Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 371: 234-235

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Pliny: Natural History

frumento in potum resoluto quibus diximus generibus spuma ita concreta pro fermento utuntur, qua de 69causa levior illis quam ceteris panis est. est differentia et calami, crassior quippe melioris est generis. plurimis tunicis Thracium triticum vestitur ob nimia frigora illi plagae requisitum.1 eadem causa et trimenstre2 invenit detinentibus terras nivibus quod tertio fere a satu mense cum et in reliquo orbe metitur. totis hoc Alpibus notum, et hiemalibus provinciis nullum hoc frumento laetius; unicalamum praeterea nec usquam capax, seriturque non nisi tenui terra. 70est et bimestre circa Thraciae Aenum, quod xl die e3 quo satum est maturescit, mirumque nulli frumento plus esse ponderis et furfuribus carere. utitur eo et Sicilia et Achaia, montuosis utraque partibus, Euboea quoque circa Carystum. in tantum fallitur Columella qui ne trimestri quidem proprium genus existimaverit esse, cum sit antiquissimum. Graeci setanion vocant. tradunt in Bactris grana tantae magnitudinis fieri ut singula spicas nostras aequent.

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XIII. Primum ex omnibus frumentis seritur hordeum. dabimus et dies serendo cuique generi natura singulorum exposita. hordeum Indis sativum et silvestre, ex quo panis apud eos praecipuus et alica.4

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Book XVIII

kinds we have stated is steeped to make beer the§§ 62, 67. foam that forms on the surface in the process is used for leaven, in consequence of which those races have a lighter kind of bread than others. There is also a difference in the stalk, that of the better sort of grain being thicker. Thracian wheat is clothed with a great many husks, which is necessary for that region because of the excessive frosts. The same reason has also led to the discovery of a three-month wheat, because the snow holds back the ground; it is reaped about three monthsa after sowing, at the same time as wheat is harvested in the rest of the world. This wheat is known all over the Alps, and in the provinces with cold climates no corn flourishes better than this; moreover it has a single stem and in no region holds much grain, and it is never sown except in a thin soil. There is actually a two-month variety in the neighbourhood of Aenus in Thrace, which begins to ripen six weeks after it is sown; and it is surprising that no corn weighs heavier, and that it produces no bran. It is also used in Sicily and Achaia, in both cases in mountain districts, and in Euboea in the neighbourhood of Carystus. So greatly is Columella mistaken in hisI. 9. 8. opinion that even three-month wheat is not a distinct variety, although it is of extreme antiquity. The Greeks call it setanion.b It is said that in Bactria the grains of wheat grow so large that a single grain is as big as our ears of corn.c

XIII. The one sown first of all the cereals is barley.Barley. After explaining the nature of each variety we will also give the date for sowing. India has both cultivated and wild barley, and from it the natives make their best bread and also porridge.d Their favourite

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938