Stobrum

Stobrum is a tree native to Carmania, with scented wood, which was an object of exchange in ancient days in the Roman Empire.[1]

The tree was mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History:

The Arabians import from Carmania also the wood of a tree called stobrum, which they employ in fumigations, by steeping it in palm wine, and then setting fire to it. The odour first ascends to the ceiling, and then descends in volumes to the floor; it is very agreeable, but is apt to cause an oppression of the head, though unattended with pain; it is used for promoting sleep in persons when ill.

[2]

Pliny's editors John Bostock and Henry Thomas Riley note regarding stobrum:

Although the savin shrub, the Juniperus sabina of Carl Linnaeus, bears this name in Greek, it is evident, as Fée says, that Pliny does not allude to it, but to a coniferous tree, as it is that family which produces a resinous wood with a balsamic odour when ignited. Bauhin and others would make the tree meant to be the Thuja occidentalis of Carl Linnaeus; but, as Fée observes, that tree is in reality a native originally of Canada, while the Thuja orientalis is a native of Japan. He suggests, however, that the "Thuja articulata" of Mount Atlas (Tetraclinis articulata) may have possibly been the citrus of Pliny.[3]

Bostock and Riley place the tree in the genus Thuja. Of note in contradiction of Bostock and Riley, the land of the Sabians is echoed in the name of Juniperus sabina.

Stobrum is also noted in early Indian economic history: R.N. Saletore notes it, again on Pliny's reference:

The Arabs imported the fragrant wood of the bratus tree from the country of the Elymaei, the stobrum from Carmania, cinnamon from Ethiopia and also cassia from the same country.[4]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ James Innes Miller, The Spice Trade of the Roman Empire, 29 B.C. to A.D. 641 (Oxford: Clarendon) 1969.
  2. ^ Pliny, ...in Carmanos arborem stobrum ad suffitus, perfusam uino palmeo... (H.N. LV, 12.40).
  3. ^ (Pliny) John Bostock and H.T. Riley, eds. The Natural History (London: Geo. Bell) 1892.
  4. ^ Rajaram Narayan Saletore, Early Indian Economic History (Tripathi) 1973.