Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 371: 238-239

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Pliny: Natural History

Hippocrates e clarissimis medicinae scientia. tisanae bonitas praecipua Uticensi. in Aegypto vero est quae fiat ex hordeo cui sunt bini anguli. in Baetica et Africa genus ex quo fiat hordei glabrum appellat Turranius. idem olyran et oryzan eandem esse existimat. tisanae conficiendae volgata ratio est.


XVI. Simili modo e tritici semine tragum fit, in Campania dumtaxat et Aegypto,

XVII. amylum vero ex omni tritico ac siligine, sed optimum e trimestri. inventio eius Chio insulae debetur, et hodie laudatissimum inde. est appellatum ab eo quod sine mola fiat. proximum trimestri quod e minime ponderoso tritico. madescit dulci aqua in ligneis vasis, ita ut integatur quinquies in die mutata, melius si et noctu, ita ut integatur quinquies in die mutata, 77melius si et noctu, ita ut misceatur pariter. emollitum, prius quam acescat, linteo aut sportis saccatum1 tegulae infunditur inlitae fermento atque ita in sole densatur. post Chium maxime laudatur Creticum, mox Aegyptium. probatur autem levore et levitate atque ut recens sit. iam et Catoni dictum apud nos.



of the most famous authorities on medical science, has devoted one whole book to its praises. Utica barley-water is of outstanding quality. There is a kind in Egypt made of the double-pointed grain. The kind of barley used for making this drink in Andalusia and Africa is called by Turranius smooth barley. The same authority is of opinion that olyra,a and oryza (rice) are the same plant. The recipe for making barley-water is universally known.

XVI. Hulled-wheat grain is used in a similar wayStarch. for making pap, at all events in Campania and in Egypt;

XVII. and starch is made from every kind of wheat and common wheat,b but the best from three-month wheat. For its discovery we are indebted to the island of Chios, and that is where the best kind comes from to-day. Its namec is Greek, and means ‘made without milling’. Next to the starch made from three-month wheat is the kind made of the lightest sort of wheat. This is soaked with fresh water in wooden tubs, with the grain completely covered, the water being changed five times in the course of a day, and preferably in the night time as well, so as to get it mixed up evenly with the grain. When it is quite soft but before it goes sour it is strained through linen or wicker baskets and poured out on a tiled surface that has been smeared with leaven, and left to thicken in the sun. Next to the starch of Chios that from Crete is most highly spoken of; and then comes the Egyptian kind. The test of its quality is smooth consistency and light weight, and the condition of being fresh. It has moreover been mentioned already by Catod among ourselves.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938