Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 370: 124-125

Go To Section
Go To Section

Pliny: Natural History

43fertilis. pomum ipsum grande, durum, horridumet a ceteris generibus distans sapore quodam ferinae in apris evidentissimo, quae causa nominis. quarta auctoritas sandalidum a similitudine appellatarum; iam in Aethiopiae fine quinque harum qui plurimas arbores tradunt, non raritate magis quam 44suavitate mirabiles. ab his caryotae maxime celebrantur, et cibo quidem sed et suco uberrimae, ex quibus praecipua vina orienti, inimica1 capiti, unde pomo nomen. sed ut copia ibi atque fertilitas, ita nobilitas in Iudaea, nec in tota sed Hiericunte maxime quamquam laudata et Archelaide et Phaselide atque Liviade, gentis eiusdem convallibus. dos iis praecipua suco pingui lactentibus quodamque vini 45sapore ut2 in melle praedulci. sicciores ex hoc genere nicolai, sed amplitudinis praecipuae, quaterni cubitorum longitudinem efficiunt. minus speciosae sed sapore caryotarum sorores et ob hoc adelphides dictae proximam suavitatem habent, non tamen eandem. tertium ex his genus, patetae, nimio liquore abundat rumpitque se pomi ipsius etiam in sua matre ebrietas, calcatis similis.


uum genus e sicciore turba dactylis, praelonga

  • 1Mueller: iniqua.
  • 2ut add. Rackham.


this book was published. The actual fruit is large, hard and prickly, and differs from all the other kinds by having a gamey sort of smell that is most noticed in wild boars, which is the reason for its name. The sandalis date, so called from its resemblance to a sandal, ranks fourth; of this kind again there are said to be at the most five trees in existence, on the border of Ethiopia, and they are as remarkable for the sweetness of their fruit as they are for their rarity. Next to these the most famous are the caryotae, which supply a great deal of food but also of juice, and from which the principal wines of the East are made; these strongly affect the head, to which the date owes its name.a But not only are these trees abundant and bear largely in Judaea, but also the most famous are found there, and not in the whole of that country but specially in Jericho, although those growing in the valleys of Archelais and Phaselis and Livias in the same country are also highly spoken of. Their outstanding property is the unctuous juice which they exude and an extremely sweet sort of wine-flavour like that of honey. The Nicholas dateb belonging to this class is not so juicy but exceptionally large in size, four put end to end making a length of eighteen inches. The date that comes next in sweetness is less attractive to look at, but in flavour is the sister of the caryotae and consequently is called in Greek the sister-date.c The third class among these, the pateta, has too copious a supply of juice, and the excess of liquor of the fruit itself bursts open even while on the parent tree, looking like dates that have been trodden on.

Of the many drier dates the finger-date forms a class of its own: it is a very long slender date,

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938