Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 370: 352-353

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Pliny: Natural History

consularem virum audivi biferas et iuglandes nuces habere se profitentem. de pistaciis, et ipso nucum genere, in suo loco retulimus. et haec autem idem Vitellius in Italiam primus intulit eodem tempore, simulque in Hispaniam Flaccus Pompeius eques Romanus qui cum eo militabat.

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XXV. Nuces vocamus et castaneas, quamquam accommodatiores glandium generi. armatum his echinato calyce vallum, quod inchoatum glandibus, mirumque vilissima esse quae tanta occultaverit cura naturae. trini quibusdam partus ex uno calyce; cortexque lentus, proxima vero corpori membrana et in his et in nucibus saporem, ni detrahatur, infestat. torrere has in cibis gratius, modo molantur,1 et praestant ieiunio feminarum quandam imaginem 93panis. Sardibus hae provenere primum: ideo apud Graecos Sardianos balanos appellant, nam Dios balanu nomen2 postea inposuere excellentioribus satu factis. nunc plura earum genera. Tarentinae faciles nec operosae cibo, planae figura. rotundior quae balanitis vocatur, purgabilis maxime et sponte prosiliens 94pura. plana est et Salariana, Tarentina minus tractabilis. laudatior Corelliana et ex ea facta quo

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Book XV

lately heard a man of consular rank declare that he owned some walnut trees that actually bore two crops a year. We have already spoken in thePistachio. XIII. 51. § 83. proper place of the pistachio, which is also a sort of nut. This also was likewise first brought into Italy by Vitellius at the same time, and it was simultaneously introduced into Spain by Pompeius Flaccus, Knight of Rome, who was serving with Vitellius.

XXV. We give the name of nut to the chestnutchestnut, provenance and varieties. also, although it seems to fit better into the acorn class. The chestnut has its armed rampart in its bristling shell, which in the acorn is only partly developed, and it is surprising that what nature has taken such pains to conceal should be the least valuable of things. Some chestnuts produce three nuts from one shell; and the skin is tough, but next to the body of the nut there is a membrane which both in the chestnut and the walnut spoils the taste if it is not peeled off. It is more agreeable as a food when roasted, provided it is ground up, and it supplies a sort of imitation bread for women when they are keeping a fast. They came first from Sardis, and consequently they are called nuts of Sardis among the Greeks, for the name of Zeus’s nut was given them later, after they had been improved by cultivation. There are now several varieties of them. The Taranto chestnut is light and digestible to eat; it has a flat shape. The chestnut called the acorn-chestnut is rounder; it is very easy to peel, and jumps out of the shell quite clean of its own accord. The Salarian chestnut also has a flat shape, but that of Taranto is less easy to handle. The Corellian is more highly spoken of, and so is the variety produced from it by the method which we shall speak of inxvii. 122.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938