Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 371: 236-237

Go To Section
Go To Section

Pliny: Natural History

maxume quidem oryza gaudent, ex qua tisanam conficiunt quam reliqui mortales ex hordeo. oryzae folia carnosa, porro similia sed latiora, altitudo cubitalis, flos purpureus, radix gemmeae1 rotunditatis.


XIV. Antiquissimum in cibis hordeum, sicut Atheniensium ritu Menandro auctore apparet et gladiatorum cognomine qui hordearii vocabantur. polentam quoque Graeci non aliunde praeferunt. pluribus fit haec modis: Graeci perfusum aqua hordeum siccant nocte una ac postero die frigunt, dein 73molis frangunt. sunt qui vehementius tostum rursus exigua aqua adspergant et siccent prius quam molant. alii vero virentibus spicis decussum hordeum recens purgant madidumque in pila tundunt atque in corbibus eluunt ac siccatum sole rursus tundunt et purgatum molunt. quocumque autem genere praeparato vicenis hordei libris ternas seminis lini et coriandri selibram salisque acetabulum, torrentes ante 74omnia, miscent in mola. qui diutius volunt servare cum polline ac furfuribus suis condunt novis fictilibus. Italia sine perfusione tostum in subtilem farinam molit, isdem additis atque etiam milio.

XV. Panem ex hordeo antiquis usitatum vita damnavit, quadripedumque fere cibus est, cum tisanae inde usus validissimus saluberrimusque tanto opere 75probetur: unum laudibus eius volumen dicavit

  • 1V.l.: geminae.


grain is however rice, of which they make a drink like the barley-water made by the rest of mankind. Rice leaves are fleshy, resembling leek but broader; the plant is 18 inches high, with a purple blossom and a root of a round shape like a precious stone.

XIV. Barley is the oldest among human foods, asUses of barley. is proved by the Athenian ceremonya recorded by Menander, and by the name given to gladiators, who used to be called ‘barley-men’. Also the Greeks prefer it to any other grain for porridge. There are several ways of making barley porridge: the Greeks soak some barley in water and then leave it for a night to dry, and next day dry it by the fire and then grind it in a mill. Some after roasting it more thoroughly sprinkle it again with a small amount of water and dry it before milling; others however shake the young barley out of the ears while green, clean it and while it is wet pound it in a mortar, and wash it of husk in baskets and then dry it in the sun and again pound it, clean it and grind it. But whatever kind of barley is used, when it has been got ready, in the mill they mix in three pounds of flax seed, half a pound of coriander seed, and an eighth of a pint of salt, previously roasting them all. Those who want to keep it for some time in store put it away in new earthenware jars with fine flour and its own bran. Italians bake it without steeping it in water and grind it into fine meal, with the addition of the same ingredients and millet as well.

XV. Barley bread was much used in earlier days, but has been condemned by experience, and barley is now mostly fed to animals, although the consumption of barley-water is proved so conclusively to be veryBarley water. conducive to strength and health: Hippocrates, one

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938