Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 370: 12-13

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Pliny: Natural History

incolarum numero esse coepere dicentur inter frugi-feras. in praesentia externas persequemur a salutari maxime orsi.


Malus Assyria, quam alii Medicam vocant, venenis medetur. folium eius est unedonis intercurrentibus spinis. pomum ipsum alias non manditur, odore praecellit foliorum quoque, qui transit in vestes una conditas1 arcetque animalium noxia. arbor ipsa omnibus horis pomifera est, aliis cadentibus, aliis 16maturescentibus, aliis vero subnascentibus. temptavere gentes transferre ad sese propter remedii praestantiam fictilibus in vasis, dato per cavernas radicibus spiramento (qualiter omnia transitura longius seri artissime transferrique meminisse conveniet, ut semel quaeque dicantur); sed nisi apud Medos et in Perside nasci noluit. hoc est cuius grana Parthorum proceres incoquere diximus esculentis commendandi halitus gratia. nec alia arbor laudatur in Medis.


VIII. Lanigeras Serum in mentione gentis eius narravimus, item Indiae arborum magnitudinem. unam e peculiaribus Indiae Vergilius celebravit hebenum, nusquam alibi nasci professus. Herodotus eam Aethiopiae intellegi maluit, in tributi vicem


Book XII

will be specified among the fruit-trees. For the present we will go through the real exotics, beginning with the one most valuable for health.

The citron or Assyrian apple, called by others theThe citron. Median apple, is an antidote against poisons. It has the leaves of the strawberry-tree, but with prickles running among them. For the rest, the actual fruit is not eaten, but it has an exceptionally strong scent, which belongs also to the leaves, and which penetrates garments stored with them and keeps off injurious insects. The tree itself bears fruit at all seasons, some of the apples falling while others are ripening and others just forming. Because of its great medicinal value various nations have tried to acclimatize it in their own countries, importing it in earthenware pots provided with breathing holes for the roots (and similarly, as it will be convenient to record here so that each of my points may be mentioned only once, all plants that are to travel a specially long distance are planted as tightly as possible for transport); but it has refused to grow except in Media and Persia. It is this fruit the pips of which, as we have mentioned, the ParthianXII. 278. grandees have cooked with their viands for the sake of sweetening their breath. And among the Medes no other tree is highly commended.

VIII. We have already described the wool-bearingVI. 54. trees of the Chinese in making mention of that race, and we have spoken of the large size of the trees inVII. 21. India. One of those peculiar to India, the ebony, isIndian trees: ebony. spoken of in glowing terms by Virgil,a who states that it does not grow in any other country. Herodotus,b however, prefers it to be ascribed to Ethiopia, stating that the Ethiopians used to pay as tribute to the

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938