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12. The hornbeam, which has a very small amount of fire and of the earthy in its composition, but a very great proportion of air and moisture, is not a wood that breaks easily, and is very convenient to handle. Hence, the Greeks call it “zygia,” because they make of it yokes for their draught-animals, and their word for yoke is ζυγά. Cypress and pine are also just as admirable; for although they contain an abundance of moisture mixed with an equivalent composed of all the other elements, and so are apt to warp when used in buildings on account of this superfluity of moisture, yet they can be kept to a great age without rotting, because the liquid contained within their substances has a bitter taste which by its pungency prevents the entrance of decay or of those little creatures which are destructive. Hence, buildings made of these kinds of wood last for an unending period of time.
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