Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 418: 550-551

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Pliny: Natural History

tenuant, donec inlini possint. aiunt1 ita curatos2 non repeti postea. Salpe negat canes latrare, quibus in offa rana viva data sit.

LII. Inter aquatilia dici debet et calamochnus, Latine adarca appellata. nascitur circa harundines tenues e spuma aquae dulcis ac marinae, ubi se miscent. vim habet causticam, ideo acopis utilis et contra perfrictionum vitia. tollit et mulierum lentigines 141in facie. et calami simul dici debent: phragmitis radix recens tusa luxatis medetur et spinae doloribus ex aceto inlita, Cyprii vero, qui et donax vocatur, cortex alopeciis medetur ustus et ulceribus veteratis,3 folia extrahendis quae infixa sint corpori et igni sacro. paniculae flos aures si intravit, exsurdat. sepiae atramento tanta vis est, ut in lucernam4 addito Aethiopas videri ablato priore lumine Anaxilaus tradat. rubeta excocta aqua potui data suum morbis medetur vel cuiuscumque ranae cinis. pulmone marino si confricetur lignum, ardere videtur adeo, ut baculum ita praeluceat.


LIII. Peractis aquatilium dotibus non alienum videtur indicare per tot maria, tam vasta et tot milibus passuum terrae infusa extraque circumdata mensura, paene ipsius mundi quae intellegatur, animalia centum



down in water until they can be used as ointment. It is said that a horse so treated is never attacked again afterwards. Salpe says that dogs do not barka if a live frog has been put into their mess.

LII. Among water creatures ought also to be mentioned calamochnus, the Latin name of which is adarca. It collects around thin reeds from the foam forming where fresh and sea water mingle. It has a caustic property, and is therefore useful for tonic pills and to cure cold shiverings. It also removes freckles on the face of women. At the same time reeds should be spoken of. The root of phragmites, pounded fresh, cures dislocations, and applied with vinegar pains in the spine; the Cyprian reed indeed, also called donax, has a bark which when calcined cures mange and chronic ulcers, and its leaves extract things embedded in the flesh, and help erysipelas. The flower of the reed panicula causes complete deafness if it has entered the ears. The ink of the cuttle fish has so great power that Anaxilaus reports that poured into a lamp the former light utterly vanishes, and people appear as black as Ethiopians. A bramble toad thoroughly boiled in water and given to drink cures pigs’ diseases, as does the ash of any frog or toad. If wood is thoroughly rubbed with pulmo marinus it seems to be on fire, so much so that a walking-stick, so treated, throws a light forward.

LIII. Now that I have completed my account of the natural qualities of aquatic plants and animals, it seems to me not foreign to my purpose to point out that, throughout all the seas which are so numerous and spacious and come flooding into the landmass over so many miles and surround it outside to

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938