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We have now departed from the lands which look towards the ocean to enter upon those which have an aspect towards our seas. (23.) Africa, which lies below Æthiopia, distils a tear-like gum in its sands, called hammoniacum,1 the name of which has passed to the oracle of Hammon, situate near the tree which produces it. This substance, which is also called meto pion,2 bears a strong resemblance to a resin or a gum. There are two kinds of ammoniacum; that to which the name is given of thrauston, and which bears a resemblance to male frankincense, being the kind that is the most esteemed, and that which is known as phyrama, being of an unctuous and resinous nature. This substance is adulterated by means of sand, which has all the appearance of having adhered to it during its growth: hence it is greatly preferred when the pieces are extremely small, and in the purest state possible. The price of hammoniacum of the best quality is forty asses per pound.

1 See B. xxiv. c. 14. The gum resin ammoniacum is still imported into Europe from Africa and the East, in the form of drops or cakes. It is a mildly stimulating expectorant, and is said to be the produce of the Dorema ammoniacum. There are still two sorts in commerce: the first in large masses of a yellow, dirty colour, mingled with heterogeneous substances, and of a plastic consistency. This is the phyrama of Pliny, or mixed ammoniac. The other is in tears, of irregular form and a whitish colour, brittle and vitreous when broken. This is the thrauston, or "friable" ammoniac of Pliny. Jackson says, that the plant which produces it is common in Morocco, and is called feskouk, resembling a large stalk of fennel The ammoniac of Morocco is not, however, imported into this country, being too much impregnated with sand, in consequence of not being gathered till it falls to the ground.

2 Solinus tells us, that the tree itself is called Metops.

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