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TAEDA (δαΐς, Att. δᾴς, dim. δᾳδίον), a torch of fir-wood, called on this account pinea taeda (Catull. 61, 15; Ovid, Ov. Fast. 2.558). Hence the name taeda is given to the tree itself (Plin. Nat. 16.44; cf. Hor. Od. 4.4), for there can be no doubt that “torch” was the primary sense of the word. Before the adoption of the more artificial modes of obtaining light, described under CANDELA, FAX, FUNALE, and LUCERNA the inhabitants of Greece and Asia Minor practised the following method, which still prevails in those countries, and to a certain extent in Scotland and Ireland, as well as in other parts of Europe, which abound in forests of pines (Fellows, Exc. in Asia Minor, pp. 140, 333-335):--A tree having been selected of the species Pinus maritima, Linn., which was called πεύκη by the ancient Greeks from the time of Homer (Hom. Il. 11.494, 23.328), and which retains this name, with a slight change in its termination, to the present day, a large incision was made near its root, causing the turpentine to flow so as to accumulate in its vicinity. This highly resinous wood was called δᾴς, i. e. torchwood (Thuc. 7.53); a tree so treated was called ἔνδᾳδος, the process itself ἐνδᾳδοῦν or δᾳδουργεῖν, or more fully δαδοκοπεῖν πεύκη<*> (Theophr. H. P. 5.16, 2), and a tree so affected is said by Pliny “taeda fieri” (H. N. 16.45): the workmen employed in the manufacture are called δᾳδουργοί. After the lapse of twelve months the portion thus impregnated was cut out and divided into suitable lengths. This was repeated for three successive years, and then, as the tree began to decay, the heart of the trunk was extracted, and the roots were dug up for the same purpose (Theophr. H. P. 1.6.1; 3.9. § § 3, 5; 4.16.1; 10.2, § § 2, 3;--Ath. 15.700 f). These strips of resinous pine-wood are now called δᾳδία by the Greeks of Mount Ida (Hunt and Sibthorp, in Walpole's Mem. pp. 120, 235).

For the uses of the torch by Greeks and Romans and its significance in marriages and funerals, see FAX

[J.Y] [G.E.M]

hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Homer, Iliad, 23.328
    • Homer, Odyssey, 4.4
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.53
    • Homer, Iliad, 11.494
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 16.44
    • Ovid, Fasti, 2
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