Herodotus: The Histories; Book Four : Anacharis

as translated by Aubrey de Selincourt

..............First, however, I must mention that hemp grown in Scythia, a plant resembling flax, but much coarser and taller. It grows wild as well as under cultivation, and the Thracians make clothes from it very like linen ones - indeed, one must have much experience in these matters to be able to distinguish between the two, and anybody who has never seen a piece of cloth made from hemp, will suppose it to be of linen. And now for the vapour bath: on a framework of three sticks, meeting at the top, they stretch pieces of woollen cloth, taking care to get the joints as perfect as they can, and inside this little tent they put a dish with red-hot stones in it. Then they take some hemp seed, creep into the tent, and throw the seed onto the hot stones. At once it begins to smoke, giving off a vapour unsurpassed by any vapour-bath one could find in Greece. The Scythians enjoy it so much they howl with pleasure

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