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Heliogabalus, above two hundred years afterwards, is said to have been the first that ventured to wear a Holosericum, or garment wholly made of silk; but before that time it appears that persons of rank had worn the Subsericum, or garment of a texture of silk and wool.
Pliny, when speaking of muslin, terms it, a dress, under whose slight veil our women contrive to shew their shapes to the public."
The consumption of spices and aromatics by the Romans, was so great as to exceed belief, were not the circumstances that prove it transmitted to us by authors whose testimony cannot be rejected. Much frankincense and other aromatics were employed in sacred functions, but the consumption of them by individuals greatly exceeded these. At the funeral of Sylla, forty-eight years before Augustus took possession of Egypt, it is said that two hundred and ten burthens of spices and aromatics were strewed upon the pile; and Pliny observes that Nero caused a quantity to be
burnt at the obsequies of Poppaa,* greater than what he supposes the countries from which they were imported could produce in the year. Though those assertions may be exaggerated, they shew at least that a most profuse use was made of those articles on particular occasions. He observes that heaps were consumed on the carcases of the dead, whilst only grains were offered to the gods.+
Cinnamon appears to have been in great demand. The fine Cinnamon is produced on the island of Ceylon only; different species of inferior kinds are found in various parts of India. Pepper was then, as now, produced on the coast of Malabar; quantities may also have been brought from the island of Sumatra into the penin
* A. D. 65.
+ Periti rerum asseverant, non ferre tantum annuo fœtu, quantum Nero princeps novissimo Poppææ suæ die concremaverit. Estimantur postea toto orbe singulis annis tot funera, acervatimque congesta honori cadaverum, quæ Diis per singulas micas dantur.-Plin. lib. xii. c. 41. (tom. ii. p. 343. edit. Bipont.)
sula of India, as well as spices from the Molucca islands, and purchased in the peninsula by the traders from Egypt and Persia. Besides the aromatics brought from India, considerable quantities were likewise brought from Arabia.
The exports to India consisted chiefly of light woollen cloths for the use of the inhabitants in the northern provinces; brass and copper vessels; tin brought by the Romans from England; lead, coral, glass vessels, oil of olives, storax, partly the produce of Italy, but chiefly of the Grecian islands; some wrought silver, but principally bullion. Pliny, states the balance against Rome of trade with the East at a hundred millions of Sesterces, or 1,041,666 pounds sterling.*
It appears that, before the expedition of Alexander, the productions of India were brought into the Persian dominions by land, and continued to be conveyed thither under Seleucus Nicator and his successors.
* See Pliny, lib. xii. c. 41.
About 250 years before Christ, the Parthians, under their leader Arsaces, having made themselves masters of Persia, formed with their ancient possessions a power that often successfully disputed that of the Romans.* The Arsacidæ, or race of Arsaces, continued to reign over Persia 477 years, when in the year 227 of our æra, the reigning prince, named Artaban, was assassinated and the Parthians expelled, by a Persian who afterwards took the name of Ardshir or Artaxerces, whose dynasty, named Sassanidæ, continued to reign over Persia until it was conquered by Omar. second Calif from Mohammed, in the year of Christ 632.
Besides the productions of India, which
*The Parthians before their conquests, possessed only the hilly tract of country bordering on Aria. They afterwards extended themselves W. and N. W. towards the Caspian. Their capital, which is said by Ptolemy, to lie in the middle of their dominions, was named Hecatompylos. Under Darius Hystaspes their country was included in the 16th Satrapy or Viceroyship of his empire.
from a very remote period were brought into Persia by land, it appears that after the expulsion of the Parthians a commerce between the two countries was opened by sea. The commodities brought from India into the Persian Gulf, were, by means of the Euphrates and Tigris, and from these by caravans, distributed through every part of the Persian Empire. Though transporting them to Persia by sea, must have abridged the time, and lessened the expense of the mode formerly in use, it appears, nevertheless, that the practice of carrying goods by land, was still continued, though probably in a less degree than before the intercourse by sea was opened. The productions of India and China were now brought into Europe from Persia as well as Egypt. Besides those of China which were purchased in India, and brought from thence into the Persian and Arabian Gulfs by sea, some, and especially raw and wrought silks, were brought directly from China into Persia by land: the caravans setting out from Bokhara, situated on