(σχῖνος, Vulg. lentiscus, A.Vers. "massticktree") occurs but once, and that in the Apocrypha (Susan. v. 54), where there is a happy play upon the word. "Under what tree sawest thou them?... under a mastic-tree (ὑπὸ σχῖνον). And Daniel said... the angel of God hath received the sentence of God to cut thee in two (σχίσει σε μέσον)." This is unfortunately lost in our version; but it is preserved by the Vulgate, "sub schino... scindet to;" and by Luther, "Linde . . finden." A similar play occurs in ver. 58, 59, between πρῖνον and πρίσαι σε. For the bearing of these and similar characteristics on the date and origin of the book, see SUSANNA. Tlhere is no doubt that the Greek word is correctly rendered, as is evident from the description of it by Theophrastus (Hist. Plant. 9, i, § 2, 4, § 7, etc.), Pliny (A. H. 3:36; 24:28), Dioscorides (1:90), and other writers. Herodotus (4:177) compares the fruit of the lotus (the Rhanmnus lotus, Linn., not the Egyptian Nelumbium speciosumn) in size with the mastic berry, and Babrius (3, 5) says its leaves are browsed by goats. The fragrant resin known in the arts as "mastic," and which is obtained by incisions made in the trunk in the month of August, is the produce of this tree, whose scientific name is Pistacia lentiscus. It is used with us to strengthen the teeth and gums, and was so applied by the ancients, by whom it was much prized on this account, and for its many supposed medicinal virtues. Lucian (Lexiph. 12) uses the term σχινοτρώκτης of one who chews mastic wood in order to whiten his teeth. Martial (Eop. 14:22) recommends a mastic toothpick (dentiscalpium). Pliny (24:7) speaks of the leaves of this tree being rubbed on the teeth for toothache. Dioscorides (1:90) says the resin is often mixed with other materials and used as tooth-powder, and that, if chewed, it imparts a sweet odor to the breath. It is from this use as chewing-gum that we have the derivation of mastic, from μαστίχη, the gum of the σχῖνος, and μάσταξ, μαστιχάω, μασάομαι, " to chew," "to masticate." Both Pliny and Dioscorides state that the best mastic comes from Chios, and to this day the Arabs prefer that which is imported from that island (comp. Niebuhr, Beschr. von A rab. p. 144; Galen, Defac. Simpl. 7, p. 69). Tournefort (Voyages, 2:58-61, transl. 1741) has given a full and very interesting account of the Lentisks or Mastic plants of Scio (Chios): he says that "the towns of the island are distinguished into three classes, those del Campo, those of Apanomeria. and those where they plant Lentisk-trees, whence the mastic in tears is produced." Tournefort enumerates several lentisk-tree villages. Of the trees he says, "These trees are very wide-spread and circular, ten or twelve feet tall, consisting of several branchy stalks which in time grow crooked. The biggest trunks are a foot diameter, covered with a bark, grayish, rugged, chapt... the leaves are disposed in three or four couples on each side, about an inch long, narrow at the beginning, pointed at their extremity, half an inch broad at the middle. From the junctures of the leaves grow flowers in bunches like grapes; the fruit, too, grows like bunches of grapes, in each berry whereof is contained a white kernel. These trees blow in May; the fruit does not ripen but in autumn and winter." This writer gives the following description of the mode in which the mastic gum is procured. "They begin to make incisions in these trees in Scio the first of August, cutting the bark crossways with huge knives, without touching the younger branches; next day tie nutritious juice distils in small tears, which by little and little form the mastic grains; they harden on the ground, and are carefully swept up from under the trees. The height of the crop is about the middle of August, if' it be dry, serene weather, but if it be rainy the tears are. all lost. Likewise towards the end of September the same incisions furnish mastic, but in lesser quantities." Besides the uses to which reference has been made above, the people of Scio put grains of this resin in perfumes, and in their bread before it goes to the oven. Mastic is one of the most important products of the East, being extensively used in the preparation of spirits, as juniper berries are with us, as a sweetmeat, as a masticatory for preserving the gums and teeth, as an antispasmodic in medicine, and as an ingredient in varnishes. The hardened mastic, in the form of roundish straw-colored tears, is much chewed by Turkish women. It consists of resin, with a minute portion of volatile oil. The Greek writers occasionally use the word σχῖνος for an entirely different plant, viz. the Squill (Scilla maritima) (see Aristoph. Plutt. 715; Sprengel, Flor. Hippoc. 41; Theophr. Hist. Plant. v. 6, § 10). The Pistucia lentiscus is common on the shores of the Mediterranean. According to Strand (Flor. Palaest. No. 559), it has been observed at Joppa, both by Rauwolf and Pococke. The mastic-tree belongs to the natural order Anacardiaceae. — Smith, s.v. See Tristram, Nat. Hist. of Bible, p. 362; Buxtorf, Lex. Chald. col. 1230; Belon, Observ. 2:81.

Definition of mast

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