Pliny (Plin. Nat.
) mentions this as a Gallic invention; it was not, however, our
soap, but a sort of pomade or wash ( “duobus modis spissus ac
liquidus” ), made of fat and ashes, and used to give a golden tint to
the hair. Pliny adds that it was used in Germany, and even more by men than
women of that country (cf. Tac. Hist. 4.61
, and Mayor ad loc.
). In fact, most other writers seem to connect it rather
with the Germans than the Gauls: Martial calls it “spuma
Batava” (8.33 = caustica spuma,
and “Mattiacae pilae,” i. e. balls of this composition from
Mattiacum in Germany (14.27). Ovid speaks of “Germanae herbae”
for dyeing the hair, where the word herbae
be applied in ignorance of the materials used to make the dye. The flavus cinis,
of which Servius (Serv. ad Aen. 4.698
) says that Cato makes
mention, is probably this sapo.
equivalents to our soap used by Greeks and Romans, see FULLO
Vol. I. p. 161.