Natural History (Rackham, Jones, & Eichholz)/Book 31
I. THERE follow the medicinal benefits obtained from aquatic animals; Nature the Creator is not idle even among them, but puts forth her tireless strength on waves, billows, ebb and flow of tides, and the rapid currents of rivers; and nowhere with greater might, if we will but admit the truth, seeing that this element is lord over all the others. Water swallows up the land, destroys flames, climbs aloft claiming the sovereignty even of the sky, and by a blanket of clouds chokes the life-giving spirit, so forcing out thunderbolts, the world waging civil war with itself. What can be more wonderful than water seated in the sky? But as though it were a little thing to reach this great height, water sucks up thither with itself shoals of fish, and often even stones, carrying up aloft a weight other than its own. This element also falls again to become the source of all things that spring from the earth. Right wonderful action this on the part of Nature, if one considers it: in order that crops may grow, and that trees and shrubs may live, water soars to the sky and brings down thence even to plants the breath of life, so we are forced to admit that all the powers of earth too are part of the beneficence of water. Wherefore I shall first of all give examples of the might of water, for what mortal man could count them all?
II.. Everywhere in many lands gush forth beneficent waters, here cold, there hot, there both, as among the Tarbelli, an Aquitanian tribe, and in the Pyrenees, with only a short distance separating the two, in some places tepid and lukewarm, promising relief to the sick and bursting forth to help only men of all the animals. Water adds to the number of the gods by its various names, and founds cities, such as Puteoli in Campania, Statiellae in Liguria, and Sextiae in the province of Narbonensis. Nowhere however is water more bountiful than in the Bay of Baiae, or with more variety of relief: some has the virtue of sulphur, some of alum, some of salt, some of soda, some of bitumen, some are even acid and salt in combination; of some the mere steam is beneficial, of which the power a is so great that it heats baths and even makes cold water boil in the tubs. The water called Posidian in the region of Baiae, getting its name from a freedman of Claudius Caesar, cooks thoroughly even meat. In the sea itself too, steam rises from the water that belonged to Licinius Crassus, and there comes something valuable to health in the very midst of the billows.
III. To come now to the classes of water: some waters are good for sinews or feet, or for sciatica; others for dislocations or fractures; they purge the bowels; heal wounds; are specific for head, or for ears; while the Ciceronian are so for the eyes. It is worth while recording that there is a country seat on the coast as you go from Lake Avernus to Puteoli, with a famous portico and grove, which lvi. Cicero, copying Athens, called Academia. There he wrote the volumes called Academica, and in it he also erected memorials to himself, as though indeed he had not done so throughout the whole world. In the front part of this estate, when the owner was Antistius Vetus, a short time after Cicero's demise there burst out hot springs, very beneficial for eye complaints, which have been made famous by a poem of Laurea Tullus, who was one of Cicero's freedmen. From it we at once realize that even his servants drew inspiration from that mighty genius. For I will quote the actual poem, which deserves to be read, not only on this site, but everywhere.
'O famous champion of our Latin tongue, where grows with a fairer green the grove you bade rise, and the villa, honoured by the name of Academe, Vetus keeps in repair under a more careful tendance, here are also to be seen waters not revealed before, which with drops infused relieve wearied eyes. For indeed the site itself gave this gift as an honour to Cicero its master, when it disclosed springs with this healing power, so that, since he is read throughout the whole world, there may be more waters to give sight to eyes.'
IV. In Campania too are the waters of Sinuessa, which are said to cure barrenness in women and insanity in men.
V. The waters in the island of Aenaria are said to cure stone in the bladder, as does also the water called Acidulait is a cold onefour miles from Teanum Sidicinum, that at Stabiae called Dimidia, and the water of Venafrum from the spring Acidulus. The same result comes from drinking the water of Lake Velia, also of the Syrian spring near Mount Taurus, according to Marcus Varro, and of the Phrygian river Gallus, according to Callimachus. But here moderation is necessary in drinking lest it drive people to madness, which Ctesias writes those suffer from who drink of the Red Spring in Ethiopia.
VI. Near Rome the waters of Albula heal wounds. These are lukewarm, but those of Cutilia of the Sabines are very cold, penetrating the body with a sort of suction, so that they might seem almost to bite, being very healthful to the stomach, the sinews, and the whole body.
VII. The spring at Thespiae causes women to conceive, as does the river Elatum in Arcadia, and the spring Linus, also in Arcadia, guards the embryo and prevents miscarriage. The river in Pyrrha, on the contrary, that is called Aphrodisium, causes barrenness.
VIII. The water of Lake Alphins removes psoriasis, Varro tells us, adding that Titius, an ex-praetor, as a result of this complaint had a face like that of a marble statue. The Cydnus, a river of Cilicia, cures gout, as appears from a letter of Cassius of Parma to M. Antonius. On the other hand, it is the fault of the water in Troezen that everyone there suffers from diseases of the feet. The Tungri, a state of Gaul, has a remarkable spring that sparkles with innumerable bubbles, with a taste of iron rust, which yet cannot be detected until the water has been drunk. It is a purgative, and cures tertian agues and stone in the bladder. This water also, if fire is brought near it, becomes turbid, and finally turns red. White Earth Springs, between Puteoli and Naples, is good for complaints of the eyes and for wounds. Cicero in his Book of Marvels alleges that only by marsh water of Reate are the hoofs of draught cattle hardened.
IX. Eudicus tells us that in Hestiaeotis are two springs: Cerona, which makes black the sheep that drink of it, and Neleus, which makes them white, while they are mottled if they drink of each. Theophrastus says that at Thurii the Crathis makes oxen and sheep white, and the Sybaris makes them black.
X. He adds that men too are affected by this difference: that those who drink of the Sybaris are darker and more hardy, and with curly hair, while those who drink of the Crathis are fair, softer, and with straight hair. He also says that in Macedonia those who wish white young to be born lead their beasts to the Haliacmon, but to the Axius if they wish the young to be black or dark. The same authority adds that in certain places all produce grows to be dark, even grain and vegetables, as among the Messapii, and that in a certain spring at Lusi in Arcadia land mice live and dwell. At Erythrae the river Axios makes hair grow on the body.
XI. In Boeotia by the temple of Trophonius near the river Hercynnus are two springs; one brings remembrance, the other forgetfulness; hence the names that have been given them.
XII. In Cilicia near the town Cescum flows the river Nuus. Those that drink of it become, says Marcus Varro, of keener perception, but on the bland of Cea there is a spring that makes men dull, and at Zama in Africa is one that gives the drinkers a tuneful voice.
XIII. Disgust at wine, says Eudoxus, comes upon those who have drunk of Lake Clitorius, but Theopompus says that drunkenness is caused by the springs that I have mentioned, and Mucianus that at Andros, from the spring of Father Liber, on fixed seven-day festivals of this god, flows wine, but if its water is carried out of sight of the temple the taste turns to that of water.
XIV. Polyclitus says that with the river Liparis near Soli in Cilicia people are anointed, Theophrastus says this of a spring with the same name in Ethiopia, and Lycos that among the Oratae of India is a spring the water of which keeps lamps burning bright. The same is said of one at Ecbatana. Theopompus says that among the people of Scotussa is a lake that heals wounds. Juba says that among the Trogodytae is a lake called Insanus, so named from its evil character, for three times a day and three times each night it becomes bitter, and then again fresh, full of white serpents twenty cubits long; he also says that in Arabia is a spring that bursts forth with such violence that it throws out everything, no matter how heavy, that is heaved into it.
XVI. Theophrastus tells us that a spring of Marsyas in Phygia, near the town of Celaenae, casts out rocks. Not far from it are two springs, named Claeon and Gelon, so called from the force of their Greek names. A spring at Cyzicus is called Cupid's Spring; those who drink of it, Mucianus believes, lose their amorous desires.
XVII. In Crannon is a hot spring which just falls short of boiling, the water of which with wine added remains in vessels a hot drink for three days. There are also in Germany across the Rhine the hot springs of Mattiaeum, a draught from which is boiling hot for three days; around the borders indeed the water forms pumice.
XVIII. But if anybody thinks that some of these statements are incredible, he has to learn that in no sphere does Nature show greater marvels, although in the early parts of my work I have mentioned plenty of examples. Ctesias tells us that there is in India standing water called Silasp in which nothing floats but everything sinks to the bottom; Coelius says in our Avernus even leaves sink, and Varro that the birds that fly to it die. On the other hand, in the African lake Apuscidamus everything floats and nothing sinks; similarly in the Sicilian spring Phinthia, as Apion tells us, and among the Medes in the lake and well of Saturn. Again, the source of the river Limyra often crosses to neighbouring districts, indicating some portent, and a wonderful thing is that the fish cross with it. The inhabitants seek responses from them, offering food. To give a favourable answer the fish snap it up; but for an unfavourable one, they knock it away with their tails. The river Alcas in Bithynia flows by Bryazusthis is the name both of a god and of his templethe current of which perjured persons are said to be unable to endure, as it burns like a flame. In Cantabria the springs of the Tamaris are supposed to be prophetic. Three in number they are eight feet apart, uniting in one channel to form a vast river. Each one dries up for periods of twelve, occasionally of twenty days, without the slightest trace of water, although there is a copious spring near them that never dries up. It is an evil portent if those wishing to look at them find them not flowing, as recently Larcius Licinius, a legate pro-praetore discovered after seven days. In Judea is a stream that dries up every Sabbath.
XIX. On the other hand some other marvels are deadly. Ctesias writes that in Armenia is a spring in which are dark fish that, eaten as food, bring instant death, as I have heard do the fish also from the water around the rising of the Danube, until a spring is reached close to the main channel, where the fish of this sort go no further. At this point, therefore, report says is the real source of that river. They tell us that this same phenomenon occurs in Lydia in the marsh of the Nymphs. In Arcadia near the Pheneus there flows from the rocks a stream called Styx, which I have said proves instantly fatal to life, but Theophrastus tells us that in it are small fish equally deadly; no other kind of poisonous spring is like this. Theopompus also says that near Cychri in Thrace are deadly waters, Lycos that at Leontini is water that kills on the third day after drinking, and Varro that on Soracte is poisonous water in a spring four feet wide. At sunrise, he adds, this bubbles out as though it boiled, and birds that have tasted it lie dead close by. For certain waters have also this insidious property, that the very prospect is attractive; as at Nonacris in Arcadia, which has nothing at all about it to serve as a warning. They think that this water harms by its excessive cold, seeing that as it flows it itself turns to stone. It is otherwise around Tempe in Thessaly, for its poison is a terror to everyone, and they tell us that by the water there even bronze and iron are corroded. It flows, as I have pointed out, for only a short distance, and a marvellous thing is related of this spring: it is embraced by the roots of a wild carob always bearing purple blossom. And a unique kind of herb flourishes on the margins of the spring. In Macedonia, not far from the tomb of the poet Euripides, two streams join, one very wholesome to drink, the other a deadly poison.
XX. At Perperena is a spring that turns to stone whatever land it irrigates, as do also the hot waters at Aedepsus in Euboea, for, whatever rocks the stream reaches increase in height. At Eurymenae chaplets, thrown into a spring, turn to stone. At Colossae is a river, and bricks when cast into it are of stone when taken out. In Scyros in the mine all the trees watered by the river are turned to rock, branches and all. Drops too dripping from the stone harden in certain caves, and hence these are concave in shape. But at Mieza in Macedonia the drops actually hang from the arched roofs, while in the Corinthian cave they petrify after falling; in certain caverns the stone forms in both ways and makes pillars, as at Phausia in the Chersonesus opposite to Rhodes in a huge cave, where the pillars are actually of different colours to look at. These examples must be enough for the present.
XXI. It is a question debated by the physicians what kinds of water are most beneficial. They rightly condemn stagnant and sluggish waters, holding that running water is more beneficial, as it is made finer and more healthy by the mere agitation of the current. For this reason I am surprised that some physicians recommend highly water from cisterns. But these physicians put forward a reason; the lightest water, they say, is rainwater, seeing that it has been able to rise and to be suspended in the atmosphere. Therefore they also prefer snow and ice even more than snow, as though its texture were rarefied to the utmost; for, they say, snow and ice are lighter than water, and ice much lighter. To refute this view is a matter that is important to all men. For first of all, this lightness of water can be discovered with difficulty except by sensation, as the kinds of water differ practically nothing in weight. Nor is it proof of the lightness of rain water that it rose to the sky, since even stones are seen to do the same, and as it falls it is infected with exhalations from the earth. Hence it comes about that rainwater is found to be full of dirt, for which reason this water becomes hot very quickly. That snow indeed and ice should be considered the finest form of that element makes me wonder, when I have before me the evidence of hailstones, to drink the water of which it is agreed is most unwholesome. Not a few physicians however themselves maintain that hail and snow on the contrary make very unhealthy drink, since there has been taken from it what was its thinnest part. Certainly it is found that every liquid becomes smaller when frozen, that too much dew brings blight, and hoar frost blast, effects caused by snow also being akin. Rainwater, it is agreed, becomes putrid very quickly, and it is the worst water to stand a voyage. Epigenes, however, says that water which has become putrid and been purified seven times becomes putrid no more. But cistern water even physicians admit is harmful to the bowels and throat because of its hardness, and no other water contains more slime or disgusting insects. Yet it must be admitted, they hold, that river water is not ipso facto the most wholesome, nor yet that of any torrent whatsoever, while there are very many lakes that are wholesome. What water then, and of what kind, is the best? It varies with the locality. The kings of Parthia drink only of the Choaspes and the Eulaeus; water from these rivers is taken with them even into distant regions. But it is clear that the water of these rivers does not find favour just because they are rivers, for the kings do not drink from the Tigris, Euphrates, or many other rivers.
XXII. Slime in water is bad. If however the same river is full of eels, it is held to be a sign of wholesomeness, as it is of coldness for worms to breed in a spring. But before all are condemned bitter waters, and those that give a full feeling immediately after drinking, as does the water at Troezen. But the nitrous and salty-acid streams that in the desert flow to the Red Sea are made sweet within two hours if pearl barley is added, and the barley itself they eat. Especially are condemned waters that have mud at their source, and those that give a bad colour to those who drink of them. It also makes a difference if water stains bronze vessels, or if it cooks greens slowly, if when gently filtered out it leaves a sediment of earth, or when boiled thickly encrusts the vessel. Not only too is fetid water bad, but also that which tastes of anything at all, though the taste may be pleasant and agreeable, or, as often happens, approaching that of milk. Wholesome water ought to be very like air. In the whole world one spring of water only is said to have a pleasant smell, and that is at Chabura in Mesopotamia; a reason is sought in the legend that with it Juno was bathed. Apart from this wholesome water should have no sort of taste or smell.
XXIII. Some judge the wholesomeness of water by means of the balance. This is wasted carefulness, for it is very rare for one water to be lighter than another. A more reliable and a delicate test is that, other things being equal, a water is better that becomes warm and cool more quickly. Moreover we are told that if drawn in vessels [without being weighed, or without being warmed by the hand] and placed on the ground, the better water becomes warm. From what source then shall we obtain the most commendable water? From wells surely, as I see they are generally used in towns, but they should be those the water of which by frequent withdrawals is kept in constant motion, and those where due thinness is obtained by filtering through the earth. For wholesomeness so much suffices; for coolness both shade is necessary and that the well should be open to the air. One point above all must be observedand this is also important for a continuous flowwell water should issue from the bottom, not the sides. But coolness to the touch can also be obtained artificially, if the water is forced aloft or let fall from a height, beating and absorbing the air. In swimming indeed the same water is felt to be cooler by those who hold their breath. It was a discovery of the Emperor Nero to boil water and cool it in a glass vessel by thrusting it into snow. In this way is obtained a pleasant coolness without the injurious qualities of snow. At any rate it is agreed that all water is more serviceable when boiled, and that water which has been heated can be cooled to a greater degreea most clever discovery. It purifies bad water to boil it down to one half. Cold water taken internally checks bleeding, and to hold it in the mouth prevents overheating in the bath. Water that is very cold to swallow is not always so to the touch; this good quality alternates as many find out by personal experience.
XXIV. The first prize for the coolest and most wholesome water in the whole world has been awarded by the voice of Rome to the Aqua Marcia, one of the gods' gifts to our city. This was once called the Aqua Aufeia, and the source itself Aqua Pitonia. It rises at the extreme end of the Paelignian range, crosses the country of the Marsi and the Fucine lake, plainly making straight for Rome. Next it sinks into the underground caves near Tibur, reappearing and completing its journey of nine more miles along an aqueduct. The first to begin the bringing of this water to Rome was one of the kings, Ancus Marcius; later, repairs were carried out by Quintus Marcius Rex in his praetorship, and again by Marcus Agrippa.
XXV. The same Agrippa also brought the Virgin Water to Rome from the byroad, eight miles away, that extends two miles along the road to Praeneste. Nearby is the stream of Hercules, and because the Virgin Water runs away from this it was so named. A comparison of these rivers illustrates the difference mentioned above; for the Aqua Marcia is as much superior to swallow as the Virgin is cool to touch. And yet Rome has long since lost the delights of each, for love of display and greed have diverted these means of public health to country seats and suburbs.
XXVI. It would be pertinent to add the method of searching for water. It is found mostly in enclosed valleys, and what may be called the hinge of converging slopes, or at the foot of mountains. Many have thought that everywhere the northern are the watery slopes. On this matter it would be well to point out the variableness of Nature. In the Hyrcanian mountains it does not rain on the southern slope, and so only on the north side are there woods. But Olympus, Ossa, Parnassus, the Apennines, and the Alps, are everywhere covered with trees and watered by rivers; others are so only on the south side, as are the White Mountains in Crete. So in this matter there will be no unvarying rule to follow.
XXVII. Signs of the presence of water are rushes, the plant about which I have spoken, and frogs squatting on their chest in great numbers for any one place. For wild willow, alder, vitex, reed, or ivy, which grow spontaneously and where there is a settling of rainwater flowing from higher regions to one lower down, are deceptive indications; one much more reliable is a misty steam, visible from a distance before sunrise, for which some water-finders watch from a height, lying prone with their chin touching the earth. There is also a special sign, known only to experts, which they look for in the hottest season and in the most blazing heat of the day, the nature of the reflection that shines from each locality. For if one spot looks moister while the earth around is parching, that is an infallible sign. But so great is the necessary strain on the eyes that pain results. To avoid this strain they have recourse to other tests. They dig a hole to the depth of five feet, covering it with jars of unbaked potters' clay, or else with a well-oiled bronze basin, and also a burning lamp arched over with foliage and earth on top; if the clay is found to be wet or broken, or if moisture covers the bronze, or the lamp goes out without any failure of oil, or perchance a flock of wool is wet, then the finding of water is assured. Some also light a fire first and dry the hole, making yet more conclusive the evidence of the vessels.
XXVIII. The earth however itself guarantees water by white spots or by being green all over. For in black earth the springs are generally not permanent. Potters clay always dashes hopes of water, and further well-digging ceases when it is observed that the earth's strata begin with black and go down in the order given above. Water in clay is always sweet, but cooler in tufa. For tufa too is commended, for it makes water sweet and very light; acting as a strainer it keeps back any dirt. Loam indicates scanty trickles with shine, gravel intermittent springs but of a good flavour, male loam or carbunculus-sand; continuous streams, steady and wholesome; red rock points to the certain presence of excellent water; the rocky bases of mountains, or flint, point to the same kind of water, with great coolness in addition. But as the diggers go deeper, the clods should prove continually moister, and the spades cut down more easily. When wells have been sunk deep, the well-diggers are killed if they meet with sulphurous or aluminous fumes. A test for this danger is to let down a lighted lamp and see if it goes out. If it does, vent-holes are sunk at the side of the well, on the right and on the left, to take off the oppressive gas. Apart from these injurious substances, mere depth makes the air oppressive; it is dissipated by continuous fanning with linen cloths. When water has been reached, walls are built from the bottom no cement being used lest the springs be dammed up. Some water, the source of which is not at a height, is cooler right from the beginning of springfor it is made up of winter rainsome is cooler after the rising of the Dog-star; in Macedonia at Pella are both kinds. For before the town there is a marsh stream that is cold at the beginning of summer; then in the higher parts of the town the water is very cold even in the height of summer. A similar phenomenon occurs in Chios also, the relative position of harbour and town being the same. At Athens, Enneacrunos in a cloudy summer is cooler than the well in the Garden of Juppiter, while this latter is very cold during summer droughts. Wells however generally run dry about Arcturus, not in the actual summer, and all sink low during the four days of its rising. Moreover many wells fail throughout the winter, as those around Olynthus, the water returning first in the spring. In Sicily indeed, in the region of Messana and Mylae, springs in winter dry up altogether, but in the actual summer overflow and form rivers. At Apollonia in Pontus a spring near the sea is flooded only in summer, and especially about the rising of the Dog-star, but less so if the summer is colder than usual. Certain lands become drier in rainy weather, as the region of Narnia; Marcus Cicero included this in his Marvels, saying that drought brings mud, and rain dust.
XXIX. All water is sweeter in winter, in summer less so, in autumn least, and less during droughts. The taste of rivers is usually variable, owing to the great difference in river beds. For waters vary with the land over which they flow, and with the juices of the plants they wash. Therefore the same rivers are found in some parts to be unwholesome. Tributaries too alter the flavour of a river, as do those of the Borysthenes, and being absorbed are diluted. Some rivers indeed are also changed by rain. Three times it has happened in the Bosphorus that salt rains fell and ruined the crops, and three times rains have made bitter the inundations of the Nile, a great plague for Egypt.
XXX. Springs arise often when woods have been cut down, being used up before as sustenance for the trees; this happened when Cassander was besieging the Gauls after the woods on Mount Haemus had been felled by them to make a rampart. Often indeed devastating torrents unite when from hills has been cut away the wood that used to hold the rains and absorbs them. It also improves the water supply for the earth to he dug and tilled, and for the hard surface crust to be broken up. It is at any rate reported that in Crete, when a town called Arcadia had been stormed, the many springs and rivers of that region went dry, and six years afterwards, when the town was rebuilt, they reappeared, as each piece of land came under cultivation. Earthquakes too make water break out or swallow it up, for example, as is well known, around Pheneus in Arcadia this has happened five times. Thus too on Mount Coryeus a river burst out, but afterwards came to be tilled ground. Any change is startling when no obvious reason for it is to be seen. In Magnesia for instance hot water became cold but its salty flavour remained unaltered; while in Caria, where the temple of Neptune is, a river which before had been sweet was changed to salt. The following phenomena too are very wonderful: the Arethusa at Syracuse smells of dung during the Olympian games, a likely thing, for the Alpheus crosses to that island under the bed of the seas. A spring in the Rhodian Chersonesus pours out refuse every ninth year. The colour too of water changes, for example at Babylon a lake in summer has red water for eleven days, and the Borysthenes at fixed intervals flows with a blue colour, although of all waters it is the thinnest, and for that reason flows above the Hypanis. Wherein is another marvel: when south winds blow the Hypanis goes above. But other evidence for the thinness of the Borysthenes is that it gives out no exhalation, not to say no mist. Those who wish to be thought careful enquirers into these matters say that water becomes heavier after the winter solstice.
XXXI. For the rest, the best way for water to be brought from a spring is in earthenware pipes two fingers thick, the joints boxed together so that the upper pipe fits into the lower, and smoothed with quicklime and oil. The gradient of the water should be at least a quarter of an inch every hundred feet; should it come in a tunnel, there must be vent holes every two actus. When water is required to form a jet, it should come in lead pipes. Water rises as high as its source. If it comes from a long distance, the pipe should frequently go up and down, so that no momentum may be lost. The usual length for a piece of piping is ten feet; five-finger lengths should weigh 60 pounds, eight-finger lengths 100 pounds, ten-finger lengths 120 pounds, and so on in proportion. A ten-finger pipe is so called when the breadth of the strip before bending is ten fingers, and one half as large a five-finger pipe. At every bend of a hill where the momentum must be controlled, it is necessary to use a five-finger pipe; reservoirs must be made according as circumstances require.
XXXII. I wonder that Homer made no mention of hot springs, and that though he frequently speaks of hot baths, the reason being that modern hydropathie treatment was not then a part of medicine. Sulphur waters, however, are good for the sinews, alum waters for paralysis and similar cases of collapse, waters containing bitumen and soda, such as that of Cutilia, are good for drinking and as a purge. Many people make a matter of boasting the great number of hours they can endure the heat of these sulphur watersa very injurious practice, for one should remain in them a little longer than in the bath, afterwards rinse in cool, fresh water, and not go away without a rubbing with oil. The common people find these details irksome, and so there is no greater risk to health than this treatment, because an overpowering smell goes to the head, which sweats and is seized with chill, while the rest of the body is immersed. Those make a like mistake who boast of the great quantity they can drink. I have seen some already swollen with drinking to such an extent that their rings were covered by skin, since they could not void the vast amount of water they had swallowed. So it is not good to drink these waters without a frequent taste of salt. The mud too of medicinal springs is used with advantage, but the application should be dried in the sun. We must not think, however, that all hot waters are medicinal; for there are those at Segesta in Sicily, at Larisa in the Troad, at Magnesia, in Melos and Lipara. Nor is the discoloration of bronze or silver a proof, as many have thought, of medicinal properties, since there are none in the springs of Patavium. Between medicinal and other water there is not even a difference of smell to be detected.
XXXIII. The same method of treatment will also apply to sea water, which is used hot for pains in the sinews, for joining fractured bones, and for bruised bones; also for drying the body, in which treatment cold sea water is also employed. There are besides many other uses, the chief however being a sea voyage for those attacked by consumption, as I have said, and for haemoptysis, such as quite recently within our memory was taken by Annaeus Gallio after his consulship. Egypt is not chosen for its own sake, but because of the length of the voyage. Moreover the mere seasickness caused by rolling and pitching are good for very many ailments of the head, eyes, and chest, as well as for all complaints for which hellebore is given. Sea water indeed by itself physicians think to be more efficacious for dispersing tumours, if with it a decoction is made of barley meal for parotid swellings. It is also an ingredient of plasters, especially white plasters and poultices. It is beneficially used too when poured over in frequent douches. It is also drunk, though not without harm to the stomach, for purging the body and for getting rid of black bile or clotted blood by vomit or stool. Some have also given it to be drunk in quartan agues, in tenesmus, and for diseased joints, keeping it for this purpose, for age takes away its injurious qualities. Some boil it; all draw it up out at sea, use it unspoiled by any addition of fresh water, and in using this remedy prefer that an emetic should precede the draught. Then also they mix with the water vinegar or wine. Those who have given it pure, recommend to eat afterwards radishes with oxymel to provoke further vomiting. Sea water warmed is also injected as an enema. Nothing is preferred to it for fomenting swollen testicles, or for bad chilblains before ulceration; similarly for itching, psoriasis, and the treatment of lichen. Nits too and foul vermin on the head are treated with sea water. It also restores the natural colour to livid patches. In this treatment it is of very great advantage to foment with hot vinegar after the sea water. It is moreover known to be healing for poisonous stings, as of spiders and scorpions, and for persons wetted by the spittle of the asp, but for these purposes it is employed hot. Steam from sea water and vinegar is beneficial for headaches. Colic too and cholera are relieved by warm enemas of seawater. Things warmed by it are harder to cool thoroughly. Swollen breasts, the viscera, and emaciation, are rectified by sea baths, deafness and headache by the vapour of boiling sea water and vinegar. Sea water removes very quickly rust from iron, heals too scab on sheep, and softens wool.
XXXIV. I am well aware that to inland dwellers these remarks may appear superfluous, but research has provided for this also by discovering a method whereby every man may make sea water for himself. In this method there is one strange feature: if more than a sextarius of salt is dropped into four sextarii of water, the water is overpowered, and the salt does not dissolve. However, a sextarius of salt and four sextarii of water give the strength and properties of the saltest sea. But it is thought that the most reasonable proportion is to compound the measure of water given above with eight cyathi of salt. This mixture warms the sinews without chafing the skin.
XXXV. What is called thalassomeli is a mixture, kept till old, of sea water, honey, and rain water in equal proportions. For this purpose too the water is brought from out at sea, and the mixture is stored in an earthenware vessel lined with pitch. It is good especially for purges, does not disturb the stomach, and has a pleasant flavour and smell.
XXXVI. Hydromel too is a mixture once prepared from pure rainwater and honey, to be given as a less injurious drink to patients who craved for wine. It has been condemned now for many years a as having all the faults of wine with none of its advantages.
XXXVII. Because those at sea often suffer from the failure of fresh water, I shall describe ways meeting this difficulty. If spread around a ship, fleeces become moist by absorption of evaporated sea water, and from them can be squeezed water which is fresh. Again, hollow wax balls, let down into the sea in nets, or empty vessels with their mouth sealed, collect fresh water inside. But on land sea water is made fresh by filtering through clay. Dislocated limbs of both man and quadrupeds are very easily reset by swimming in any kind of water. Travellers too are sometimes afraid lest unknown water should endanger their health. A precaution against this danger is to drink the suspected water cold immediately on leaving the bath.
XXXVIII. An application of moss that has grown in water is good for gout, and mixed with oil for painful and swollen ankles. Rubbing with foam of water removes warts, as does also sand of the sea shores, especially fine sand whitened by the sun; it is used in medicine as a covering for drying the bodies of patients suffering from dropsy or catarrhs. So much for waters; now for the products of water. I shall begin, as elsewhere, with the chief of them, that is, with salts and sponge.
XXXIX. All salt is artificial or native; each is formed in several ways, but there are two agencies, condensation or drying up of water. It is dried out of the Tarentine lake by summer sun, when the whole pool turns into salt, although it is always shallow, never exceeding knee height, likewise in Sicily from a lake, called Cocanicus, and from another near Gela. Of these the edges only dry up; in Phrygia, Cappadocia, and at Aspendus, the evaporation is wider, in fact right to the centre. There is yet another wonderful thing about it: the same amount is restored during the night as is taken away during the day. All salt from pools is fine powder, and not in blocks. Another kind produced from sea water spontaneously is foam left on the edge of the shore and on rocks. All this is condensation from drift, and that found on rocks has the sharper taste. There are also three different kinds of native salt; for in Bactra are two vast lakes, one facing the Scythians, the other the Arii, which exude salt, while at Citium in Cyprus and around Memphis salt is taken out of a lake and then dried in the sun. But the surface too of rivers may condense into salt, the rest of the stream flowing as it were under ice, as near the Caspian Gates are what are called 'rivers of salt,' also around the Mardi and the Armenians. Moreover, in Bactria too the rivers Ochus and Oxus bring down scrapings of salt from nearby mountains. There are also lakes in Africa, and that muddy ones, which carry salt. Indeed hot springs too carry it, such as those at Pagasae. So much for the different kinds of salt which come, as natural products, from waters. There are also mountains of natural salt, salt. such as Oromenus in India, where it is cut out like blocks of stone from a quarry, and ever replaces itself, bringing greater revenues to the rajahs than those from gold and pearls. It is also dug out of the earth in Cappadocia, being evidently formed by condensation of moisture. Here indeed it is split into sheets like mica; the blocks are very heavy, nicknamed by the people 'grains.' At Gerra, a town of Arabia, the walls and houses are made of blocks of salt cemented with water. Near Pelusium too King Ptolemy found salt when he was making a camp. This led afterwards to the discovery of salt by digging away the sand even in the rough tracts between Egypt and Arabia, as it is also found as far as the oracle of Hammon through the parched deserts of Africa, where at night it increases as the moon waxes. But the region of Cyrenaica too is famous for Hammoniac salt, itself so called because it is found under the sand. It is in colour like the alum called schiston, consisting of long opaque slabs, of an unpleasant flavour, but useful in medicine. That is most valued which is most transparent and splits into straight flakes. A remarkable feature is reported of it: of very little weight in its underground pits, when brought into the light of day it becomes incredibly heavy. The reason is obvious; the damp breath of the pits helps the workers by supporting the weight as does water. It is adulterated by the Sicilian salt I have said comes from the lake Cocanicus, as well as by Cyprian salt, which is wonderfully like it. In Hither Spain too at Egelesta salt is cut into almost transparent blocks; to this for some time past most physicians have given the first place among all kinds of salt. Every region in which salt is found is barren, and nothing will grow there. To speak generally, these remarks about the various kinds of native salt are comprehensive. Of artificial salt there are various kinds. The usual one, and the most plentiful, is made in salt pools by running into them sea water not without streams of fresh water, but rain helps very much, and above all much warm sunshine, without which it does not dry out. In Africa around Utica are formed heaps of salt like hills; when they have hardened under sun and moon, they are not melted by any moisture, and even iron cuts them with difficulty. It is also however made in Crete without fresh water by letting the sea flow into the pools, and around Egypt by the sea itself, which penetrates the soil, soaked as I believe it is, by the Nile. Salt is also made by pouring water from wells into salt pools. At Babylon the first condensation solidifies into a liquid bitumen like oil, which is also used in lamps. When this is taken away, salt is underneath. In Cappadocia too they bring water into salt pools from wells and a spring. In Chaonia there is a spring, from which they boil water, and on cooling obtain a salt that is insipid and not white. In the provinces of Gaul and Germany they pour salt water on burning logs.
XL. (In one part of the provinces of Spain they draw the brine from wells and call it maria.) The former indeed think that the wood used also makes a difference. The best is oak, for its pure ash by itself has the properties of salt; in some places hazel finds favour. So when brine is poured on it even wood turns into salt. Whenever wood is used in its making salt is dark. I find in Theophrastus that the Umbrians were wont to boil down in water the ash of reeds and rushes, until only a very little liquid remained. Moreover, from the liquor of salted foods salt is recovered by reboiling, and when evaporation is complete its saline character is regained. It is generally thought that the salt obtained from sardine brine is the most pleasant.
XLI. Of sea salt the most in favour comes from Salamis in Cyprus, of pool salt that from Tarentum and that from Phrygia which is called Tattaean. The last two are useful for the eyes. The salt imported from Cappadocia in little bricks is said to impart a gloss to the skin. But the salt I have said comes from Citium a smoothes the skin better, and so after childbirth it is applied with melanthium to the abdomen. The saltest salt is the driest, the most agreeable and whitest of all is the Tarentine; for the rest, it is the whitest that is the most friable. All salt is made sweet by rainwater, more agreeable, however, by dew, but plentiful by gusts of north wind. It does not form under a south wind. Flower of salt forms only with north winds. Tragasaean salt and Acanthian, so named after towns, neither crackles nor sputters in a fire, nor does froth of any salt, or scrapings, or powder. Salt of Agrigentum submits to fire and sputters in water. The colour too of salt varies: blushing red at Memphis, tawny red near the Oxus, purple at Centuripae, it is of such brightness near Gela (also in Sicily) that it reflects an image. In Cappadoeia salt is quarried of a saffron colour, transparent, and very fragrant. For medicinal purposes the ancients used to favour most highly Tarentine salt, next, all kinds of sea salt, and of these especially that from foam, while for the eyes of draught animals and cattle salt of Tragasa and Baetica. To season meats and foods the most useful otter one melts easily and is rather moist, for it is less bitter, such as that of Attica and Euboea. For preserving meat the more suitable salt is sharp and dry, like that of Megara. A conserve too is made with fragrant additions, which is used as a relish, creating and sharpening an appetite for every kind of food, so that in innumerable seasonings it is the taste of salt that predominates, and it is looked for when we eat garum. Moreover sheep, cattle, and draught animals are encouraged to pasture in particular by salt; the supply of milk is much more copious, and there is even a far more pleasing quality in the cheese. Therefore, Heaven knows, a civilized life is impossible without salt, and so necessary is this basic substance that its name is applied metaphorically even to intense mental pleasures. We call them sales (wit); all the humour of life, its supreme joyousness, and relaxation after toil, are expressed by this word more than by any other. It has a place in magistracies also and on service abroad, from which comes the term 'salary' (salt money); it had great importance among the men of old, as is clear from the name of the Salarian Way, since by it, according to agreement, salt was imported to the Sabines. King Ancus Marcius gave a largess to the people of 6,000 bushels of salt, and was the first to construct salt pools. Varro too is our authority that the men of old used salt as a relish, and that they ate salt with their bread is clear from a proverb! But the clearest proof of its importance lies in the fact that no sacrifice is carried out without the mola salsa (salted meal).
XLII. Salt-pools have reached their highest degree of purity in what may be called embers of salt, which is the lightest and whitest of its kind. 'Flower of salt' is also a name given to an entirely different thing, with a moister nature and a saffron or red colour, a kind of salt rust; it has an unpleasant smell, 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, 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 eyelids. 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, 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 showed that by fumigation with its burning head the afterbirth was brought away. Today the most popular garum is made from the scomber in the fisheries of Carthago Spartariait is called garum of the alliesone thousand sesterces being exchanged for about two congii of the fish. Scarcely any other liquid except unguents has come to be more highly valued, bringing fame even to the nations that make it. The scomber is caught also in Mauretania and at Carteia in Baetica; the scomber enters the Mediterranean from the Atlantic, but it is used only for making garum. Clazomenae too is famous for garum, and so are Pompeii and Leptis, just as Antipolis and Thurii are for muria, and today too also Delmatia.
XLIV. Allex is sediment of garum, the dregs, neither whole nor strained. It has, however, also begun to be made separately from a tiny fish, otherwise of no use. The Romans call it apua, the Greeks aphye, because this tiny fish is bred out of rain. The people of Forum Julii call lupus (wolf) the fish from which they make garum. Then allex became a luxury, and its various kinds have come to be innumerable; garum for instance has been blended to the colour of old honey wine, and to a taste so pleasant that it can be drunk. But another kind of garum is devoted to superstitious sex-abstinence and Jewish rites, and is made from fish without scales. Thus allex has come to be made from oysters, sea urchins, sea anemones, and mullet's liver, and salt to be corrupted in numberless ways so as to suit all palates. These incidental remarks must suffice for the luxurious tastes of civilized man. Allen however itself is of some use in healing. For allex both cures itch in sheep, being poured into an incision in the skin, and is a good antidote for the bites of dog or sea draco; it is applied on pieces of lint. By garum too are fresh burns healed, if it is poured over them without mentioning garum. It is also good for dog-bites and especially those of the crocodile, and for spreading or foul ulcers. For ulcers too or pains in mouth or ears it is wonderfully good. Muria too or the salsugo I spoke of is astringent, biting, reducing and drying, useful for dysentery, even if there is ulceration of the bowels. It is injected for sciatica and chronic coeliac disease. Among inland peoples it also takes the place of sea water for fomentations.
XLV. The nature of salt is of itself fiery, and yet it is hostile to fires, fleeing from them, corroding all things, but astringent to the body, drying it and binding, preserving corpses also from corruption so that they last for ages; in medicine however it is mordent, caustic, cleansing, reducing, and resolvent, injurious only to the stomach except in so far as it stimulates the appetite. For the bites of serpents it is used with origanum, honey, and hyssop, for the cerastes with origanum and cedar resin, or pitch, or honey. It is helpful for bite of the scolopendra if taken internally with vinegar, for scorpion stings if applied in oil or vinegar with a fourth part of linseed, but for hornets, wasps, and similar creatures, in vinegar only, for migraine, ulcers on the head, blisters, pimples, and incipient warts, with veal suet. It is also used in eye remedies, for excrescences of flesh there, and for pterygia anywhere on the body, but especially on the eyes, and so it is an ingredient of eye salves and plasters; for these purposes Tattaean salt or that of Cannus is the most approved. For eyes bloodshot from a blow, however, and for bruised eyes, it is used with an equal weight of myrrh and with honey, or with hyssop in warm water, and the eyes should be fomented with salsugo. For these purposes Spanish salt is chosen. For cataract it is ground in a little stone mortar with milk; for bruises a specific is salt wrapped in linen, dipped frequently in boiling water, and applied; for running ulcers in the mouth it is applied in lint; it is rubbed on swollen gums, and for roughness of the tongue it is broken and ground up fine. They say that teeth neither rot nor decay if one daily while fasting in the morning keeps a piece of salt under the tongue until it melts. It also cures leprous sores, boils, lichen and psoriasis, used with stoned raisons, beef suet origanum, and leaven or bread; for these purposes and for pruritus Theban salt is mostly chosen. For diseased tonsils and uvula salt with honey is beneficial. For quinsy any salt is good, but all the more when oil and vinegar are added, while at the same time salt and liquid pitch are applied externally to the throat. Mixed with wine salt also softens the belly, and taken in wine drives out harmlessly the various kinds of worms. Placed under the tongue salt enables convalescents to endure the heat of the bath. Pains of the sinews, especially in the region of the shoulders and kidneys, are relieved by salt in bags, kept hot by frequent dipping into boiling water; colitis, griping and sciatica by taking salt in drink and by hot applications in the same kind of bags; gout by salt pounded with flour, honey, and oil. Herein is especially applicable the saying that for the whole body nothing is more beneficial than salt and sun. Accordingly we see that the bodies of fishermen are horny, but the above remark should be applied especially to gout. It also removes corns on the feet and chilblains. It is applied to burns in oil or chewed. It cheeks blisters, but for erysipelas and for creeping ulcers vinegar or hyssop is added, for carcinomata taminian grapes, while for phagedaenic ulcers it is roasted with barley meal, a linen cloth being placed on top, soaked in wine. Sufferers from jaundice are helped by rubbing with salt, oil, and vinegar before a fire until they sweat; this relieves the itching caused by this disease. Oil should be used in cases of fatigue. Many have treated dropsy too with salt, rubbed with salt and oil hot feverish patients, stayed a chronic cough by licking it, injected salt enemas into sufferers from sciatica, applied it to swollen or festering ulcers, and treated crocodile bites by salt and vinegar in lint cloths, taking care first to flog `the sores with them. Salt is taken in oxymel for poisoning by poppy-juice, with flour and honey it is applied to dislocations, and also to tumours. Fomenting with salt and vinegar, or an application of salt and resin, is good for toothache. But for all purposes foam of salt is more pleasant and more beneficial. Salt however of any kind is added to anodynes for a warming effect, also to detergents for stretching and smoothing the skin. An application of salt removes itch-scab in sheep and oxen; salt is also given to be licked, and it is spit into the eyes of draught animals. This must suffice for my account of salt.
XLVI. I must not put off describing the character of soda, which is very similar to salt; a more careful account must be given because it is plain that the physicians who have written about it were ignorant of its character, and that nobody has given a more careful description than Theophrastus. A little is formed in Media in valleys that are white through drought; they call it halmyrax. It is also found in Thrace near Philippi, but in less quantities and contaminated with earth; it is called agrium. But soda from burnt oak-wood was never made in large quantities, and the method has long been altogether abandoned. Alkaline water, however, is found in very many places, but the soda is not concentrated enough to solidify. At Clitae in Macedonia is found in abundance the best, called soda of Chalestra, white and pure, very like salt. There is an alkaline lake there with a little spring of fresh water rising up in the centre. Soda forms in it about the rising of the Dog-star for nine days, ceases for nine days, comes to the top again and then ceases. This shows that it is the character of the soil that produces soda, since it has been discovered that, when it ceases, neither sunshine is of any help at all nor yet rain. Another wonderful thing about the lake is that although the spring is always bubbling up it neither gets larger nor overflows. But if, on those days on which soda forms, has been rain, it makes the soda more salty, while north winds on those days, by stirring up the mud too vigorously, makes it inferior. This soda is natural, but in Egypt it is made artificially, in much greater abundance but of inferior quality, for it is dark and stony. It is made in almost the same manner as is salt, except that they pour seawater into the salt-beds but the Nile into the soda-beds. The latter as the Nile rises become dry; as it falls they are moist with liquid soda for forty days on end, and not as in Macedonia during fixed periods. If rain also has fallen, they add less river water, and gather at once the soda that has begun to solidify, lest it should melt back into the soda-bed. Thus too oily matter forms among the soda, useful for itch-scab on animals. Soda however, stored in heaps, lasts a long time. A wonder of Lake Ascanius and of certain springs around Chalcis is that the surface water is sweet and drinkable but underneath is alkaline. Of soda the best is the finest, and therefore froth of soda is superior, but for some purposes the impure is good, for example colouring purple cloths and all kinds of dyeing. Soda is of great use in the making of glass, as will be described in its proper place. The soda-beds of Egypt used to be confined to the regions around Naucratis and Memphis, the beds around Memphis being inferior. For the soda becomes stone-like in heaps there, and many of the soda piles there are for the same reason quite rocky. From these they make vessels, and frequently by baking melted soda with sulphur. For the bodies too that they wish to embalm this is the soda they use. In this region are soda-beds from which red soda also is taken owing to the colour of the earth. Foam of soda, which is very highly prized, the ancients said was formed only when dew had fallen on beds teeming with soda but not yet bringing it forth; accordingly, even if dew fell, soda did not form on beds in agitated action. Others have thought that foam is produced by fermentation of the heaps. The last generation of physicians said that in Asia was gathered aphronitrum oozing in soft cavesthey are called colligaeand then dried in the sun. The best is thought to be Lydian. The tests are that it should be the least heavy and the most friable, and of an almost purple colour. The last kind is imported in lozenges, but the Egyptian in vessels lined with pitch, lest it melt. These vessels too are finished off by being dried in the sun. The tests of soda are that it should be very fine and as spongy and full of holes as possible. In Egypt it is adulterated with lime, which is detected by the taste; for pure soda melts at once, but adulterated soda stings because of the lime, and gives out a strong odour. It is burnt in an earthen jar with a lid, lest it should crackle out; otherwise soda does not crackle in fire; it produces nothing and nourishes nothing, whereas in salt-pits grow plants, and in the sea so many animals and so much seaweed. But that the pungency of soda is greater is shown not only by this evidence but also by the fact that soda-beds at once consume shoes, but are otherwise healthful and good for clearness of vision. In the soda-beds nobody has ophthalmia; sores brought there heal very quickly, but those that form there heal slowly. Soda and oil also make to sweat those who are rubbed with the mixture, which softens the flesh. They use Chalestran soda for bread instead of salt, Egyptian soda for radishes; it makes them more tender, but meats white and inferior and vegetables greener. In medicine soda warms, alleviates, stings, braces, dries, and clears away ulcers, and is useful for conditions where there must be withdrawal, dispersal, and gentle stinging and alleviation, as with pimples and blisters. Some for this purpose set it on fire and put it out with a dry wine, and use it so prepared and ground in the bath without oil. Excessive sweats are checked by soda with dried iris and the addition of green oil; it also improves scars on the eyes and roughness of the lids if applied with fig, or boiled down to one half in raisin wine, a preparation too which is used for white ulcers and inflamed swellings on the eyes. Boiled down with raisin wine in a pomegranate rind, and applied with honey, it improves vision. Soda is good for toothache if a mouthwash is made by adding pepper and wine. Boiled down too with leek, and burnt to make a dentifrice, it restores the colour of blackening teeth. Insects and nits on the head it kills if applied in oil with Samian earth. Dissolved in wine it is poured into purulent ears; wax in the same organ it eats away in vinegar; noises and singing it stops if added dry. Applied in sunshine with vinegar and an equal weight of Cimolian chalk it cures the white kinds of psoriasis. It brings to a head boils, either mixed with resin or with white raisins, the pips being ground up with them. With axle-grease it combats inflammation of the testicles, and also outbursts of phlegm on the whole body; it is applied with vinegar, resin being added, to dog-bites. This preparation is used for snake bites; for phagedaenic, creeping, or festering ulcers, with lime and vinegar; for dropsy it is pounded with figs and administered by the mouth and externally. Griping pains too it allays if there is taken a drachma by weight boiled down with rue or dill or cummin. The pains of fatigue are removed by rubbing all over with soda, oil, and vinegar, while for chills and shivers it is of advantage to rub the hands and feet thoroughly with soda and oil. It also checks the itch of jaundice, especially when administered with vinegar while the patient is sweating. Taken in vinegar and water soda is beneficial against the poisons of fungi; if a buprestris has been swallowed it is taken in water; it is also a good emetic. It is given in laser to those who have drunk bull's blood. Ulcerations also on the face it heals with honey and cow's milk. It is applied to burns roasted until it turns black and crushed to powder. It is injected for pain in the and kidneys, or for rigors of the body, or for pains of the sinews. For paralysis of the tongue it is applied there with bread, and for asthma it is taken in barley gruel. Chronic cough is cured by flower of soda with galbanum mixed with terebrinth resin, all equal in weight, but the piece to be swallowed must be of the size of a bean. Soda, boiled and then combined with liquid pitch, is given to be swallowed by patients with quinsy. Flower of soda with oil of cyprus is also soothing if applied in the sun for pains in the joints. Jaundice also it alleviates taken in a draught of wine; this remedy relieves flatulence. It checks epistaxis if inhaled in the steam from boiling water. By soda mixed with alum is removed scurf, rank smell of the armpits by daily fomentation with soda and water, sores due to noserunning by soda mixed with waxa mixture also good for the sinewsand it is injected for the coeliac affection. Many have prescribed complete rubbing with soda and oil before the chills of fever come on, and so to use it for leprons sores and freckles; and they prescribe its use in the bath for gouty people. Soda baths are good for consnmptives, and for the victims of opisthotonus and other forms of tetanns. Salt and soda, when heated with sulphur, turn to stone.
XLVII. Of the kinds of sponges I have spoken when describing the nature of marine creatures. Certain authorities classify them thus: some sponges, the males, have little holes, and are more compact and very absorbent; they are also dyed for the luxurious, sometimes even with purple; others, the females, have larger and uninterrupted holes; others, harder than the males, called tragi, have very small holes that are very close together. Sponges are whitened artificially. Fresh sponges, of the softest kind, are soaked in foam of salt throughout the summer, and then laid open to the moon and hoar-frosts upside down, that is, with the side uppermost that adhered to the rocks, so that they may drink in whiteness. I have said that sponges are animal, being even lined with a coating of blood. Some also declare that they are guided by a sense of hearing, and contract at a noise, sending out a great quantity of moisture; that they cannot be torn from the rocks, and therefore are cut off, bleeding sanies. Moreover, those growing exposed to the north-east they prefer to others, and physicians declare that nowhere else does their breath last for a longer time. Such too, they say, are beneficial to the human body, because they mix their breath with ours; therefore fresh sponges are the more beneficial, as are also the moist, but less beneficial are those soaked in hot water, or those that are oily, or laid on oily bodies, while compact sponges are less adhesive. The softest kind of sponge is that used for bandage-rolls. Applied in honey wine these relieve swollen eyes. They are also good for wiping away the rheum of ophthalmia, which they do most efficiently with water. They should be very fine and very soft. Sponges themselves are applied in vinegar and water for eye-fluxes, and in warm vinegar for headaches. For the rest, fresh sponges are dispersive, soothing, and emollient; old sponges do not close wounds. The uses of sponges are to be detergent, to foment, and after fomentation to cover until something else is applied. Applied also to wet ulcers of senile persons, sponges dry them, and they foment with the greatest benefit fractures and wounds. In surgery sponges quickly absorb the blood, so that treatment can easily be observed. Sponges themselves are applied to inflamed wounds, sometimes dry, at other times moistened with vinegar, or wine, or cold water; applied indeed in rainwater to fresh incisions they prevent their swelling. They are also laid on parts that are whole, but suffering from a hidden flux that has to be dispersed, and also on what are called apostemata, after rubbing them with boiled honey; on joints also, sometimes moistened with salted vinegar, sometimes with vinegar and water; should the complaint be attended with fever, water alone is to be used. With salt and water sponges are also applied to callosities, but with vinegar to scorpion stings. In the treatment of wounds sponges with salt and water also act as a substitute for greasy wool; the difference is that wools soften, but sponges are astringent and absorb quickly the diseased humours of ulcers. They are also bound round dropsical parts, either dry or with warm water or vinegar and water, whenever there is need to soothe, or cover a the skin, or dry it. They are applied also for such diseases as need a steamy heat, steeped in boiling water, and pressed between two boards. So applied they are also good for the stomach, and for the excessive burnings of fever; but for the spleen with vinegar and water, while for erysipelas they are with vinegar more efficacious than anything; they should be so placed that there is ample covering for the healthy parts. With vinegar or cold water they arrest haemorrhage, with hot salt and water, often changed, they remove fresh bruises caused by a blow, and with vinegar and water they cure swollen and painful testicles. For dog-bite are applied beneficially with vinegar, cold water, or honey, cut-off pieces of sponge, which must be thoroughly moistened every now and then. The ash of the African sponge, swallowed with the juice of cut-leek, is good for spitting of blood; for other complaints it should be taken in cold water. This ash also, applied to the forehead with oil or vinegar, cures tertian agues. African sponges are specific with vinegar and water for reducing swellings, and the ash of all sponges burnt with pitch arrest haemorrhage from wounds; for this purpose some burn with pitch only sponges of loose texture. For eye remedies sponges are burnt in an unbaked earthenware pot, this ash being very efficacious indeed for roughness or excrescences of the eyelids, and for any complaint in the region of the eyes that needs a remedy detergent, astringent, or expletive, but for this treatment it is better to rinse the ash. They also furnish a substitute for scrapers and towels when the body is diseased. Sponges protect also efficiently the head against the sun. In their ignorance physicians have reduced sponges to two classes: the African, which are firmer and harder, and the Ithodian, which are softer for fomentations. Today however a very soft sponges are found around the walls of Antiphellus. Trogus informs us that around Lycia very soft tent-sponges grow out at sea, in places where sponges have been taken away; Polybius that hung over a sick man these give more peaceful nights. Now I shall turn my attention to the creatures of the sea.