Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 370: 478-479


Pliny: Natural History

inimicum lauro fecerat, sed in Olympo copiosior nulla est. circa Bosporum Cimmerium in Panticapaeo urbe omni modo laborabit Mithridates rex et ceteri incolae sacrorum certe causa laurum myrtumque habere: non contigit, cum teporis arbores abundent ibi, punicae ficique, iam mali et piri laudatissimae. 138frigidas eodem tractu non genuit arbores, pinum, abietem, piceam. et quid attinet in Pontum abire? iuxta Romam ipsam castaneae cerasique aegre proveniunt, persica in Tusculano, nuces1 Graecae cum taedio inseruntur Tarracina silvis scatente earum.


LX. Cupressus advena et difficillime nascentium fuit, ut de qua verbosius saepiusque quam de omnibus aliis prodiderit Cato, satu morosa, fructu supervacua, bacis torva, folio amara, odore violenta ac ne umbra quidem gratiosa, materie rara, ut paene fruticosi generis, Diti sacra et ideo funebri 140signo ad domos posita. femina <fert semen, mas>2 sterilis. diu metae demum aspectu non repudiata distinguendis tantum vinearum ordinibus, nunc vero tonsilis facta in densitatem3 parietum coercitaque gracilitate perpetuo teres4 trahitur etiam in picturas operis topiarii, venatus classesve et imagines rerum


Book XVI

unfriendly to the laurel, but no tree is more frequent on Mount Olympus. In the city of Kertch in the neighbourhood of the Cimmerian Bosphorus, King Mithridates and the rest of the natives had toiled in every way to have the laurel and the myrtle, at all events for ritual purposes, but they did not succeed, although trees belonging to a mild climate abound there, pomegranates and figs, as well as apples and pears that win the highest praise. In the same region Nature has not produced the trees that belong to cold climates—pine, fir and pitch-pine. And what is the point of our going abroad to the Black Sea? In the actual neighbourhood of Rome chestnuts and cherries only grow with reluctance, and the peach-tree round Tusculum, and almonds are laboriously grown from graft, although Tarracina teems with whole woods of them.

LX. The cypress is an exotic, and has been oneNaturalisation of the cypress for use in fancy gardening. of the most difficult trees to rear, seeing that Catoa has written about it at greater length and more often than about all the other trees, as stubborn to grow, of no use for fruit, with berries that cause a wry face, a bitter leaf, and a pungent smell: not even its shade agreeable and its timber scanty, so that it almost belongs to the class of shrubs; consecrated to Dis, and consequently placed at the doors of houses as a sign of mourning. The female bears seed but the male is sterile.b For a long time past merely owing to its pyramidal appearance it was not rejected just for the purpose of marking the rows in vineyards, but nowadays it is clipped and made into thick walls or evenly rounded off with trim slenderness, and it is even made to provide the representations of the landscape gardener’s work, arraying hunting

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938