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In those times artificial oils had not been introduced, and hence it is, I suppose, that we find no mention made of them by Cato; at the present day the varieties are very numerous. We will first speak of those1 which are produced from trees, and among them more particularly the wild olive.2 This olive is small, and much more bitter than the cultivated one, and hence its oil is only used in medicinal preparations: the oil that bears the closest resemblance to it is that extracted from the chamelæa,3 a shrub which grows among the rocks, and not more than a palm in height; the leaves and berries being similar to those of the wild olive. A third oil is that made of the fruit of the cicus,4 a tree which grows in Egypt in great abundance; by some it is known as croton, by others as sili, and by others, again, as wild sesamumn: it is not so very long since this tree was first introduced here. In Spain, too, it shoots up with great rapidity to the size of the olive-tree, having a stem like that of the ferula, the leaf of the vine, and a seed that bears a resemblance to a small pale grape. Our people are in the habit of calling it "ricinus,"5 from the resemblance of the seed to that insect. It is boiled in water,6 and the oil that swims on the surface is then skimmed off: but in Egypt, where it grows in a greater abundance, the oil is extracted without employing either fire or water for the purpose, the seed being first sprinkled with salt, and then subjected to pressure: eaten with food this oil is repulsive, but it is very useful for burning in lamps.

Amygdalinum, by some persons known as "metopium,"7 is made of bitter almonds dried and beaten into a cake, after which they are steeped in water, and then beaten again. An oil is extracted from the laurel also, with the aid of olive oil. Some persons use the berries only for this purpose, while others, again, employ the leaves8 and the outer skin of the berries: some add storax also, and other odoriferous substances. The best kind for this purpose is the broad-leaved or wild laurel,9 with a black berry. The oil, too, of the black myrtle is of a similar nature; that with the broad leaf10 is reckoned also the best. The berries are first sprinkled with warm water, and then beaten, after which they are boiled: some persons take the more tender leaves, and boil them in olive oil, and then subject them to pressure, while others, again, steep them in oil, and leave the mixture to ripen in the sun. The same method is also adopted with the cultivated myrtle, but the wild variety with small berries is generally preferred; by some it is known as the oxymyrsine, by others as the chamæmyrsine, and by others, again, as the acoron,11 from its strong resemblance to that plant, it being short and branching.

An oil is made, too, from the citrus,12 and from the cypress; also, from the walnut,13 and known by the name of "caryinon,"14 and from the fruit of the cedar, being generally known as "pisselæon."15 Oil is extracted from the grain of Cnidos,16 the seed being first thoroughly cleaned, and then pounded; and from mastich17 also. As to the oil called "cyprinum,"18 and that extracted from the Egyptian19 berry, we have already mentioned the mode in which they are prepared as perfumes. The Indians, too, are said to extract oils from the chesnut,20 sesamum, and rice,21 and the Ichthyophagi22 from fish. Scarcity of oil for the supply of lamps sometimes compels us to make it from the berries23 of the planetree, which are first steeped in salt and water.

Œnanthinum,24 again, is made from the œnanthe, as we have already stated when speaking of perfumes. In making gleucinum,25 must is boiled with olive-oil at a slow heat; some persons, however, do not employ fire in making it, but leave a vessel, filled with oil and must, surrounded with grape husks, for two and twenty days, taking care to stir it twice a day: by the end of that period the whole of the must is imbibed by the oil. Some persons mix with this not only sampsuchum, but perfumes of still greater price: that, too, which is used in the gymnasia is scented with perfumes as well, but those of the very lowest quality. Oils are made, too, from aspalathus,26 from calamus,27 balsamum,28 cardamum,29 melilot, Gallic nard, panax,30 sampsuchum,31 helenium, and root of cinnamomum,32 the plants being first left to steep in oil, and then pressed. In a similar manner, too, rhodinum33 is made from roses, and juncinum from the sweet rush, bearing a remarkable34 resemblance to rose-oil: other oils, again, are extracted from henbane,35 lupines,36 and narcissus. Great quantities of oil are made in Egypt, too, of radish37 seed, or else of a common grass known there as chortinon.38 Sesamum39 also yields an oil, and so does the nettle,40 its oil being known as "enidinum."41 In other countries, too, an oil is extracted from lilies42 left to steep in the open air, and subjected to the influence of the sun, moon, and frosts. On the borders of Cappadocia and Galatia, they make an oil from the herbs of the country, known as "Selgicum,"43 remarkably useful for strengthening the tendons, similar, in fact, to that of Iguvium44 in Italy. From pitch an oil45 is extracted, that is known as pissinum;" it is made by boiling the pitch, and spreading fleeces over the vessels to catch the steam, and then wringing them out: the most approved kind is that which comes from Bruttium, the pitch of that country being remarkably rich and resinous: the colour of this oil is yellow.

There is an oil that grows spontaneously in the maritime parts of Syria, known to us as "elæomeli;"46 it is an unctuous substance which distils from certain trees, of a thicker consistency than honey, but somewhat thinner than resin; it has a sweet flavour, and is employed for medicinal purposes. Old olive oil47 is of use for some kinds of maladies; it is thought to be particularly useful, too, in the preservation of ivory from decay:48 at all events, the statue of Saturn, at Rome, is filled with oil in the interior.

1 It may be remarked, that in this Chapter Pliny totally confounds fixed oils, volatile oils, and medicinal oils. Those in the list which he here gives, and which are not otherwise noticed in the Notes, may be considered to belong to this last class.

2 The oleaster furnishes but little oil, and it is seldom extracted. The oil is thinner than ordinary olive oil, and has a stronger odour.

3 The Daphne Centrum and Daphne Cilium of botanists. See B. xiii. c. 35, also 1. xliv. c. 82. Fée doubts if an oil was ever made from the chamelæa.

4 See B. xxiii. c. 41: the Ricinus communis of Linnæus, which abounds in Egypt at the present day. Though it appears to have been formerly sometimes used for the table, at the present day the oil is only known as "castor" oil, a strong purgative. It is one of the fixed oils. The Jews and Abyssinian Christians say that it was under this tree that Jonah sat.

5 A "tick."

6 This method, Fée says, is still pursued in America.

7 See B. xiii. c. 2. One of the fixed oils.

8 An essential oil may be extracted from either; it is of acrid taste, green, and aromatic; but does not seem to have been known to the an- cients. The berries give by decoction a fixed oil, of green colour, sweet, and odoriferous. The oils in general here spoken of by Pliny as extracted from the laurel, are medicinal oils.

9 The Laurus latifolia of Bauhin.

10 The Myrtus latifolia Romana of Bauhin. It yields an essential oil, and by its decoction might give a fixed oil, in small quantity, but very odoriferous. As boiled with olive oil, he treats it as a volatile oil.

11 See B. xxv. c. 100. This myrtle is the Ruscus aculeatus of Linnæus.

12 See B. xiii. c. 29, and B xxiii. c. 45. A volatile oil might be extracted from the citrus, if one of the thuypæ, as also from the cypress.

13 See B. xxiii. c. 45. It is a fixed oil, still considerably used in some parts of Europe.

14 From the Greek καρύα, a "walnut."

15 "Pitch oil." See B. xxiv. c. 11. This would be a volatile oil.

16 See B. xxiii. c. 45, also B. xiii. c. 35. Fée is of opinion, that as no fixed oil can be extracted from the Daphne Cnidium or Daphne Cneoruni, Pliny must allude to a medicinal composition, like the oil of wild myrtle, previously mentioned.

17 A fixed oil. See B. xii. c. 36. The seeds were used for making it. See B. xxiii. c. 45.

18 See B. xii. c. 51, and B. xxiii. c. 45. The leaves of the Lawsonia are very odoriferous.

19 The myrobalanus, or ben. See B. xii. c. 46, and B. xxiii. c. 46.

20 Neither the chesnut nor rice produce any kind of fixed oil.

21 See B. xvii. c. 13.

22 Or Fish-eaters. See B. xxxii. c. 38. This is one of the fixed oils.

23 In reality, no fixed oil can be obtained from them.

24 Or wild vine. See B. xii. c. 61, and B. xiii. c. 2.

25 Not an oil, so much as a medicinal preparation. Dioscorides mentions as component parts of it, omphacium, sweet rush, Celtic nard, aspalathus, costus, and must. It received its name from γλεῦκος, "must."

26 The Convolvulus scoparius of Linnæus. See B. xii. c. 52, and B. xiii. c. 2.

27 See B. xii. c. 95.

28 See B. xii. c. 54, and B. xiii. c. 2.

29 See B. xii. c. 29.

30 See B. xii. c. 57.

31 See B. xiii. c. 2, p. 163.

32 See B. xii. c. 41.

33 See B. xiii. c. 2.

34 Fée doubts the possibility of such a resemblance.

35 Hyoseyamus. A medicinal oil is still extracted from it. See B. xxiii. c. 49.

36 This medicinal oil is no longer used. The Lupinus albus was formerly held in greater esteem than it is now.

37 The Raphanus sativus of Linnæus. See B. xix. c. 26. This is one of the fixed oils; varieties of it are rape oil, and colza oil, now so extensively used.

38 From the Greek χόρτος,, "grass." This medicinal oil would be totally without power or effect.

39 A fixed oil is still extracted in Egypt from the grain known as sesamum.

40 See B. xxii. c. 15.

41 From κνίδη, a "nettle." The nettle, or Urtica urens of Linnæus, has no oleaginous principles in its seed.

42 Lily oil is still used as a medicinal composition: it is made from the petals of the white lily, Lilium candidum of Linnæus.

43 From Selga, a town of Pisidia. See B. xxiii. c. 49.

44 See B. iii. c. 9, and B. xxiii. c. 49.

45 A volatile oil, mixed with a small proportion of empyreumatic oil and carbon.

46 "Oil-honey." Probably a terebinthine, or oleo-resin. See B. xxiii. c. 50.

47 When rancid and oxygenized by age, it has an irritating quality, and may be found useful for herpetic diseases.

48 It very probably will have this effect; but at the expense of the colour of the ivory, which very soon will turn yellow.

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