Brill’s New Pauly

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(243 words)

[German version]

The German word Baumwolle (= tree wool) is analogous to the Greek nomenclature ἔριον ἀπὸ ξύλου, ἐριόξυλον. Cotton is the soft seed hairs of cultivated species of the genus Gossypium (the cotton plant) in the mallow family (Malvaceae). The cotton plant, usually an annual shrub, can reach a height of up to 2 m, which is why ancient authors sometimes spoke of it as a tree. A walnut-sized, capsule-like fruit develops from the flower and in the autumn soft, white seed hairs, the actual cotton, emerge from it. The ripe capsules were harvested and then dried.

Herodotes (3,106) cla…

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Pekridou-Gorecki, Anastasia (Frankfurt/Main), “Cotton”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 28 September 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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