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Quote of the day: He appointed to it Cneius Piso, a man of
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Historiae by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book V Chapter 7: The Jews. Their country according to Tacitus (cont.)[AD 70]
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Not far from this lake lies a plain, once fertile, they say, and the site of great cities, but afterwards struck by lightning and consumed. Of this event, they declare, traces still remain, for the soil, which is scorched in appearance, has lost its productive power. Everything that grows spontaneously, as well as what is planted by hand, either when the leaf or flower have been developed, or after maturing in the usual form, becomes black and rotten, and crumbles into a kind of dust. I am ready to allow, on the one hand, that cities, once famous, may have been consumed by fire from heaven, while, on the other, I imagine that the earth is infected by the exhalations of the lake, that the surrounding air is tainted, and that thus the growth of harvest and the fruits of autumn decay under the equally noxious influences of soil and climate. The river Belus also flows into the Jewish Sea. About its mouth is a kind of sand which is collected, mixed with nitre, and fused into glass. This shore is of limited extent, but furnishes an inexhaustible supply to the exporter. Haud procul inde campi quos ferunt olim uberes magnisque urbibus habitatos fulminum iactu arsisse; et manere vestigia, terramque ipsam, specie torridam, vim frugiferam perdidisse. Nam cuncta sponte edita aut manu sata, sive herba tenus aut flore seu solitam in speciem adolevere, atra et inania velut in cinerem vanescunt. Ego sicut inclitas quondam urbis igne caelesti flagrasse concesserim, ita halitu lacus infici terram, corrumpi superfusum spiritum, eoque fetus segetum et autumni putrescere reor, solo caeloque iuxta gravi. Et Belius amnis Iudaico mari inlabitur, circa cuius os lectae harenae admixto nitro in vitrum excoquuntur. Modicum id litus et egerentibus inexhaustum.