evidently either oak or boxwood, occur with it. These are three or at
the most four feet high. They lack roots and adhering to the bitumen
have the appearance of the shallow wooden dishes or platters the Greeks
call λίπάδα;. These stones are similar to those described by
Theophrastus that formed in the sea along with oaks and firs. However,
Theophrastus writes that the oak and fir grew on oyster shells hence if
this genus of shrub can grow on bituminous stones it is obvious that it
could not grow very well on oyster shells.
Analachates smells like myrrh when it is burned and is either amber or some bituminous stone of another color.14 Aromatites takes
its name from its very pleasing odor. It smells like myrrh and forms
from bitumen. As Pliny states, it is reported to have its origin in
Arabia but it occurs in Egypt near Pisa. Since it is like stone and
with the color and odor of myrrh it is widely collected for royal
ladies. Similarly myrrhites is the color of myrrh and although called gemma it bears little resemblence to a gem. Having been crushed it has the odor of nard ointment and is seen to be bituminous. Zanthenes also
belongs to this genus since it can be softened like wax and is sweet
smelling. Democritus records that it occurs in Media and is the color
of amber. If ground with palm wine and saffron it becomes soft like wax
and has a very pleasing odor.
gems are not made from amber that has been dyed but at one time they
were made from material that had been dyed with the root of alkanet.16 Baptes is seen to have been such a gem for its name signifies dyeing16
and the soft varieties had a distinctive odor. Pliny has not told us
with which color this material was dyed. Megasthenes writes about
stones that are mined in India with the color of frankincense and
sweeter than figs and honey. We know that these belong to this same
genus since amber is definitely sweet and at times has a color that
closely approaches that of frankincense. Among these stones Pliny makes
special mention of libanochrus, a gem. Actually atizoe which
Democritus records as occurring in India, Persia and Mt. Ida, shining
with a silvery beauty, three inches in size, lenticular in shape and
with a pleasant odor, is a bituminous gem. What could be the origin of
such an odor in a stone unless it were bituminous?
Finally, catochites, a stone of Corsica, is of this same genus. When placed in the hand it sticks to it like a gum, hence the name. Lipare belongs to this genus and when burnt draws all animals to it.17 The stone is unctuous, hence the name. Amber, especially the rough, unctuous, genu-
14 The name means "non-agate" and may be identified with the natural resin retinite.
ls Alkanet yields anchusin, a red coloring material.
16 The Greek word βατταό* from which this name is derived signifies imitation.
favorite mineral of the writers of ancient and medieval lapidaries.
Many fantastic magical properties were ascribed to it, all with a
central theme of its irresistibility to animals.