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Of all the woods, the ebony, the cypress, and the cedar are considered to be the most durable, a good proof of which is to be seen in the timber of which the Temple of Diana at Ephesus is built: it being now four hundred years since it was erected, at the joint expense of the whole of Asia;1 and, what is a well-known fact, the roof is wholly constructed of planks of cedar. As to the statue of the goddess, there is some doubt of what wood it is made; all the writers say that it is ebony, with the exception of Mucianus, who was three times consul, one of the very latest among the writers that have seen it; he declares that it is made of the wood of the vine, and that it has never been changed all the seven times that the temple has been rebuilt. He says, too, that it was Endæus who made choice of this wood, and even goes so far as to mention the artist's name, a thing that really surprises me very much, seeing that he attributes to it an antiquity that dates before the times of Father Liber, and of Minerva even. He states, also, that, by the aid of numerous apertures, it is soaked with nard, in order that the moist nature of that drug may preserve the wood and keep the seams2 close together: I am rather surprised, however, that there should be any seams in the statue, considering the very moderate size it is. He informs us, also, that the doors are made of cypress, and that the wood, which has now lasted very nearly four hundred years, has all the appearance of new.3 It is worthy of remark, too, that the wood of these doors, after the pieces had been glued together, was left to season four years before they were put up: cypress was made choice of from the circumstance that it is the only kind of wood that maintains its polish to all future time.

And have we not the statue of Vejovis,4 also, made of cypress, still preserved in the Capitol, where it was consecrated in the year of the City 661? The Temple of Apollo, too, at Utica, is equally celebrated: there we may see beams of cedar still in existence, and in just the same condition in which they were when erected at the first building of that city, eleven hundred and seventy-eight years ago. At Saguntum, too, in Spain, there is a temple of Diana, which was brought thither by the original founders of the place, from the island of Zacynthus, in the year 200 before the taking of Troy, Bocchus says—It is preserved beneath the town, they say. Hannibal, being induced thereto by feelings of religious veneration, spared this temple, and its beams, made of juniper, are still in existence at this very day. But the most memorable instance of all is that of the temple which was dedicated to the same goddess at Aulis, several ages before the Trojan War: of what wood, however, it was originally built is a fact that has been long lost in oblivion. Speaking in general terms, we may say that those woods are of the greatest durability which are the most odoriferous.5

Next to those woods of which we have just spoken, that of the mulberry is held in the highest degree of esteem, and it will even turn black when old. There are some trees, again, that are more durable than others, when employed for certain purposes. The wood of the elm lasts the best in the open air, that of the robur when buried in the ground, and that of the quercus when exposed to the action of water: indeed, the wood of this last, if employed in works above ground, is apt to split and warp. The wood of the larch thrives best in the midst of moisture; the same is the case, too, with that of the black alder. The wood of the robur spoils by exposure to the action of sea-water. The beech and the walnut are far from disapproved of for constructions under water, and, in fact, these are the principal woods, too, that are used for works under ground: the same is the case, also, with the juniper; which is equally serviceable when exposed to the atmosphere. The woods of the beech and the cirrus6 very quickly deteriorate, and that of the æsculus will not withstand the action of water. On the other hand, the alder, when driven into the ground in marshy localities, is of everlasting duration, and able to support the very heaviest weights. The wood of the cherry is strong, while those of the elm and the ash are pliable, though apt to warp: these last will still retain their flexibility, and be less liable to warp, if the wood is left to stand and dry upon the trunk after the pith has been cut around.7 It is said that the larch, when used for sea-going ships, is liable to the attacks8 of the teredo, as, in fact, all the woods are, with the exception of the wild and cultivated olive. It is a fact, too, that there are some woods that are more liable to spoil in the sea, and others in the ground.

1 Asia Minor, namely. See B. xxxv. c. 21.

2 The junctures where the pieces of wood are united by glue. This is to be observed very easily in the greater part of the oaken statuary that is so plentiful in the churches of Belgium.

3 Cypress is perhaps the most lasting of all woods.

4 One of the earliest appellations, probably, of Jupiter among the Romans. See Ovid's Fasti, B. iii. 1. 445, et seq.

5 This is correct. Their resin defends them from the action of the air, from damp, and the attacks of noxious insects.

6 A variety of the oak. See c. 6 of this Book.

7 As mentioned at the end of c. 74.

8 See B. i. c. 2.

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