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That part of Syria joining up to Judæa, and lying above Phœnicia, produces storax, which is found in the vicinity of Gabala and Marathus,1 as also of Casius, a mountain of Seleucia. The tree2 bears the same name, and has a strong resemblance to, the quince. The tear has a harsh taste, with a pleasant smell; in the interior it has all the appearance of a reed, and is filled with a liquid juice. About the rising of the Dog- star, certain small winged worms hover about this substance and eat it away, for which reason it is often found in a rotten state, with worm-holes full of dust. The storax next in esti- mation after that already mentioned, comes from Pisidia, Sidon, Cyprus, and Cilicia; that of Crete being considered the very worst of all. That which comes from Mount Amanus, in Syria, is highly esteemed for medicinal purposes, and even more so by the perfumers. From whatever country it comes, that which is of a red colour is preferred, and it should be both unctuous as well as viscous to the touch; the worst kind is that which crumbles like bran, and is covered all over with a whitish mould. This substance is adulterated with the resin of cedar or with gum, and sometimes with honey or bitter al- monds; all which sophistications may, however, be detected by the taste. The price of storax of the best quality is seventeen denarii per pound. It comes also from Pamphylia, but this last is more arid, and not so full of juice.

1 These localities are mentioned in B. v.

2 The Storax officinalis of Linnæus, a tree found in the south of Europe and the Levant. The variety found in France, and known as the Aliboufier, produces no storax, or at least a very small proportion. The storax of commerce appears in three states—grain storax, with which Pliny does not appear to have been acquainted; amygdalite, which is perhaps the sort which he speaks of as adulterated with bitter almonds; and lump storax, of reddish brown colour, which is frequently mixed with wood dust, or worm dust, as mentioned by Pliny, and is but little esteemed. The tree is also called Liquidambar styraciflua.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PISI´DIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SELGE
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