Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 370: 414-415


Pliny: Natural History


XVII. pinaster nihil est aliud quam pinus silvestris minor altitudine et a medio ramosa sicut pinus in vertice. copiosiorem dat haec resinam quo dicemus modo. gignitur et in planis. easdem arbores alio nomine esse per oram Italiae quas tibulos vocant plerique arbitrantur, sed graciles succinctioresque et enodes liburnicarum ad usus, paene sine resina.


XVIII. Picea montis amat atque frigora, feralis arbor et funebri indicio ad fores posita ac rogis virens, iam tamen et in domos recepta tonsili facilitate. haec plurimam fundit interveniente candida gemma tam simili turis ut mixta visu discerni non queat; unde 41fraus Seplasiae. omnibus his generibus folia brevia sed crassiora duraque ceu cupressis. piceae rami paene statim ab radice modici velut bracchia lateribus inhaerent.

Similiter abieti expetitae navigiis situs in excelso 42montium, ceu maria fugerit, nec forma alia. materies vero praecipua est trabibus et plurimis vitae operibus. resina in ea1 vitium, unde fructus piceae,


Book XVI


XVII. The pinaster is nothing else but a wildWild pine. pine tree of smaller height throwing out branches from the middle as the pine does at the top. This variety gives a larger quantity of resin, in the manner which we shall describe. It grows in flat countries§§ 57 f. also. Most people think that trees called tibuli that grow along the coasts of Italy are the same tree with another name, but the tibulus is a slender tree and more compact than the pinaster, and being free from knots is used for building light gallies; it is almost devoid of resin.

XVIII. The pitch-pine loves mountains and coldPitch-pines and firs. localities. It is a funereal tree, and is placed at the doors of houses as a token of bereavement and grown on graves; nevertheless nowadays it has also been admitted into our homes because of the ease with which it can be clipped into various shapes. This pine gives out a quantity of resin interspersed with white drops so closely resembling frankincense that when mixed with it they are indistinguishable to the eye; hence the adulteration is practised in the Seplasia.a All these classes of trees have short leaves, but rather thick and hard like the leaf of the cypress. The branches of the pitch-pine are of moderate size and grow out almost immediately from the root of the tree, attached to its sides like arms.

Similarly the fir, which is in great demand for building ships, grows high up on mountains, as though it had run away from the sea; and its shape is the same as that of the pitch-pine. But it supplies excellent timber for beams and a great many of the appliances of life. Resin, which gives its value to the pitch-pine, is a defect in the fir, which occasionally

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938