Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 371: 530-531

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Pliny: Natural History

eius etiam pro pulmentario in patellis decocti1 citra intellectum acrimoniae; cocuntur et folia, sicut reliquorum olerum. sunt autem trium generum: unum gracile, alterum simile rapi foliis, tertium erucae. semen optimum Aegyptium. Athenienses napy appellaverunt, alii thlaspi,2 alii saurion.

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LV. Serpyllo et sisymbrio montes plerique scatent, sicut Threciae; itaque3 deferunt ex his avulsos ramos seruntque, item Sicyone ex suis montibus et Athenis ex Hymetto. simili modo et sisymbrium serunt, laetissimum nascitur in puteorum parietibus et circa piscinas ac stagna.

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LVI. Reliqua sunt ferulacei generis, ceu feniculum anguibus, ut diximus, gratissimum, ad condienda plurima cum inaruit utile,4 eique perquam similis thapsia, de qua diximus inter externos frutices, deinde utilissima funibus cannabis. seritur a favonio; quo densior est eo tenerior. semen eius, cum est maturum, ab aequinoctio autumni destringitur et sole aut vento aut fumo siccatur. ipsa cannabis vellitur post vindemiam ac lucubrationibus decorticata purgatur. 174optima Alabandica, plagarum praecipue usibus. tria eius ibi genera: inprobatur cortici proximum aut

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Book XIX

It is also used to make a relish, by being boiled down in saucepans till its sharp flavour ceases to be noticeable; also its leaves are boiled, like those of all other vegetables. There are three kinds of mustard plant, one of a slender shape, another with leaves like those of turnip, and the third with those of rocket. The best seed comes from Egypt. The Athenian word for mustard is napy, those of other dialects thlaspi and lizard-herb.

LV. Most mountains teem with thyme and wildThyme and wild or water-mint. mint, for instance the mountains of Thrace, and so people pluck off sprays of them there and bring them down to plant; and they do the same at Sicyon from mountains there and at Athens from Hymettus. Wild mint is also planted in a similar manner; it grows most abundantly on the walls of wells and round fishpools and ponds.

LVI. There remain the garden plants of the fennel-giantFennel, hemp. class, for instance fennel, which snakes are very fond of, as we have said, and which when driedVIII. 99. is useful for seasoning a great many dishes, and thapsia, which closely resembles it, of which we have spoken among foreign bushes, and then hemp, whichXIII. 124. is exceedingly useful for ropes. Hemp is sown when the spring west wind sets in; the closer it grows the thinner its stalks are. Its seed when ripe is stripped off after the autumn equinox and dried in the sun or wind or by the smoke of a fire. The hemp plant itself is plucked after the vintage, and peeling and cleaning it is a task done by candle light. The best is that of Arab-Hissar, which is specially used for making hunting-nets. Three classes of hemp are produced at that place: that nearest to the bark or the pith is considered of inferior value, while that

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938