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2 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.
3 "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.
4 On the contrary, it is found in the Higher Alps in the vicinity of the Glaciers, in Scotland, and in Siberia, even.
6 See end of this Book.
7 He evidently alludes to cotton fabrics under this name. See Note 37 to c. 2 of this Book.
8 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.
9 Impure oxide of metals, collected from the chimneys of smelting-houses. Fée says that Pliny on this occasion is right.
10 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.
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