they are left to run to seed, and after the seed is ripe, in spring they must be fired, care being taken, as soon as they appear again, to hoe and manure them as before. After eight or nine years, he says, when the plants have become old, they must be renewed, after digging and manuring the ground, by replanting the roots at intervals of a foot, care being taken to employ sheep's dung more particularly for the purpose, other kinds of manure being apt to produce weeds.

No method of cultivating this plant that has since been tried has been found more eligible than this, with the sole exception that the seed is now sown about the ides of February, by laying it in heaps in small trenches, after steeping it a considerable time in manure; the result of which is that the roots become matted, and form into spongy tufts, which are planted out at intervals of a foot after the autumnal equinox, the plants continuing to be productive so long as ten years even. There is no soil more favourable to the growth of asparagus, than that of the gardens of Ravenna.352

We have already353 spoken of the corruda, by which term I mean the wild asparagus, by the Greeks called "orminos," or "myacanthos," as well as by other names. I find it stated, that if rams' horns are pounded, and then buried in the ground, asparagus will come up.354


It really might have been thought that I had now given an account of all the vegetable productions that are held in any degree of esteem, did there not still remain one plant, the cultivation of which is extremely profitable, and of which I am unable to speak without a certain degree of shame. For it is a well-known fact, that some small plots of land, planted with thistles,355 in the vicinity of Great Carthage and of Corduba more particularly, produce a yearly income of six thousand sesterces;356 this being the way in which we make the monstrous productions even of the earth subservient to our gluttonous appetites, and that, too, when the very four-footed brutes357 instinctively refuse to touch them.

Thistles are grown two different ways, from plants set in autumn, and from seed sown before the nones of March;358 in which latter case they are transplanted before the ides of November,359 or, where the site is a cold one, about the time that the west winds prevail. They are sometimes manured even, and if360 such is the will of heaven, grow all the better for it. They are preserved, too, in a mixture of honey and vinegar,361 with the addition of root of laser and cummin—so that a day may not pass without our having thistles at table.362


For the remaining plants a brief description will suffice. The best time for sowing ocimum,363 it is said, is at the festival of the Parilia;364 though some say that it may be done in autumn as well, and recommend, when it is sown in winter, to drench the seed thoroughly with vinegar. Rocket,365 too, and nasturtium366 may be grown with the greatest facility either in summer or winter. Rocket, more particularly, is able to stand the cold, and its properties are quite different form those of the lettuce, as it is a great provocative of lust. Hence it is that we are in the habit of mixing these two plants in our dishes, the excess of cold in the one being compensated by the equal degree of heat in the other. Nasturtium has received that name from367 the smarting sensation which its pungency causes to the nostrils, and hence it is that a certain notion of smartness has attached itself to the word, it having become quite a proverbial saying, that a sluggish man should eat nasturtium, to arouse him from his torpidity. In Arabia, it is said, this plant attains a size that is quite marvellous.

CHAP. 45.—RUE.

Rue,368 too, is generally sown while the west winds prevail, as well as just after the autumnal equinox. This plant has an extreme aversion to cold, moisture, and dung; it loves dry, sunny localities, and a soil more particularly that is rich in brick clay; it requires to be nourished, too, with ashes, which should be mixed with the seed as well, as a preservative against the attacks of caterpillars. The ancients held rue in peculiar esteem; for I find that honied wine flavoured with rue was distributed to the people, in his consulship,369 by Cornelius Cethegus, the colleague of Quintus Flamininus, after the closing of the Comitia. This plant has a great liking370 for the fig-tree, and for that tree only; indeed, it never thrives better than when grown beneath that tree. It is generally grown from slips, the lower end of which is inserted in a perforated371 bean, which holds it fast, and so nurtures the young plant with its juices. It also reproduces itself;372 for the ends of the branches bending downwards, the moment they reach the ground, they take root again. Ocimum373 is of a very similar nature to rue, except that it dries with greater difficulty. When rue has once gained strength, there is considerable difficulty in stubbing it, as it causes itching ulcerations on the hands, if they are not covered or previously protected by being rubbed with oil. Its leaves, too, are preserved, being packed in bundles for keeping.


Parsley is sown immediately after the vernal equinox, the seed being lightly beaten374 first in a mortar. It is thought that, by doing this, the parsley will be all the more crisped, or else by taking care to beat it down when sown with a roller or the feet. It is a peculiarity of this plant, that it changes colour: it has the honour, in Achaia, of forming the wreath of the victors in the sacred contests of the Nemean Games.


It is at the same season, too, that mint375 is transplanted; or, if it has not yet germinated, the matted tufts of the old roots are used for the purpose. This plant, too, is no less fond of a humid soil than parsley; it is green in summer and turns yellow in winter. There is a wild kind of mint, known to us as "mentastrum:"376 it is reproduced by layers, like the vine, or else by planting the branches upside down. It was the sweetness of its smell that caused this plant to change its name among the Greeks, its former name with them being "mintha," from which the ancient Romans derived their name377 for it; whereas now, of late, it has been called by them ἡδύοσμον.378 The mint that is used in the dishes at rustic entertainments pervades the tables far and wide with its agreeable odour. When once planted, it lasts a considerable length of time; it bears, too, a strong resemblance to pennyroyal, a property of which is, as mentioned by us more than once,379 to flower when kept in our larders.

These other herbs, mint, I mean, and catmint, as well as pennyroyal, are all kept for use in a similar manner; but it is cummin380 that is the best suited of all the seasoning herbs to squeamish and delicate stomachs. This plant grows on the surface of the soil, seeming hardly to adhere to it, and raising itself aloft from the ground: it ought to be sown in the middle of the summer, in a crumbly, warm soil, more particularly. There is another wild kind381 of cummin, known by some persons as "rustic," by others as "Thebaic" cummin: bruised and drunk in water, it is good for pains in the stomach. The cummin most esteemed in our part of the world is that of Carpetania,382 though elsewhere that of Africa and Æthiopia is more highly esteemed; with some, indeed, this last is pre- ferred to that of Egypt.


But it is olusatrum,383 more particularly, that is of so singular a nature, a plant which by the Greeks is called "hippose- linum,"384 and by others "smyrnium." This plant is repro- duced from a tear-like gum385 which exudes from the stem: it is also grown from the roots as well. Those whose business it is to collect the juice of it, say that it has just the flavour of myrrh; and, according to Theophrastus,386 it is obtained by planting myrrh. The ancients recommended that hipposelinum should be grown in uncultivated spots covered with stones, and in the vicinity of garden walls; but at the present day it is sown in ground that has been twice turned up, between the prevalence of the west winds and the autumnal equinox.

The caper,387 too, should be sown in dry localities more particularly, the plot being hollowed out and surrounded with an embankment of stones erected around it: it this precaution is not taken, it will spread all over the adjoining land, and entail sterility upon the soil. The caper blossoms in summer, and retains its verdure till the setting of the Vergiliæ; it thrives the best of all in a sandy soil. As to the bad qualities of the caper which grows in the parts beyond the sea, we have already388 enlarged upon them when speaking of the exotic shrubs.


The caraway389 is an exotic plant also, which derives its name, "careum," from the country390 in which it was first grown; it is principally employed for culinary purposes. This plant will grow in any kind of soil, and requires to be cultivated just the same way as olusatrum; the most esteemed, however, is that which comes from Caria, and the next best is that of Phrygia.


Lovage391 grows wild in the mountains of Liguria, its native country, but at the present day it is grown everywhere. The cultivated kind is the sweetest of the two, but is far from powerful; by some persons it is known as "panax." Crateuas, a Greek writer, gives this name, however, to the plant known to us as "cunila bubula;"392 and others, again, call the conyza393 or cunilago, cunila, while they call cunila,394 properly so called, by the name of "thymbra." With us cunila has another appellation, being generally known as "satureia," and reckoned among the seasoning plants. It is usually sown in the month of February, and for utility rivals wild marjoram. These two plants are never used together, their properties being so extremely similar; but it is only the wild marjoram of Egypt that is considered superior to cunila.


Dittander,395 too, was oiginally an exotic plant: it is usually sown after the west winds have begun to prevail. As soon as it begins to shoot, it is cut down close to the ground, after which it is hoed and manured, a process which is repeated the succeeding year. After this, the shoots are fit for use, if the rigour of the winter has not injured them; for it is a plant quite unable to withstand any inclemency396 of the weather. It grows to the height of a cubit, and has a leaf like that of the laurel,397 but softer; it is never used except in combination with milk.


Gith398 is employed by bakers, dill and anise by cooks and medical men. Sacopenium,399 so extensively used for adulter- ating laser, is also a garden plant, but is only employed for medicinal purposes.


There are certain plants which are grown in company400 with others, the poppy, for instance, sown with cabbages and purs- lain, and rocket with lettuce. Of the cultivated poppy401 there are three kinds, the first being the white402 poppy, the seed of which, parched, and mixed with honey, used to be served up in the second course at the tables of the ancients; at the present day, too, the country people sprinkle it on the upper crust of their bread, making it adhere by means of the yolk of eggs, the under crust being seasoned with parsley and gith to heighten the flavour of the flour. The second kind is the black403 poppy, from which, upon an incision being made in the stalk, a milky juice distils; and the third is that known to the Greeks by the name of "rhœas;"404 and by us as the wild poppy. This last grows spontaneously, but in fields, more particularly, which have been sown with barley: it bears a strong resemblance to rocket, grows to the height of a cubit, and bears a red flower, which quickly fades; it is to this flower that it is indebted for its Greek name.405

As to the other kinds of poppies which spring up spontaneously, we shall have occasion to speak of them when treating of the medicinal plants.406 That the poppy has always been held in esteem among the Romans, we have a proof in the story related of Tarquinius407 Superbus, who, by striking down the tallest poppies in his garden, surreptitiously conveyed, unknown to them, his sanguinary message through the envoys who had been sent by his son.


There are some other plants, again, which require to be sown together at the time of the autumnal equinox; coriander, for instance, anise, orage, mallows, lapathum, chervil, known to the Greeks as "pæderos,"408 and mustard,409 which has so pun- gent a flavour, that it burns like fire, though at the same time it is remarkably wholesome for the body. This last, though it will grow without cultivation, is considerably improved by being transplanted; though, on the other hand, it is extremely difficult to rid the soil of it when once sown there, the seed when it falls germinating immediately. This seed, when cooked in the saucepan,410 is employed even for making ragouts, its pungency being rendered imperceptible by boiling; the leaves, too, are boiled just the same way as those of other vegetables.

There are three different kinds of mustard,411 the first of a thin, slender form, the second, with a leaf like that of the rape, and the third, with that of rocket: the best seed comes from Egypt. The Athenians have given mustard the name of "napy,"412 others, "thapsi,"413 and others, again, "saurion."414


Most mountains abound with wild thyme and sisymbriurm, those of Thrace, for example, where415 branches of these wild plants are torn up and brought away for planting, So, too. the people of Sicyon seek for wild thyme on their mountains, and the Athenians on the slopes of Hymettus. Sisymlbrium, too, is planted in a similar manner; it grows to the greatest perfection upon the walls of wells, and around fish preserves and ponds.416


The other garden plants are of the ferulaceous kind, such as fennel, for instance, very grateful to serpents, as already stated,417 and used for numerous seasonings when dried; thapsia, too, which bears a close resemblance to fennel, and already mentioned by us when speaking418 of the exotic shrubs. Then, too, there is hemp,419 a plant remarkably useful for making ropes, and usually sown after the west winds have begun to prevail: the more thickly it is sown, the thinner are the stalks. The seed is gathered when ripe, just after the autumnal equinox, and is dried by the agency of the sun, the wind, or smoke.420 The hemp itself is plucked just after vintage-time, and is peeled and cleaned by the labourers at night.

The best hemp is that of Alabanda,421 which is used more particularly for making hunting-nets, and of which there are three varieties. The hemp which lies nearest the bark or the pith is the least valuable, while that which lies in the middle, and hence has the name of "mesa," is the most esteemed. The hemp of Mylasa422 occuplies the second rank. With reference to the size to which it grows, that of Rosea423 in the Sabine territory, equals the trees in height.424

We have already mentioned two kinds of fennel-giant when speaking425 of the exotic shrubs: the seed of it is used in Italy for food; the plant, too, admits of being preserved, and, if stored in earthen pots, will keep for a whole year. There are two parts of it that are used for this purpose, the upper stalks and the umbels of the plant. This kind of fennel is sometimes known by the name of "corymbia," and the parts preserved are called "corymbi."


The garden plants, too, like the rest of the vegetable productions, are subject to certain maladies. Thus, for426 instance, ocimum, when old, degenerates into wild thyme, and sisymbrium427 into mint, while the seed of an old cabbage produces rape, and vice versâ. Cummin, too, if not kept well hoed, is killed by hæmodorum,428 a plant with a single stalk, a root si- milar to a bulb in appearance, and never found except in a thin, meagre soil. Besides this, cummin is liable to a peculiar disease of its own, the scab:429 ocimum, too, turns pale at the rising of the Dog-star. All plants, indeed, will turn of a yellow complexion on the approach of a woman who has the menstrual discharge430 upon her.

There are various kinds of insects,431 too, that breed upon the garden plants—fleas, for instance, upon turnips, and caterpillars and maggots upon radishes, as well as lettuces and cabbages; besides which, the last two are exposed to the attacks of slugs and snails. The leek, too, is infested with peculiar insects of its own; which may very easily be taken, however, by laying dung upon the plants, the insects being in the habit of burrowing in it. Sabinus Tiro says, in his book entitled "Cepurica,"432 which he dedicated to Mæcenas, that it is not advisable to touch rue, cunila, mint, or ocimum with any implement of iron.


The same author recommends as a remedy against ants, which are by no means the slightest plague in a garden that is not kept well watered, to stop up the mouths of their holes with sea-slime or ashes. But the most efficient way of destroying them is with the aid of the plant heliotropium;433 some persons, too, are of opinion that water in which an unburnt brick has been soaked is injurious to them. The best protection for turnips is to sow a few fitches with them, and for cabbages chickpeas, these having the effect of keeping away caterpillars. If, however, this precaution should have been omitted, and the caterpillars have already made their appearance, the best remedy is to throw upon the vegetables a decoction of wormwood,434 or else of house-leek,435 known to some as "aïzoüm," a kind of herb already mentioned by us. If cabbage-seed, before it is sown, is steeped in the juice of house-leek, the cabbages, it is said, are sure not be attacked by any insect.

It is said, too, that all caterpillars may be effectually exterminated, if the skull436 of a beast of burden is set up upon a stake in the garden, care being taken to employ that of a female only. There is a story related, too, that a river crab, hung up in the middle of the garden, is a preservative against the attacks of caterpillars. Again, there are some persons who are in the habit of touching with slips of blood-red cornel437 such plants as they wish to preserve from caterpillars. Flies,438 too, infest well-watered gardens, and more particularly so, if there happen to be any shrubs there; they may be got rid of; how- ever, by burning galbanum.439

(11.) With reference to the deterioration to which seed is subject,440 there are some seeds which keep better than others, such, for instance, as that of coriander, beet, leeks, cresses, mustard, rocket, cunila, nearly all the pungent plants in fact. The seed, on the other hand, of orage, ocimum, gourds, and cucumbers, is not so good for keeping. All the summer seeds, too, last longer than the winter ones; but scallion seed is the very worst for keeping of them all. But of those, even, which keep the very longest, there is none that will keep beyond four years—for sowing441 purposes, at least; for culinary purposes, they are fit for use beyond that period.


A peculiar remedy for the maladies to which radishes, beet, rue, and cunila are subject, is salt water, which has also the additional merit of conducing very materially to their sweetness and fertility. Other plants, again, are equally benefitted by being watered with fresh water, the most desirable for the purpose being that which is the coldest and the sweetest to drink: pond and drain-water, on the other hand, are not so good, as they are apt to carry the seeds of weeds along with them. It is rain,442 however, that forms the principal aliment of plants; in addition to which, it kills the insects as they develope themselves upon them.


The proper times443 for watering are the morning and the evening, to prevent the water from being heated444 by the sun with the sole exception, however, of ocimum, which requires to be watered at midday; indeed, this plant, it is generally thought, will grow with additional rapidity, if it is watered with boiling water when sown. All plants, when trans- planted, grow all the better and larger for it, leeks and turnips more particularly. Transplanting, too, is attended with certain remedial effects, and acts as a preservative to certain plants, such as scallions, for instance, leeks, radishes, parsley, lettuces, rape, and cucumbers. All the wild plants445 are generally smaller in the leaf and stalk than the cultivated ones, and have more acrid juices, cunila, wild marjoram, and rue, for example. Indeed, it is only the lapathum446 that is better in a wild state than cultivated: in its cultivated state it is the same plant that is known to us as the "rumix," being the most vigorous447 by far of all the plants that are grown; so much so, indeed, that it is said that when it has once taken root, it will last for ever, and can never be extirpated from the soil, more particu- larly if water happens to be near at hand. Its juices, which are employed only in ptisans,448 as an article of food, have the effect of imparting to them a softer and more exquisite flavour. The wild variety449 is employed for many medicinal purposes.

So true it is, that the careful research of man has omitted nothing, that I have even met with a poem,450 in which I find it stated, that if pellets of goats' dung, the size of a bean, are hollowed out, and the seed of leeks, rocket, lettuces, parsley, endive, and cresses is inserted in them, and then sown, the plants will thrive in a marvellous degree. Plants451 in a wild state, it is generally thought, are more dry and acrid than when cultivated.


This, too, reminds me that I ought to make some mention of the difference between the juices and flavours of the garden herbs, a difference which is more perceptible here than in the fruits even.452 In cunila, for instance, wild marjoram, cresses, and mustard, the flavour is acrid; in wormwood453 and cen- taury,454 bitter; in cucumbers, gourds, and lettuces, watery; and in parsley, anise, and fennel, pungent and odoriferous. The salt flavour is the only one that is not to be found455 in plants, with the sole exception, indeed, of the chicheling456 vetch, though even then it is to be found on the exterior surface only of the plant, in the form of a kind of dust which settles there.


To come to a full understanding, too, both here as elsewhere, how unfounded are the notions which are generally entertained, I shall take this opportunity of remarking that panax457 has the flavour of pepper, and siliquastrum even more so, a circum- stance to which it owes its name of piperitis:458 libanotis459 again, has just the odour of frankincense, and smyrnium460 of myrrh. As to panax, we have spoken of it at sufficient length already.461 Libanotis grows in a thin, crumbly soil, and is generally sown in spots exposed to the falling dews; the root, which is just like that of olusatrum,462 has a smell in no way differing from that of frankincense; when a year old, it is extremely wholesome for the stomach; some persons give it the name of rosmarinum.463 Smyrnium is a garden herb that grows in similar soils, and has a root which smells like myrrh: siliquastrum, too, is grown in a similar manner.

Other plants, again, differ from the preceding ones, both in smell and taste, anise464 for example; indeed, so great is the difference in this respect, and in their relative virtues, that not only are the properties of each modified by the other, but quite neutralized even. It is in this way that our cooks correct the flavour of vinegar in their dishes with parsley, and our butlers employ the same plant, enclosed in sachets, for removing a bad odour in wine.

465Thus far, then, we have treated of the garden plants, viewed as articles of food only; it remains for us now (for up to the present we have only spoken of their various methods of culti- vation, with some succinct details relative thereto), to enlarge upon the more elaborate operations of Nature in this respect; it being quite impossible to come to a full understanding as to the true characteristics of each individual plant, without a knowledge of its medicinal effects, a sublime and truly mysterious manifestation of the wisdom of the Deity, than which nothing can possibly be found of a nature more elevated. It is upon principle that we have thought proper not to enlarge upon the medicinal properties of each plant when treating of it; for it is a quite different class of persons that is interested in knowing their curative properties, and there is no doubt that both classes of readers would have been inconvenienced in a very material degree, if these two points of view had engaged our attention at the same moment. As it is, each class will have its own portion to refer to, while those who desire to do so, will experience no difficulty in uniting them, with reference to any subject of which we may happen to treat.

SUMMARY.—Remarkable facts, narratives, and observations, one thousand one hundred and forty-four.

ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Maccius Plautus,466. M. Varro,467 D. Silanus,468 Cato the Censor,469 Hyginus,470 Virgil,471 Mucianus,472 Celsus,473 Columella,474 Calpurnius Bassus,475 Mamilius Sura,476 Sabinus Tiro,477 Licinius Macer,478 Quintus Hirtius,479 Vibius Rufus,480 Cæsennius481 who wrote the Cepurica, Castritius482 who wrote on the same subject, Firmus483 who wrote on the same subject, Petrichus484 who wrote on the same subject.

FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Herodotus,485 Theophrastus,486 Democritus,487 Aristomachus,488 Menander489 who wrote the Biochresta, Anaxiläus.490

1 More particularly in B. xvii. cc. 2 and 3, and B. xviii. cc. 57–75.

2 The Linum usitatissimum of Linnæus.

3 What would he have said to the application of the powers of steam, and the electric telegraph?

4 Possibly Galerius Trachalus, Consul A.D. 68, a relation of Galeria Fundana, the wife of the Emperor Vitellius.

5 Governor of Egypt in the reign of Nero, A.D. 55. He is mentioned by Seneca, Quæst. Nat. B. iv. c. 2, and is supposed to have written a work on Egypt and his journeys in that Country.

6 Or, as Sillig suggest, "after ill treatment such as this, that it arrives at the sea." The passage is evidently defective.

7 In B. vii. c. 57. He alludes to Dædalus.

8 He probably has in view here the imprecation uttered by Horace:—
"Illi robur, et æs triplex
Circa pectus erat, qui fragilem truci
Commisit pelago ratem."—Odes, i. 3.
At the present day hemp forms a material part in the manufacture of sails. In addition to flax, the ancients employed broom, rushes, leather, and various skins of animals for the purpose.

9 In c. 76.

10 On the contrary, as Fée observes, the cultivation of flax is attended with the greatest difficulties.

11 See B. xvii. c. 7. Virgil says, Georg. i. 77, "Urit enim lini campum seges"—but in the sense, as Fée remarks, of exhausting, not scorching the soil.

12 A light soil, and well manured, is usually employed for the purpose. Columella, B. ii. c. 10, recommends a rich, moist soil. It is sown in March or April, and is gathered, according to the season, from June to September.

13 Though rapid in its growth, there are many vegetable productions that grow more rapidly.

14 This was the time for sowing it with the Romans, though in some countries, at the present day, it is sown so late as the autumn.

15 In B. xviii. c. 72, he has spoken of this method of gathering vegetable productions as injurious to the soil, by withdrawing its natural juices.

16 "Censentur hoc reditu?" There is little doubt that the Gauls, like their German neighbours, cultivated flax for the purposes of female dress, and not mainly for the manufacture of sails.

17 "Quod vocant inane." He implies that the boundless space of ocean on the Western coasts of Gaul was useless for any purposes of navigation.

18 See B. iv. c. 33.

19 See B. iv. c. 33.

20 See B. xxxiv. c. 48.

21 See B. iv. c. 31.

22 A family of the Atilia gens.

23 It was, and is still to some extent, a prevalent opinion, that the humidity of caves under-ground is favourable to the manufacture of tissues of hemp and flax.

24 In Spain. See B. i. c. 1, and B. iii. c. 4.

25 Cluvier takes this place to be the same with Litubium in Liguria, mentioned by Livy, B. xxxii.

26 "Lanugo." This is not generally looked upon as a merit in linen, at the present day.

27 Now Tarragona. See B. iii. c. 4.

28 "Carbasus." This was probably the Spanish name originally for fine flax, and hence came to signify the cambrics, or fine linen tissues made of it. It seems, however, to have afterwards been extended to all kinds of linen tissues, as we find the name given indifferently to linen garments, sail-cloth, and awnings for the theatres.

29 See B. iii. c. 4.

30 "Sætas ceu per ferri aciem vincunt." This passage is probably in a mutilated state.

31 There must either be some corruption in the text, or else Pliny must have been mistaken. Nets such as these could have been of no possible use in taking a wild boar.

32 See B. iv. c. 33. Now Querci, the chief town of which is Cahors.

33 "Culcitæ."

34 "Tomenta."

35 Exactly corresponding to our "paillasse," a "bed of straw."

36 This is doubtful, though at the same time it is a well-known fact that the Egyptian flax grows to the greatest size. Hasselquist speaks of it attaining a height of fifteen feet.

37 Our cotton, the Gossypium arboreum of Linnæus. See B. xii. c. 21. The terms xylon, byssus, and gossypium, must be regarded as synonymous, being applied sometimes to the plant, sometimes to the raw cotton, and sometimes to the tissues made from it. Gossypium was probably the barbarous name of the cotton tree, and byssus perhaps a corruption of its Hebrew name.

38 Probably the Arundo donax of modern botanists. See B. xvi. c. 66.

39 Fée says, that the people of Pisa, at the present day, soak the stalks of broom, and extract therefrom a thread, of which cords and coarse stuffs are made.

40 In B. xii. c. 21. He seems there to speak of the cotton-tree, though Fée suggests that he may possibly allude to the "Bombax pentandrum" of Linnæus.

41 It is the mucilage of the perisperm that is so useful in medicine. As an article of food, the farina of linseed is held in no esteem whatever. In times of scarcity, attempts have been made to mix it with flour or meal, but the result has been found to be heavy and indigestible, and has caused, it is said, the death even of those who have eaten of it in considerable quantities.

42 There are various other methods employed of dressing flax at the present day; but they are all of them long and tedious.

43 And not feminine or servile.

44 "Vivum."

45 He evidently considers asbestus, or amianthus, to be a vegetable, and not a mineral production. It is, in reality, a mineral, with long flexible filaments, of a silky appearance, and is composed of silica, magnesia, and lime. The wicks of the inextinguishable lamps of the middle ages, the existence of which was an article of general belief, were said to be made of asbestus. Paper and lace, even, have been made of it in modern times.

46 "Nascitur." In the year 1702 there was found near the Nævian Gate, at Rome, a funereal urn, in which there was a skull, calcined bones, and other ashes, enclosed in a cloth of asbestus, of a marvellous length. It is still preserved in the Vatican.

47 On the contrary, it is found in the Higher Alps in the vicinity of the Glaciers, in Scotland, and in Siberia, even.

48 Signifying "inextinguishable," from α, "not," and σβέννυμι, "to extinguish." See B. xxxvii. c. 54.

49 See end of this Book.

50 He evidently alludes to cotton fabrics under this name. See Note 37 to c. 2 of this Book.

51 Pausanias, in his Eliaca, goes so far as to say, that byssus was found only in Elis, and nowhere else. Judging from the variable temperature of the climate, it is very doubtful, Fée says, if cotton was grown there at all. Arrian, Apollonius, and Philostratus say that the tree which produced the byssus had the leaves of the willow, and the shape of the poplar, characteristics which certainly do not apply to the cotton-tree.

52 Impure oxide of metals, collected from the chimneys of smelting-houses. Fée says that Pliny on this occasion is right.

53 In B. xx. c. 79, he speaks of the "heraclion" poppy, supposed by some of the commentators to be identical with the one mentioned here.

54 "Vestium insaniam."

55 "Postea." Sillig would reject this word, as being a corruption, and not consistent with fact, Catulus having lived before the time of Cleopatra. He suggests that the reading should be "Populo Romano ea in the- atris spectanti umbram fecere." "Linen, too, has provided a shade for the Roman people, when viewing the spectacles of the theatre." Lucretius, B. iv l. 73, et seq., speaks of these awnings as being red, yellow, and iron grey.

56 "Carbasina." Cambric.

57 The cavaædium is generally supposed to have been the same as the "atrium," the large inner apartment, roofed over, with the exception of an opening in the middle, which was called the "compluvium," or "impluvium," over which the awning here mentioned was stretched. Here the master of the house received his visitors and clients.

58 White would be much preferable to red for this purpose.

59 Il. ii. ll. 529 and 830.

60 Il. viii. l. 63.

61 Il. ii. l. 135. See B. xxiv. c. 40.

62 The Stipa tenacissima of Linnæus; a kind of broom, called "Esparto" by the Spaniards.

63 Although, as Fée says, this is still the fact, it is a plant which would readily admit of cultivation. Varro, however, De Re Rust. B. i. c. 23, speaks of it in conjunction with hemp, flax, and rushes, as being sown.

64 This kind, Fée thinks, may possibly have been identical with the Spartum Lygeum of Linnæus, false esparto, or alvarde.

65 At the present day it is only in the provinces on the Mediterranean that spartum is found; the other provinces producing nothing but alvarde.

66 It is still used in the southern parts of Spain for the same purposes.

67 The shoes now made of it are known as "espartenas" and "alpargatas."

68 It is not dangerous in itself, but is too tough to be a favourite article of food with cattle.

69 Fifteenth of May and thirteenth of June.

70 The same word, σχοινος, signifying both a "rush" and a "rope."

71 Hist. Plant. B. vii. c. 13. Athenæus B. ii., mentions it also.

72 Fée is at a loss to identify this plant, but considers it quite clear that it is not the same with the Eriophorum augustifolium of Linnæus, a cyperaceous plant, of which the characteristics are totally different. Dodonæus, however, was inclined to consider them identical.

73 On the contrary, Theophrastus does mention it, in the Hist. Plant. B. i. c. 8, and speaks of it as having a bark composed of several tunics or membranes.

74 In B. xiii. c. 13, and B. xv. c. l.

75 "Tuber." The Tuber cibarium of Linnæus, the black truffle; and probably the grey truffle, the Tuber griseum.

76 This callous secretion of the earth, or corticle, is, as Fée says, a sort of hymenium, formed of vesicles, which, as they develope themselves, are found to contain diminutive truffles. Pliny is wrong in saying that the truffle forms neither cleft nor protuberance, as the exact contrary is the fact.

77 Haller speaks of truffles weighing as much as fourteen pounds. Valmont de Bomare speaks of a truffle commonly found in Savoy, which attains the weight of a pound.

78 Those of Africa are in general similar to those found in Europe, but there is one peculiar to that country, possibly the same that is mentioned in the following Chapter under the name of "misy."

79 "Jura reddenti."

80 It is really propagated by spores, included in sinuous chambers in the interior; but, notwithstanding the attempts that have been made, it has never yet been cultivated with any degree of success. In c. 13, Pliny seems to recognize the possibility of its multiplication by germs, where he says that its formation is attributed by some to water.

81 Fée takes this to be the Tuber niveum of Desfentaines, the snow- white truffle. It is globular and somewhat piriform, grows to the size of a walnut, and sometimes of an orange, and is said to be most delicate eating.

82 These truffles or morels do not appear to have been identified.

83 Juvenal alludes to this absurd notion, Sat. v. l. 116. "The long wished-for thunder will provide a more ample repast."

84 Theophrastus, as quoted by Athenæus, B. ii. peaks of this.

85 "Peziza" was a name given by the ancients to a kind of cupuliform mushroom; in which, however, we cannot recognize the "pezica" of Pliny. Some writers think that this was the same as the lycoperdon and geastrum of botanists, our putt-ball: while others take it to be the morel, the Morchella esculenta, Sprengel in the number. Fée is inclined to be of opinion that an edible mushroom is meant, but is quite at a loss to identify it.

86 Possibly the Ferula asafœtida of Linnæus; or, according to some, the Thapsia silphium of Viviani, Flor. Lib. It was a plant common, accord- ing to ancient writers, to Syria, Armenia, Media, and Liba; but it was the produce of this last country, probably, that afforded the juice or gum resin here mentioned as "laser," and so highly esteemed by the ancients, as forming a component part of their perfumes. Fée is inclined to think that the Laserpitium here spoken of was the Thapsia silphium, and to reject the more general opinion that it is identical with the Ferula asafœtida. Pliny has probably caused some confusion by blending the description of other writers with that given by Theophrastus, each having in view a different plant. Indeed, whatever the Laserpitium or Silphium of other countries may have been, it is not improbable that the odoriferous plant of Cyrenaica was not identical with the Ferula asafœtida of Linnæus. The foliage of the Thapsia silphium is exactly similar to that of the Laserpitium as depicted on medals of Cyrenaica, still extant. We learn from Littré, that Dr. Guyon showed, in 1842, to the Académie des Sciences, a plant which the Arabs of Algeria employ as a purgative, and which they call bonnefa. It is the Thapsia Garganica of Desfontaines, and is considered by Guyon to be identical with the Silphium of the ancients.

87 See B. xxii. c. 48. In the "Rudens" of Plautus, the scene of which is near Cyrene, frequent allusion is made to the growth of laserpitium there, and the preparation and export of the resin, as forming the staple article of commerce.

88 Scribonius Largus, who lived in the time of Tiberius, speaks of using in a prescription laser of Cyrenaica, "if it can be met with;" "si poterit inveniri."

89 "In spem nascentis."

90 Fée remarks that Pliny has not found this absurd story in any of the works from which he has compiled his account, but that it is entirely his own.

91 This was probably the Ferula asafœtida of Linnæus.

92 See B. xx. c. 75.

93 A.U.C. 661.

94 Fée remarks, that if Pliny here alludes to Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B vi. c. 3, he has mistaken his meaning.

95 This, as Fée says, could hardly apply to the Ferula asafœtida of Linnæus, the stalk of it being extremely acrid, and the juice fetid in the highest degree.

96 "Vitia his omnibus." The reading here is probably corrupt.

97 "Root-juice," and "stalk-juice."

98 Poinsinet fancies that this name means "staff of the Magi."

99 Or "laser," these names being indifferently applied to the gum-resin.

100 The whole of this paragraph has been borrowed from Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. vi. c. iii.

101 Sprengel takes this to be the Laserpitium ferulaceum of Linnæus, but Fée thinks it is more than doubtful if the identity can be established.

102 From Theophrastus. Dioscorides says, on the other hand, that it grows in Libya.

103 From Littré we learn that M. Fraas has suggested that the Magydaris and Laserpitium are possibly the Ferula Tingitana, and the Ptychotis verticillata of Decandolle, which last he has found upon high mountains in the lower region of pines, on Mount Parnassus, among others.

104 See B. xxii. cc. 48, 49.

105 The Rubia tinctorum of Linnæus.

106 Dioscorides speaks of the madder of Ravenna as being the most esteemed. It is much cultivated at the present day in the South of France, Holland, and the Levant. That of Lille enjoys a high reputation.

107 It is covered with bristly hairs, or rather, fine, hooked teeth. There is, however, no resemblance whatever between it and ervilia or orobus, the fitch.

108 B. xxiv. c. 56.

109 Or "little root;" though, in reality, as Pliny says, it had a large root. Some writers have supposed, that by this name is meant the Reseda luteola of Linnæus, the "dyer's weed" of the moderns; but neither Pliny nor any of the Greek writers mention the Radicula as being used for dyeing. Some, again, identify it with the Gypsophila struthium of Linnæus, without sufficient warranty, however, as Fée thinks.

110 The Gypsophila struthium grows in Spain, and possibly, Fée says, in other countries. Linnæus has "pretended," he says, that the Spaniards still employ the root and stalk of the Gypsophila for the same purposes as the ancients did the same parts of the Radicula. He himself, however, though long resident in Spain, had never observed such to be the fact.

111 This description, Fée says, does not correspond with that of the Gypsophila struthium, the stalk of which does not at all resemble that of the ferulaceous plants, and the leaf is quite different in appearance from that of the olive.

112 As Fée observes, by the word "hortus" the Romans understood solely the "vegetable" or "kitchen-garden;" the pleasure garden being generally denominated "horti."

113 See B. v. c. 1.

114 A fabulous king of Phœnicia, probably, whose story was afterwards transferred, with considerable embellishments, to the Grecian mythology. Adonis is supposed to have been identical with the Thammuz of Scripture, mentioned by Ezekiel, viii. 14, where he speaks of the "women weep- ing for Thammuz." Hardouin considers him to have been a Syrian deity, identical with the Moon.

115 Celebrated by Homer, Old. B. vi. and xiii.

116 "Alio volumine." As no further mention is made by Pliny of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, it is most probable that he contemplated giving a description of them in another work, an intention which he did not live to realize.

117 See further on this subject, c. 53 of the present Book.

118 The reading, "quam rem," seems preferable to "quam ob rem," adopted by Sillig.

119 "Effascinationes." The effects of the evil eye.

120 "Hortorum." "Pleasure-gardens."

121 "Otii magister."

122 For the purpose of teaching philosophy there.

123 "Hortus." The "kitchen-garden."

124 Ironically said.

125 He alludes to the pheasant. See B. x. c. 67.

126 He alludes to Colchis, the country of Medea, the scene of the ex- ploits of Jason and the Argonauts and the land of prodigies and fable.

127 See B. x. cc. 38 and 67. He alludes to "meleagrides," or Guinea-fowls.

128 See B. x. c. 37. He alludes to the birds called "Memnonides."

129 See B. xvii. c. l.

130 See B. xiv. c. 28.

131 He alludes to the finest and most delicate kinds of wheaten flour. See B. xviii. c. 29.

132 "Uno asse."

133 As "corruda," or "wild asparagus." The Brassica capitata alba of C. Bauhin, or white cabbage, sometimes attains a weight of ten or twelve pounds.

134 This is an exaggeration, probably.

135 He alludes to tie artichoke, or Cinara cardunculus of the botanists which bears some resemblance to the common thistle.

136 Martial and Aulus Gellius speak of ice and snow drinks. The latter must have been very injurious to the stomach.

137 See B. xxxi. c. 23.

138 In this corrupt and otherwise unintelligible pasaage, we have adopted the proposed emendations of Sillig, who is of opinion that it bears reference to the abolition of the market-dues, or "portorium," by Augustus Cæsar, and the substitution of a property tax of one twentieth of the land, a method of taxation which inflicted greater hardships than the former one, as it was assessed according to the superficies, not the produce of the land. His proposed emendations of the text are as follows:"mox enim certe æquabit eos pecunia quos pecunia separaverit. Itaque——ac minore fortunæ jure, quam cum hereditate datur pensio ea pauperum; his in solo sponsor est," &c.

139 De Re Rust. cc. 156, 157. He speaks of it as being eaten either boiled or raw, but in the latter case with vinegar. Fée thinks that even then it would make a very acrid and indigestible diet.

140 "Acetaria." Salads.

141 He alludes, no doubt, to the words of Virgil, in Georg. iv. l. 6.
"In tenui labor, at tenuis non gloria——"
though in that instance the poet is speaking of bees.

142 "Tollenonum haustu." These would be used in the case of well-water; they are still to be seen occasionally in this country, and are very common on the continent. The wheel is also used for drawing well-water, and is frequently employed in Barbary and Spain.

143 By the word "fructus" he no doubt means the edible parts solely, the leaf, stalk, or root, as the case may be.

144 Fée is surprised to find elecampane figuring among the garden vegetables. It has a powerful odour, is bitter, and promotes expectoration. Though not used as a vegetable it is still used as a preserve, or sweetmeat, mixed with sugar. See further on it in c. 29 of this Book.

145 See c. 28 of this Book.

146 See c. 27 of this Book.

147 Fée remarks that this juxtaposition of anise and mallows betokens the most complete ignorance of botany on the part of our author; there being few plants which differ more essentially. The field-mallow, or Malva silvestris of Linnæus, or perhaps several varieties of it, are here referred to. The anise will be further mentioned in c. 74 of this Book.

148 Fée suggests that the plant here mentioned may have been an annual, probably the Lavatorea arborea of botanists, or some kindred species. In a few months it is known to attain a height of ten feet or more.

149 In Fée's opinion this tree cannot have belonged to the family of Malvaceæ; the Adansonia and some other exotics of the family, with which Pliny undoubtedly was not acquainted, being the only ones that attain these gigantic proportions.

150 There is no resemblance between mallows and hemp, any more than there is between mallows and anise.

151 "Carnosa."

152 Hardonin thinks that he alludes to the Conferva, or river sponge. again mentioned in B. xxvii. c. 45. Fée, however, dissents from that opinion.

153 In B. xvi. cc. 11 and 13, and in cc. 12 and 14 of the present Book.

154 In c. 11 of the present Book.

155 The Cucumis sativus of Linnæus.

156 "Lapis specularis." See B. xxxvi. c. 45. Coiumella, De Re Rust. B. xi. c. 3, speaks of this mode of ripening cucumber, and the fondness of the Emperor Tiberius for them.

157 Theophrastus and Columella say the same of the cucumber, and Palladius of the melon, but there is no ground, probably, for the belief. In very recent times, however, Fée says, it was the usage to steep the seeds of the melon in milk. This liquid, in common with any other, would have the effect of softening the exterior integuments, and thereby facilitating the germination, but no more.

158 Still known as the "green" or "gherkin" cucumber, and much used, when young, for pickling.

159 Probably in the sense of a very dark green, for black cucumbers are a thing unheard of.

160 He is evidently speaking of the pompion, or pumpkin, the Cucurbita pepo of Linnæus: quite distinct from the cucumber.

161 Cucumbers are not difficult of digestion to the extent that Pliny would have us to believe.

162 Fée says, it is a loss of time to combat such absurd prejudices as these.

163 This is conformable with modern experience.

164 Fée says that this is the melon, the Cucumis melo of Linnæus.

165 B. xi. c. 3. Columella professes to borrow it from the people of Mendes in Egypt.

166 Theophrastus enumerates these varieties Hist. Plant. B. vii. c. 4.

167 Theophrastus only says that the Laconian cucumber thrives better with watering than the others.

168 It is impossible to identify this plant, as no ancient writer has given any description of it: it has been suggested, however, that it may have been the Plantago Psyllium, or else the Inula pulicaria of Linnæus. Of course there is no truth in the story here told of the effects of its juice upon the cucumber.

169 This depth would probably have the effect of retarding, or else utterly impeding, the growth of the plant.

170 See c. 44 of this Book. The Parilia was a festival celebrated on the nineteenth of April, the anniversary of the foundation of Rome.

171 First of March.

172 Seventh of March.

173 See B. xviii. c. 56.

174 The "camerarium," and the "plebeium." The former, Fée thinks, is the Cucurbita longior of Dodonæus and J. Bauhin, the long gourd, and other varieties probably of the calabash gourd, the Cucurbita leucantha of Duchesne. The latter is probably the Cucurbita pepo and its varieties. Fée thinks that the name "cucurbita," as employed by Pliny, extends not only to the gourd, but the citrul or small pumpkin as well.

175 As Fée says, he must be speaking of the fruit here, and not the plant, which attains a far greater length than nine feet.

176 The young shoots of the gourd, Fée says, would afford an insipid food, with but little nutriment.

177 The varieties thus employed, Fée says, must have been the Cucurbita lagenaria of Linnæus, and the Cucurbita latior of Dodonæus.

178 This is not the fact. The seed produces fruit similar to that from which it was taken, and no more.

179 The trumpet gourd, the Cucurbita longior of Dodonæus, is still employed, Fée says, by gardeners for this purpose.

180 See B. xx. c. 2.

181 In B. xviii. c. 34.

182 Though borrowed from Theophrastus and the Greek school, this distinction is absurd and unfounded.

183 It is not the fact that the seed of the round kind, after repeated sowings, will produce long roots. Pliny, however, has probably miscopied Theophrastus, who says, Hist. Plant. B. vii. c. 4, that this transformation takes place when the seed is sown very thick. This assertion, however, is no more founded on truth than that of Pliny.

184 Also from Theophrastus, B. vii. c. 4; though that author is speaking of radishes, ραφανίδες, and not turnips.

185 Properly radish.

186 Properly radish.

187 Radish.

188 Properly radish.

189 See B. xx. c. 49. Fée queries whether this radish may not be the Raphanus raphanistrum of botanists. See B. xviii. c. 34.

190 See B. xviii. c. 35.

191 "Nostratibus." Poinsinet would render this, "Those of my native country," i. e. the parts beyond the Padus. As Pliny resided at Rome during the latter part of his life, there can be little doubt but that he alludes to the vicinity of Rome.

192 See B. xviii. c. 34.

193 This property extends to most of the Cruciferæ.

194 "Cibus illiberalis."

195 The variety Oleifera of the Raphanus sativus is still cultivated extensively in Egypt and Nubia for the extraction of the oil. The variety Oleifera of the Brassica napus is also greatly cultivated in Egypt. Fée suggests that Pliny may possibly confound these two plants under the one name of "raphanus." It is worthy of remark, too, that the Colza oil, so much used in France and Belgium for burning in lamps, is expressed from the seed of the Brassica oleracea, a species of cabbage.

196 The Raphanus sativus of Linnæus. This passage, however, down to "crisped leaf," properly applies to the cabbage, and not the radish, Pliny having copied the Greek, and taken the word ράφανος, properly "cabbage," to mean "radish;" which in the later Greek writers it sometimes does, though not in this instance.

197 Mount Algidus was near Tusculum, fifteen miles from Rome. Its coldness contributed greatly to the goodness of its radishes.

198 Or "wild." Fée suggests that this is the Raphanus rusticanus of Lobellius, the Cochllearia Armoracia of Linnæus, the wild radish, or horse- radish.

199 Or "white." From the extreme whiteness of the roots.

200 Probably meaning, "radish of Armorica."

201 Fée suggests that he is here speaking of the beet-root, in reality a native of the north of Europe.

202 Thirteenth of February.

203 The festival of Vulcan, beginning on the twenty-third of August, and lasting eight days.

204 A natural production, the carbonate of sodium of the chemists, known from time immemorial by the name of "natron." See B. xxx. c. 46; from which passage it would appear that it was generally employed for watering the leguminous plants.

205 Dioscorides recommends these puerilities with the cabbage, and not the radish; though Celsus gives similar instructions with reference to the radish.

206 It was a general belief with the ancients that the phthiriasis, or morbus pediculosus, has its seat in the heart. It was supposed also that the juice of the radish was able, by reason of its supposed subtlety, to penetrate the coats of that organ.

207 This is said by other ancient authors, in reference to the cabbage and the vine. See B. xxiv. c. i.

208 There is some doubt as to the identity of this plant, but Fée, after examining the question, comes to the conclusion that it is the Daucus Carota, or else Mauritanicus of Linnæus, the common carrot, or that of Mauritania. Sprengel takes it to be either this last or the Daucus guttatus, a plant commonly found in Greece.

209 The Pastinaca sativa of Linnæus, or common parsnip.

210 The marsh-mallow, probably, the Althæa officinalis of Linnæus.

211 The carrot. The Daucus Carota of Linnæus.

212 In B. xxv. c. 64.

213 "Siser." The Sium sisarum of Linnæus. See also B. xx. c. 17. It is said to have been originally a native of China.

214 It is supposed that this is the same with Gelb, near Neuss, in Germany, mentioned by Tacitus, Hist. B. iv. cc. 26. 32.

215 The Inula Helenium of Linnæus. Its English name is derived from Inula campana, that under which it is so highly recommended in the precepts of the School of Health at Salerno. See also B. xx. c. 19. At the present day it is universally rejected as an article of food in any shape.

216 The School of Salerno says that it may be preserved by being pickled in brine, or else in the juice of rue, which, as Fée remarks, would produce neither more nor less than a veritable poison. The modern Pharmacopœias give the receipt of a conserve of elecampane, which, however, is no longer used.

217 "Defrutum." Must, boiled down to one half.

218 The daughter of Augustus Cæsar.

219 The same account nearly is given in Columella, De Re Rust. B. xi. c. 3.

220 Under this general name were included, probably, garlic, scallions, chives, and some kinds of onions; but it is quite impossible to identify the ancient "bulbus" more closely than this.

221 It has been suggested that this was probably the onion, the Allium cepa of Linnæus.

222 The Scilla maritima of Linnæus, the sea-squill.

223 See B. xx. c. 39. He might have added that it renders vinegar both an emetic, and a violent purgative.

224 The leaves are in all cases green, and no other colour; but in one kind the squamæ, or bracted leaves, are white, and in another, red.

225 Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. vii. c. 11, gives it this name. As none of the sea-squills can be eaten with impunity, Fée is inclined to doubt if this really was a squill.

226 They still abound in those places. The Spanish coasts on the Mediterranean, Fée says, as well as the vicinity of Gibraltar, are covered with them.

227 In c. 39.

228 Fée thinks that this may be the Muscaria botryoïdes of Miller, Diet. No. I. See also B. xx. c. 41.

229 A variety, probably, of the common onion, the Allium cepa of Linnæus.

230 Some variety of the genus Allium, Fée thinks.

231 Fée queries whether this may not be some cyperaceous plant with a bulbous root.

232 A white bulb, if we may judge from the name. The whole of this passage is from Theopbrastus, Hist. Plant. B. vii. c. 11.

233 This has not been identified. The old reading was "ægilops," a name now given to a kind of grass.

234 The Iris sisyrinchium of Linnæus.

235 The Arum colocasia of Linnæus, held in great esteem by the ancient Egyptians as a vegetable. The root is not a bulb, but tubercular, and the leaf bears no resemblance to that of the Lapathum, dock or sorrel. It was sometimes known by the name of "lotus."

236 In Gaul. See B. iv. c. 31.

237 This passage, and indeed nearly the whole of the Chapter, is borrowed from Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. i. c. 9.

238 Fée thinks that by the expression μονόῤῥιζα, Theophrastus means a root that strikes vertically, instead of spreading.

239 Gramen. See B. xviii. c. 67, and B. xxiv. c. 118.

240 Atriplex. See B. xx. c. 83.

241 See B. xx. c. 93.

242 Poinsinet suggests that this may mean the "mole-plant," ἀσπάλαξ being the Greek for "mole."

243 "Perdicium." See B. xxii. cc. 19, 20.

244 "Crocus." See B. xxi. c. 17, ct seq.

245 This is not the fact. All these assertions are from Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. vii. c. 3.

246 Fée thinks that the ocimum of Pliny is not the basil of the moderns, the Ocimum basilicum of the naturalists. The account, however, here given would very well apply to basil.

247 The Heliotropium Europæum of botany. See B. xxii. c. 19.

248 These assertions, Fée says, are not consistent with modern experience.

249 See c. 45 of this Book.

250 "Gethyum." The Allium schœnoprasum, probably, of botany, the ciboul or scallion.

251 The Allium cepa of Linnæus

252 The inhabitants of Pelusium, more particularly, were devoted to the worship of the onion. They held it, in common with garlic, in great aversion as an article of food. At Pelusium there was a temple also in which the sea-squill was worshipped.

253 With some little variation, from Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. vii. c. 4.

254 Supposed to be identical with the Allium Ascalonicum of Linnæus, the clalotte. Pliny is the only writer who mentions the Alsidenian onion.

255 To the Ascalonian onion, the scallion, or ciboul, owes its English name.

256 Owing to the acetic acid which the bulb contains, and which acts on the membranes of the eye.

257 "Pinguitudinis."

258 Fée queries whether the early white onion of Florence, the smallest now known among the cultivated kinds, may not possibly be identical with the setanian, or else the Tusculan, variety.

259 From σχίζω, to "divide" or "tear off."

260 "Capitata."

261 For this reason, Fée is inclined to regard it as a variety either of garlic, Allium sativum, or of the chalotte, Allium Ascaionicum of Linnæus.

262 The Allium porrum of Linnæus.

263 This prejudice in favour of the leek, as Fée remarks, still exists. It is doubtful, however, whether its mucilage has any beneficial effect upon the voice. See B. xx. c. 21.

264 Fée says, that it is a practice with many gardeners, more harmful than beneficial, to cut the leaves of the leek as it grows, their object being to increase the size of the stalk.

265 Martial, B. xiii. Epig. 19, mentions the leeks of Aricia.

266 Fée thinks that this may be the wild leek, which is commonly found as a weed in Spain.

267 M. Annæus Mela, the brother of L. Seneca the philosopher, and the father of the poet Lucan.

268 Though Pliny would seem inclined, as Fée says, to credit this story, the juice of the leek is in reality quite harmless.

269 The Allium sativum of Linnæus. It was much eaten by the Roman soldiers and sailors, and by the field labourers. It is in reference to this vegetable, "more noxious than hemlock," that Horace exclaims—
"O dura messorum ilia!"

270 It was thought to have the property of neutralizing the venom of serpents; and though persons who had just eaten of it were not allowed to enter the Temple of the Mother of the Gods, it was prescribed to those who wished to be purified and absolved from crimes. It is still held in considerable esteem in the south of Europe, where, by the lower classes, great medicinal virtues are ascribed to it.

271 Theophrastus says, Hist. Plant. B. vii. c. 4, that this is the largest of all the varieties of garlic.

272 Second of May.

273 Seventeenth of December.

274 The Allium oleraceum of Linnæus.

275 Fée refuses credence to this story.

276 "Ursinum." The Allium ursinum of Linnæus. Instead, however, of having the comparatively mild smell of millet, its odour is powerful; so much so, as to impart a strong flavour to the milk of the cows that eat of it. It is very common, Fée says, in nearly every part of France.

277 The whole nearly of this Chapter is borrowed from Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. vii. cc. 1 and 2. It must be borne in mind that what the Romans called the "third" day would with us be the "second," and so on; as in reckoning, they included the day reckoned from, as well as the day reckoned to.

278 Fée remarks, that most of the observations made in this Chapter are well founded.

279 This statement, Fée remarks, is entirely a fiction, it being impos- sible for seed to acquire, the second year, a faculty of germinating which it has not had in the first.

280 This is true, but, as Fée observes, the instances might be greatly extended.

281 Fée says that basil, the Ocimum basilicum of Linnæus, is not meant here, nor yet the leguminous plant that was known to the Romans by that name.

282 A singular superstition truly! Theophrastus says the same in relation to cummin seed.

283 This is not done at the present day.

284 This can hardly be our basil, the Ocimum basilicum, for that plant is an annual.

285 Fée suggests that Pliny may have intended here to except the Monocotyledons, for otherwise his assertion would be false.

286 This, Fée says, cannot be basil, for when cut it will not shoot again.

287 The radish is not mentioned in the parallel passage by Theophrastus.

288 The lettuce, as Fée remarks, will not shoot again when cut down.

289 This puerility, Fée observes, runs counter to the more moral adage, that "stolen goods never prosper."

290 See B. xi. c. 15.

291 This variety, Fée says, is the Apium graveolens of Linnæus.

292 Or marsh-parsley.

293 Pliny has mistranslated, or rather misread, the passage of Theo- phrastus, who says, B. vii. c. 6, that this kind of parsley is μανόφυλλον, "thinly covered with leaves," and not μονόφυλλον, "having a single leaf." Palladius (In Aprili.) translates it, "molli folio," "with a soft leaf;" but, though Fée commends this version, it is not correct.

294 Or "horse-parsley." Hardouin takes this to be Macedonian parsley, the Bubon Macedonicum of Linnæus. Fée, following C. Bauhin and Sprengel, is inclined to identify it with Macerona, the Smyrnium olusatrum of Linnæus.

295 Or "mountain-parsley." Probably the Athamanta oreoselinum of Linnæus. Some commentators, however, take it to be the Laserpitium formosum of Wilidenow. Sprengel identifies it with the Selinum oreoselinum of Linnæus.

296 The Apium petroselinum, probably, of Linnæus.

297 The Lactuca sativa of Linnæus. This account of the Greek varieties is from Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. vii. c. 4.

298 This, no doubt, is fabulous, and on a par with the Greek tradition that Adonis concealed himself under the leaves of a lettuce, when he was attacked and killed by the wild boar. The Coss, or Roman, lettuce, as Fée remarks, is the largest of all, and that never exceeds fifteen to twenty inches in height, leaves, stalk and all.

299 This would seem not to be a distinct variety, as the rounded stalk is a characteristic of them all.

300 "Sessile." A cabbage-lettuce, probably; though Hardouin dissents from that opinion.

301 Columella more particularly. There are still varieties known respec- tively as the black, brown, white, purple, red, and blood-red lettuce.

302 Martial, 13. v. Epig. 79, gives to this lettuce the epithet of "vile."

303 It has been suggested that this may have been wild endive, the Cichoreum intubus of botanists.

304 Or "poppy-lettuce." See B. xx. c. 26. The Lactuca virosa, probably, of modern botany, the milky juice of which strongly resembles opium in its effects.

305 For its medicinal qualities, most probably.

306 "Lac."

307 So called, Columella informs us, from Cæcilius Metellus, Consul A.U.C. 503.

308 Meaning "antaphrodisiac." The other name has a kindred meaning.

309 A.U.C. 731.

310 Antonius Musa. For this service he received a large sum of money, and the permission to wear a gold ring, and a statue was erected by public subscription in honour of him, near that of Æsculapius. He is supposed to be the person described by Virgil in the Æneid, B. xii. 1. 390, et seq., under the name of lapis. See B. xxix. c. 5 of this work.

311 Vinegar and honey; a mixture very ill-adapted, as Fée observes, to preserve either the medicinal or alimentary properties of the lettuce.

312 "Caprina lactuca." See B. xx. c. 24.

313 Endive, in fact, belongs to the same family as the lettuce.

314 This is not the case; unless, indeed, under the name "lactuca," Pliny would include several plants, that in reality are not lettuces.

315 The stalk, in fact, is more intensely bitter than the leaves.

316 "Erraticun." Wild endive.

317 From which comes the French "chicorée," and our "chicory," or "succory."

318 In B. xx. c. 29, and B. xxi. c. 52.

319 The usual times for sowing the lettuce are before winter and after February.

320 An excess of manure is injurious to the lettuce.

321 As already stated in a previous Note (p. 179), lettuces when cut down will not grow again, with the exception of a few worthless lateral branches.

322 From Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. vii. c. 4.

323 Not the Beta sicla of modern botany, Fée thinks. The black beet of the ancients would be one of the dark purple kinds.

324 It was only the leaf of beet, and not the root, that was eaten by the ancients. From Martial, B. xiii. Epig. 10, we learn that the leaves were preserved in a mixture of wine and pepper.

325 Though not positively unwholesome, the leaves would form an insipid dish, that would not agree with all stomachs. Galen says that it cannot be eaten in great quantities with impunity, but Diphilus the physician, as quoted by Athenæus, B. ix. c. 3, says the reverse. Some MSS. read here "innocentiorem," "more harmless."

326 Columella says the same, De Re Rust. B. xi. c. 3.

327 Fée would seem to render this, "when wine has been spoiled by cab- bage leaves being mixed with it."

328 De Re Rust. cc. 156, 157.

329 In B. xx. c. 33.

330 Or "parsley" cabbage, so called from its crisped leaves: the curled colcwort, or Brassica viridis crispa of C. Bauhin.

331 The same as our Brussels sprouts. Columella, however, B. xi. c. 3, and B. xii. c. 7, speaks of the Brassica cyma as a distinct variety of cabbage.

332 See B. viii. c. 77.

333 The Brassica oleracea capitata of Lamarck, and its varieties.

334 The ordinary cabbage, or Brassica oleracea of Linnæus.

335 A variety, Fée thinks, of the Lacuturrian cabbage.

336 The Brassica oleracea botrytis of Linnæus, the cauliflower.

337 Or Calabrian cabbage: it has not been identified.

338 The Brassica oleracea Sabellica of Linnæus, or fringed cabbage.

339 Or "Lake-towers." The turnip-cabbage or rape-colewort, the Brassica oleracea gongyloides of Linnæus.

340 Generally thought to be the Crambe maritima of botanists, sea-cab- bage, or sea-kale. Some, however, take it to be the Convolvulus solda- nella of Linnæus. See B. xx. c. 38.

341 From αλλς῞, the "sea."

342 He alludes to the statement made by Columella, probably, De Re Rust. B. xi. c. 3.

343 Fée remarks, that probably we here find the first germs of the practice which resulted in the making of sour-krout (sauer-kraut). Dalechamps censures Pliny for the mention of trefoil here, the passage which he has translated speaking not of that plant, but of the trefoil or three-leaved cabbage.

344 The same as the "chara," probably, mentioned by Cæsar, Bell. Civ. B. iii. Hardouin thinks that it is the common parsnip, while Clusius and Cuvier would identify it with the Crambe Tatarica of Hungary, the roots of which are eaten in time of scarcity at the present day. Fée suggests that it may belong to the Brassica napo-brassica of Linnæus, the rape-colewort. See B. xx. c. 37.

345 Or cabbage-sprout.

346 In B. xvi. c. 67. The Asparagus officinalis of Linnæus.

347 De Re Rust. c. 161.

348 Or wild sperage. See B. xvi. c. 67; also B. xx. c. 43.

349 "Spongiis." Fée is at a loss to know why the name "spongia" should have been given to the roots of asparagus. Probably, as Facciolati says, from their growing close and matted together. See the end of this Chapter.

350 D Re Rust. c. 161.

351 See B. xvii. c. 47.

352 On the contrary, Martial says that the asparagus of Ravenna was no better than so much wild asparagus.

353 In B. xvi. c. 67. See also c. 19 of this Book.

354 Dioscorides mentions this absurdity, but refuses to credit it.

355 Probably the artichoke, the Cinara scolymus of Linnæus. See further on this subject, B. xx. c. 99.

356 About £24 sterling. "Sestertia" has been suggested, which would make the sum a thousand times as much.

357 The ass, of course, excepted, which is fond of thistles.

358 Seventh of March.

359 Thirteenth of November.

360 "Si Dîs placet."

361 Oxymel.

362 This is evidently said contemptuously.

363 See further as to the identity of this plant, B. xx. c. 48.

364 Twenty-second of April.

365 Brassica eruca of Linnæus. See B. xx. c. 49.

366 Cresses, or nosesmart, the Lepidium sativum of Linnæus. See B. xx. c. 50

367 "Quod nasum torqueat."

368 The Ruta graveolens of Linnæus. See B. xx. c. 51. This offensive herb, though looked upon by the Romans as a vegetable, is now only regarded as an active medicament of almost poisonous qualities.

369 A.U.C. 421.

370 It so happens that it thrives best on the same soil as the fig-tree.

371 This practice has no beneficial effect whatever.

372 This is not the fact; for its branches never come in contact with the ground.

373 Pliny has derived the greater part of this Chapter from Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B vii. c. 5, and Columella, B. xi. c. 3.

374 For the purpose of separating the seeds, which are slightly joined together; and of disengaging a portion of the perisperm. At the present day this is not done, for fear of bursting the kernel of the seed.

375 See B. xx. c. 53.

376 Called by the Greeks καλαμίνθη, according to Apuleius.

377 Or "Mentha."

378 "Sweet-smelling."

379 "Sæpius." See B. xviii. c. 60.

380 The Cuminum cyminum of botanists. See B. xx. c. 57.

381 See B. xx. c. 57.

382 In Hispania Tarraconensis. See B. iii. c. 4.

383 Or "black-herb:" the herb Alexander, the Smyrnium olusatrun, of Linnæus. See B. xx. c. 46.

384 "Horse-parsley."

385 See B. xvii. c. 14, and B. xxi. c. 14.

386 Hist. Plant. B. ix. c. 1. This story originated, no doubt, in the fan- cied resemblance of its smell to that of myrrh.

387 The Capparis spinosa of Linnæus. See B. xiii. e. 44, also B. xx. c. 59.

388 In B. xiii. c. 44.

389 The Carum carvi of Linnæus.

390 Caria, in Asia Minor.

391 The Ligusticum levisticum of Linnæus.

392 "Ox cunila." One of the Labiatæ, probably; but whether one of the Satureia or of the Thymbra is not known. See B. xx. cc. 60, 61.

393 See B. xxi. c. 32.

394 Scribonius Largus gives this name to savory, the Satureia hortensis of Linnæus. The whole of this passage is very confused, and its mean- ing is by no means clear.

395 The Lepidium sativum of Linnæus. See B. xx. c. 70.

396 It is an annual, in fact.

397 Its leaf has no resemblance whatever to that of the laurel.

398 The Nigella sativa of Linnæus. See B. xx. c. 71.

399 Or sagapenum. See B. xx. c. 75. It is mentioned also in B. xii. c. 56, as being used for adulterating galbanum. As to laser, see c. 15 of the present Book.

400 This practice, as Fée remarks, is not followed; and indeed, unless it is intended to transplant them, it would be attended with injurious results to the young plants.

401 As to the poppy, for further particulars see B. xx. c. 76 and the Note.

402 The variety Album of the Papaver somniferum of modern botanists.

403 The variety Nigrum of the Papaver somniferum. The white poppy has also a milky juice.

404 The Papaver rhœas of modern botanists, the corn-poppy, or wild poppy. The seed of the poppy does not partake of the qualities of its capsular envelope, and at the present day it is extensively employed in the South of Europe for sprinkling over pastry.

405 "Rhœas," the "crimson," or "pomegranate" poppy.

406 See B. xx. cc. 76–79.

407 See c. 17 of this Book, also Ovid's Fasti, B. ii. 1. 703, et seq.

408 "Lad's love."

409 Black mustard, Fée thinks.

410 He can hardly mean a pottage made of boiled mustard-seed alone, as Fée seems to think. If so, however, Fée no doubt is right in thinking that it would be intolerable to a modern palate.

411 See B. xx. c. 87.

412 Perhaps a corruption of its Greek name, σίνηπι.

413 Hardouin suggests "thlaspi."

414 Its bite being as sharp as the venom of the "saurus," or lizard.

415 Hardouin, from Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. vi. c. 7, suggests a reading, "whence the streams bring down branches of them torn off, and so plant them."

416 The plants, Fée says, that we find in these localities, are nearly always ferns, or else Marchantia, or mosses of the genus Hypnum. Fée queries whether one of these may not have been the sisymbrium of Pliny. Water-cresses, again, have been suggested.

417 In B. viii. c. 41. The Anæthum fœniculum of Linnæus.

418 In B. xiii. c. 42.

419 The Cannabis sativa of Linnæus. See B. xx. c. 97.

420 Hemp-seed is never smoke-dried now.

421 See B. v. c 29. The same hemp is mentioned as being used for making hunting-nets, by Gratius, in the Cynegeticon.

422 See B. v. c. 29.

423 See B. iii. c. 17, and B. xvii. c. 3

424 This, as Fée says, is no doubt erroneous. It is seldom known to attain a couple of inches in circumference.

425 In B. xiii. c. 42.

426 These absurd notions are borrowed from Theophrastus, De Causis, c. 8.

427 See B. xx. c. 91.

428 Or, according to some readings, "limodorum," a parasitical plant, probably the Lathræa phelypea of Sprengel. Fée suggests that this plant may be the Polygonum convolvulus of Linnæus, or else one of the Cuscutæ, or a variety of Orobanche.

429 "Scabies." A fungous excrescence, Fée thinks, now known as "puccinia," or "uredo."

430 See B. xvii. c. 47. Fée says that he has met with persons, in their sound senses, who obstinately defend the notion here mentioned by Pliny.

431 See Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. vii. c. 5. Many of these insects, however, do not breed upon the plants, but are only attracted to them.

432 "Book on Gardening."

433 The Heliotropium Europæum of botanists. See B. xxii. c. 29.

434 This may possibly, Fée says, be efficacious against some insects.

435 See B. xviii. c. 45.

436 A mere puerility, of course, though it is very possible that the insects may collect in it, and so be more easily taken. Garden-pots, on sticks, are still employed for this purpose.

437 See B. xvi. c. 30.

438 "Culices," including both flies and gnats, probably.

439 See B. xii. c. 56.

440 An almost literal translation of Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. vii. c. 6.

441 This is certainly not true with reference to the leguminous and gramineous plants. It is pretty generally known as a fact, that wheat has germinated after being buried in the earth two thousand years: mummy-wheat, at the present day, is almost universally known.

442 Rain-water, if collected in cisterns, and exposed to the heat of the sun, is the most beneficial of all rain has the effect also of killing numerous insects which have bred in the previous drought.

443 From Theophrastus, B. vii. c. 5. Evening is generally preferred to morning for this purpose; the evaporation not being so quick, and the plant profiting more from the water.

444 It should, however, be of a middling temperature, and warmed to some extent by the rays of the sun.

445 These statements are consistent with modern experience.

446 See B. xx. c. 85.

447 He says this probably in reference partly to the large leaves which characterize the varieties of dock.

448 Dishes made of rice or barley. See B. xviii. c. 13.

449 See B. xx. c. 85.

450 He does not give the name of the poet, but, as Fée says, we do not experience any great loss thereby.

451 From Theophrastus, Hist. Plant, B. vii. c. 6.

452 See B. xv. c. 32.

453 "Absinthium." See B. xxvii. c. 28.

454 See B. xxv. c. 30.

455 Fée remarks, that though rarely to be met with, the salt flavour is still to be found in the vegetable kingdom.

456 The "cicercula," or Lathyrus sativus of Linnæus. See B. xviii. c. 32.

457 See B. xii. c. 57.

458 Or pepper-wort. See B. xx. c. 66.

459 See B. xx. c. 54.

460 The same, probably, as olusatrum. See cc. 37 and 48 of this Book, and B. xx. c. 46: also B. xxvii. c. 109.

461 In B. xii. c. 57.

462 See c. 48 of this Book.

463 Rosemary, or "sea-dew."

464 See B. xx. c. 74.

465 Fée suggests, though apparently without any good reason, that this paragraph, to the end of the Book, is an interpolation of the copyists.

466 See end of B. xiv.

467 See end of B. ii.

468 See end of B. xiv.

469 See end of B. iii.

470 See end of B. iii.

471 See end of B. vii.

472 See end of B. ii.

473 See end of B. vii.

474 See end of B. viii.

475 See end of B. xvi.

476 See end of B. x.

477 Beyond the mention made of this writer in c. 57, nothing whatever is known of him.

478 C. Licinius Macer, a Roman annalist and orator, born about B.C. 110. Upon being impeached by Cicero, he committed suicide. He wrote a History or Annals of Rome, which are frequently referred to by Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

479 Nothing whatever appears to be known of this writer.

480 See end of B. xiv.

481 Nothing whatever is known relative to this writer on Horticulture.

482 Nothing certain is known of him; but it has been suggested that he may have been the father of the rhetorician Castritius, so often mentioned by Aulus Gellius, and who lived in the time of the Emperor Adrian.

483 Nothing whatever is known relative to this writer.

484 The author of a Greek poem on venomous serpents, mentioned in B. xx. c. 96, and B. xxii. c. 40, and by the Scholiast on the Theriaca of Nicander.

485 See end of B. ii.

486 See end of B. iii.

487 See end of B. ii.

488 See end of B. xi.

489 Nothing whatever is known of him. His Book seems to have been a compendium of "Things useful to life."

490 A physician and Pythagorean philosopher, born at one of the cities called Larissa, but which, is now unknown. He was banished by the Emperor Augustus, B.C. 28, on the charge of practising magic, a charge probably based on his superior skill in natural philosophy. He is frequently mentioned by Pliny in the course of this work.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
68 AD (1)
55 AD (1)
1842 AD (1)
1702 AD (1)
28 BC (1)
110 BC (1)
hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (4):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), DOMUS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), FA´SCINUM
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), INDUS
    • Smith's Bio, Here'nnius
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (3):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: