September 8, 2010 § 2 Comments
From chapter 5, “REMARKABLE FACTS CONNECTED WITH THE PLANE-TREE”
Pliny writes about a famous plane-tree in Lycia which incidentally was situated in close proximity to a fountain “of the most refreshing coolness”. This tree had a cavity in its interior of eighty-one feet in width. The huge branches, in themselves equal to ordinary trees in size, threw long shadows across the fields. Inside the grotto-like interior of this tree, there was a circle of seats of stone, overgrown with moss. A prominent consul and legatus of the province once held a banquet there, with eighteen persons present at the table. Sheltered inside the splendid foliage of the tree, they enjoyed themselves more than they would have, if they had been in a room full of marble with a multitude of paintings.
In the territory of Veleternum, there was another plane-tree, that presented floor after floor like several stories of a house, with the help of benches laid from branch to branch. The Emperor Caligula was so taken by the sight of this tree that he held a banquet inside that tree, naming this dining-room his “nest”. Fifteen guests plus attendants could fit inside the room of this tree.