Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 418: 434-435

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Book XXXI

like that of garum, and is different from salt, not only from foam salt. Egypt discovered it, and it appears to be brought down by the Nile. It also however floats on the surface of certain springs. The best kind of it yields a sort of oily fat, for there is, surprising as it may seem, a fat even in salt. It is adulterated too and coloured by red ochre, or usually by ground crockery; this sham is detected by water, which washes out the artificial colour, while the genuine is only removed by oil, and perfumers use it very commonly because of its colour. In vessels the whiteness is seen on the surface, but the inner part, as I have said,a is moister. The nature of flower of salt is acrid, heating, bad for the stomach, sudorific, aperient when taken in wine and water, and useful for anodynes and detergents. It also removes hair from eye-lids. The sediment is shaken up in order to restore the saffron colour. Besides these salines there is also what is called at the salt-pools salpugo, or sometimes salsilago. It is entirely liquid, differing from sea brine by its more salty character.

XLIII. There is yet another kind of choice liquor,Garum. called garum, consisting of the guts of fish and the other parts that would otherwise be considered refuse; these are soaked in salt, so that garum is really liquor from the putrefaction of these matters. Once this used to be made from a fish that the Greeks called garos; they shewed that by fumigation with its burning head the after-birth was brought away. Today the most popular garum is made from the scomberb in the fisheries of Carthago Spartariac—it is called garum of the allies—one thousand sesterces being

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938