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CHAP. 108. (104.)—OF MALTHA.

In Samosata, a city of Commagene1, there is a pool which discharges an inflammable mud, called Maltha2. It adheres to every solid body which it touches, and moreover, when touched, it follows you, if you attempt to escape from it. By means of it the people defended their walls against Lucullus, and the soldiers were burned in their armour3. It is even set on fire in water. We learn by experience that it can be extinguished only by earth.

1 Samosata is situated on the Euphrates, in the north of Syria.

2 The Petroleum or Bitumen of the modern chemists; it is a tarry substance, more or less fluid, which has probably been produced by carbonaceous matter, as affected by heat or decomposition, below the surface of the earth. Our author has exaggerated its properties and action upon other bodies.

3 Respecting the transaction here mentioned, I shall refer to the note of Hardouin, Lemaire, i. 452.

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