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H. T. RILEY, ESQ., B.A., 


VOL. V. 








CHAP. Page 

1. The antipathies and sympathies which exist among trees and 

plants . . . . '. . . . . . . . . . . . 1 

2. The lotus of Italy : six remedies 3 

3. Acorns : thirteen remedies . . . . . . . . . . 4 

4. The kermes-berry of the holm-oak : three remedies .. .. ib. 

5. Gall-nuts : twenty-three remedies . . . . . . . . 5 

6. Mistletoe: eleven remedies .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

7. The excrescences which grow on the robur : one remedy. The 

cerrus : eight remedies . . . . . . . . . . 6 

8. The cork-tree : two remedies . . . 7 

9. The beech : four remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

I 10. The cypress : twenty- three remedies . . . . . . . . ib. 

11. The cedar: thirteen remedies .. .. .. .. .. 8 

I 12. Cedrides ; ten remedies .. .. .. .. .. .. 9 

13. Galbanum: twenty-three remedies 10 

[ 14. Hammoniacum: twenty-four remedies 11 

15. Storax; ten remedies .. .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

i]6. Spondylium : seventeen remedies .. .. .. .. 12 

17. Sphagnos, sphacos, or bryon : five remedies .. .. .. ib. 

18. The terebinth ; six remedies. .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

' 19. The pitch-tree and the larch : eight remedies 13 

\ 20. The chamaepitys : ten remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

\ 21. Thepityusa: six remedies 14 

22. Resins: twenty-two remedies 15 

23. Pitch : twenty- three remedies . . . . . . . . . . 17 

I 24. Pisseleeon and palimpissa : sixteen remedies .. .. .. 18 

? 25. Pissasphaltos : two remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

26. Zopissa: one remedy 19 

27. The torch-tree : one remedy . . ib. 

28. The lentisk : twenty-two remedies . . . . . . . . ib. 

29. The plane-tree : twenty -five remedies . . . . . . . . 20 


CHAP. Page 

30. The ash : five remedies 21 

31. The maple : one remedy ib. 

32. The poplar : eight remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

33. The elm : sixteen remedies 22 

34. The linden-tree : five remedies 23 

35. The elder : fifteen remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

36. The juniper : twenty-one remedies 24 

37. The willow : fourteen remedies. The willow of Ameria : one 

remedy . . .... . . . . . . . . . . 25 

38. The vitex : thirty-three remedies 26 

39. The erica : one remedy 28 

40. The broom : five remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

41. The myrica, otherwise called tamarica, or tamarix : three re- 

medies .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 29 

42. The brya : twenty-nine remedies 30 

43. The blood-red shrub : one remedy 31 

44. The siler : three remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

45. The privet : eight remedies . . . . . . . . . . 32 

46. The alder : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

47- The several varieties of the ivy: thirty-nine remedies .. ib. 

48. The cisthos : five remedies 34 

49. The cissos erythranos : two remedies. The chamsecissos : two 

remedies. The smilax : three remedies. The clematis : 

eighteen remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

50. The reed : nineteen remedies . . . . . . . . . . 35 

61. The papyrus, and the paper made from it : three remedies . . 36 

52. The ebony : five remedies .. .. .. .. .. 37 

53. The rhododendron : one remedy , . . . . . . . ib. 

54. The rhus or sumach-tree ; two varieties of it : eight remedies. 

Stomatice 38 

55. Rhus erythros : nine remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

56. The erythrodanus : eleven remedies . . . . . . . . ib. 

57. The alysson : two remedies . . . . . . . . . . 39 

58. The radicula or struthion : thirteen remedies. The apocynum : 

two observations upon it . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

59. Rosemary : eighteen remedies . . . . . . . . . 40 

60. The seed called cachrys. .. .. .. .. ..41 

61. The herb savin : seven remedies .. .. .. .. . . . ib. 

62. Selago : two remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

63. Samolus : two remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 

64. Gum : eleven remedies . . . . ib. 

65. The Egyptian or Arabian thorn : four remedies . . . . 43 

66. The white thorn : two remedies. The acanthion : one remedy ib. 

67. Gum acacia : eighteen remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

68. Aspalathos : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . 4o 

69. The erysisceptrum, adipsatheon, or diaxylon : eight remedies ib. 

70. The thorn called appendix: two remedies. The pyracantha: 

one remedy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 

71. The paliurus : ten remedies ib. 


CHAP. Page 

72. The agrifolia. The aquifolia : one remedy. The yew : one 

property belonging to it . . . . . . . . . . 46 

73. The bramble : fifty-one remedies . . . . . . . . 47 

74. The cynosbatos : three remedies . . . . , . . . 48 

75. The Idaean bramble 50 

76. The rhamnos ; two varieties of it : five remedies . . . . ib. 

77. Lycium: eighteen remedies .. .. .. ,. .. 51 

78. Sarcocolla : two remedies . . . . . . . . . . 52 

79. Oporice : two remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

80. The trixago, chamaedrys, chaniaedrops, or teucria : sixteen re- 

medies . , .... . . . . . . . . . . 52 

81. The chamaedaphne : five remedies .. .. .. .. ib. 

82. The chamelaea : six remedies . . . . . . . . . . tb 

83. The chamaesyce : eight remedies .. .. .. .. .. 54 

84. The chamaecissos : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

85. The chamaeleuce, farfarum, or farfugium : one remedy. . . ib. 

86. The chamaepeuce : five remedies. The charaaecyparissos : two 

remedies. The ampeloprason : six remedies. The stachys : 

one remedy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 

87. The clinopodion, cleonicion, zopyron, or ocimoides : three re- 

medies . . , . ib. 

88. The clematis centunculus : three remedies .. .. .. 56 

89. The clematis echites, or lagine . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

90. The Egyptian clematis, daphnoides, or polygonoides : two re- 

medies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 

91. Different opinions on the dracontium .. .. .. .. ib. 

92. The aron : thirteen remedies . . . . . . . . . . 58 

93. The dracunculus : two remedies . . . , . . . . . . 60 

94. The arisaros : three remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

95. The mille folium or my riophy lion t seven remedies .. .. 61 

96. The pseudobunion : four remedies . . . . . . . . ib. 

97. The myrrhis, myriza, or myrrha : seven remedies . . . . ib. 

98. The onobrychis : three remedies 62 

99. Coracesta and callicia .. .. .. .. .. .. i//. 

100. The rainsas or corinthia : one remedy .. . . .. .. 63 

101. The aproxis : six remedies .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

102. The aglaophotis or marmaritis. The achaemenis or hippo- 

phobas. The theobrotion or semnion. The adamantis. 
The arianis. The therionarca. The aethiopis or merois. 
The ophiusa. The thalassegle or potamaugis. The thean- 
gelis. The gelotophyllis. The hestiatoris or protomedia. 
The casignetes or dionysonymphas. The helianthes or 
heliocallis. The hermesias. The seschynomene. Thecrocis. 

The cenotheris. The anacampseros . . . . . 64 

103. The eriphia .. 67 

104. The wool plant : one remedy. The lactoris : one remedy. The 

militaris : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . 68 

105. The stratiotes : five remedies . .. .. .. .. ib. 

106. A plant growing on the head of a statue : one remedy . . ib. 


CHAP. Page 

107. A plant growing on the banks of a river : one remedy . . 69 

108. The herb called lingua : one remedy .. .. . . .. ib. 

109. Plants that take root in a sieve : one remedy . . . . . . ib. 

110. Plants growing upon dunghills : one remedy .. .. .. ib. 

111. Plants that have been moistened with the urine of a dog : one 

remedy . . , . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

112. Therodarum: three remedies .. ib. 

113. The plant called impia : two remedies .. .. . . .. 70 

114. The plant called Venus' comb: one remedy .. .. .. ib. 

115. The exedum. The plant called notia : two remedies .. .. 71 

116. The philanthropos : one remedy. The lappa canaria : two 

remedies , . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

117. Tordylon or syreon : three remedies ib. 

118. Gramen: seventeen remedies .. .. .. . .. 72 

119. Dactylos: five remedies .. .. .. .. .. .. 73 

120. Fenugreek or silicia : thirty-one remedies .. .. .. 74 



1. When the wild plants were first brought into use . . . . 77 

2. The Latin authors who have written upon these plants . . 78 

3. At what period the Eomans acquired some knowledge of this 

subject . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

4. Greek authors who have delineated the plants in colours . . 80 

5. The first Greek authors who wrote upon plants . . . . ib. 

6. Why a few of the plants only have been used medicinally. 

Plants, the medicinal properties of which have been miracu- 
lously discovered. The cynorrhodos : two remedies. The 
plant called dracunculus : one remedy. The britannica : five 

remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 

7. What diseases are attended with the greatest pain. Names of 

persons who have discovered famous plants . . . . . . 86 

8. Moly : three remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 

9. The dodecatheos : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . 88 

10. The pseonia, pentorobus, or glycyside : one remedy .. .. ib. 

11. The panaces asclepion : two remedies .. .. .. .. 89 

12. The panaces heracleon : three remedies . . . . . . . . 90 

13. The panaces chironion : four remedies .. .. .. .. ib. 

14. The panaces centaurion or pharnacion : three remedies . . ib. 

15. The heracleon sideri on : four remedies .. .. .. .. 91 

16. The ampelos chironia : one remedy ib. 

17. Hyoscyamos, known also as the apollinaris oraltercum; five 

varieties of it : three remedies . . . . . . , . ib. 

18. Linozostis, parthenion, hermupoa, or mercurialis : two varieties 

of it : twenty-two remedies . . . . . . . . 92 

19. The achilleos, sideritis, panaces heracleon, millefolium, or scopae 

regiae ^ six varieties of it : three remedies 94 


CHAP. Page 

20. The teucrion, hemionion, or splenion : two remedies . . . . 95 

21. Melampodium, hellebore, or veratrura; three varieties of it. 

The way in which it is gathered, and how the quality of it is 

tested , 96 

22. Twenty-four remedies derived from black hellebore. How it 

should be taken 98 

23. Twenty-three remedies derived from white hellebore . . . . 99 

24. Eighty-eight observations upon the two kinds of hellebore . . 100 

25. To what persons hellebore should never be administered .. 101 

26. The mithridatia . . 102 

27. The scordotis or scordion : four remedies . . . . . . ib. 

28. The polemonia, philetaeria, or chiliodynamus : six remedies .. ib. 

29. The eupatoria : one remedy 103 

30. Centaurion or chironion : twenty remedies . . . . . . ib. 

31. The centaurion lepton, or libadion, known also as fel terra : 

twenty-two remedies . . . . . . . . . . 104 

32. The centauris triorchis : two remedies ib. 

33. Clymenus : two remedies .. ,. .. .. .. 105 

34. Gentian : thirteen remedies . . . . . . . . . . ?/;. 

35. The lysimachia : eight remedies 106 

36. Artemisia, parthenis, botrys, or ambrosia : five remedies . . ib. 

37. Nymphaea, heracleou, rhopalon, or madon; two varieties of it: 

four remedies . . , . . . . . . . . . . . 107 

38. Two varieties of euphorbia : four remedies. The chamelaea . . ib. 

39. Two varieties of the plantago : forty-six remedies .. .. 109 

40. Buglossos : three remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

41. Cynoglossos: three remedies .. .. .. .. .. HO 

42. The buphthalmos or cachla : one remedy . . . . . . ib. 

43. Plants which have been discovered by certain nations. The 

scythice : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

44. The hippace : three remedies .. .. .. . . ..Ill 

45. The ischcemon : two remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

46. The cestros, psychotrophon, vettonica, or serratula : forty-eight 

remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

47. The cantabrica : two remedies 1 12 

48. Consiligo : one remedy .. .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

49. The iberis : seven remedies 113 

50. Plants which have been discovered by certain animals. Cheli- 

donia: six remedies .. .. .. .. .. .. 114 

51. The dog-plant : one remedy ib. 

52. The elaphoboscon 115 

53. Dictamnon ; eight remedies. Pseudodictamnon or chondris. In 

what places the most powerful plants are found. How that 
milk is drunk in Arcadia for the beneficial effects of the 

plants upon which the cattle feed . . . . . . . . ib. 

51. The aristolochia, clematitis, cretica, plistolochia, lochia polyr- 

rhizos, or apple of the earth : twenty-two remedies . . 116 

55. The employment of these plants for injuries inflicted by serpents 118 

56. The argemonia : four remedies .. .. .. .. ..119 


CHAP. Page 

57. Agaric: thirty-three remedies .... 120 

58. The echios ; three varieties of it ; two remedies . . . . ib. 

59. Hierabotane, peristereon, or verbenaca ; two varieties of it : ten 

remedies .. .. .. .. .. .. ..121 

60. The blattaria : one remedy 122 

61. Lemonium ; one remedy .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

62. Quinquefolium, known also as pentapetes, pentaphyllon, or eha- 

maezelon ; thirty-three remedies . . . . . . . . ib. 

68.' The sparganion ; one remedy . . . . . . . . . . 123 

64. Four varieties of the daucus : eighteen remedies . . . . ib. 

65. The therionarca : two remedies 124 

66. The persolata or arcion : eight remedies . . . . . . ib. 

67. Cyclaminos or tuber terrae : twelve remedies .. .. .. 125 

68. The cyelaminos cissanthemos : four remedies . . . . . . ib. 

69. The cyelaminos chamaBcissos : three remedies . . . . . . 126 

70. Peucedanum : twenty-eight remedies ib. 

71. Ebulum : six remedies .. .. .. .. .. .. 127 

72. Polemonia : one remedy .. .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

73. Phlomos or verbascum : fifteen remedies . . . . . . . . ib. 

74. The phlomis : one remedy. The lychnitis or thryallis . . ib. 

75. The thelyphonon or scorpio : one remedy .. .. .. 128 

76. The phrynion. neuras, or poterion : one remedy . . . . ib. 

77. The alisma, damasonion, or lyron: seventeen remedies. . .. 129 

78. Peristereos: six remedies .. .. .. .. .. 130 

79. Eemedies against certain poisons . . . . . . . . ib. 

80. The antirrhinum, anarrhinon, or lychnis agria: three remedies 131 

81. Euclea : one remedy .. .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

82. The pericarpum ; two varieties of it : two remedies . . . . ib. 

83. Remedies for diseases of the head. Nymphsea heraclia : two 

remedies 132 

84. The lingulaca : one remedy ib. 

85. The cacalia or leontice : three remedies . . . . . . 133 

86. The callitrichos : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

87. Hyssop : ten remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

88. The lonchitis : four remedies 134 

89. The xiphion or phasganion : four remedies ib. 

90. Psyllion, cynoides, crystallion, sicelicon, or cynomyia ; sixteen 

remedies. Thryselinum : one remedy . . . . . . 135 

91. Remedies for diseases of the eyes .. .. .. ..136 

92. The anagallis, or corchoron ; two varieties of it : six remedies ib. 

93. The aegilops : two remedies .. .. .. .. .. 138 

94. Mandragora, circseon, morion, or hippophlomos ; two varieties 

of it : twenty-four remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

95. Hemlock : thirteen remedies 140 

96. Crethmos agrios : one remedy .. .. .. .. .. 141 

97. Molybdsena : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

98. The first kind of capnos, known also as chicken's foot : one re- 

medy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142 

99. The arborescent capnos : three remedies ib. 


CHAP. Page 

100. The aeoron or agrion : fourteen remedies .. .. .. 142 

101. The cotyledon : two varieties of it : sixty-one remedies .. 143 

102. The greater aizoiim, also called buphthalmos, zoophthalmos, 

stergethron, hypogeson, ambrosion, amerimnon, sedum mag- 
num, or digitellus : thirty-six remedies. The smaller aizoiim, 
also called erithales, trithales, chrysothales, isoetes or sedum : 

thirty-two remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

103. The andrachle agria or illecebra: thirty-two remedies . . 144 

104. A remedy for diseases of the nostrils .. .. .. .. 145 

105. Remedies for diseases of the teeth . . . . . . . . ib. 

106. Erigeron, pappus, acanthis, or senecio : eight remedies .. 146 

107. The ephemeron : two remedies .. .. .. .. .. 147 

108. The labrum Venereum: one remedy . . . . . . 148 

109. The batrachion, ranunculus, or strumus ; four varieties of it : 

fourteen remedies . . . . . . . . . ib. 

110. Remedial preparations for offensive breath : two kinds of them 150 



1. New forms of disease *.. .. .. .. .. .. 152 

2. The nature of lichen . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

3. At what period lichen first made its appearance in Italy . . ib. 

4. Carbuncle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154 

5. Elephantiasis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

6. Colic 155 

7. The new system of medicine : Asclepiades the physician . . 156 

8. The changes effected by Asclepiades in the practice of medicine 157 

9. Remarks in dispraise of the practices of magic . . . . 159 

10. Lichen : five remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . 160 

11. Quinzy 161 

12. Scrofula ib. 

13. The plant called bellis : two remedies .. .. .. .. 162 

14. The condurdum . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

15. Cough 163 

16. Bechion, otherwise known as arcion, chamaeleuce, or tussilago : 

three remedies .. .. .. .. .. .. 164 

17. The bechion, known also as salvia : four remedies . . . . ib. 

18. Affections of the side, chest, and stomach .. .. . . ib. 

19. Molon or syron. Amomum . . - . . . . . . . . 165 

20. The ephedra or anabasis; three remedies . . . . . . . 166 

21. Geum; three remedies ib. 

22. Tripolium: three remedies 167 

23. The grompha3na ib. 

24. The malundrum : two remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

25. Chalcetum; two remedies. Molemonium ; one remedy .. 168 

26. Halus or cotonea : five remedies 169 


CHAP Page 

27. The chamaedrops : one remedy. The stcechas : one remedy .. 169 

28. Remedies for diseases of the belly . . . . . . . . ib. 

29. The astragalus : six remedies . . .. .. .. .. 170 

30. Ladanum : eighteen remedies .. .. .. .. ..171 

31. Chondris or pseudodietamnon : one remedy. Hypoeisthis or 

orobethron ; two varieties : eight remedies .. .. .. 172 

32. Laver or sion : two remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

33. Potamogiton : eight remedies. The statice : three remedies . . ib. 

34. The ceratia : two remedies. Leontopodion, leuceoron, dori- 

petron, or thorybethron. Lagopus : three remedies .. 173 

35. Epithymon or hippopheos ; eight remedies .. .. .. 174 

36. Pycnocomon; four remedies .. .. .. .. .. 17o 

37. Polypodion ; three remedies ib. 

38. Scammony; eight remedies 176 

39. The tithymalos characias .. .. .. .. ..177 

40. The tithymalos myrtites, or caryites ; twenty-one remedies .. 178 

41. The tithymalos paralios, or tithymalis; four remedies .. 179 

42. The tithymalos helioscopios ; eighteen remedies . . . . ib. 

43. The tithymalos cyparissias ; eighteen remedies .. .. .. 180 

44. The tithymalos platyphyllos, corymbites, or amygdalites ; three 

remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

45. The tithymalos dendroides, cobios, or leptophyllos ; eighteen 

remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

46. The apios ischas, or raphanos agria ; two remedies . . . . ib. 

47. Remedies for griping pains in the bowels .. .. .. 181 

48. Remedies for diseases of the spleen . . . . . . . . ib. 

49. Remedies for calculi and diseases of the bladder .. .. 182 

50. Crethmos; eleven remedies. Cachry 183 

51. The anthyllion ; two remedies. The anthyllis ; two remedies. . 184 

52. Cepeea ; one remedy . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

53. Hypericon, chamsepitys, or corison ; nine remedies .. .. 185 

54. Caros or hypericon ; ten remedies . . . . . . . . ib. 

55. The callithrix ; one remedy. The perpressa ; one remedy. The 

chrysanthemum; one remedy. The anthemis ; one remedy 186 

56. Silaus; one remedy .. .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

57. The plant of Fulvius .. .. 187 

58. Remedies for diseases of the testes and of the fundament . . ib. 

59. Inguinalis or argemo .. .. .. .. .. .. 188 

60. Remedies for inflamed tumours. Chrysippios ; one remedy . . ib 

61. Aphrodisiacs and antaphrodisiacs .. .. .. .. 189 

62. The orchis or serapias ; five medicinal properties. Satyrion . . ib. 

63. Satyrion ; three medicinal properties. Satyrion erythraicon ; 

four medicinal properties . . . . . . . . . . 190 

64. Remedies for the gout and diseases of the feet . . . . 192 

65. Lappago or mollugo ; one remedy. Asperugo ; one remedy . . ib. 

66. Phycos thalassion or sea-weed ; three varieties of it. Lappa 

boaria . 193 

67. Maladies which attack the whole of the body . . . . . . 194 

68. The geranion, myrrhis or myrtis; three varieties of it : six remedies 195 


CHAP. Page 

69. The onotheras or onear ; three remedies 196 

70. Remedies for epilepsy . . . . . . . . . ib. 

71. Remedies for fevers . . . . . . . ... . . 197 

72. Remedies for phrenitis, lethargy, and carbuncles . . . . 198 

73. Remedies for dropsy. Acte or ebulum. Chamaeacte . . . . ib. 

74. Remedies for erysipelas .. .. .. .. ..199 

75. Remedies for sprains . . . . . . . . . . . 200 

76. Remedies for jaundice .. .. .. ib. 

77. Remedies for boils 201 

78. Remedies for fistula ib. 

79. Remedies for abscesses and hard tumours . . . . . . ib. 

80. Remedies for burns 202 

81. Remedies for diseases of the sinews and joints ib. 

82. Remedies for haemorrhage . . . . . . . . . . 203 

83. Hippuris, otherwise called ephedron, anabasis, or equisoetum ; 

three kinds of it ; eighteen remedies ib. 

84. Stephanomelis .. 205 

85. Remedies for ruptures and convulsions. Erysithales; one remedy ib. 

86. Remedies for phthiriasis 206 

87. Remedies for ulcers and wounds .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

88. Polycnemon ; one remedy . . . . . . . . . . 209 

89. Remedies for warts, and applications for the removal of scars . . ib. 

90. Remedies for female diseases . . . . . . . . 210 

91. Arsenogonon ; one medicinal property. Thelygonon ; one me- 

dicinal property 213 

92. Mastos ; one remedy . . . . . . . . . . . . 214 

93. Applications for the hair. Lysimachia. Ophrys . . . . ib. 



1. Researches of the ancients upon this subject .. .. .. 217 

2. Aconite, otherwise called thelyphonon, cammaron, pardaliaiiches, 

or scorpio; four remedies .. .. .. .. .. 218 

3. JEthiopis ; four remedies . . . . . . . . . . 221 

4. Ageraton ; four remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

5. The aloe ; twenty-nine remedies 222 

6. Alcea ; one remedy . . . . . . . . . . . . 224 

7. The alypon ; one remedy ib. 

8. Alsine, a plant used for the same purposes as hebtine ; five re- 

medies .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

9. The androsaces ; six remedies . . . . . . . . 225 

10. AndrosaBmon or ascyron ; six remedies . . . . , . . . ib 

11. Ambrosia, botrys, or artemisia ; three remedies 226 

12. The anonis or ononis ; five remedies .. .. .. ib. 

13. The anagyros or acopon ; three remedies . . . . . . ib. 

14. The anonymos; two remedies . . . . . . . . . . 227 

15. Aparine, omphalocarpos, or philanthropes ; three remedies . . ib* 


CHAP. Page 

16. The arction or arcturum ; five remedies . . . . . . 228 

17. The asplenon or hemionion; two remedies . . . . . . ib. 

18. The asclepias ; two remedies .. .. .. .. .. 229 

19. The aster or bubonion ; three remedies ib. 

20. Ascyron and ascyroides ; three remedies ib. 

21. Theaphaca; three remedies .. . . .. .. .. 230 

22. Alcibium ; one remedy . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

23. Alectoroslophos or crista ; two remedies . . . . . . ib. 

24. Alum, also called symphyton petreeon ; fourteen remedies .. 2:U 

25. Alga rufa or red sea-weed ; one remedy 232 

26. Actaaa ; one remedy ib. 

27. The ampelos agria, or wild vine ; four remedies . . ' . . ib. 

28. Absinthium or wormwood ; four varieties ; forty-eight remedies i b. 

29. Absinthium marinum or seriphum . . . . . . . . 235 

30. The ballotes, melamprasion, or black leek ; three remedies . . 236 

31. Botrys, ambrosia, or artemisia ; one remedy .. .. .. ib. 

32. The brabyla ; one remedy . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

33. Bryon maritimum ; five remedies . . . . . . . . ib. 

34. The bupleuron ; one remedy ' 237 

35. The catanance ; one observation upon it. The cemos ; one ob- 

servation upon it . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

36. The calyx ; three remedies 238 

37. The calyx, known also as anchusa or onoclia ; two remedies . . ib. 

38. The circaBa ; three remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

39. The cirsion ; one remedy . . . . . . . . . , 239 

40. The crata3gonon ; two kinds of it ; eight remedies . . . . ib. 

41. The crocodileon ; two remedies .. .. .. .. ., 240 

42. The cynosorchis or orchis ; four remedies . . . . . . ib. 

43. The chrysolachanum; two varieties of it; three remedies. Co- 

agulum terra3 ; two remedies . . . . . . 241 

44. The cucubalus, strumus, or strycbnon ; six remedies . . < . ib. 

45. The conferva ; two remedies .. .. .. .. .. 242 

46. The coccus Cnidius, or grain of Gnidos ; two remedies. . . . ib 

47. Thedipsacos; two remedies ib. 

48. The dryopteris ; two remedies 243 

49. The dryophonon ib. 

50. The elatine ; two remedies . . . . . . . . ib. 

51. Empetros, by our people called ealcifraga; four remedies . . 244 

52. The epipactis or elleborine ; two remedies . . . . . . ib. 

53. The epimedion ; three remedies . . . . . . . . ib. 

54. The enneaphyllon; two remedies .. .. .. .. 245 

55. Two varieties of filix or fern, known to the Greeks as pteris or 

blachnon, and as thelypteris or nympha3a pteris ; eleven re- 
medies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #>. 

56. Femur bubulum, or ox thigh . . . . . . . . 246 

57. Galeopsis, galeobdolon, or galion ; six remedies. . .. .. ib. 

58. The glaux ; one remedy . . 247 

59. Glaucion; three remedies. Diaglaucia ; two remedies .. ib. 

60. The glycyside, pajonia, or pentorobos ; twenty remedies . . 248 


CHAP. Page 

61. Gnaphalium or charaaezelon : six remedies .. .. .. 249 

62. The gallidraga : one remedy ib, 

63. Holcus or aristis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250 

64. Hyoseris : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

65. The holosteon : three remedies ib. 

66. The hippophaeston : eight remedies . . . . . . . . ib. 

67. The hypoglossa : one remedy .. .. .... .. 251 

68. Hypecobn ib. 

69. The Idaea herba or plant of Ida : four remedies . . . . ib. 

70. The isopyron or phasiolon : two remedies . . . . . . ib. 

71. The lathyris : two remedies .. .. .. .. 252 

72. The leontopetalon or pardalion : two remedies . . . . ib. 

73. The lycapsos : two remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

74. The lithospermum, exonychon, diospyron, or heracleos : two 

remedies 253 

75. Lapidis muscus, or stone moss : one remedy . . . . . . 254 

76. The limeum : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

77. The leuce, mesoleucon, or leucas : three remedies .. .. *b. 

78. The leucographis : five remedies . . . . . . . . 255 

79. The medion : three remedies ib. 

80. The myosota or myosotis : three remedies . . . . . . ib. 

81. Themyagros: one remedy .. .. .. .. .. 256 

82. The nyma : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

83. The natrix : one remedy. . . . . . . . . . ib. 

84. Odontitis : one remedy 257 

85.. The othonna : one remedy ib. 

86. The onosma : one property . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

87. The onopordon : five remedies . . . . . . . . . . 258 

88. The osyris : four remedies . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

89. The oxys : two remedies. . . . . . . . . . ib. 

90. The polyauthemum or batrachion : three remedies .. .. ib. 

91. The polygonos, polygonatos, teuthalis, earcinethron, clema, or 

myrtopetalos, otherwise known as sanguinaria or orios : four 

varieties of it : forty remedies . . . . . . . . 259 

92. The pancratium : twelve remedies 260 

93. The peplis, syce, meconion, or mecon aphrodes: three remedies 261 

94. The periclymenos : five remedies . . . . . . . . ib. 

95. Pelecinon : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . . . 262 

96. Polygala : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

97. Poterion, phrynion, or neuras : four remedies . . . . . . ib. 

98. The phalangitis, phalangion, or leucacantha : four remedies . . 263 

99. The phyteuma : one property . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

100. The phyllon : one property . , . . . . ib. 

101. The phellandrion : two remedies .. .. .. .. 264 

102. Thephalaris: two remedies .. .. ib. 

103. The polyrrhizon : five remedies. . . . . . . . ib. 

104. The proserpinaca : five remedies . . . . . . . . ib. 

105. Rhacoma : thirty-six remedies . . . . . . . . . . 265 

106. The reseda : two remedies ib. 


CHAP. Page 

107. The stoechas : three remedies 266 

108. The solanum, by the Greeks called strychnon : two remedial 

properties . . . . . . . . - ; *^ 

109. Smyrnion : thirty- two remedies. Sinon : two remedies . . ib. 

110. Telephion: four remedies 267 

111. The trichomanes: five remedies 

112. The thalictrum : one remedy ib. 

113. Thlaspi and Persicon napy : four remedies 

114. The trachinia : one property .. .. .. 269 

115. The tragonis or tragion : four remedies. ib. 

116. The tragos or scorpion : four remedies 270 

117. The tragopogon or come .. ib. 

118. The ages of plants ** 

119. How the greatest efficacy in plants may be ensured .. .. 271 

120. Maladies peculiar to various nations # 



1. Introduction . . . . . . - . . . . . . . . 275 

"~ 2. Remedies derived from man .. .. .. .. ..276 

3. Whether words are possessed of any healing efficacy . . . . 278 

4. That prodigies and portents may be confirmed, or made of no 

effect 280 

6, A description of various usages .. .. .. .. .. -283 

6. Two hundred and twenty-six observations on remedies derived 

from man. Eight remedies derived from children. . . . 286 

7. Properties of the human spittle . . . . 288 

8. Remedies derived from the wax of the human ear . . . . 291 

9. Remedies derived from the human hair, teeth, &c. .. .. ib. 

10. Remedies derived from the human blood, the sexual con- 

gress, &c 292 

11. Remedies derived from the dead ib. 

12. Various reveries and devices of the magicians .. .. .. 293 

13. Remedies derived from the human excretions . . .. . . 294 

1 4. Remedies depending upon the human will 295 

15. Remedies derived from sneezing .. .. .. .. 297 

16. Remedies derived from the sexual congress . . . . . . ib. 

17. Various other remedies 298 

18. Remedies derived from the urine 299 

19. Indications of health derived from the urine . . . . . . 301 

20. Forty-one remedies derived from the female sex . . . . ib. 

21. Remedies derived from woman's milk .. .. .. .. 302 

22. Remedies derived from the spittle of females . . . . . . 304 

23. Facts connected with the menstrual discharge. . . . ib. 

24. Remedies derived from foreign animals : the elephant, eight 

remedies 307 


CHAP. Page 

25. Ten remedies derived from the lion .. 308* 

26. Ten remedies derived from the camel n. 

27. Seventy- nine remedies derived from the hyaena .. .. 309 

28. Nineteen remedies derived from the crocodile .. .. .. 31 4: 

29. Fifteen remedies derived from the chameleon .. .. .. 31 

30. Four remedies derived from the scincus . . .. . . . . 318 

31. Seven remedies derived from the hippopotamus .. . . ib. 

32. Five remedies derived from the lynx 319 

33. Remedies furnished in common by animals of the same class, 

whether wild or tame. Fifty-four medicinal uses of milk, 

with observations thereon. . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

34. Twelve remedies derived from cheese .. .. .. .. 322 

35. Twenty remedies derived from butter . . . . . . . . 323 

36. Oxygala : one remedy . . . . . . . . . . . . 324 

37. The various uses of fat, and observations upon it, fifty-two in 

number. . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

38. Suet 326 

39. Marrow 327 

40. Gall ib. 

41. Blood 328 

42. Peculiar remedies derived from various animals, and classified 

according to the maladies. Remedies against the poison of 
serpents, derived from the stag, the fawn, the ophion, the 

she-goat, the kid, and the ass . . .. . . ib. 

43. Remedies for the bite of the mad dog. Remedies derived from 

the calf, the he-goat, and various other animals . . . . 331 

44. Remedies to be adopted against enchantments . . . . . . ib. 

45. Remedies for poisons , . .. .. .. .. .. 332 

46. Remedies for diseases of the head, and for alopecy . , . . 334 

47. Remedies for affections of the eyes 335 

48. Remedies.for diseases and affections of the ears. . . . . . 337 

49. Remedies for tooth-ache 338 

50. Remedies for diseases of the face .. .. .. .. 340 

51. Remedies for diseases of the tonsillary glands and for scrofula.. 342 

52. Remedies for pains in the neck 343 

53. Remedies for cough and for spitting of blood . . . . . . ib. 

54. Remedies for affections of the stomach . . . . . . . . 344 

55. Remedies for liver complaints and for asthma . . . . . . ib. 

56. Remedies for pains in the loins . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

57. Remedies for affections of the spleen .. .. . . . . 345 

58. Remedies for bowel complaints . . . . . . . . . . 346 

59. Remedies for tenesmus, tapeworm, and affections of the colon. . 348 

60. Remedies for affections of the bladder, and for urinary calculi,. 349 

61. Remedies for diseases of the generative organs and of the fun- 

dament 350 

62. Remedies for gout and for diseases of the feet . . . . . . 352 

63. Remedies for epilepsy . . . . 353 

64. Remedies for jaundice .. .. .. .. .. .. 354 

65. Remedies for broken bones . . ib. 


CHAP. Page 

66. Eemedies for fevers .. .. . . .. .. .. 354 

67. Remedies for melancholy, lethargy, and phthisis .. .. 355 

68. Remedies for dropsy . . . . . . . . . . . . 356 

69. Remedies for erysipelas, and for purulent eruptions . . . . 357 

70. Remedies for sprains, indurations, and boils . . . . . . ib. 

71. Remedies for burns. The method of testing bull-glue ; seven 

remedies derived from it . . . . . . . . ib. 

72. Remedies for affections of the sinews and for contusions . . 358 

73. Remedies for haemorrhage ib. 

74. Remedies for ulcers and carcinomatous sores . . .. .. 359 

75. Remedies for the itch 360 

76. Methods of extracting foreign substances which adhere to the 

body, and of restoring scars to their natural colour . . . . ib. 

77. Remedies for female diseases . . . . . . . . ib. 

78. Remedies for the diseases of infants . . . . . . . . 364 

79. Provocatives of sleep . . . . . . . . . . . . 365 

80. Stimulants for the sexual passions . . . . . . ib. 

81. Remarkable facts relative to animals .. .. .. .. 366 



1. The origin of the medical art ., .. .. .. .. 370 

2. Particulars relative to Hippocrates. Date of the origin of clinical 

practice and of that of latraleptics . . . . . . . . 371 

3 . Particulars relative to Chrysippus and Erasistratus . . . . ib. 

4. The Empiric branch of medicine . . . . . . . . . . 372 

5. Particulars relative to Herophilus and other celebrated physicians. 

The various changes that have been made in the system of 

medicine . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

6. Who first practised as a physician at Rome, and at what period 375 

7. The opinions entertained by the Romans on the ancient physicians ib. 

8. Evils attendant upon the practice of medicine ... ... .. 376 

9. Thirty-five remedies derived from wool . . . . . . . . 381 

10. Thirty-two remedies derived from wool-grease . . . . . . 383 

11. Twenty-two remedies derived from eggs .. .. ., 385 

12. Serpents' eggs 388 

13. The method of preparing commagenum. Four remedies derived 

from it . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390 

14. Remedies derived from the dog .. % . .. .. .. 391 

15. Remedies classified according to the different maladies. Reme- 

dies for injuries inflicted by serpents. Remedies derived from 

mice .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 392 

16. Remedies derived from the weasel . . .. .... ib. 

17. Remedies derived from bugs .. ,. .. .. .. ib. 

18. Particulars relative to the asp .. .. .. .. .. 394 

19. Remedies derived from the basilisk .. .. ib. 


CHAP. Papa 

20. Remedies derived from the dragon 395 

21. Remedies derived from the viper .. .. .. . . . . ib. 

22. Remedies derived from the other serpents . . . . . . 396 

23. Remedies derived from the salamander . . . . . . . . 397 

24. Remedies derived from birds, for injuries inflicted by serpents. 

Remedies derived from the vulture . . . . . . . . 398 

25. Remedies derived from poultry 399 

26. Remedies derived from other birds . . . . . . . . 400 

27. Remedies for the bite of the phalangium. The several varieties 

of that insect, and of the spider . . . . . . . . ib. 

28. Remedies derived from the stellio, or spotted lizard . . . . 402 

29. Remedies derived from various insects . . . . . . . . 403 

30. Remedies derived from cantharides ib. 

31. Various counter-poisons 405 

32. Remedies for the bite of the mad dog .. .. .. .. ib. 

33. Remedies for the other poisons . . . . . . . . . . 407 

34. Remedies for alopecy . . . . . . . . . . . . 408 

35. Remedies for lice and for porrigo . . . . . . . . 409 

36. Remedies for head-ache, and for wounds on the head . . . . ib. 

37. Remedies for affections of the eyelids .. .. .. .. 410 

38. Remedies for diseases of the eyes .. .. .. ..411 

39. Remedies for pains and diseases of the ears . . . . . . 416 



1. The origin of the magic art .. 421 

2. "When and where the art of magic originated : by what persons 

it was practised . . . . 422 

3. Whether magic was ever practised in Italy. At what period 

the senate first forbade human sacrifices . . . . . . 425 

4. The Druids of the Gallic provinces . . . . , . . . 426 

5. The various branches of magic . . . . . . . . . . 427 

6. The subterfuges practised by the magicians . . . . . . 428 

7. Opinions of the magicians relative to the mole. Five remedies 

derived from it 429 

8. The other remedies derived from living creatures, classified ac- 

cording to the respective diseases. Remedies for tooth-ache 430 

9. Remedies for offensive odours and sores of the mouth . . . . 432 

10. Remedies for spots upon the face . . . . . . . . ib. 

11. Remedies for affections of the throat .. .. .. .. 433 

12. Remedies for quinzy and scrofula .. .. .. .. 434 

13. Remedies for diseases of the shoulders 436 

14. Remedies for pains in the viscera .. . . . . . . 437 

15. Remedies for pains in the stomach . . . . . . ib. 

16. Remedies for pains in the liver, and for spitting of blood .. 438 

17. Remedies for affections of the spleen 439 



CHAP. Page 

18. Remedies for pains in the side and in the loins . . . . . . 440 

19. Remedies for dysentery .. .. .. .. .. ..441 

20. Remedies for the iliac passion, and for other maladies of the 

bowels 442 

21. Remedies for urinary calculi and affections of the bladder . . 443 

22. Remedies for diseases of the fundament and of the generative 

organs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 445 

23. Remedies for gout and for diseases of the feet 446 

24. Remedies for evils which are liable to affect the whole body . . 448 

25. Remedies for cold shiverings . . . . . . . . . . 449 

26. Remedies for paralysis 450 

27. Remedies for epilepsy . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

28. Remedies for jaundice . . . . . . . . . . . . 452 

29. Remedies for phrenitis . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

30. Remedies for fevers 453 

31. Remedies for dropsy 456 

32. Remedies for erysipelas . . . . ib. 

33. Remedies for carbuncles 457 

34. Remedies for boils . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

35. Remedies for burns . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

36. Remedies for affections of the sinews . . . . . . . . ib. 

37. Remedies for maladies of the nails and fingers 458 

38. Methods for arresting haemorrhage . . . . . . . . ib. 

39. Remedies for ulcerous sores and wounds . . . . . . ib. 

40. Remedies for broken bones . . . . . . . . . . 460 

41. Applications for cicatrizations, and for the cure of morphew . . 461 

42. Methods of extracting foreign substances from the body , . ib. 

43. Remedies for female complaints .. .. .. . . .. 462 

44. Methods of facilitating delivery . . 463 

45. Methods of preserving the breasts from injury 464 

46. Various kinds of depilatories 465 

47. Remedies for the diseases of infants .. .. .. .. ib. 

48. Provocatives of sleep .. .. .. .. .. .. 467 

49. Aphrodisiacs and antaphrodisiacs . . . . . . . . ib. 

50. Remedies for phthiriasis, and for various other affections . . 468 
ol. Remedies for intoxication .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

52. Peculiarities relative to certain animals . . . . . . . . 469 

53. Other marvellous facts connected with animals . . . . . . ib. 



1. Remarkable facts connected with water .. .. .. .. 471 

2. The different properties of waters 472 

?j. Remedies derived from water .. .. .. 473 

4. Waters productive of fecundity. "Waters curative of insanity 474 


CH\P. Papre 

5. Waters remedial for urinary calculi . . . . , . 474 

6. Waters curative of wounds . . . . . . . . . . 475 

7. Waters preventive of abortion ib. 

8. Waters which remove morphew .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

9. Waters which colour the hair .. .. .. .. .. 476 

10. Waters which colour the human body . . . . . . . . ib. 

11. Waters which aid the memory, or are productive of forgetfulness 477 

12. Waters which sharpen or dull the senses. Waters which im- 

prove the voice . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

13. Waters which cause a distaste for wine. Waters which produce 

inebriety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ih. 

14. Waters which serve as a substitute for oil .. .. .. 478 

15. Salt and bitter waters .. .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

16. Waters which throw up stones. Waters which cause laughter 

and weeping. Waters which are said to be curative of love ib. 

17. Waters which preserve their warmth for three days .. .. 479 

18. Other marvellous facts connected with water. Waters in which 

everything will sink. Waters in which nothing will sink ib. 

19. Deadly waters. Poisonous fishes .. .. .. .. 480 

20. Waters which petrify themselves, or cause other objects to petrify 482 

21. The wholesomeness of waters .. .. .. .. .. ib. 

22. The impurities of water . . . . . . . . . . . . 484 

23. The modes of testing water 4^5 

24. The Marcian Waters 487 

25. The Virgin Waters 488 

26. The method of searching for water . . . . . . . . ib. 

27. Signs indicative of the presence of water . . . . . . 489 

28. Differences in waters, according to the nature of the soil . . ib. 

29. The qualities of water at the different seasons of the year .. 491 

30. Historical observations upon waters which have suddenly made 

their appearance or suddenly ceased . . . . . . . . 492 

31. The method of conveying water .. .. .. .. .. 494 

32. How mineral waters should be used .. .. . . _ /#. 

33. The uses of sea-water. The advantages of a sea-voyage . . 496 

34. How artificial sea- water may be made in places at a distance 

from the sea 498 

35. How thalassomeli is made . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

36. How hydromeli is made . . . . . . . . . . . . ib. 

37. Methods of providing against the inconvenience of drinking sus- 

pected water .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 499 

38. Six remedies derived from moss. Remedies derived from sand ib. 

39. The various kinds of suit; the methods of preparing it, and the 

remedies derived from it. Two hundred and four observa- 
tions thereupon . . . . . . . . . . . . 500 

40. Muria ^ ..' 503 

41. The various properties of salt : one hundred and twenty histori- 

cal remarks relative thereto 504 

42. Flower of salt : twenty remedies. Salsugo : two remedies . . 506 

43. Garum : fifteen remedies 507 


CHAP. Page 

44. Alex : eight remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . 508 

45. The nature of salt 509 

46. The various kinds of nitrum, the methods of preparing it, and 

the remedies derived from it : two hundred and twenty-one 
observations thereon .. .. .. .. .. ..512 

47. Sponges, and the remedies derived from them: ninety-two 

observations thereon .. .. 519 





even are the forests and the spots in which the aspect of 
Nature is most rugged, destitute of their peculiar remedies ; 
for so universally has that divine parent of all things distributed 
her succours for the benefit of man, as to implant for him 
medicinal virtues in the trees of the desert even, while at 
every step she presents us with most wonderful illustrations of 
those antipathies and sympathies which exist in the vegetable 

Between the quercus 1 and the olive 2 there exists a hatred 
so inveterate, that transplanted, either of them, to a site pre- 
viously occupied by the other, they will die. 3 The quercus 
too, if planted near the walnut, will perish. There is a mortal 
feud 4 existing also between the cabbage and the vine ; and the 
cabbage itself, so shunned as it is by the vine, will wither im- 
mediately if planted in the vicinity of cyclamen 6 or of origanum. 
We find it asserted even, that aged trees fit to be felled, are 
cut with all the greater difficulty, and dry all the more rapidly, 

1 See B. xvi. cc. 6, 8, 33, 50. 2 See B. xvii. c. 3. 

3 As Fee justly remarks, the greater part of these so-called sympathies 
and antipathies must be looked upon as so many fables. In the majority of 
instances, it is the habitual requirements of the tree or plant that con- 
stitute the difference ; thus, for instance, the oak or quercus requires a 
different site and temperature from that needed by the olive, and the stony 
soil adopted by the vine is but ill-suited for the cultivation of the cabbage. 

4 See B. xx. c. 36. 

5 See B. xxi, cc. 27, 38, and B. xxv. c. 67. 

VOL. V. B 


if touched by the hand of man before the axe is applied : it 
is a common belief, too, that when their load consists of fruit, 
beasts of burden are immediately sensible 6 of it, and will in- 
stantly begin to sweat, however trifling it may be, unless the 
fruit is duly shown to them before starting, fennel-giant, as 
a fodder, is extremely grateful to the ass, and yet to other beasts 
of burden it is a deadly poison : hence it is that the ass is con- 
secrated to Father Liber, 7 to which deity the fennel is also 

Inanimate objects again, even of the most insignificant 
character, have their own peculiar antipathies. Cooks dis- 
engage meat of the brine, when it has been too highly salted, 
by the agency of fine meal and the inner bark 8 of the linden- 
tree. Salt again, tends to neutralize the sickly flavour of food 
when over- sweet. The taste of water, when nitrous or bitter, 
is modified by the addition of polenta, 9 so much so indeed, as 
to be rendered potable 10 in a couple of hours : it is for a similar 
reason, too, that a layer of polenta is put 11 in our linen wine- 
strainers. A similar property is possessed also by the chalk 12 
of Ehodes, and the argilla of our own country. 

Equal affinities exist as well ; pitch, for instance, is extracted 
by the agency of oil, both of them being of an unctuous nature : 
oil again, will incorporate only with lime, both of them having 
a natural antipathy 13 to water. Gum is most 14 easily removed 
with vinegar, and ink 15 with water; in addition to which, there 

6 See the same statement made in B. xxiii. c. 62. 

7 Or Bacchus. 

8 " Philyra." Fee does not think that it can be of any use for such a 
purpose. Hardouin says, however, that in his time meat when too highly 
salted was wrapped in leaves of the lime or linden, for the purpose of ex- 
tracting the salt. . 9 See B. xviii. c. 14. 

10 Instead of having this effect. Fee says, it would render it much worse. 

11 The intention being to clear the wine, though in reality, as Fee ob- 
serves, it would have a tendency to turn the wine into vinegar. 

12 Chalk, or in other words, sub-carbonate of lime, and argilla, or 
aluminous earth combining several earthy salts, would probably neutralize 
the acetic acid in the wine, but would greatly deteriorate its flavour, 

18 On the contrary, lime would appear to have a great affinity for water, 
absorbing it with avidity, if we may use the term. 

14 More easily with water ; though vinegar will do for the purpose. 

15 " Atramentum." By this passage, Fee says, it is clearly proved that 
the ink of the ancients was soluble in water, and that it contained neither 
galls nor salts of iron, "What it really was made of is still a matter of 

Chap. 2.] THE LOTUS OF ITALY. 3 

are numberless other instances of sympathy and antipathy 
which we shall be careful to mention in their appropriate places. 

It is in tendencies of this description that the medical art 
iirst took its rise ; though it was originally intended, no doubt, 
by Nature, that our only medicaments should be those which 
universally exist, are everywhere to be found, and are to be 
procured at no great outlay, the various substances, in fact, from 
which we derive our sustenance. But at a later period the 
fraudulent disposition of mankind, combined with an ingenuity 
prompted by lucre, invented those various laboratories, 16 in 
which each one of us is promised an extension of his life that 
is, if he will pay for it. Compositions and mixtures of an in- 
explicable nature forthwith have their praises sung, and the 
productions of Arabia and India are held in unbounded ad- 
miration in the very midst 17 of us. For some trifling 
sore or other, a medicament is prescribed from the shores 
of the Red Sea ; while not a day passes but what the real 
remedies are to be found upon the tables of the very poorest 
man among us. 18 But if the remedies for diseases were 
derived from our own gardens, if the plants or shrubs were 
employed which grow there, there would be no art, forsooth, 
that would rank lower than that of medicine. 

Yes, avow it we must the Roman people, in extending its 
empire, has lost sight of its ancient manners, and in that we 
have conquered we are the conquered: 19 for now we obey the 
natives of foreign 20 lands, who by the agency of a single art have 
even out-generalled our generals. 21 More, however, on this 
topic hereafter. 


We have already 22 spoken in their appropriate places of the 

doubt ; but it is not improbable that the basis of it was spodium, or ashes 
of ivory. 16 " Officinas." 

17 "In medio." The reading is very doubtful here. 

8 This, of course, is mere exaggeration. 

19 He would seem to imply that the medical men of his age had conspired 
to gain an adventitious importance by imposing upon the credulity of the 
public, on the principle " Omne ignotuin pro magnifico ;" much as the 
u medicine-men " of the North American Indians do at the present day. 

20 He alludes to the physicians of Greece more particularly. 
" Imperatoribus quoque imperaverunt." 

23 In B. xiii. c. 32, and B. xvi. c. 53. Pliny ascribes here to the Lotus of 
Italy, the Celtis Australia of Linnaeus, the same medicinal properties that 

B 2 


herb called lotus, and of the plant of Egypt known by the 
same name and as the " tree of the Syrtes." The berries of 
the lotus, which is known among us as the " Grecian bean," 23 
act astringently upon the bowels ; and the shavings of the wood, 
boiled in wine, are useful in cases of dysentery, excessive 
menstruation, vertigo, and epilepsy: they also prevent the 
hair from falling off. It is a marvellous thing but there is no 
substance known that is more bitter than the shavings of this 
wood, or sweeter than the fruit. The sawdust also of the 
wood is boiled in myrtle- water, and then kneaded and divided 
into lozenges, which form a medicament for dysentery of re- 
markable utility, being taken in doses of one victoriatus, 24 in 
three cyathi of water. 


Acorns, 25 pounded with salted axle-grease, 25 * are curative of 
those indurations known as " cacoethe." 26 The acorn of the 
holm-oak, however, is the most powerful in its effects ; and 
in all these trees the bark is still more efficacious, as well as 
the inner membrane which lies beneath it. A decoction of 
this last is good for coeliac affections ; and it is applied topically 
in cases of dysentery, as well as the acorns, which are em- 
ployed also for the treatment of stings inflicted by serpents, 
fluxes, and suppurations. The leaves, acorns, and bark, as 
well as a decoction prepared from them, are good as counter- 
poisons. A decoction of the bark r boiled in cows' milk, is 
used topically for stings inflicted by serpents, and is adminis- 
tered in wine for dysentery. The holm-oak is possessed of 
similar properties. 



The scarlet berry 27 of the holm-oak is applied to fresh 

are given by Dioscorides, B. i. c. 171, to the Egyptian bean or Nymphsea 
Nelumbo of Linnaeus. Galen gives the same account as Dioscorides ; it 
is not improbable, therefore, that Pliny is in error. 

23 See B. xvi. c. 53, Note 55. 

24 Half a denarius. See Introduction to Vol. III. 

25 Acorns, as well as the bark of the various kinds of oak, are of an 
astringent nature. 25 * Or, hogs' lard. 

26 In the singular number, " cacoethes," " a bad habit ;" signifying a 
malignant or cancerous tumour. 

27 See B. xvi. c. 12. All the properties here ascribed to it, Fee says, 


wounds with vinegar ; and in combination with water it is 
dropt into ths eyes in cases of defluxion of those organs or 
of ecchymosis. There grows also in most parts of Attica, and 
in Asia, a berry of this description, which becomes transformed 
with great rapidity into a diminutive worm, owing to which 
circumstance the Greeks have given it the name of " sco- 
lecion :" 28 it is held, however, in disesteem. The principal 
varieties of this berry have been previously 29 described. 


And no fewer are the varieties of the gall-nut which we 
have described : 30 we have, for instance, the full-bodied gall- 
nut, the perforated one, the white, the black, the large, the 
small, all of them possessed of similar properties ; that, how- 
ever, of Commagene is generally preferred. These substances 
remove fleshy excrescences on the body, and are serviceable for 
affections of the gums and uvula, 31 and for ulcerations of the 
mouth. Eurnt, and then quenched in. wine, they are applied 
topically in cases of cceliac affections and dysentery, and with 
honey, to whitlows, hang-nails, malformed nails, running ulcers, 
condylomatous swellings, and ulcerations of the nature known as 
phagedsenic. 32 A decoction of them in wine is used as an injection 
for the ears, and as a liniment for the eyes, and in combination 
with vinegar they are employed for eruptions and tumours. 

The inner part of the gall, chewed, allays tooth-ache, and is 
good for excoriations between the thighs, and for burns. Taken 
unripe in vinegar, they reduce the volume of the spleen ; and, 
burnt and then quenched in salt and vinegar, they are used as 
a fomentation for excessive menstruation and procidence of 
the uterus. All varieties of the gall-nut stain the hair black. 


We have already 33 stated that the best mistletoe is that 
which grows on the robur, 34 and have described the manner in 

are hypothetical. It is no longer used in medicine, at least to any re- 
cognized extent. 

28 Hence the Latin word " vermiculum," from which our word " ver- 
milion " is derived. 

29 In B. xvi. c. 12. 30 In B. xvi. c. 9. 

31 They might he used advantageously, Fee thinks, in the shape of a 
decoction, for procidence of the uvula and uterus. 

aa " Eating," or "corrosive." aa See B. xvi. cc. 11, 93, 94. 

31 SeeB. xvi. cc, 10, 11. 


which, it is prepared. Some persons, after bruising the berries, 
boil them in water, till nothing appears on the surface, while 
others, again, bite the berries with the teeth, and reject the 
skins. 35 The best kind of viscus is that which has none of 
the outer skin in it, is extremely light, yellow without, and 
of a leek-green colour within. There is no substance more 
glutinous than this : it is of an emollient nature, disperses 
tumours, and acts as a desiccative upon scrofulous sores ; com- 
bined with resin and wax, it heals inflamed swellings of every 
description. Some persons add galbanum as well, using equal 
proportions of each ingredient, and this preparation they em- 
ploy also for the treatment of wounds. 

The viscus of the mistletoe has the additional property also 
of rectifying malformed nails ; but to effect this it must be 
taken off at the end of seven days, and the nails must be 
washed with a solution of nitre. 35 * Some persons have a sort of 
superstitious notion that the viscus will be all the more effi- 
cacious if the berries are gathered from the robur at new moon, 
and without the aid of iron. They have an impression too, 
that if it has not touched the ground, it will cure epilepsy, 36 
that it will promote conception in females if they make a 
practice of carrying it about them : the berries, chewed and 
applied to ulcers, are remarkably efficacious for their cure, it is 



The round excrescences 37 which grow on the robur * * * 
and mixed with bear's grease, are remedial in cases of loss of 
the hair by alopecy. 

The leaves, bark, and acorns of the cerrus 38 act as a desic- 
cative upon gatherings and suppurations, and arrest fluxes. A 
decoction 39 of them, used as a fomentation, strengthens such 
parts of the body as are paralyzed ; and it is a very good plan 

:35 ^ This passage, as Fee remarks, is somewhat obscure. 
5 * As to the identity of the " nitrum" of Pliny, see B. xxxi. cc. 22, 46. 

36 Fee says, that till very recently it was a common belief that the oak 
mistletoe is curative of epilepsy. It was also employed as an ingredient 
in certain antispasmodic powders. 

37 See B. xvi. c. 10. as g ee j^ xv f. c , 8> 

!9 This decoction would be of a tonic and astringent nature, owing to 
the tannin and gallic acid which the leaves and baric contain. 

Chap. 10.] THE CYPRESS. 7 

to employ it as a sitting-bath, for its desiccative or astringent 
effects upon the lower extremities. The root of this tree 
neutralizes the venom of the scorpion. 


The bark of the cork-tree, 40 pulverized and taken in warm 
water, arrests haemorrhage at the mouth and nostrils ; 41 and 
the ashes of it, taken in warm wine, are highly extolled as a 
cure for spitting of blood. 


The leaves 42 of the beech are chewed for affections of the 
lips and gums. A liniment is made of the ashes of beech- 
mast for urinary calculus, and, in combination with honey, for 


The leaves of the cypress 43 are pounded and applied to 
wounds inflicted by serpents, and with polenta, to the head, in 
cases of sunstroke. They are used also for hernia, and an infu- 
sion of them is taken in drink. 44 They are applied with wax to 
swellings of the testes, and mixed with vinegar they stain the 
hair black. 46 Beaten up with twice the quantity of light 
bread, and then kneaded with Aminean 46 wine, they are found 
very soothing for pains in the feet and sinews. 

The excrescences of this tree are taken in drink for the 
stings of serpents and for discharges of blood from the mouth ; 
they are used also as a topical application for gatherings. 
Fresh-gathered and beaten up with axle-grease and bean- 
meal, they are good for hernia ; and an infusion of them is 

40 See B. xvi, c. 13. 41 "Ex utralibet parte." 

42 There is no foundation, Fee says, for any of these statements. 

43 See 13. xvi. c. 60. The leaves of the cypress, Fee says, contain tan- 
nin and an essential oil ; all the medicinal properties therefore, here attri- 
buted to them, which are not based upon these principles, must be looked 
upon as hypothetical. 

44 Down to the present century the leaves and fruit of the cypress were 
recommended in some medical works for the cure of hernia. The juice, 
however, of the leaves, taken internally, would be, as Fee says, highly 

45 Owing probably to the gallic acid they contain. 
* 6 See 13. xiv. c. 4. 


taken in drink for the same complaint. In combination with 
meal, they are applied topically to imposthumes of the parotid 
glands, and to scrofulous sores. From these excrescences, 
pounded along with the seed, a juice is extracted, which, mixed 
with oil, disperses films of the eyes. Taken in doses of one 
victoriatus, 47 in wine, and applied at the same time in a pulpy, 
dried fig, the seeds of which have been removed, this juice 
cures maladies of the testes and disperses tumours: mixed 
with leaven, it heals scrofulous sores. 

The root of the cypress, bruised with the leaves and taken 
in drink, is curative of diseases of the bladder, strangury, and 
the sting of the phalangium. 48 The shavings of the wood, 
taken in drink, act as an emmenagogue, and neutralize the 
venom of the scorpion. 


The larger cedar, known as the "cedrelates," 49 produces a 
pitch called " cedria," which is very useful for tooth-ache, it 
having the effect of breaking 50 the teeth and extracting them, 
and so allaying the pain. 1 We have already 51 stated how the 
juices of cedar are extracted, so remarkably useful for 
seasoning books, 52 were it not for the head-ache they produce. 
This extract from the cedar preserves 53 the bodies of the 
dead uncorrupted for ages, but exercises a noxious effect upon 
the bodies of the living singular that there should be such a 
diversity in its properties, taking away life from animated 

47 See Introduction to Vol. III. 

48 See B. x. c. 28, and B. xi. cc. 24, 28. 49 See B. xiii. c. 11. 

50 Fee remarks, that many of the moderns attribute to frankincense the 
properties here ascribed to cedria ; a most unfounded notion, he thinks. 

51 In B. xiv. c, 25, and B. xvi. cc. 21, 22. 

52 Sillig reads " volumina ;" in which case it is not improbable that the 
allusion is to the practice of seasoning the paper of manuscripts with a 
preparation of cedar, as a preservative against mildew and worms. An- 
other reading is " lumina," and it is not impossible that it is the right one, 
meaning that pitch of cedar is useful for making lamps or candles. Fee 
reminds us that we are not to confound the " cedria " with the " eedrium " 
of B. xvi. c. 21, though Pliny seems here to confound the two. See Note 
38 to that Chapter. 

53 As in B. xvi. c. 21, he has said the same of "eedrium," a red tar 
charged with empyreumatic oil, it is clear that he erroneously identifies it 
with " cedria," or pitch of cedar. It is with this last, in reality, that the 
Egyptians embalmed the dead, or rather preserved them, by dipping them 
in the boiling liquid. 

Chap. 12.] CEDIITDES. 9 

beings, and imparting a sort of life, as it were, to the dead ! 
It injures clothing also and destroys 54 animal life. It is for 
this reason that I cannot recommend it to be taken internally for 
the cure of quinzy and indigestion, though there are some who 
advise it : I should be greatly in dread too, to rinse the teeth 
with it, in combination with vinegar, for tooth-ache, or to use 
it as an injection for the ears in cases of hardness of hearing, or 
for worms in those organs. There is one very marvellous story 
told about it if the male organs, they say, are rubbed with it 
j ust before the sexual congress, it will effectually prevent im- 
pregnation. 56 

Still, however, I should not hesitate to employ it as a fric- 
tion for phthiriasis or porrigo. It is strongly recommended 
also, in raisin wine, as an antidote to the poison of the sea- 
hare, 56 but I should be more ready to use it as a liniment for 
elephantiasis. Some authors have prescribed it as an oint- 
ment for foul ulcers and the fleshy excrescences which grow 
in them, as also for spots and films on the eyes ; and have re- 
commended it to be taken, in doses of one cyathus, for ulcera- 
tions of the lungs, and for tapeworm. 

There is an oil extracted from this pitch, known as " pis- 
selaeon," 87 the properties of which are of increased activity 
for all the purposes before-mentioned. It is a well-known 
fact that the saw-dust of cedar will put serpents to flight, 
and that a similar effect is produced by anointing the body 
with the berries 58 bruised in oil. 


Cedrides, or in other words, the fruit of the cedar, 59 is 
curative of coughs, acts as a diuretic, and arrests looseness of 
the bowels. It is good also for ruptures, convulsions, 
spasms, and strangury, and is employed, as a pessary, for 
affections of the uterus. It is used also to neutralize the 

54 If he implies that it is poisonous, such in reality is not the case. 

55 A mere absurdity, of course. 

56 It would be of no use whatever for the cure of injuries inflicted by 
the Aplysia vulgaris or Aplysia depilans of Linnaeus. See B. ix. c. 72, and 
B. xxxii. c. 3. 

57 See B. xv. c. 7, and B. xxv. c. 22. " Pitch oil," a volatile oil. 

58 This mention of the berries clearly proves, Fee thinks, that the Cedre- 
lates of Pliny belongs in reality to the genus Juniperus. 

59 Or of the juniper, Fee thinks. 


venom of the sea-hare, 60 and for the cure of the various affections 
above-mentioned, as also of gatherings and inflammations. 


We have already 61 given some description of galbanum : to 
be good, it should be neither too moist nor too dry, but just in 
the state which we have mentioned. 63 It is taken by itself 
for inveterate coughs, asthma, ruptures, and convulsions ; and 
it is employed externally for sciatica, pains in the sides, inflamed 
tumours, 63 boils, denudations of the bones, scrofulous sores, 
nodes upon the joints, and tooth-ache. It is applied with 
honey also, to ulcerations of the head. In combination with 

011 of roses or with nard, it is used as an injection for sup- 
purations of the ears ; and the odour of it is useful for epilepsy, 
hysterical suffocations, and faintness at the stomach. Em- 
ployed as a pessary or as a fumigation, it brings away the 
foetus in cases of miscarriage; branches too of hellebore 
covered with it and laid beneath the patient, have a similar 

We have already 64 stated that serpents are driven away by 
the fumes of burnt galbanum, and they will equally avoid 
persons whose body has been rubbed with it. It is curative 
also of the sting of the scorpion. In protracted deliveries, a 
piece of galbanum the size of a bean is given in one cyathus 
of wine : it has the effect also of reducing the uterus when 
displaced, and, taken with myrrh and wine, it brings away 
the dead foetus. In combination with myrrh and wine too, 
it neutralizes poisons those which come under the de- 
nomination of "toxica" 65 in particular. The very touch 
of it, mixed with oil and spondylium, 66 is sufficient to 
kill a serpent. 67 It is generally thought to be productive of 

60 See Note 56 above. 61 In B. xii. c. 56. 

62 Cartilaginous, clear, and free from ligneous substances. 

63 It is still employed, Fee says, to a small extent, as a topical application 
for ulcerated sores. Its properties are energetic, but nearly all the uses to 
which Pliny speaks of it as being applied are hypothetical. 

64 In B. xii. c. 56. 65 Narcotic poisons. 

66 See B. xii. c. 58. See also c. 16 of this Book. 

67 This statement is entirely fabulous. 

Chap. 15.] STORAX. H 


Of a similar nature to galbanum is hammoniacum, a tear- 
like gum, the qualities of which are tested in manner already 68 
stated. It is of an emollient, warming, resolvent, and dis- 
pellent nature. Employed as an ingredient in eye- salves, it 
improves the sight. It disperses prurigo, effaces the marks of 
sores, removes spots in the eyes, and allays tooth- ache, more 
particularly when burnt. It is very useful too, taken in 
drink, for hardness of breathing, pleurisy, affections of the 
lungs, diseases of the bladder, bloody urine, maladies of the 
spleen, and sciatica : employed in a similar manner, it acts as 
a purgative upon the bowels. Boiled with an equal proportion 
of pitch or wax, and with oil of roses, it is good for diseases of 
the joints, and for gout. Employed with honey it ripens hard 
tumours, extracts corns, and has an emollient effect upon in- 
durations. In combination with vinegar and Cyprian wax, 
or oil of roses, it is extremely efficacious as a liniment for 
affections of the spleen. In cases of extreme lassitude, it is 
an excellent plan to use it as a friction, with vinegar and oil, 
and a little nitre. 


In speaking too of the exotic trees, we have made mention 69 of 
the properties of storax. In addition to those which we have 
already mentioned, it ought to be very unctuous, without alloy, 
and to break to pieces in whitish fragments. This substance is 
curative of cough, affections of the fauces, diseases of the chest, 
and obstructions or indurations of the uterus. Taken in drink, 
or employed as a pessary, it acts as an emmenagogue ; it has a 
laxative effect also upon the bowels. I find it stated that, taken 
in moderate doses, storax dispels melancholy; but that when em- 
ployed in large quantities, it promotes it. Used as an injection 
it is good for singings in the ears, and employed as a friction, 
for scrofulous swellings and nodes of the sinews. It neutra- 
lizes poisons of a cold nature, and consequently, hemlock. 70 

68 In B. xii. c. 49. Gum ammoniac is still used to some small extent 
in modern medicine, for asthma, boils, tumours, and diseases of the bladder. 

69 In B. xii. c. 55. Fee says that it is of the Araygdalite storax that 
Pliny is here speaking. It is little employed at the present day for in- 
ternal maladies. 

This is not the fact. 



At the same time we have also spoken 71 of spondylium ; an 
infusion of which is poured upon the head in cases of phrenitis 
and lethargy, and of head-ache of long standing. Combined 
with old oil, it is taken in drink for affections of the liver, 
jaundice, epilepsy, hardness of breathing, and hysterical 
suffocations, maladies for which it is equally serviceable in the 
shape of a fumigation. It relaxes the bowels, and with rue it 
is applied to ulcers of a serpiginous nature. The juice which 
is extracted from the blossom is a most useful injection for 
suppurations of the ears ; but the moment it is extracted it 
should be covered up, as flies and other insects of a similar 
nature are remarkably fond of it. 

Scrapings of the root, introduced into the interior of fistulas, 
have a caustic effect upon their callosities ; and they are some- 
times used, in combination with the juice, as an injection for 
the ears. The root itself also is prescribed for jaundice, and 
for diseases of the liver and uterus. If the head is rubbed 
with the juice, it will make the hair curl. 72 


Sphagnos, sphacos, or bryon, grows, as we have already 73 
stated, in Gaul. A decoction of it, employed as a sitting-bath, 
is useful for affections of the uterus : mixed with nasturtium, 
and beaten up in salt water, it is good for the knees and for 
swellings in the thighs. Taken in drink with wine and dried 
resin, it acts very powerfully as a diuretic. Pounded in wine 
with juniper berries, and taken in drink, it draws off the water 
in dropsy. 


The leaves and root of the terebinth 74 are used as applica- 

71 In B. xii. c. 58. It is no longer used in medicine, though possessed 
of properties of considerable energy. Fee says that most of the assertions 
here made respecting it are unfounded. 

72 An absurdity, Fee remarks. 

73 In B. xii. c. 50. Various lichens probably were called by this name. 
No use is made of them in modern medicine. 

74 See B. xiii. c. 12. The leaves and root of the terebinth or turpentine- 
tree have some medicinal properties, owing to their resin or essential oil; 
but no use is made of them in modern medicine. 

Chap. 20.] THE CHAMJEPITYS. 13 

tions for gatherings ; and a decoction of them is strengthening 
to the stomach. The seed of it is taken in wine for head-ache 
and strangury : it is slightly laxative to the bowels, and acts 
as an aphrodisiac. 


The leaves of the pitch-tree 75 and the larch, 76 beaten up 
and boiled in vinegar, are good for tooth-ache. The ashes of 
the bark are used for excoriations and burns. Taken in drink 
this substance arrests diarrhoea, and acts as a diuretic ; and 
used as a fumigation, it reduces the uterus when displaced. 
The leaves of the pitch- tree are particularly good for the liver, 
taken in doses of one drachma in hydromel. 

It is a well-known fact that forests planted solely with trees 
from which pitch and resin are extracted, are remarkably 
beneficial for patients suffering from phthisis, 77 or who are un- 
able to recover their strength after a long illness : indeed it is 
said, that in such cases to breathe the air of localities thus 
planted, is more beneficial even than to take a voyage to Egypt, 78 
or to go on a summer's journey to the mountains to drink the 
milk there, impregnated with the perfumes of plants. 


The chamaepitys, 79 called in Latin " abiga," 80 because it 
promotes abortion, and known to some as " incense of the 
earth," 81 has branches a cubit in length, and the odour and 

75 See B. xvi. c. 18. 

76 See B, xvi. c. 19. The leaves of these trees are of an astringent 
and acid nature, Fee says, but they are no longer employed in medicine. 
All that Pliny here states relative to them is very problematical. 

77 Fee says that it is still the practice of the Turkish physicians to re- 
commend to their patients the air of the cypress groves of Candia. He 
states also, that it is a very general supposition that resins, balms, and bal- 
sams are good for pulmonary phthisis, but is of opinion that the notion is 
founded upon no solid basis. 

78 See B. xxxi. c. 33, also Celsus, B. iii. c. 22. Similar to a voyage to 
Madeira, recommended to our consumptive patients at the present day. 

78 Or "ground-pine." 

80 From "abigo," to "drive away," it would appear. 

81 <; Thus terrae." The Teucrinm Iva of Linnaeus, Fee says, or Chamae- 
pitys moschata. Fee remarks that Pliny commits a great error in giving to 
it the blossoms of the pine, and that he assigns larger proportions than really 
belong to it. The name " incense of the earth," is very inappropriate ; for 
it has none of the odour of incense, but merely a resinous smell. 


blossoms of the pine. Another variety 82 of it, which is some- 
what shorter, has all the appearance of being bent 83 down- 
wards ; and there is a third, 84 which, though it has a similar 
smell, and consequently the same name, is altogether smaller, 
with a stem the thickness of one's finger, and a diminutive, 
rough, pale leaf : it is found growing in rocky localities. All 
these varieties are in reality herbaceous productions ; but in 
consequence of the resemblance of the name, 85 1 have thought 
it as well not to defer the consideration of them. 

These plants are good for stings inflicted by scorpions, and 
are useful as an application, mixed with dates or quinces, for 
maladies of the liver : a decoction of them with barley -meal 
is used for the kidneys and the bladder. A decoction of them 
in water is used also for jaundice and for strangury. The 
kind last mentioned, in combination with honey, is good for 
wounds inflicted by serpents, and a pessary is made of it, with 
honey, as a detergent for the uterus. Taken in drink it brings 
away coagulated blood, and rubbed upon the body it acts as a 
sudorific : it is particularly useful also for the kidneys. Pills 
of a purgative nature are made of it for dropsy, with figs. 86 
Taken in wine, in doses of one victor iatus, 87 it dispels lumbago, 
and cures coughs that are not of an inveterate description. 
A decoction of it in vinegar, taken in drink, will instantaneously 
bring away the dead foetus, it is said. 


For a similar 88 reason, too, we shall accord the same dis- 
tinction to the pityusa, a plant which some persons reckon 
among the varieties of the tithy mains. 89 It is a shrub, 90 re- 

82 The Teucrium chamsepitys of Linnaeus, the Chamsepitys lutea vulgaris 
of C. Bauhin, the ground-pine. 

83 The leaves are imbricated, and the branches bend downwards, like 
those of the pine, whence the name. 

84 The Teucrium pseudo-chamaepitys of Linnaeus, the bastard ground- 

85 To the pine or pitch-tree, mentioned in c. 19. 

86 They are rich in essential oil, and are of a tonic nature. All that is here 
stated as to their medicinal uses, and which cannot be based upon that 
property, is hypothetical, Fee says, and does not deserve to be refuted. 

87 See Introduction to Vol. III. 

88 The resemblance of its name to the "pitvs," or pitch-tree. 
See B. xxvi. c. 39. 

90 An Euphorbia with a ligneous stem, the Euphorbia pityusa of Linnaeus. 

Chap. 22.] RESINS. 15 

sembling the pitch-tree in appearance, and with a diminutive 
purple blossom. A decoction of the root, taken in doses of 
one hemina, carries off the bilious and pituitous secretions by 91 
stool, and a spoonful of the seed, used as a suppository, has a 
similar effect. A decoction of the leaves in vinegar removes 
scaly eruptions of the skin ; and in combination with boiled 
rue, it effects the cure of diseases of the mamillae, gripings in 
the bowels, wounds inflicted by serpents, and incipient gather- 
ings of most kinds. 


In treating, first of wines, 92 and then of trees, 93 we have 
stated that resin is the produce of the trees above-mentioned, 
and have described the several varieties of it, and the countries 
in which they are respectively produced. There are two 
principal kinds of resin, the dry and the liquid. 93 * The dry 
resins are extracted from the pine 94 and the pitch- tree, 95 the 
liquid from the terebinth, 96 the larch, 97 the lentisk, 98 and the 
cypress ;" these last producing it in the province of Asia and 
in Syria. It is an error 1 to suppose that the resin of the pitch- 
tree* is the same as that of the larch ; for the pitch-tree yields 
an unctuous 2 resin, and of the same consistency as frankin- 
cense, while that of the larch is thin, like honey in colour, and 
of a powerful odour. It is but very rarely that medical men 
make use of liquid resin, and when they do, it is mostly that 
produced by the larch, which is administered in an egg for 

The characteristics of it differ, however, from the description here given 
by Pliny. It is no longer used in medicine, though, like the other Euphor- 
biaceae, it has very active properties. 

91 This, Fee says, is consistent with truth. 

9 Mn B. xiv. c. 25. '<* B. xvi. cc. 16, 21, 22, 23. 

93 * Or, as they are called at the present day, the resins, and the oleo- 
resins, or terebinthines. 

94 Fee thinks that this name extends to the numerous species of resin- 
iferous trees. . _ 95 The Abies excelsa of Linnaeus. 

96 The Pistacia-terebinthus; see B. xiii. c. 12. It yields a valuable 
turpentine, known in commerce as that of Cyprus or Chios. 

97 The so-called Venice turpentine is extracted from the larch. 
- It yields mastich solely, a solid resin. 

99 It yields a terebin thine, and a very diminutive amount of solid resin. 
1 Fee says, that if the same methods are employed, the same products 
may be obtained, though in general the larch yields the better terebinthine. 
3 Fee thinks that he is speaking of a thick resin, or galipot, as the 
; French call it, of the consistency of honey. 



cough and ulcerations of the viscera. The resin of the pine, 
too, is far from extensively used, and that of the other kinds 
is always boiled 3 before use : on the various methods of boiling 
it, we have enlarged at sufficient length already. 4 

As to the produce of the various trees, the resin of the tere- 
binth is held in high esteem, as being the most odoriferous and 
the lightest, the kinds 5 which come from Cyprus and Syria 
being looked upon as the best. Both these kinds are the 
colour of Attic honey ; but that of Cyprus has more body, and 
dries with greater rapidity. In the dry resins the qualities 
requisite are whiteness, purity, and transparency : but what- 
ever the kind, the produce of mountainous 6 districts is always 
preferred to that of champaign countries, and that of a north- 
eastern aspect to that of any other quarter. Resins 7 are dis- 
solved in oil as a liniment and emollient cataplasm for wounds ; 
but when they are used as a potion, bitter almonds 8 are also 
employed. The curative properties of resins consist in their 
tendency to close wounds, to act as a detergent upon gatherings 
and so disperse them, and to cure affections of the chest. 

The resin of the terebinth * * * it is used too, warmed, 
as a liniment for pains in the limbs, the application being re- 
moved after the patient has taken a walk in the sun. Among 
slave-dealers too, there is a practice of rubbing the bodies of 
the slaves with it, which is done with the greatest care, as a 
corrective for an emaciated appearance ; the resin having the 
property of relaxing the skin upon all parts of the body, and 
rendering it more capable of being plumped out by food. 9 

Next after the resin of the terebinth comes that of the 

3 Boiled terebinthine, or turpentine, is still used, Fee says, in medicine ; 
that process disengaging the essential oil. 

4 In B. xvi. c. 22. 

5 Fee thinks that in reality these are terehinthines, and not resins. 

6 It has been generally remarked that aromatic plants grown on moun- 
tains have a stronger perfume than those of the plains ; Fee queries whether 
this extends to the resins. 

7 Though of little importance in modern medicine, resins and terebin- 
thines are still employed as the basis of certain plasters and other prepara- 

8 Such a potion as this, Fee says, would but ill agree with a person in 
robust health even. 

9 There would be no necessity whatever, Fee says, for such a process, a j 
plentiful supply of food being quite sufficient for the purpose. Galen I 
recommends frictions of terebinthine for the improvement of the health. 

Chap. 23.] PITCH. 17 

Jcntisk: 10 it possesses astringent properties, and is the most 
powerful diuretic of them all. The other resins are laxative 
feto the bowels, promote the digestion of crudities, allay the 
[ violence of inveterate coughs, and, employed as a fumigation, 
: disengage the uterus of foreign 11 bodies with which it is sur- 
charged : they are particularly useful too as neutralizing the 
effects of mistletoe ; and, mixed with bull suet and honey, 
they are curative of inflamed tumours and affections of a similar 
nature. The resin of the lentisk is very convenient as a ban- 
doline for keeping stubborn eyelashes in their place : it is 
useful also in cases of fractures, suppurations of the ears, and 
prurigo of the generative organs. The resin of the pine is the 
best of them all for the cure of wounds in the head. 


We have also stated on a previous occasion 12 from what 
tree pitch is extracted, and the methods employed for that 
purpose. Of this also there are two kinds ; thick pitch and 
liquid pitch. 13 Of the several varieties of thick pitch the 
most useful for medicinal purposes is that of Bruttium ; 14 for 
being both extremely unctuous and very resinous, it reunites 
the properties both of resin and of pitch, that of a yellow 
reddish colour being the most highly esteemed. As to the 
statement made in addition to this, that the produce of the 
male tree is the best, I do not believe that any such distinc- 
tion is at all possible. 

Pitch is of a warming, cicatrizing tendency : mixed with 
polenta it is particularly useful as a neutralizer of the venom 
of the cerastes, 15 and in combination with honey it is used 
for quinzy, catarrhs, and fits of sneezing caused by phlegm. 
With oil of roses it is used as an injection for the ears, and 
employed as a liniment with wax it heals lichens. It relaxes 16 
the bowels, also, and used as an electuary, or applied with 

10 Mastich. The medicinal properties here attributed to it, Fee says, 
do not exist. 

!i " Onera," 12 In B. xiv. c. 25, and B. xvi. cc. 21, 22. 

13 Tar. See B. xvi. c. 21. 

14 The pitch of Calabria, Fee says, is known at the present day as 
yitch resin. All that Pliny states as to the medicinal properties of pitch, 
is destitute, Fee thinks, of the slightest probability. 

15 Or horned serpent. 16 Taken internally, of course, 
VOL. V. C 


honey to the tonsillary glands, it facilitates expectoration. 
Applied topically, it acts as a detergent upon ulcers, and 
makes new flesh. Mixed with raisins and axle-grease, it 
forms a detergent plaster for carbuncles and putrid ulcers, and, 
with pine-bark or sulphur, for serpiginous sores. Pitch has 
been administered too by some, in doses of one cyathus, for 
phthisis and inveterate coughs. It heals chaps of the feet and 
rectum, inflamed tumours, and malformed nails ; and used as a 
fumigation, it is curative of indurations and derangements of 
the uterus, and of lethargy. Boiled with barley-meal and the 
urine of a youth who has not arrived at puberty, it causes 
scrofulous sores to suppurate. Dry pitch is used also for the 
cure of alopecy. For affections of the mamillae, Bruttian 
pitch is warmed in wine with fine spelt meal, and applied as 
hot as can be borne. 


"We have already 17 described the way in which liquid pitch 
and the oil known as pisselaeon are made. Some persons boil 
the pitch over again, and give it the name of " palimpissa." 18 For 
quinzy 19 and affections of the uvula, liquid pitch is employed 
internally. It is used also for the cure of ear-ache, for the 
improvement of the sight, and as a salve for the lips ; and is 
employed for hysterical suffocations, inveterate coughs, profuse 
expectorations, spasms, nervousness, opisthotony, paralysis, 
and pains in the sinews. It is a very excellent remedy too for 
itch in dogs and beasts of burden. 


There is pissasph altos too, a natural production of the 
territory of the Apolloniates, 20 and consisting of pitch mixed 

17 In B. xvi. c. 22, and B. xv. c. 7. 
19 "Pitch boiled over again." 

19 Fee says, that this statement is quite beyond all belief. Indeed there 
is little doubt that tar taken internally for quinzy, would only tend to 
aggravate the complaint. He states that a solution of tar in water is some- 
times used internally with success for pulmonary phthisis. Bishop 
Berkeley wrote his Siris, on the virtues of Tar- water as a medicament, 
having been indebted to it for his recovery from an attack of colic. 

20 See B. xvi. c. 23. His description here is faulty, it being solely a 
natural pitch or mineral bitumen, without any admixture of vegetable 
pitch. Vitruvius calls this pissasphalt, pitch ; but Julian, more correctly, 

Chap. 28.] THE LENTISK. 19 

with bitumen. Some persons, however, make this mixture 
artificially, and employ it for the cure of itch in cattle, and of 
injuries done by the young sucklings to the manrillse. The 
most esteemed portion of it is that which floats on the surface 
when boiled. 


We have already 21 stated that zopissa is the pitch, macerated 
with salt-water and wax, that has been scraped from off 
the bottoms of ships. The best kind is that taken from ships 
which have been to sea for the first time. It is used as an in- 
gredient in plasters of an emollient nature, employed to disperse 


A decoction in vinegar of the wood of the torch- tree* 2 
makes a most eflicacjous gargle for tooth- ache. 


The seed, bark, and tear-like juices of the lentisk are 
diuretics, and act astringently upon the bowels : 23 a decoction 
of them, used as a fomentation, is curative of serpiginous sores, 
and is applied topically for humid ulcerations and erysipelas ; 
it is employed also as a collutory for the gums. The teeth are 
rubbed with the leaves in cases of tooth- ache, and they are 
rinsed with a decoction of the leaves when loose : 24 this decoc- 
tion has the effect also of staining 25 the hair. The gum of 
this tree is useful for diseases of the rectum, and all cases in 
which desiccatives and calorifics are needed ; a decoction too 
of the gum is good for the stomach, acting as a carminative 

bitumen. The names now given to it are mineral pitch, and malthe or 
pitch of Malta. 

21 In B. xvi. c. 23. Fee thinks that the use of it is more likely to 
have been injurious than beneficial. 

22 Or tda. See B, xvi. c. 19. 

23 Fee says, that within the last century, the wood of the lentisk or 
mastich, and the oil of its berries, figured in the Pharmacopoeias. Their 
medicinal properties are far from energetic, but the essential oil may pro- 
bably be of some utility as an excitant. 

24 This property is still attributed in the East to the leaves and resin of 
the lentisk. We learn from Martial, B. xiv. Epig. 22, that the wood of 
the lentisk, as well as quills, was used for tooth-picks. 

25 This, Fee says, is not the fact. 


and diuretic ; it is applied also to the head, in cases of head- 
ache, with polenta. The more tender of the leaves are used as 
an application for inflammations of the eyes. 

The mastich 26 produced by the lentisk is used as a bando- 
line for the hairs of the eye-lids, in compositions for giving 
a plumpness to the face, and in cosmetics for smoothing 27 the 
skin. It is employed for spitting of blood and for inveterate 
coughs, as well as all those purposes for which gum acacia is 
in request. It is used also for the cure of excoriations ; which 
are fomented either with the oil extracted from the seed, 
mixed with wax, or else with a decoction of the leaves in 
oil. Fomentations too are made of a decoction of it in water 
for diseases of the male organs. 28 I know for a fact, that in 
the illness of Considia, the daughter of M. Servilius, a per- 
sonage of consular rank, her malad}^ which had long resisted 
all the more severe methods of treatment, was at last success- 
fully treated with the milk of goats that had been fed urjon the 
leaves of the lentisk. 


The plane-tree 29 neutralizes the bad effects of bites in- 
flicted by the bat. 30 The excrescences of this tree, taken in 
doses 31 of four denarii, in wine, act as an antidote to the 
venom of serpents of all kinds and of scorpions, and are cura- 
tive of burns. Pounded with strong vinegar, squill vinegar 
in particular, they arrest haemorrhage of every kind ; and 
with the addition of honey, they remove freckles, carcino- 
matous sores, and black spots of long standing on the skin. 

The leaves again, and the bark of this tree, are used in the 
form of liniments for gatherings and suppurations, and a 
decoction of them is employed for a similar purpose. A de- 
coction of the bark in vinegar is remedial for affections of 
the teeth, and the more tender of the leaves boiled in white 
wine are good for the eyes. The down which grows upon the 

2(5 See B. xii. c. 36, and B. xiv. c. 25. 

27 " Smegmata." 

28 Littre thus reads the whole passage, "Sive cum aqua, ut ita foveantur," 
" A decoction of it is made with water for the purpose of fomentation." 

29 See B. xii. c. 3. 

30 " Adversantur vespertilionihus." Fee se^s difficulties in this passage, 
which really do not seem to exist. 

yi Hie produce of the plane is no longer employed in medicine. 

Chap. 32.] THE POPLAR. 21 

leaves 32 is injurious to both the ears and eyes. The ashes of 
the excrescences of this tree heal such parts of the body as 
have been burnt or frost-bitten. The bark, taken in wine, 
reduces the inflammation caused by the stings of scorpions. 


"We have already 33 made some mention of the virtues pos- 
sessed by the ash as an antidote to the venom of serpents. 
The seed of it is enclosed in follicules, which are good for 
diseases of the liver, and, in combination with wine, for pains 
in the sides : they are employed also for drawing off the 
water in dropsy. They have the property, too, of diminish- 
ing obesity, and of gradually reducing the body to a state of 
comparative emaciation, 34 the follicules being pounded in 
wine and administered in proportion to the bodily strength ; 
thus, for instance, to a child, five of them are given in three 
cyathi of wine, but for persons in more robust health, seven 
are prescribed, in five cyathi of wine. 

We must not omit to state that the shavings and saw-dust 
of this wood are of a highly dangerous nature, according to 


The root of the maple, 35 beaten up in wine, is extremely 
efficacious as a topical application for pains in the liver. 


We have already 36 mentioned,- when speaking of the un- 
guents, the use that is made of the berries 37 of the white 
poplar. A potion prepared from the bark is good for sciatica 

32 The young leaves probably, or else the fruit. 

33 In B. xvi. c. 24. There are still some traces of this notion existing, 
Fee says, among the French peasantry. All the statements here made re- 
lative to its medicinal properties, are utterly unfounded. 

34 In reality they have no such effect. 

35 See B. xvi. c. 26. The root of the maple, Fee says, has no marked 
qualities whatever. 

36 In B. xii. c. 61. The buds of the poplar, Fee says, are still used in 
medicine in the composition of an unguent known as " populeum." The 
bark is astringent, and the wood destitute of taste. 

37 " Uvarum." Fee thinks that by these berries, or grapes, the blossoms 
or buds are meant. See Note 91 to B. xii. c. 61 


and strangury, and the juice of the leaves is taken warm for 
ear-ache. So long 38 as a person holds a sprig of poplar in 
his hand, there is no fear of 39 chafing between the thighs. 

The black poplar which grows in Crete is looked upon as 
the most efficacious of them all. The seed of it, taken in 
vinegar, is good for epilepsy. This tree produces a resin also 
to a small extent, which is made use of for emollient plasters. 
The leaves, boiled in vinegar, are applied topically for gout. 
A moisture that exudes from the clefts of the black poplar 
removes warts, and pimples caused by friction. Poplars 
produce also on the leaves a kind of sticky 40 juice, from which 
bees prepare their propolis : 41 indeed this juice, mixed with 
water, 'has the same virtues as propolis. 


The leaves, bark, and branches of the elm 42 have the pro- 
perty of filling up wounds and knitting the flesh together : 
the inner membrane 43 too, of the bark, and the leaves, steeped 
in vinegar, are applied topically for leprosy. The bark, in 
doses of one denarius, taken in one hemina of cold water, acts 
as a purgative upon the bowels, and is particularly useful for 
carrying off pituitous and aqueous humours. The gum also 
which this tree produces is applied topically to gatherings, 
wounds, and burns, which it would be as well to foment with 
the decoction also. The moisture 44 which is secreted on 
the follicules of the tree gives a finer colour to the skin, 
and improves the looks. The foot-stalks of the leaves that 
first appear, 45 boiled in wine, are curative of tumours, and 

38 See also c. 38, as to the Vitex. 

19 This superstition probably applies to persons riding on horseback. 

40 "Guttam." This is the substance known to us as "honey-dew." 
It is either secreted by the plant itself, or deposited on the leaves by an 
aphis. It is found more particularly on the leaves of the rose, the plane, 
the lime, and the maple. Bees and ants are particularly fond of it. 

41 Bee-glue. See B. xi. c. 6, and B. xxii. c. 50. 

42 See B. xvi. c. 29. The bark of the elm, like that of most other trees, 
has certain astringent properties. 

43 Fee says that it is only some few years since the inner bark of the 
elm was sometimes prescribed medicinally, but that it has now completely 
fallen into disuse. All that Pliny says here of the virtues of the elm is 
entirely suppositions. 

44 A kind of honey-dew, no doubt. 

45 " Cauliculi foliorum primi." 

Cbap. 35.] THE ELDEE. 23 

bring them to a head : 46 the same, too, is the effect produced by 
the inner bark. 

Many persons are of opinion that the bark of this tree, 
chewed, is a very useful application for wounds, and that the 
leaves, bruised and moistened with water, are good for gout. 
The moisture too that exudes from the pith of the tree, 
as already 47 stated, on an incision being made, applied 
to the head, causes the hair to grow and prevents it from 
falling off. 


The linden-tree 48 is useful, thougli in a less marked degree, 
for nearly all the same purposes as the wild olive. The leaves, 
however, are the only part that is made use of for ulcers upon 
infants ; chewed, too, or employed in the form of a decoction, 
they are diuretic. Used as a liniment they arrest menstruation 
when in excess, and an infusion of them, taken in drink, carries 
off superfluous blood. 


There are two kinds of elder, one of which grows wild and 
is much smaller than the other ; by the Greeks it is known as 
the " chamseacte," or " helion." 49 A decoction of the leaves, 60 
seed, or root of either kind, taken in doses of two cyathi, in 
old wine, though bad for the upper regions of the stomach, 
carries off all aqueous humours by stool. This decoction is 
very cooling too for inflammations, those attendant upon recent 
burns in particular. A poultice is made also of the more 

46 " Ex trah unique per fistulas." 

47 In B. XT!, c. 74. 

48 See B. xvi. c. 25. The blossoms of the linden-tree are the only part 
of it employed in modern medicine. Fee thinks, with Hardouin, that 
Pliny has here attributed to the linden, or Philyra of the Greeks, the pro- 
perties which in reality were supposed to belong to the Pliillyrea latifolia, 
a shrub resembling the wild olive. Dioscorides, in his description of its 
properties, has not fallen into the same error. 

49 Ground elder " or "marsh elder ;" the Sambucus ebulus of Lin- 
nseus, or dwarf elder. The other kind mentioned by Pliny is the Sambu- 
cus nigra of Linnaeus, or black elder. 

50 Fee says that though some of the assertions as to its medicinal pro- 
perties made by Pliny are unfounded, it is still an opinion among the 
moderns that the leaves of the elder are purgative, the inner bark aa 
emetic and hydragogue, the berries laxative, and the flowers emollient. 


tender leaves, mixed with polenta, for bites inflicted by dogs. 
The juice of the elder, used as a fomentation, reduces abscesses 
of the brain, and more particularly of the membrane which 
envelopes that organ. The berries, which have not so power- 
ful an action as the other parts of the tree, stain the hair. 
Taken in doses of one acetabulum, in drink, they are diuretic. 
The softer leaves are eaten with oil and salt, to carry off 
pituitous and bilious secretions. 

The smaller kind is for all these purposes the more efficacious 
of the two. A decoction of the root in wine, taken in doses 
of two cyathi, brings away the water in dropsy, and acts 
emolliently upon the uterus : the same effects are produced 
also by a sitting-bath made of a decoction of the leaves. 
The tender shoots of the cultivated kind, boiled in a saucepan 
and eaten as food, have a purgative effect : the leaves taken in 
wine, neutralize the venom of serpents. An application of 
the young shoots, mixed with he-goat suet, is remarkably good 
for gout ; and if they are macerated in water, the infusion will 
destroy fleas. If a decoction of the leaves is sprinkled about 
a place, it will exterminate flies. " Boa " 61 is the name given 
to a malady which appears in the form of red pimples upon 
the body ; for its cure the patient is scourged with a branch of 
elder. The inner bark, 62 pounded and taken with white wine, 
relaxes the bowels. 


The juniper is of a warming and resolvent nature beyond 
all other plants : in other respects, it resembles the cedar. 53 
There are two species of this tree, also, one of which is larger 54 
than the other : 55 the odour of either, burnt, repels the ap- 

61 According to Hardouin, this would appear to be the measles ; but ac- 
cording to Festus, swellings on the legs were so called. The shingles is 
probably the malady meant. 

62 Fee speaks of a decoction of the inner bark as having been recently 
in vogue for the cure of dropsy. 

53 This so-called cedar, Fee says, is in reality itself a juniper. The medici- 
nal properties of all the varieties of the juniper are not identical. Theessen- 
tial oil of the leaves acts with a formidable energy upon the human system. 

54 This is identified by Fee with the Juniperus communis of Lamarck, 
variety a, the Juniperus communis of Linnaeus. 

55 Identified by Fee with the Juniperus nana of Willdenow, the Juni- 
perus communis of Lamarck, variety /3. The Spanish juniper, mentioned 
in H. xvi. c. 76, he identifies with the Juniperus thurifera of Linnaeus. 

Chap. 37.] THE WILLOW. 25 

proach of serpents. 56 The seed 57 is good for pains in the 
stomach, chest, and sides ; it dispels flatulency and sudden 
chills, soothes cough, and brings indurations to a head. Ap- 
plied topically, it checks the growth of tumours ; and the 
berries, taken in red wine, act astringently upon the bowels : 
they are applied also to tumours of the abdomen. The seed 
is used as an ingredient in antidotes of an aperient nature, and 
ia diuretic 58 in its effects. It is used as a liniment for de- 
fluxions of the eyes, and is prescribed for convulsions, rup- 
tures, griping pains in the bowels, affections of the uterus, 
and sciatica, either in a dose of four berries in white wine, or 
in the form of a decoction of twenty berries in wine. 

There are persons who rub the body with juniper berries as 
a preventive of the attacks of serpents. 


The fruit of the willow, 59 before it arrives at maturity, is 
covered with a down like a spider's web : gathered 60 before it 
is ripe, it arrests discharges of blood from the mouth. The 
bark of the upper branches, reduced to ashes and mixed with 
water, is curative of corns and callosities : it removes spots 
also upon the face, being still more efficacious for that purpose 
if mixed with the j uices of the tree. 

The juices produced by the willow form three different 
varieties ; one 61 of which exudes in the shape of a gum from 

56 Virgil says this of the fumes of the cedar, Georg. III. 414; an 
additional proof, Fee says, that under the name of " cedrus," the juniper 
was really meant. The smoke of the juniper is not known to have the 
effect upon serpents here described. 

5 > The berries of the juniper contain sugar, mucilage, and a small pro- 
portion of essential oil ; a rob is prepared from them, Fee says, under the 
name of "extract of juniper." 

58 It is a well-known fact, that juniper berries are diuretic ; they impart 
also to the urine the odour of the violet, a property which is equally pos- 
sessed by turpentine. All the other properties here attributed to the 
juniper, are, in Fee's opinion, either hypothetical or absurd. 

69 See B. xvi. c. 68. 

60 Neither this downy substance nor the seeds are now employed for 
any purpose. The bark of the willow has some strongly-pronounced pro- 
perties, but all other parts of it are totally inert. 

61 A kind of manna, Fee says. The other juices here mentioned are 
secreted from the sap. 


the tree itself, and another distils from an incision some three 
fingers in width, made in the bark while the tree is in blossom. 
This last is very useful for dispersing humours which impede 
the sight, acting also as an inspissative when needed, promoting 
the discharge of the urine, and bringing abscesses of all kinds 
to a head. The third kind of juice exudes from the wounds, 
when the branches are lopt off with the bill. Either of these 
juices, warmed in a pomegranate rind, is used as an injection 
for diseases of the ears. The leaves, too, boiled and beaten 
up with wax, are employed as a liniment for similar purposes, 
and for gout. The bark and leaves, boiled in wine, form a 
decoction that is remarkably useful as a fomentation for affec- 
tions of the sinews. The blossoms, bruised with the leaves, 
remove scaly eruptions of the face ; and the leaves, bruised and 
taken in drink, check libidinous tendencies, 62 and effectually 
put an end to them, if habitually employed. 

The seed of the black willow of Ameria, 63 mixed with 
litharge in equal proportions, and applied to the body just 
after the bath, acts as a depilatory. 


!Not much unlike the willow, for the use that is made of it 
in wicker-work, is the vitex, 64 which also resembles it in the 
leaves and general appearance, though the smell of it is more 
agreeable. The Greeks call it "lygos," or "agnos," 65 from 
the fact that the matrons of Athens, during the Thesmo- 
phoria, 66 a period when the strictest chastity is observed, are 
in the habit of strewing their beds with the leaves of this tree. 

There are two species of vitex : the larger 67 one, like the 
willow, attains the full proportions of a tree ; while the other, 68 
which is smaller, is branchy, with a paler, downy leaf. The 
first kind, generally known as the " white" vitex, bears a 

62 The leaves have no effect whatever as an antaphrodisiac. 

63 See B. xvi. c. 69. 

64 The Vitex agnus castus of Linnaeus, the tree of chastity. 

65 The " chaste" tree. It is no longer used in medicine ; the fruit has some- 
what the flavour of spice, Fee says, and taken internally it would have the 
converse of an antaphrodisiac effect. The other parts of it are quite inert. 

66 An Attic festival celebrated yearly in honour of Demeter, which 
lasted four or five days. It was also celebrated in other parts of Greece. 

67 The Vitex agnus castus of Lamarck, variety /3, Elatior. 

68 The Vitex agnus castus of Linnaeus, the type. 

Chap. 38.] THE VITEX. 27 

white blossom mixed with purple, whereas the black one has a 
flower that is entirely purple. Both of these trees grow on 
level spots of a marshy nature. 

The seed of these trees, taken in drink, has a sort of vinous 
flavour, and has the reputation of being a febrifuge. It is 
said also to act as a sudorific, if the body is rubbed with it 
mixed with oil, and to have the effect of dispelling extreme 
lassitude : it acts too as a diuretic 69 and emmenagogue. The 
produce of both trees is trying to the head, like wine, and 
indeed the odour of them is very similar. They have the 
effect also of removing flatulence in the lower regions of the 
body, act astringently upon the bowels, and are remarkably 
useful for dropsy and affections of the spleen. They promote 
the secretion of the milk, and neutralize the venom of serpents, 
when of a cold nature more particularly. The smaller kind, 
however, is the more efficacious of the two for injuries inflicted 
by serpents, the seed being taken in doses of one drachma, in 
wine or oxycrate, or else the more tender leaves in doses of two 

From both trees also a liniment is prepared for the bites of 
spiders, but it is quite sufficient to rub the wounds with the 
leaves ; and if a fumigation is made from them, or if they are 
spread beneath the bed, they will repel the attacks of all 
venomous creatures. They act also as an antaphrodisiac, and 
it is by this tendency in particular that they neutralize the 
venom of the phalangium, the bite of which has an exciting 
effect upon the generative organs. The blossoms and young 
shoots, mixed with oil of roses, allay head-aches arising from 
inebriation. A decoction of the seed used as a fomentation 
cures head-ache, however intense it may be ; and employed as 
a fumigation or as a pessary, the seeds acts as a detergent 
upon the uterus. Taken in drink with honey and penny -royal, 
it has a laxative effect ; pounded and used with barley-meal, 
it quickly brings abscesses and hard tumours to a head, and 
has an emollient effect. 

The seed, in combination with saltpetre and vinegar, removes 
lichens and freckles ; mixed with honey, it heals ulcers and 
eruptions of the mouth ; applied with butter and vine-leaves, 
it reduces swellings of the testes ; used with water, as a lini- 

69 It may possibly, Fee says, have this effect, but the other properties 
here attributed to it are wholly imaginary. 


ment, it cures chaps of the rectum; and employed with salt, 
nitre, and wax, it is good for sprains. The seed and leaves 
are used as ingredients also in emollient plasters for diseases 
of the sinews, and for gout ; and a decoction of the seed in oil is 
employed as a fomentation for the head in cases of phrenitis 
and lethargy. Persons 70 who carry a sprig of this plant in the 
hand, or stuck in the girdle, will be proof, it is said, against 
chafing between the thighs. 


The Greeks give the name of " erice," 71 to a shrub that is but 
little different from the myrice. 72 It has the colour, and very 
nearly the leaf, of rosemary. It neutralizes 73 the venom of 
serpents, it is said. 


The broom is used for making withes ; 74 the flowers of it 
are greatly sought by bees. I have my doubts whether this 
is not the same plant that the Greek writers have called 
"sparton," and of which, in those parts of the world, as I have 
already 75 stated, they are in the habit of making fishing-nets. 
I doubt also whether Homer 76 has alluded to this plant, when 
he speaks of the seams of the ships, " the sparta" coming 
asunder ; for it is certain that in those times the spartuni 77 of 
Spain or Africa was not as yet in use, and that vessels made 
of materials sown together, were united by the agency, not of 
spartum, but of flax. 

70 Travelling on horseback, probably. A similar superstition is mentioned 
as to the poplar, in c. 32 of this Book. 

71 Probably the Erica arborea of Linnaeus ; see B. xiii. c. 35. It has 
not, however, a leaf similar to that of rosemary, with the sole exception, 
Fee says, of the Erica cinerea of Linnaeus. 

72 See B. xiii. c. 37. 73 It has no such effect, in reality. 

74 See B. xvi. c. 69. The kind here alluded to is the Spanish broom, 
Fee thinks. In B. xix. c. 2. Vol. IV. p. 135. 

? 6 Iliad, B. ii. 1. 135. See B. xix. c. 6, where Pliny states it as his 
opinion that in this passage Homer is speaking of flax, 

77 See B. xix. c. 7. Fee thinks that the plant, under consideration in 
this Chapter is the Spanish broom, Genista juncea of Lamarck, the Spar- 
tium junceum of Linnaeus, a different plant from the Spartum of B. xix. 
c. 7, the Stipa tenacissima of Linnaeus. He is of opinion also, that Homer 
in the passage referred to alludes, not to flax, but to the Genista juncea. See 
this question further discussed, in the additional Note at the end of B. xxvii. 

Chap. 41.] THE MYllICA. 29 

The seed of the plant to which the Greeks now give the 
name of " sparton," grows in pods like those of the kidney- 
bean. It is as strongly drastic 78 as hellebore, and is usually 
taken fasting, in doses of one drachma and a half, in four 
cyathi of hydrorael. The branches also, with the foliage, are 
macerated for several days in vinegar, and are then beaten up, 
the infusion being recommended for sciatica, in doses of one 
cyathus. Some persons think it a better plan, however, to 
make an infusion of them in sea-water, and to inject it as a 
clyster. The juice of them is used also as a friction for sciatica, 
with the addition of oil. Some medical men, too, make use 
of the seed for strangury. Broom, bruised with axle-grease, is 
a cure for diseases of the knees. 



Lenseus says, that the myrice, 79 otherwise known as the 
" erica," is a similar plant to that of which brooms are made at 
Aineria. 80 He states also that, boiled in wine and then beaten 
up and applied with honey, it heals carcinomatous sores. I 
would here remark, parenthetically, that some persons identify 
it with the tainarice. Ee this as it may, it is particularly 
useful for affections of the spleen, the juice of it being ex- 
tracted for the purpose, and taken in wine; indeed so marvellous, 
they say, is its antipathy to this part of the viscera, and this 
only, that if swine drink from troughs made of this wood, 61 
they will be found to lose the spleen. Hence it is that 

78 Fee says that the blossoms and seed of the junciform genista and 
other kinds are of a purgative nature ; indeed, one variety has been called 
the Genista purgans by Lamarck. None of them, however, are so potent 
in their effects as Pliny in the present passage would lead us to suppose. 

79 See B. xiii. c. 37, and Note 96 ; where it is stated that, in Fee's 
opinion, several plants were united by the ancients under this one collective 
name brooms for instance, heaths, and tamarisks. He thinks, however, 
that under the name " Myrica," Pliny may possibly have intended to com- 
prehend the larger heaths and the Tamarix Gallica of LinnaBiis. M. Fraas, as 
Littre states, gives the Tamarix Africana as the probable synonym of the 
Myrica of Pliny. 

80 . Of this broom-plant of Ameria nothing is known. 

81 This cannot apply to any of the heaths of Europe. The tamarisk 
grows to a much larger size, and barrels and drinking vessels are made of 
the wood. 


in maladies of the spleen victuals and drink are given to the 
patient in vessels made of this wood. 

A medical author too, of high repute, 82 has asserted that a 
sprig broken from off this tree, without being allowed to touch 
the earth or iron, will allay pains in the bowels, if applied to 
the body, and kept close to it by the clothes and girdle. The 
common people, as already 83 stated, look upon this tree as ill- 
omened, because it bears no fruit, and is never propagated 
from seed. 


At Corinth, and in the vicinity of that city, the Greeks give 
the name of " brya" 84 to a plant of which there are two 
varieties ; the wild brya, 85 which is altogether barren, and the 
cultivated one. 86 This last, when found in Syria and Egypt, 
produces a ligneous fruit, somewhat larger than a gall-nut, in 
great abundance, and of an acrid flavour ; medical men employ 
it as a substitute for galls in the compositions known as 
" antheraB." 87 The wood also, with the blossoms, leaves, and 
bark of the tree, is used for similar purposes, but their pro- 
perties are not so strongly developed. The bark is pounded 
also, and given for 88 discharges of blood from the mouth, irre- 
gularities of the catamenia, and cosliac affections : beaten up 
and applied to the part affected, it checks the increase of all 
kinds of abscesses. 

The juice too is extracted from the leaves for similar pur- 
poses, and a decoction is made of them in wine ; they are ap- 
plied also to gangrenes, in combination with honey. A de- 
coction of them taken in wine, or the leaves themselves ap- 
plied with oil of roses and wax, has a sedative effect : it is in 
this form that they are used for the cure of epinyctis. This 
decoction is useful also for tooth- ache or ear-ache, and the root 

82 " Gravis." He does not, however, show his gravity in the present in- 
stance. 83 In B. xvi. c. 45. 

84 See B. xiii. c. 37. 

85 Identified by Fee with the Tamarix Gallica. 

86 The " brya," spoken of in B. xiii. c. 37, as growing in Achaia also, 
the Tamarix orientalis of Delille. But there he implies that it does not 
produce any fruit when it grows in Egypt. 

S7 " Flower compositions." 

8S It may possibly be of some use for this purpose, being of an astrin- 
gent nature. 

Chap. 44.] THE SILEK. 31 

is employed for similar purposes. The leaves too have this 
additional use they are applied with polenta to serpiginous 
sores. The seed, in doses of one drachma, is administered in 
drink for injuries inflicted by spiders or the phalangium ; and 
mixed with the grease of poultry, it is applied to boils. It is 
very efficacious also for stings inflicted by all kinds of ser- 
pents, the asp excepted. The decoction, used as a fomentation, 
is curative of jaundice, phthiriasis, and lice; it also arrests 
the catamenia when in excess. The ashes of the tree are 
employed for all these purposes; there is a story told, too, 
that, mixed with the urine of an ox, and taken in the food or 
drink, they will act most effectually as an antaphrodisiac. 
The charcoal too of this wood is quenched in urine of a similar 
nature, and kept in a shady spot. When it is the intention of 
the party to rekindle the flames 89 of desire, it is set on fire 
again. The magicians say, 90 that the urine of an eunuch will 
have a similar effect. 


Nor is the blood-red 91 shrub looked upon as a less ill- 
omened 92 plant than the last. The inner bark of it is used to 
re-open ulcers which have healed too rapidly. 


The leaves of the siler, 93 applied to the forehead, allay 
head-ache ; and the seed of it, beaten up with oil, is curative 
of phthiriasis. Serpents also are greatly in dread of this tree, 
and it is for this reason that the country-people are in the 
habit of carrying a walking-stick made of it. 

89 This seems to be the meaning of " Idem cum liheat accendere re- 
solvitur," though in the French translations it is rendered, " It crumbles 
into ashes when an attempt is made to kindle it." Holland seems to have 
rightly understood the passage, which probably bears reference to some 
current superstition. 

90 " Magi." He probably alludes in this passage to the Magi of the 
East. 91 See B. xvi. cc. 30, 43. 

3a The cornel, probably. It was looked upon as " infelix," or ill-omened, 
because it was sacred to the Deities of the infernal regions. 

93 See B. xvi. c. 31. If this is the Salix vitellina, Fee says, all that 
Pliny here states, as to its medicinal properties does not merit the slightest 



The ligustrum, or privet, if it is the same tree as the Cyprus 93 
of the East, has also its own medicinal uses in Europe. The 
juice of it is used for affections of the sinews and joints, and 
for sudden chills ; and the leaves are universally employed, 
with a sprinkling of salt, for the cure of inveterate sores and 
of ulcerations of the mouth. The berries are curative of 
phthiriasis and chafings between the thighs, for which last 
purpose the leaves also are employed. The berries are made 
use of for the cure of pip in poultry. 94 


The leaves of the alder, steeped in boiling water, are an 
undoubted remedy for tumours. 



"We have already 95 enumerated some twenty varieties of the 
ivy. The medicinal properties of them all are of a doubtful 
nature ; taken in considerable quantities they disturb the 
mental faculties and purge the brain. Taken internally they 
are injurious to the sinews, 96 but applied topically they are 
beneficial to those parts of the body. Ivy possesses properties 
similar 97 to those of vinegar. All the varieties of the ivy are 
of a refrigerative nature, and taken in drink they are diuretic. 
The softer leaves, applied to the head, allay head-ache, acting 
more particularly upon the brain and the membrane which 
envelopes that organ. Eor this purpose the leaves are bruised 
with vinegar and oil of roses and then boiled, after which som e 
more rose-oil is added. The leaves too are applied to the fore- 

93 See B. xii. c. 51. The botanical characteristics, Fee says, and the 
medicinal properties of the privet, differ essentially from those of the Cypros 
or Lawsonia inermis. The leaves of the privet are bitter and astringent. 

94 Fee says, that on reading this passage it is impossible to preserve one's 

95 In B. xvi. c. 62. The ivy is but little used for any of the purposes 
of modern medicine. It is said by some authorities that a decoction of the 
leaves will kill vermin, and that the berries are purgative and emetic. 

96 "Nervis." 

97 Fee states that in reality no such similarity exists ; but that acetic acid 
is sometimes developed by the rapid fermentation of the jiiices of a great 
number of vegetable substances. 

Chap. 47.] THE IVY. 33 

head, and the mouth is fomented with a decoction of them, -with 
which the head is rubbed as well. They are useful also for 
the spleen, the leaves being applied topically, or an infusion 
of them taken in drink. A decoction of them is used for 
cold shiverings in fevers, and for pituitous eruptions ; or else 
they are beaten up in wine for the purpose. The umbels too, 
taken in drink or applied externally, are good for affections of 
the spleen, and an application of them is useful for the liver ; 
employed as a pessary, they act as an emmenagogue. 

The juice of the ivy, the white cultivated kind more par- 
ticularly, cures diseases of the nostrils and removes habitually 
offensive smells. Injected into the nostrils it purges the head, 
and with the addition of nitre it is still more efficacious for that 
purpose. In combination with oil, the juice is injected for 
suppurations or pains in the ears. It is a corrective also of the 
deformities of scars. The juice of white ivy, heated with the 
aid of iron, is still more efficacious for affections of the spleen; 
it will be found sufficient, however, to take six of the berries in 
two cyathi of wine. Three berries of the white ivy, taken in 
4 oxymel, expel tape-worm, and in the treatment of such cases 
it is a good plan to apply them to the abdomen as well. 
Erasistratus prescribes twenty of the golden-coloured berries of 
the ivy which we have-mentioned as the " chrysocarpos," 98 to be 
beaten up in one sextarius of wine, and he says that if three 
cyathi of this preparation are taken for dropsy, it will carry off 
by urine the water that has been secreted beneath the skin. 
For cases of tooth-ache he recommends five berries of the 
chrysocarpos to be beaten up in oil of roses, and warmed in a 
pomegranate-rind, and then injected into the ear opposite the 
side affected. The berries which yield a juice of a saffron 
colour, taken beforehand in drink, are a preservative against 
crapulence ; they are curative also of spitting of blood and of 
griping pains in the bowels. The whiter umbels of the black 
ivy, taken in drink, are productive of sterility, in males even. 
A decoction in wine of any kind of ivy is useful as a liniment 
for all sorts of ulcers, those even of the malignant kind known 
as " cacoethes." The tears" which distil from the ivy are used 

98 " Golden fruit." See B. xvi. c. 62. 

99 The same substance which he speaks of at the end of this Chapter as 
the gum of ivy, called " hederine," Fee says, in modern chemistry. It 
is a gum resin, mixed with ligneous particles. 

VOL. V. 7) 


as a depilatory, and for the cure of phthiriasis. The blossoms 
too, of all the varieties, taken twice a day in astringent wine, 
a pinch in three fingers at a time, are curative of dysentery 
and looseness of the bowels : they are very useful also, applied 
to burns with wax. The umbels stain the hair black. The 
juice extracted from the root is taken in vinegar for the cure 
of wounds inflicted by the phalangium. I find it stated too, 
that patients suffering from affections of the spleen are cured 
by drinking from vessels made of the wood of the ivy. The 
berries are bruised also, and then burnt, and a liniment is 
prepared from them for burns, the parts being fomented with 
warm w r ater first. 

Incisions are sometimes made in the ivy to obtain the juice, 
which is used for carious teeth, it having the effect of breaking 
them, it is said ; the adjoining teeth being fortified with wax 
against the powerful action of the juice. A kind of gum even 
is said to be found in the ivy, which, it is asserted, is extremely 
useful, mixed with vinegar, for the teeth. 


The Greeks give the name of " cisthos" a word very 
similar to"eissos," the Greek name of the ivy- to a plant 
which is somewhat larger than thyme, and has a leaf like that 
of ocimum. There are two varieties of this plant ; the male, 1 
which has a rose-coloured blossom, and the female, 2 with a 
white one. The blossom of either kind, taken in astringent 
wine, a pinch in three fingers at a time, is good for dysentery 
and looseness of the bowels. Taken in a similar manner 
twice a day, it is curative of inveterate ulcers : used with 
wax, it heals burns, and employed by itself it cures ulcer- 
ations of the mouth. It is beneath these plants more par- 
ticularly that the hypocisthis grows, of which we shall have 
occasion 3 to speak when treating of the herbs. 



The plant called " cissos erythranos " 4 by the Greeks, is 

1 The Cistus pilosus of Linneeus, the wild eglantine, or rock-rose. 

2 The Cistus salvifolius of Linnaeus. 

3 In B. xxvi. cc. 31, 49, 87, and 90. 

4 " Ked-berried " or " red-leaved ivy." See B. xvi. c. 62. This kind, 
Fee says, appears not to have been identified. 

Chap. 50.] THE REED. 35 

similar to the ivy : taken in wine, it is good for sciatica and 
lumbago. The berries, it is said, are of so powerful a nature 
as to produce bloody urine. " Chamaecissos " 5 also is a name 
given by them to a creeping ivy which never rises from the 
surface of the ground : bruised in wine, in doses of one aoe- 
tabulum, it is curative of affections of the spleen, the leaves 
of it being applied topically with axle-grease to burns. 

The smilax 6 also, otherwise known as the " anthophoros," 7 
has a strong resemblance to ivy, but the leaves of it are smaller. 
A chaplet, they say, made of an uneven number of the leaves, 
is an effectual cure for head-ache. Some writers mention two 
kinds of smilax, one of which is all but perennial, and is found 
climbing the trees in umbrageous valleys, the berries hanging 
in clusters. These berries, they say, are remarkably efficacious 
for all kinds of poisons ; so much so indeed, that infants to 
whom the juice of them has been habitually administered, are 
rendered proof against all poisons for the rest of their life. 
The other kind, it is said, manifests a predilection for cultivated 
localities, and is often found growing there ; but as for medicinal 
properties, it has none. The former kind, they say, is the 
smilax, the wood of which we have mentioned 8 as emitting a 
sound, if held close to the ear. 

Another plant, similar to this, they call by the name of 
" clematis :" 9 it is found adhering to trees, and has a jointed 
stem. The leaves of it cleanse leprous 10 sores, and the seed 
acts as an aperient, taken in doses of one acetabulum, in one 
hemina of water, or in hydromel. A decoction of it is pre- 
scribed also for a similar purpose. 


We have already 11 treated of twenty-nine varieties of the 
reed, and there is none of her productions in which that 

5 "Ground-ivy." See B. xvi. c. 62, Note 17. M. Fraas adopts 
Sprengel's opinion that it is the Antirrhinum Azarina, the bastard asarum. 

6 See B. xvi. c. 63. 7 " Flower-bearer." 

8 In B. xvi. c. 63. 

9 Sprengel thinks that this is the Clematis viticella, hut Fee identifies 
it with the Clematis vitalba of Linnaeus, the climber, or traveller's joy. 

10 The leaves of it, Fee says, are of a caustic nature, and have been 
employed before now by impostors for producing sores on the skin of a 
frisrhtful appearance, but easily healed. 

11 In B. xvi. c. 34. 

D 2 


mighty power of Mature, 12 which in our successive Books we 
have described, is more fully displayed than in this. The 
root of the reed, pounded and applied to the part affected, 
extracts the prickles of fern from the body, the root of the 
fern having a similar effect upon splinters of the reed. Among 
the numerous varieties which we have described, the scented 
reed 13 which is grown in Judaea and Syria as an ingredient in 
our unguents, boiled with hay-grass or parsley-seed, has a 
diuretic effect : employed as a pessary, it acts as an emmena- 
gogue. Taken in drink, in doses of two oboli, it is curative 
of convulsions, diseases of the liver and kidneys, and dropsy. 
Used as a fumigation, and with resin more particularly, it is 
good for coughs, and a decoction of it with myrrh is useful for 
scaly eruptions and running ulcers. A juice, too, is collected 
from it which has similar properties to those of elaterium. 14 

In every kind of reed the part that is the most efficacious is 
that which lies nearest the root ; the joints also are efficacious 
in a high degree. The ashes of the Cyprian reed known as 
the "donax," 15 are curative of alopecy and putrid ulcers. 
The leaves of it are also used for the extraction 1 * of pointed 
bodies from the flesh, and for erysipelas and all kinds of 
gatherings. The common reed, beaten up quite fresh, has 
also considerable extractive powers, and not in the root only, 
for the stem, it is said, has a similar property. The root is 
used also in vinegar as a topical application for sprains and 
for pains in the spine ; and beaten up fresh and taken in wine it 
acts as an aphrodisiac. The down that grows on reeds, put 
into the ears, deadens the hearing. 17 



Of a kindred nature with the reed is the papyrus 18 of 
Egypt ; a plant that is remarkably useful, in a dried state, for 

12 Sympathies and antipathies existing in plants. See c. 1 of tin's Book. 

13 Not a reed, Fee thinks, but some other monocotyledon that has not 
been identified. See B. xii. c. 48. 

14 See B. xx. c. 3. 15 See B. xvi. e. 66. 

16 Celsus also speaks of the root of the reed as heing efficacious for this 
purpose, B. v. c. 26. 

^ Fee says that neither of these last assertions is true. 
13 See B. xiii. c. 21, It is no longer used in medicine. 

Chap. 53.] THE ItHOBODENDIlOX. 37 

dilating and drying up fistulas, and, by its expansive powers, 
opening an entrance for the necessary medicaments. The 
ashes l9 of paper prepared from the papyrus are reckoned among 
the caustics : those of the plant, taken in wine, have a 
narcotic effect. The plant, applied topically in water, removes 
callosities of the skin. 


The ebony- tree 20 does not grow in Egypt even, as we have 
already stated, and it is not our intention to speak here of the 
medicinal properties of the vegetable productions of foreign cli- 
mates. Still, however, the ebony must not be omitted, on 
account of the marvels related of it. The saw- dust of this 
wood, it is said, is a sovereign remedy for diseases of the eyes, 
and the pulp of the wood, rubbed upon a whetstone moistened 
with raisin wine, dispels all films which impede the sight. 
The root too, they say, applied with water, is curative of 
white specks in the eyes, and, with the addition of root of 
dracunculus, 21 in equal proportions, and of honey, of cough. 
Medical men reckon ebony also in the number of the caustics. 22 


The rhododendron 23 has not so much as found a Latin name 
among us, its other names being " rhododaphne " 24 and 
"nerium." It is a marvellous fact, but the leaves 25 of this 
plant are poisonous to quadrupeds ; while for man, if taken in 
wine with rue, they are an effectual preservative against the 
venom of serpents. Sheep too, and goats, it is said, if they 
drink water in which the leaves have been steeped, will die 

19 These statements as to the virtues of the ashes of papyrus, Fe says, 
are absurd. 

20 See B. xii. c. 8. Desfontaines is inclined to identify the tree here 
spoken of with the Diospyros ebenaster of Kcenig. 

21 See c. 91 of this Book ; the Artemisia dracunculus of Linnaeus. 

22 " Erodentia." Fee remarks upon the singularity, that with this 
property attributed to it, it should be recommended for diseases of the eyes. 

23 The "rose-tree." Our rose-bay or oleander. 24 "Rose-laurel." 
25 See B. xvi. c. 33. It is, Fee says, an energetic poison, but as in- 
jurious to man as it is to animals. 




^or yet has the tree called "rhus" 26 any Latin name, al- 
though it is employed in numerous ways. Under this name 
are comprehended a wild plant, 27 with leaves like those of 
myrtle, and a short stem, which is good as an expellent of 
tapeworm ; and the shrub 28 which is known as the " currier's 
plant," of a reddish colour, a cuhit in height, and about the 
thickness of one's finger, the leaves of which are dried and 
used, like pomegranate rind, for curing leather. 

Medical men also employ the leaves of these plants for the 
treatment of contusions, and for the cure of cosliac affections, 
and of ulcers of the rectum and phagedaenic sores ; for all which 
purposes they are pounded with honey and applied with 
vinegar. A decoction of them is injected for suppurations of 
the ears. With the branches, boiled, a stomatice 29 is also made, 
which is used for the eame purposes as that prepared from 
mulberries ; 3U it is more efficacious, however, mixed with alum. 
This preparation is applied also toreducethe swelling in dropsy. 


"Rhus 31 erythros is the name given to the seed of this shrub. 
It possesses properties of an astringent and cooling nature, and 
is used as a seasoning 32 for provisions, in place of salt. It has 
a laxative effect, and, used in conjunction with silphium, it 
gives a finer flavour to meat of all kinds. Mixed with honey, 
it is curative of running ulcers, pimples on the tongue, 33 con- 
tusions, bruises, and excoriations. It causes ulcers of the 
head to cicatrize with the greatest rapidity ; and taken with 
the food, it arrests excessive menstruation. 


The erythrodanus, 34 by some called " ereuthodanus," and 

26 See B xiii. c. 13. The sumach-tree ; the Rhus coriaria of Linnams. 
r Identified by Fee with the Coriaria myrtifolia of Linnaeus, or myrtle- 
leaved sumach. It is used in the preparation of leather, Fee says, and is 
intensely poisonous. 28 The sumach-tree. 

29 Or < mouth-medicine." See B. xxii. c. 11, and B. xxiii. cc. 58 and 71. 

30 See B. xxiii. c. 71. 31 Or " ros." See B. xiii. c. 13, 
12 Fee says that this is still done in some parts of Turkey. 

w Asperitati linguae." 

^ u Bed rose ;" our madder. See B. xix. c. 17. Beckmann is of 

Chap. 58.] THE RADICULA. 39 

in Latin, "rubia," is quite a different plant. It is used for 
dyeing wool, and skins for leather are prepared with it. Used 
medicinally, it is a diuretic, and, employed with hydromel, it 
is curative of jaundice. 35 Employed topically with vinegar, 
it heals lichens ; and a potion is prepared from it for sciatica 
and paralysis, the patient while using it taking a bath daily. 
The root of it and the seed are effectual as an emmenagogue ; 
they act astringently upon the bowels, and disperse gatherings. 
The branches, together with the leaves, are applied to wounds 
inflicted by serpents ; the leaves too have the property of 
staining the hair. 36 I find it stated by some writers that this 
shrub is curative of jaundice, even if worn as an amulet only, 
and looked at every now and then. 


The plant known as the "alysson" 37 differs only from the 
preceding one in the leaves and branches, which are more di- 
minutive. It receives its name from the fact, that, taken in 
vinegar and worn as an amulet, .it prevents persons bitten by 
dogs from becoming rabid. It is a marvellous fact too, that is 
added, to the effect that the person bitten has only to look 
at this shrub, and the flow of corrupt matter from the wound 
will be staunched immediately. 



The radicula, which we have already 38 mentioned as being 
called "struthion" by the Greeks, is used by dyers for pre- 
paring wool. A decoction of it, taken internally, is curative 
of jaundice and diseases of the chest. It is diuretic also, and 
laxative, and acts as a detergent upon the uterus, for which 
reasons medical men have given it the name of the "golden 

opinion that the " sandix" of B. xxxv. c. 12, is our madder, and identical 
with the Eubia. It is not improbable, however, that in reality it was a 
mineral. See Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 110, Bohn's Ed. 

35 Fee says that it does not possess this property. 

36 Madder has no colouring matter which can produce any effect upon 
the hair. 

37 Or " anti-frantic " plant. C. Bauhin identifies it with the Rubia 
silvestris Isevis, or wild madder ; Fee is at a loss for its identification, but 
is inclined to think that it was a species of cultivated madder. 

38 In B. xix. c. 18. The Gypsophila struthium, or soap-plant, possibly. 
Its identity is discussed at great length by Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. ll. 
p. 98102, Eohn's Ed. 


beverage." 39 Taken with honey, it is a sovereign remedy for 
cough ; and it is used for hardness of breathing, in doses of a 
spoonful. Applied with polenta and vinegar to the parts 
affected, it removes leprous sores. Used with panax and root 
of the caper-plant, it breaks and expels calculi, and a decoction 
of it in wine with barley-meal disperses inflamed tumours. It 
is used as an ingredient in emollient plasters and eye-salves 
for the sight, and is found to be one of the most useful sternu- 
tories known ; it is good too for the liver and the spleen. Taken 
in hydrorael, in doses of one denarius, it effects the cure of 
asthma, as also of pleurisy and all pains in the sides. 

The apocynum 40 is a shrub with leaves like those of ivy, but 
softer, and not so long in the stalk, and the seed of it is 
pointed and downy, with a division running down it, and a 
very powerful smell. Given in their food with water, the seed 
is poisonous 41 to dogs and all other quadrupeds. 


There are two kinds of rosemary ; one of which is barren, 
and the other has a stem with a resinous seed, known as 
"cachrys." The leaves have the odour of frankincense. 43 
The root, applied fresh, effects the cure of wounds, prolapsus 
of the rectum, condylomata, and piles. The juice of the 
plant, as well as of the root, is curative of jaundice, and such 
diseases as require detergents ; it is useful also for the sight. 
The seed is given in drink for inveterate diseases of the chest, 
and, with wine and pepper, for affections of the uterus ; it 
acts also as an emmenagogue, and is used with meal of darnel 
as a liniment for gout. It acts also as a detergent upon 
freckles, and is used as an application in diseases which 
require calorifics or sudorifics, and for convulsions. The plant 
itself, or else the root, taken in wine, increases the milk, and 
the leaves and stem of the plant are applied with vinegar 
to scrofulous sores ; used with honey, they are very useful for 

3 ' J " Aureum poculum." 

40 Desfontaines says that it is the Periploca angustifolia ; Fee gives the 
Apocynum folio subrotundo of C. Bauhin, round leafed dogsbaue. 

41 This is the fact ; and hence one of its names ** cynanche," or " dog- 

42 This, .Fee says, is the fact. The plant is rich in essential oil, and is 
consequently a powerful excitant. See B. xix. c. 62. 

Chap. 62.] SKLAGO. 41 


As already 43 stated, there are several kinds of cachrys ; 44 
but that which is produced by rosemary above-mentioned, 
when rubbed, is found to be of a resinous nature. It neu- 
tralizes poisons and the venom of animals, that of serpents 
exoepted. It acts also as a sudorific, dispels griping pains in 
the bowels, and increases the milk in nursing women. 


Of the herb savin, known as " brathy" by the Greeks, 45 there 
are two varieties, one of them 46 with a leaf like that of the 
tamarix, the other 47 with that of the cypress ; for which reason 
some persons have called this last the Cretan cypress. It is 
used by many for fumigations, as a substitute for frankin- 
cense; 48 employed in medicine, it is said to have the same effect 
as cinnamon, if taken in doses twice as large! It reduces 
gatherings, disperses corrosive sores, acts as a detergent upon 
ulcers, and, used as a pessaiy and as a fumigation, brings away 
the dead foetus. 49 It is employed as a topical application for 
erysipelas and carbuncles, and, taken with honey in wine, is 
curative of jaundice. 

The smoke of this plant, they say, cures the pip in all kinds 
of poultry. 50 


Similar to savin is the herb known as "selago."* 1 Care is 

43 In B. xvi. c. 11. 

44 A gall or fungoid production, or> in some instances, a catkin. Fee 
says that Pliny has committed an error here in attributing a cachrys to 
rosemary, the Libanotis stephanomaticos, which, in reality, belongs to 
the Libanotis canchryphorus or Libanotis prima. 

45 So called from the Greek fipadv, " slow," according to some au- 
thorities ; by reason of the slowness of its growth. 

46 Identified by Fee with the Sabina vulgatior of Lobelius, or Juniperus 
Sabina, variety /3, of Lamarck. 

47 The Sabina baceifera of J. Bauhin, the male savin, the type of the 

48 See Ovid's Fasti, B. i. 1. 341, as to this custom, and Virgil's " Culex," 
1. 403. 

49 Jt is still a common notion, though Fee says an ill-founded one, that 
it produces abortion. Indeed we find Galen stating to the same effect. 

60 Fee ridicules this notion with considerable zest. 

61 The Lycopodium selago of Linnaeus, upright club-moss, or fir- moss, 


taken to gather it without the use of iron, the right hand 
being passed for the purpose through the left sleeve of the 
tunic, as though the gatherer were in the act of committing a 
theft. 52 The clothing too must be white, the feet bare and 
washed clean, and a sacrifice of bread and wine must be made 
before gathering it : it is carried also in a new napkin. The 
Druids of Gaul have pretended that this plant should be 
carried about the person as a preservative against accidents of 
all kinds, and that the smoke of it is extremely good for all 
maladies of the eyes. 


The Druids, also, have given the name of " samolus'' 53 to a 
certain plant which grows in humid localities. This too, they 
say, must be gathered fasting with the left hand, as a pre- 
servative against the maladies to which swine and cattle are 
subject. The person, too, who gathers it must be careful not 
to look behind him, nor must it be laid anywhere but in the 
troughs from which the cattle drink. 


We have already** spoken of the different kinds of gum ; 
the better sort of each kind will be found the most effective. 
Gum is bad for the teeth ; it tends to make the blood coagu- 
late, and is consequently good for discharges 65 of blood from 
the mouth. It is useful for burns, 56 but is bad for diseases of 
the trachea. It exercises a diuretic effect, and tends to 
neutralize all acridities, being astringent in other respects. 
The- gum of the bitter-almond tree, which has the most 57 

according to Sprengel. Fee, however, dissents from that opinion, for the 
Lycopodium, he says, is but some three inches in height, while savin, with 
which the Selago is here compared, is more than eight or ten feet high. De 
Theis (Gloss. Botan.) thinks that it must have been a succulent plant ; but 
upon what grounds he bases that conjecture, Fee declares himself at a loss 
to conjecture. 

52 Evidently a superstition derived from the Druids. 

53 Sprengel thinks that it is the Samolus Valerandi of Linnaeus, the round- 
leaved water-pimpernel, and Anguillara identifies it with the Anemone pul- 
satilla, or pasque-flower. Fee inclines to the opinion that it is the Veronica 
beceubunga of Linnaeus, the brook-lime. 

54 In B. xiii. c. 20. 

65 Gum is still used. Fee says, for this purpose. 

66 It is of no use whatever for burns, or as a diuretic. 

57 Fee says that it is not different in any way from the gum of other trees. 

Chap. 67.] GUM ACACIA. 43 

astringent properties of them all, is calorific also in its effects. 
Still, however, the gum of the plum, cherry, and vine is 
greatly preferred : all which kinds, applied topically, are pro- 
ductive of astringent and desiccative effects, and, used with 
vinegar, heal lichens upon infants. Taken in must, in doses 
of four oboli, they are good for inveterate coughs. 

It is generally thought that gum, taken in raisin wine, 
improves the complexion, 58 sharpens the appetite, and is 
good for calculi 69 in the bladder. It is particularly useful too 
for wounds and affections of the eyes. 



When speaking 60 of the perfumes, we have descanted upon 
the merits of the Egyptian or Arabian thorn. This, too, is of 
an astringent nature, and acts as a desiccative upon fluxes of 
all kinds, discharges of blood from the mouth, and excessive 
menstruation; for all which purposes the root is still more 



The seed of the white thorn is useful as a remedy for the 
stings of scorpions, and a chaplet made of it, is good for head- 
ache. Similar to this plant is that known to the Greeks as 
the " acanthion ;" 61 though it is much smaller in the leaf, which 
is pointed at the extremity, and covered with a down like a 
cobweb in appearance. This downy substance is gathered in 
the East, and certain textures are made of it similar to those 
of silk. An infusion of the leaves or root of this plant is taken 
for the cure of opisthotony. 


Gum acacia is produced also from the white and black 62 

5S Fee remarks, that gum is injurious as a cosmetic. 

59 Gum is of no use whatever in such a case. 

60 In B. xiii. c. 19. In speaking there, however, of this gum, the 
Acacia Nilotica of Linnaeus, he makes no mention whatever of Arabia ; 
for which reason Sillig concludes that this passage is corrupt, 

61 The Onopordum acanthium of Linnaeus, the cotton- thistle, or woolly 

62 The Mimosa Nilotica of Linnaeus ; see B. xiii. c. 19. Fee seems in- 
clined to identify the white thorn with the Cratsegus oxyacantha of Lin- 


thorns of Egypt, and from a green thorn as well ; the pro- 
duce, however, of the former trees is by far the best. There is 
also a similar gum found in Galatia, but of very inferior 
quality, the produce of a more thorny tree 63 than those last 
mentioned. The seed of all these trees resembles 64 the lentil 
in appearance, only that it is smaller, as well as the pod which 
contains it : it is gathered in autumn, before which period it 
would be too powerful in its effects. The juice is left to 
thicken in the pods, which are steeped in rain-water for the 
purpose, and then pounded in a mortar ; after which, the 
juice is extracted by means of presses. It is then dried in the 
mortars in the sun, and when dry is divided into tablets. A 
similar juice is extracted from the leaves, but it is by no 
means 65 so useful as the other. The seed is used also, as a 
substitute for nut-galls in curing leather. 6 " 

The juice extracted from the leaves, as also tiie extremely 
black juice of the Galatian 67 acacia, is held in no esteem. The 
same too with that of a deep red colour. The gum which is 
of a purple, or of an ashy, grey colour, and which dissolves 
with the greatest rapidity, possesses the most astringent and 
cooling qualities of them all, and is more particularly useful as 
an ingredient in compositions for the eyes. "When required 
for these purposes, the tablets are steeped in water by some, 
while some again scorch them, and others reduce them to 
ashes. They are useful for dyeing the hair, and for the cure of 
erysipelas, serpiginous sores, ulcerations of the humid parts of 
the body, gatherings, contusions of the joints, chilblains, and 
hangnails. They are good also for cases of excessive menstru- 
ation, procidence of the uterus and rectum, affections of the 
eyes, and ulcerations of the generative organs 68 and mouth, 
naeus, the white hawthorn, or May. In the present passage, however, it 
is doubtful whether the colours apply to the varieties of gum, or to the trees 
which produce them. Sillig considers the passage to he corrupt. 

63 The Prunus spinosa of Linnaeus, Fe thinks, the sloe, or black thorn. 

64 Fee says that the difference in appearance is very considerable between 

65 The leaves containing little or no tannin. 

66 In India, the bark of the Acacia Arabica is still used for tanning 

67 This juice, Fee says, obtained from the Primus spinosa, is known at 
the present day in commerce by the name of Acacia nostras. 

68 Fee queries, without sufficient foundation, it would appear, whether 
he is here speaking of syphilitic affections. 



The common 69 thorn too, with which the fulling coppers are 
filled, is employed for the same purposes as the radicula. 70 In 
the provinces of Spain i't is commonly employed as an ingre- 
dient in perfumes and unguents, under the name of " aspa- 
lathos." There is no doubt, however, that there is also a wild 
thorn of the same name in the East, as already mentioned, 71 of 
a white colour, and the size of an ordinary tree. 



There is also found in the islands of Nisyros and of Ehodes, 
a shrub of smaller size, but full as thorny, known by some as 
the erysisceptrum, 72 by others as the adipsatheon, and by the 
Syrians as the diaxylon. The best kind is that which is the 
least 73 ferulaceous in the stem, and which is of a red colour, or 
inclining to purple, when the bark is removed. It is found 
growing in many places, but is not everywhere odoriferous. 
We have already 74 stated how remarkably sweet the odour of 
it is, when the rainbow has been extended over it. 

This plant cures fetid ulcers of the mouth, polypus 75 of the 
nose, ulcerations or carbuncles of the generative organs, and 
chaps ; taken in drink it acts as a carminative, and is curative 
of strangury. The bark is good for patients troubled with, 
discharges of blood, and a decoction of it acts astringently on 
the bowels. It is generally thought that the wild plant is 
productive of the same effects. 

69 Fee suggests that this may be the Dipsacus fullonum of Linnaeus, 
the fuller's thistle. 

< See B. xix. c. 18, and c. 58 of this Book. 

71 In B. xii. c. 52. But in that passage he makes the Aspalathos to'be 
identical with the Erysisceptrum, which he here distinguishes from it. Fee 
thinks that there can be no identity between the common thorn here men- 
tioned, and the Aspalathos. This latter, as mentioned in B. xii., according 
to Fee, is the Convolvulus scoparius of Linnaeus, the broom bindweed, but 
Littre says that M. Fraas has identified it with the Genista acanthoclada. 

72 See the preceding Note. Fee identifies this Aspalathos with the 
Spartium villosum of Linnaeus, making that of B xii. c. 52, to be the Lignum 
Ehodianum of commerce, probably the Convolvulus scoparius of Linnaeus. 

73 The corresponding passage in Dioscorides has papvs, "heavy," i. e. 
the most solid in the stem. 

74 In B. xii. c. 52. 76 " Ozsenas." 




There is a thorn also known as the appendix ;"* that name 
being given to the red berries which hang from its branches. 
These berries eaten by themselves, raw, or else dried and 
boiled in wine, arrest looseness of the bowels and dispel 
griping pains in the stomach. The berries of the pyracantha 77 
are taken in drink for wounds inflicted by serpents. 


The paliurus, 78 too, is a kind of thorn. The seed of it, known 
by the people of Africa as " zura," is extremely efficacious for 
the sting of the scorpion, as also for urinary calculi and cough. 
The leaves are of an astringent nature, and the root disperses 
inflamed tumours, gatherings, and abscesses; taken in drink 
it is diuretic in its effects. A decoction of it in wine arrests 
diarrhoea, and neutralizes the venom of serpents : the root 
more particularly is administered in wine. 



The agrifolia, 79 pounded, with the addition of salt, is good 
for diseases of the joints, and the berries are used in cases of 
excessive menstruation, coeliac affections, dysentery, and 
cholera ; taken in wine, they act astringently upon the bowels. 
A decoction of the root, applied externally, extracts foreign 
bodies from the flesh, and is remarkably useful for sprains and 

The tree called " aquifolia," planted 80 in a town or country- 

7 ? The Berberis vulgaris of Linnaeus, or barberry, Fee thinks. 

77 Identified by Fee with the Mespilus pyraeantha of Linnaeus, the 
evergreen thorn. It receives its name probably from the redness of its 
berries, which are the colour of fire. 

78 Fee considers this to be the Paliurus aculeatus of Decandolle, and not 
identical with the Paliurus mentioned in B. xiii. c. 33. 

79 Fee thinks that the copyists have made a mistake in this passage, and 
that the reading should be " aquifolia," the same plant that is mentioned 
afterwards under that name. He identifies them with the Ilex aquifolium, 
or holly. See B. xvi. cc. 8, 12, where Pliny evidently confounds the holm 
oak with the holly. 

fl Dioscorides says, B, i. c. 119, "the branches of the rlmmnus^ it is 
said, placed at the doors and windows, will avert the spells of sorcerers." 

Chap. 73.] THE BRAMBLE. 47 

house, is a preservative against sorceries and spells. The 
blossom of it, according to Pythagoras, congeals 81 water, and a 
staff 82 made of the wood, if, when thrown at any animal, from 
want of strength in the party throwing it, it falls short of the 
mark, will roll hack again 83 towards the thrower, of its own 
accord so remarkable are the properties of this tree. The 
smoke of the yew kills 84 rats and mice. 


TsTor yet has Nature destined the bramble 85 to be only an 
annoyance to mankind, for she has bestowed upon it mul- 
berries of its own, 86 or, in other words, a nutritive aliment even 
for mankind. These berries are of a desiccative, astringent, 
nature, 87 and are extremely useful for maladies of the gums, 
tonsillary glands, and generative organs. They neutralize also 
the venom of those most deadly of serpents, the hsemorrhois 83 
and the prester ; 89 and the flowers or fruit will heal wounds 
inflicted by scorpions, without any danger of abscesses forming. 
The shoots of the bramble have a diuretic effect: and the 
more tender ones are pounded, and the juice extracted and then 
dried in the sun till it has attained the consistency of honey, 
being considered a most excellent remedy, taken in drink or 
applied externally, for maladies of the mouth and eyes, dis- 
charges of blood from the mouth, quinzy, affections of the 

It is not improbable that Pliny, in copying from some other author, has 
mistaken the one for the other. 

81 An exaggeration, no doubt. The Cissampelos Pareira of Lamarck, an 
Indian plant, abounds in mucilage to such an extent, that an infusion of it 
in water becomes speedily coagulated. 

82 One would be induced to think that this story is derived from some 
vague account of the properties of the Boomerang. Although supposed 
by many to have been the invention of the natives of Australasia, repre- 
sentations of it are found on the sculptures of Nineveh. It is not 
improbable that Pythagoras may have heard of it from the Magi during 
his travels in the East. See onomi's Nineveh, p. 136. 

83 "Recubitu" seems preferable to " cubitu." 

84 This is very doubtful, Fee says. 

85 See B. xvi. c. 71. 86 See B. xvi. c. 71. 

*' Blackberries are still used in the country, Fee says, as an astringent 
medicine, and all here stated that is based upon that property is rational 
enough. The same cannot, however, be said of the greatet part of the 
other statements in this Chapter. 

** See B. xx. cc. '23, 81, and B. xxiii. cc. 12, 18. 

89 See B. xx. c, 81, B. xxii. c. 13, and B. xxiii. c. 23. 


uterus, diseases of the rectum, and cceliac affections. The leaves, 
chewed, are good for diseases of the mouth, and a topical ap- 
plication is made of them for running ulcers and other maladies 
of the head. In the cardiac disease they are similarly applied 
to the left breast by themselves. They are applied topically 
also for pains in the stomach and for procidence of the eyes. 
The juice of them is used as an injection for the ears, and, in 
combination with cerate of roses, it heals condylomata. 

A decoction of the young shoots in wine is an instantaneous 
remedy for diseases of the uvula ; and eaten by themselves 
like cymse, 90 or boiled in astringent wine, they strengthen 
loose teeth. They arrest fluxes of the bowels also, and dis- 
charges of blood, and are very useful for dysentery. Dried in 
the shade and then burnt, the ashes of them are curative of 
procidence of the uvula. The leaves too, dried and pounded, 
are very useful, it is said, for ulcers upon beasts of burden. The 
berries produced by this plant would seem to furnish a stomatice 91 
superior even to that prepared from the cultivated mulberry. 
Under this form, or else only with hypocisthis 91 * and honey, 
the berries are administered for cholera, the cardiac disease, 
and wounds inflicted by spiders. 92 

Among the medicaments known as " styptics," 92 * there is 
none that is more efficacious than a decoction of the root of the 
bramble in wine, boiled down to one third. Ulcerations of the 
mouth and rectum are bathed with it, and fomentations of it 
are used for a similar purpose ; indeed, it is so remarkably 
powerful in its effects, that the very sponges which are used 
become as hard as a stone. 93 


There is another kind of bramble also, 94 which bears a rose. 
It produces a round excrescence, 95 similar to a chesnut in 

90 Cabbage-sprouts. See B. xix. c. 41. 

91 Or " mouth-medicine." See B. xxiii. c. 71. 
91 * See B. xxvi. cc. 31, 49, 87, and 90. 

92 Tfce spider called " phalangium " is meant, Fee says. See B.-xi. c. 28, 
92 * Astringents. 93 "Lapidescunt." 

94 The eglantine. See B. xvi. c. 71. 

95 He alludes to " bedeguar," a fungous excrescence found on the wild 
rose-tree, and produced by the insect known as the Cynips rosse. It is 
somewhat rough on the exterior, like the outer coat of the chesnut. 

Chap. 74.] THE CYNOSBATOS. 49 

appearance, which is remarkably valuable as a remedy for 
calculus. This is quite a different production from the "cynor- 
rhoda," which we shall have occasion to speak of in the 
succeeding Book. 96 

(14.) The cynosbatos 97 is by some called " cynapanxis," 98 
and by others " neurospastos ;" " the leaf resembles the human 
footstep in shape. It bears also a black grape, in the berries 
of which there is a nerve, to which it is indebted for its name 
of " neurospastos." It is quite a different plant from the cap- 
paris 1 or caper, to which medical men have also given the name 
of " cynosbatos." The clusters 2 of it, pickled in vinegar, are 
eaten as a remedy for diseases of the spleen, and flatulency : 
and the string found in the berries, chewed with Chian mastich, 
cleanses the mouth. 

The rose 3 of the bramble, mixed with axle-grease, is curative 
of alopecy : and the bramble-berries themselves, combined with 
oil of omphacium, 4 stain 5 the hair. The blossom of the bram- 
ble is gathered at harvest, and the white blossom, taken in 
wine, is an excellent remedy for pleurisy and cceliac affections. 
The root, boiled down to one third, arrests looseness of the 
bowels and haemorrhage, and a decoction of it, used as a gar*gle, 
is good for the teeth : the juice too is employed as a fomenta- 
tion for ulcers of the rectum and generative organs. The 
ashes of the root are curative of relaxations of the uvula. 

96 The fruit, Fee says, of the wild eglantine. See B. xxv. c. 6. 

97 Or " dog-bramble." 

98 Dog-strangle," apparently. 

99 " Drawn with a string." Fee thinks that Pliny has confused the 
account given of this plant with that of the Aglaophotis, mentioned in 
c. 102 of this Book, and that the Cynosbatos is only a variety of the Rubus 
or bramble. Other authorities identify it with the Eubus caninus, or with 
the Rosa sempervirens. Desfontaines thinks that it is the Ribes nigrum, 
or black currant ; and Littre is of opinion that some gooseberry or currant 
tree is meant, l See B. xiii. c. 44. 

2 " Thyrsus/' Fee thinks that the allusion is to the produce of the 
caper, while Hardouin says that it is the first cynosbatos that he is speak- 
ing of. Hardouiii is probably riorht. 

a The blossom, perhaps, of the Rubus fruticosus, or blackberry, 

4 See B. xii. c. 60. 

5 Fee s.ays that they have no such property, and that the blossoms of the 
bramble are entirely destitute of any known medicinal qualities. The 
roots and leaves are somewhat astringent. 

VOL. V. ' E 



The Idsean bramble 6 is so called from the fact that it is the 
only plant of the kind found growing upon Mount Ida. It is 
of a more delicate nature than the others, and smaller ; the 
canes too are thinner, and not 7 so prickly : it mostly grows 
beneath the shade of trees. The blossom of it, mixed with 
honey, is applied topically for defluxions of the eyes, and is 
administered in water for erysipelas and affections of the 
stomach. 8 In other respects, it has properties similar to those 
of the plants 9 already mentioned. 


Among the several kinds 10 of bramble is reckoned the plant 
called " rhamnos" by the Greeks. One variety of it is whiter 11 
than the other, and has a more shrublike appearance, throwing 
out branches armed with straight thorns, and not hooked, like 
those of the other kinds; the leaves too are larger. The other 
kind, 12 which is found growing wild, is of a more swarthy hue, 
in some measure inclining to red ; it bears too a sort 13 of pod. 
"With the root of it boiled in water a medicament is made, 
known as "lycium:" 14 the seed of it is useful for bringing 
away the after-birth. The white kind, however, is of a more 
astringent and cooling nature, and better adapted for the treat- 
ment of gatherings and wounds. The leaves of both kinds, 
either raw or boiled, are employed topically with oil. 

6 The raspberry; see B. xvi. c. 71. 

7 There is one variety which is very diminutive, and entirely destitute 
of thorns, the Kubus Idaeus Isevis of C. Bauhin, the Rubus Idaeus non 
spinosus of J. Bauhin. 8 See B. xvi. c. 71. 

9 Of the bramble genus. 

10 In reality, as Fee says, there is no botanical affinity between the 
Rubus, or bramble, and the Rhamnus. 

11 Sprengel identifies this plant with the Zizyphus vulgarisof Linnseus, 
the jujube, and Desfontaines is of the same opinion. Fee, however, takes 
it to be the Rhamnus saxatilis of Linnaeus, the rock buckthorn. 

12 Identified by some authorities with the Paliurus aculeatus of Decan- 
dolles, mentioned in c. 71. Sprengel is in doubt whether it may not be 
the Rhamnus lycioides of Linnaeus. 

13 Not a characteristic, Fee says, of the genus Rhamnus of modern Botany. 

14 Or "Lycian" extract. See B. xii. c. 15. 

Chap. 77.] LTCITJM. 51 


The best lycium, 15 they say, is that prepared from the thorn 
of that name, known also as the " Chironian pyxacanthus," 16 
and mentioned by us when speaking of the trees of India, the 
lycium of those regions being generally looked upon as by 
far the best. The branches and roots, which are intensely 
bitter, 17 are first pounded and then boiled for three days in 
a copper vessel, after which the woody parts are removed, 
and the decoction is boiled again, till it has attained the 
consistency of honey. It is adulterated with various bitter 
extracts, 18 as also with amurca of olive oil and ox-gall. The 
froth or flower 19 of this decoction is used as an ingredient in 
compositions for the eyes : and the other part of it is employed 
as a cosmetic for the face, and for the cure of itch-scabs, 
corroding sores in the corners of the eyes, inveterate fluxes, 
and suppurations of the ears. It is useful too for diseases of 
the tonsillary glands and gums, for coughs, and for discharges 
of blood from the mouth, being generally taken in pieces the 
size of a bean. For the cure of discharges from wounds, it 
is applied to the part affected ; and it is similarly used for 
chaps, ulcerations of the genitals, excoriations, ulcers, whether 
putrid, serpiginous, or of recent date, hard excrescences 20 of 
the nostrils, and suppurations. It is taken also by females, 
in milk, for the purpose of arresting the catamenia when in 

The Indian lycium is distinguished from the other kinds 
by its colour, the lumps being black outside, and, when broken, 
red within, though they turn black very quickly. 21 It is 
bitter and remarkably astringent, and is employed for all the 
purposes above mentioned, diseases of the generative organs in 

15 See 8. xii. c. 15. Fee identifies this with the modern Catechu, a de- 
coction from the Acacia catechu, a leguminous plant of the East Indies. 

16 The Rhamnus lycioides of Linnaeus, our buckthorn. The Indian 
plant from which catechu is extracted is of a similar nature. See B. xii. c. 15. 

17 This Fee looks upon as an exaggeration. 

18 See B. xii. c. 15. 

19 /. e. the choice part of it; see B. xii. c. 15. Catechu is adulterated 
at the present day with starch and argillaceous earths. As a medicament 
it is not possessed of a very powerful action. 

20 " Clavos." 21 This statement is quite correct. 

E 2 


Some authors are of opinion that sarcocolla 23 is a tearlike 
gum which exudes from a kind of thorn ; 23 it is similar to 
powdered incense in appearance, has a sweet flavour with a 
slight degree of bitter, and is of the consistency of gum. 
Pounded in wine, it arrests defluxions, and is used as a topical 
application for infants more particularly. This substance too 
becomes black 24 when old ; the whiter it is, the more highly 
it is esteemed. 


We are indebted too to the medicinal properties of trees 
for one very celebrated medicament, known as " oporice." 25 
This preparation is used for dysentery and various affections of 
the stomach ; the following being the method of preparing it. 
Five quinces, seeds and all, with the same number of pome- 
granates, one sextarius of sorbs, a similar quantity of Syrian 
rhus, 26 and half an ounce of saifron, are boiled in one congius 
of white grape-juice at a slow heat, till the whole mixture is 
reduced to the consistency of honey. 



We shall now add to these plants, certain vegetable produc- 
tions to which the Greeks have given names belonging to trees, 
so that it would be doubtful whether they themselves are not 
trees as well. 

(15.) The chamsedrys 27 is the same plant that in Latin is 
called "trixago;" some persons, however, call it "chamse- 
drops," and others " teucria." The leaves of it are the size 

22 See B. xiii. c. 20. 

23 The Pensea sarcocolla is not a thorny tree. 

24 Fee says that this is not the case. It is no longer used in medicine. 

25 Or conserve of fruits. An electuary. 

26 Seed of the sumach. See B. xiii. c. 13. 

27 " Ground oak." See B. xiv. c. 19 ; where it is identified with the 
Teucrium chamsedrys of Linnaeus. Littre, however, informs us, that M. 
Fraas considers it to be the Teucrium lucidum of Linnaeus ; because, as we 
learn from Bioscorides, it grows on rocky places, is a remarkably diminutive 
shrub, and has a fine odour, all of which are characteristics of the latter 
plant, and not of the Teucrium chaniiedrys, commonly known as the dwarf 
oak or germander. 

Chap. 82.] THE CHAMEL^A. 53 

of those of mint, but in their colour and indentations they 
resemble those of the oak. According to some, the leaves are 
serrated, and it was these, they say, that first suggested the 
idea of the saw : 28 the flower of it borders closely upon purple. 
This plant is gathered in rough craggy localities, when it is 
replete with juice ; and, whether taken 29 internally or applied 
topically, it is extremely efficacious for the stings of venomous 
serpents, diseases of the stomach, inveterate coughs, collections 
of phlegm in the throat, ruptures, convulsions, and pains 
in the sides. It diminishes the volume of the spleen, and acts 
as a diuretic and emmenagogue ; for which reasons it is very 
useful in incipient dropsy, the usual dose being a handful of 
the sprigs boiled down to one third in three heminae of water. 
Lozenges too are made of it for the above-named purposes, by 
bruising it in water. In combination with honey, it heals 
abscesses and inveterate or sordid ulcers : a wine 30 too is pre- 
pared from it for diseases of the chest. The juice of the leaves, 
mixed with oil, disperses films on the eyes ; it is taken also, in 
vinegar, for diseases of the spleen j employed as a friction, it is 
of a warming nature. 


The chamaedaphne 31 consists of a single diminutive stem, 
about a cubit in height, the limbs of it being smaller than 
those of the laurel. These leaves * * * The seed, which is 
of a red colour, and attached to the leaves, is applied fresh for 
head- ache, is of a cooling nature for burning heats, and is 
taken for griping pains in the bowels, with wine. The juice of 
this plant, taken in wine, acts as an emmenagogue and diuretic ; 
and applied as a pessary in wool, it facilitates laborious deliveries. 


The leaves of the chamelsea 32 resemble those of the olive ; 
they are bitter, however, and odoriferous. This plant is found 

28 An invention attributed to Daedalus, in B. vii. c. 57. 

29 The Teucrium chamaedrys is a bitter plant, which has been success- 
fully used for fever, and it acts as a tonic and vermifuge. Beyond these, 
it has no medicinal properties whatever. 30 See B. xiv. c, 19. 

si o r ground-laurel." Fee considers this to be identical with the 
Alexandrian laurel, mentioned in B. xv. c. 39. It is no longer used in 
medicine, but the roots of a plant of kindred nature, the Ruscus aculeatus, 
or butcher's broom, are diuretic. 

3 - Or ''ground olive.'* See B. xiii. c. 35. 


growing in craggy localities, and never exceeds a palm in 
height. It is of a purgative 33 nature, and carries off phlegm 
and bile ; for which purposes, the leaves are boiled with twice 
the quantity of wormwood, and the decoction taken with 
honey. The leaves, applied to ulcers, have a detergent effect. 
It is said, that if a person gathers it before sunrise, taking care 
to mention that he is gathering it for the cure of white specks 34 
in the eyes, and then wears it as an amulet, it will effect a cure : 
as also that, gathered in any way, it is beneficial for the eyes 
of beasts of burden and cattle. 


The chamsesyce 35 has leaves similar to those of the lentil, and 
lying close to the ground ; it is found growing in dry, rocky, 
localities. A decoction of it in wine is remarkably useful as a 
liniment for improving 36 the sight, and for dispersing cataract, 
cicatrizations, films, and cloudiness of the eyes. Applied in a 
pledget of linen, as a pessary, it allays pains in the uterus ; 
and used topically 37 it removes warts and excrescences of all 
kinds. It is very useful also for hardness of breathing. 


The chamsecissos 38 has ears like 39 those of wheat, with 
numerous leaves, and small branches, about five in number. 
When in blossom it might almost be taken for the white violet : 
the root of it is diminutive. For sciatica, the leaves of it are 
taken, seven days consecutively, in doses of three oboli, in two 
cyathi of wine : this is a very bitter potion, however. 



The charnseleuce 40 is known among us as the " farfarum" or 
" farfugium :" it grows on the banks of rivers, and has a leaf 

33 This, Fee says, is consistent with modern experience ; indeed it is 
drastic to a dangerous extent. 34 " Albugines." 

35 Or " ground fig." The Euphorbia chamassyce, or annual spurge. 

36 The juices are irritating and acrid, and would in reality be highly 
dangerous to the eyes. 

37 Owing to its caustic powers, it really is good for the removal of warts. 

38 Or " ground-ivy." SeeB. xvi. c. 62, and c. 49 of this Book. 

39 Fee says that this comparison is not strictly correct. 

40 The " ground-poplar." See B. xxvi. c. 19. Identified with the 
Tussilago farfara of Linnaeus ; our colt's-foot. 

Chap. 87.] THE CLIXOPODIOtf, ETC. 55 

like that of the poplar, only larger. The root of it is burnt 
upon cypress charcoal, and, by the aid of a funnel, 41 the smoke 
inhaled, in cases of inveterate cough. 



The chamsepeuce* 2 has a leaf which resembles that of the 
larch, and is useful more particularly for lumbago and pains in 
the back. The chamaecyparissos 43 is a herb which, taken in 
wine, counteracts the venom of serpents of all kinds, and of 

The ampeloprason 44 is found growing in vineyards ; it has 
leaves like those of the leek, and produces offensive eructa- 
tions. It is highly efficacious for the stings of serpents, and 
acts as an emmenagogue and diuretic. Taken in drink or 
applied externally, it arrests discharges of blood from the gene- 
rative organs. It is prescribed also for females after delivery, 
and is used for bites inflicted by dogs. 

The plant known as " stachys" bears a strong resemblance 
also to a leek, 45 but the leaves of it are longer and more nume- 
rous. It has an agreeable smell, and in colour inclines to 
yellow. It promotes menstruation. 


The clinopodion, 46 cleonicion, zopyron, or ocimoides, resem- 
41 Or " tube " " infundibulum." Colt's-foot is still smoked, either by 

itself or in conjunction with tobacco. Fee says, however, that to inhale 

the smoke in the manner here described, would be enough to create a cough 

if it did not exist before. 
43 "Ground-pine " or " ground pitch-tree." Identified by Sprengel with 

the Stcehelina chamaepeuce of Willdenow, a corymbiferous plant of the Isle 

of Candia. 

43 " Ground-cypress." Identified with the Euphorbia cyparissias of Lin- 
naeus, the cypress spurge. Taken internally, it is a corrosive poison. 

44 Q r vine-leek." The Allium ampeloprason of Linnaeus, the great 
round-headed garlic. It is no longer used in medicine, and all that Pliny 
states as to its medicinal properties is quite unfounded, Fee says. 

45 Fee thinks that Pliny has committed an error here, and that the 
word " marrubii " should be substituted, our " horehound." He identifies 
it with the Stachys Germanica of Linnaeus, or base horehound ; which 
is more commonly found in the South of Europe than in Germany. 

46 Or " bed-foot." The Clinopodium vulgare of Linnaeus, our wild 


bles wild thyme in appearance. The stem of it is tough and 
ligneous, and it is a palm in height. It grows in stony soils, 
and the leaves are trained regularly around the stem, 47 which 
resembles a bed-post in appearance. This plant is taken in 
drink, for convulsions, ruptures, strangury, and wounds inflicted 
by serpents : a decoction is also made of it, and the juice is 
similarly employed. 


"We shall now have to annex some plants, of a marvellous 
nature no doubt, but not so well known, reserving those of a 
higher reputation for the succeeding Books. 

Our people give the name of " centunculus," 48 to a creep- 
ing plant that grows in the fields, the leaves of which bear a 
strong resemblance to the hoods attached to our cloaks. By 
the Greeks it is known as the " clematis/' Taken in astrin- 
gent wine it is wonderfully effectual for arresting 49 diarrhoea : 
beaten up, in doses of one denarius, in five cyathi of oxyinel 
or of warm water, it arrests haemorrhage, and facilitates the 


The Greeks have other varieties also of the clematis, one of 
which is known as " echites" 50 or "lagine," and by some as 
the " little scammony." Its stems are about two feet in height, 
and covered with leaves: in general appearance it is not 
unlike scammony, were it not that the leaves are darker and 
more diminutive ; it is found growing in vineyards and cultivated 
soils. It is eaten as a vegetable, with oil and salt, and acts as 
a laxative upon the bowels. It is taken 51 also for dysentery, 

basil. It lias some useful properties attributed to it ; but what Pliny here 
states respecting it is erroneous. 

47 This seems to be the meaning of " orbiculato foliorum ambitu." 

48 Turner and C. Bauhin identify it with the Gnaphalium German ieum 
of Lamarck, and Sprengel with the Polygonum convolvulus of Linnaeus. 
If so, Fee says, the synonym here given by Pliny is erroneous; for the 
Greek clematis, there can be little doubt, is the Clematis cirrhosa of Lin- 
naeus. See the account given of the Gnaphalion in B. xxvii. c. 61. 

49 All that Pliny states as to its medicinal properties, Fee says, is 

60 Probably the Asclepias nigra of Linnaeus, black swallow- wort. 
51 The Asclepias nigra has no such medicinal effects as those mentioned 
by Pliny. 

Chap. 91.] THE DEACONTITTM. 57 

with linseed, in astringent wine. The leaves of this plant are 
applied with polenta for defluxions of the eyes, the part 
affected being first covered with a pledget of wet linen. Applied 
to scrofulous sores, they cause them to suppurate, and if some 
axle-grease is then applied, a perfect cure will he effected. 
They are applied also to piles, with green oil, and are good 
for phthisis, in combination with honey. Taken with the 
food, they increase the milk in nursing women, and, rubbed 
upon the heads of infants, they promote the rapid growth of 
the hair. Eaten with vinegar, they act as an aphrodisiac. 



There is another kind also, known as the "Egyptian" 52 
clematis, otherwise as "daphno'ides j ' 53 or "polygono'ides:" it has 
a leaf like that of the laurel, and is long and slender. Taken 
in vinegar, it is very useful for the stings of serpents, that of 
the asp in particular. 


It is Egypt more particularly that produces the clematis 
known as the " aron," of which we have already 54 made some 
mention when speaking of the bulbs, Respecting this plant 
and the dracontium, there have been considerable differences 
of opinion. Some writers, indeed, have maintained that they 
are identical, and Glaucias has made the only distinction 
between them in reference to the place of their growth, 
assuming that the dracontium is nothing else than the aron in 
a wild state. Some persons, again, have called the root " aron," 
and the stem of the plant " dracontium :" but if the dracon- 
tium is the same as the one known to us as the " dracuncu- 
lus," 55 it is a different plant altogether ; for while the aron has 
a broad, black, rounded root, and considerably larger, large 
enough, indeed, to fill the hand, the dracunculus has a 

52 The Vinca major and Vinca minor of Linnaeus, the greater and smaller 
periwinkle. Fee is at a loss to know why it should be called " Egyptian," 
as it is a plant of Europe. 

53 "Laurel-shaped" and "many-cornered." 

54 In B. xix. c. 30. 

43 Fee says that the Dracontion of the Greeks and the Dracunculus of 
the Latins are identical, being represented in modern Botany by the Arum 
dracunculus of Linnaeus, the common dragon. 


reddish root of a serpentine form, to which, in fact, it owes its 
name. 66 


The Greeks themselves, in fact, have established an im- 
mense difference between these two plants, in attributing to 
the seed of the dracunculus certain hot, pungent properties, 
and a fetid odour 57 so remarkably powerful as to be productive 
of abortion, 58 while upon the aron, on the other hand, they 
have bestowed marvellous encomiums. As an article of food, 
however, they give the preference to the female plant, the 
male plant being of a harder nature, and more difficult to cook. 
It carries off, 69 they say, all vicious humours from the chest, 
and powdered and taken in the form either of a potion or of 
an electuary, it acts as a diuretic and emmenagogue. Powdered 
and taken in oxymel, it is good for the stomach ; and we find 
it stated that it is administered in ewe's milk for ulcerations 
of the intestines, and is sometimes cooked on hot ashes and 
given in oil for a cough. Some persons, again, are in the habit 
of boiling it in milk and administering the decoction ; and it 
has been used also in a boiled state as a topical application for 
defluxions of the eyes, contusions, and affections of the tonsil- 
lary glands. * * * * 60 prescribes it with oil, as an 
injection for piles, and recommends it as a liniment, with 
honey, for freckles. 

Cleophantus has greatly extolled this plant as an antidote for 
poisons, and for the treatment of pleurisy and peripneumony, 
prepared the same way as for coughs. The seed too, pounded 
with olive oil or oil of roses, is used as an injection for pains 

56 From " draco," a " dragon " or " serpent." Fee says, that it is not 
to its roots, but to its spotted stem, resembling the skin of an adder, that 
it owes its name. 

57 * Virus." Fee says that the Arum dracunculus has a strong, fetid 
odour, and all parts of it are acrid and caustic, while the Arum colocasia 
has an agreeable flavour when boiled. 

58 This, Fee says, is fabulous. 

59 Though no longer used in medicine, the account here given of the 
properties of the Arum colocasia is in general correct, a few marvellous 
details excepted. 

60 Sillig thinks that there is a lacuna here, and that the name " Cleo- 
phantus " should be supplied. 

Chap. 92.] THE AEON. 50 

in the ears. Dieuches prescribes it, mixed in bread 61 with meal, 
for the cure of coughs, asthma, hardness of breathing, and 
purulent expectorations. Diodotus recommends it, in combi- 
nation with honey, as an electuary for phthisis and diseases of 
the lungs, and as a topical application even for fractured bones. 
Applied to the sexual parts, it facilitates delivery in all kinds 
of animals ; and the juice extracted from the root, in combina- 
tion with Attic honey, disperses films upon the eyes, and 
diseases of the stomach. A decoction of it with honey is 
curative of cough ; and the juice is a marvellous remedy for 
ulcers of every description, whether phagedaenic, carcinomatous, 
or serpiginous, and for polypus of the nostrils. The leaves, 
boiled in wine and oil, are good for burns, and, taken with 
salt and vinegar, are strongly purgative ; boiled with honey, 
they are useful also for sprains, and used either fresh or 
dried, with salt, for gout in the joints. 

Hippocrates has prescribed the leaves, either fresh or 
dried, with honey, as a topical application for abscesses. Two 
drachmae of the seed or root, in two cyathi of wine, are a 
sufficient dose to act as an emmenagogue, and a similar quan- 
tity will have the effect of bringing away the after-birth, in 
cases where it is retarded. 62 Hippocrates used to apply the root 
also, for the purpose. They say too, that in times of pestilence 
the employment of aron as an article of food is very beneficial. 
It dispels the fumes of wine ; and the smoke of it burnt drives 
away serpents, 63 the asp in particular, or else stupefies them to 
such a degree as to reduce them to a state of torpor. These 
reptiles also will fly at the approach of persons whose bodies 
have been rubbed with a preparation of aron with oil of 
laurel : hence it is generally thought a good plan to administer 
it in red wine to persons who have been stung by serpents. 
Cheese, it is said, keeps remarkably well, wrapped in leaves 
of this plant. 

61 Fe thinks that, thus employed, it would be more injurious than 
beneficial. Though Pliny is treating here of the Arum colocasia or 
Egyptian Arum, he has mingled some few details with it, relative to the 
Arum dracunculus, a plant endowed with much more energetic properties. 
See Note 57 above. 

62 See B. viii. c. 54, as to the use alleged to be made by animals of this 

** Fee says that this is very doubtful. 



The plant which I have spoken of 65 as the dracunculus, is 
taken out of the ground just when the barley is ripening, and 
at the moon's increase. It is quite sufficient to have this 
plant about one, to be safe from all serpents ; and it is said, 
that an infusion of the larger kind taken in drink, is very useful 
for persons who have been stung by those reptiles : it is stated 
also that it arrests the catamenia when in excess, due care being 
taken not to let iron touch it. The juice of it too is very use- 
ful for pains in the ears. 

As to the plant known to the Greeks by the name of " dra- 
contion," I have 66 had it pointed out to me under three dif- 
ferent forms ; the first 67 having the leaves of the beet, with a 
certain proportion of stem, and a purple flower, and bearing 
a strong resemblance to the aron. Other persons, again, have 
described it as a plant 69 with a long root, embossed to all ap- 
pearance and full of knots, and consisting of three stems in all ; 
the same parties have recommended a decoction of the leaves 
in vinegar, as curative of stings inflicted by serpents. The 
third 70 plant that has been pointed out to me has a leaf larger 
than that of the cornel, and a root resembling that of the reed. 
This root, I have been assured, has as many knots on it as the 
plant is years old, the leaves, too, being as many in number. 
The plant is recommended also for the stings of serpents, 
administered either in wine or in water. 


There is a plant also called the " arisaros," 71 which grows 
in Egypt, and is similar to the aron in appearance, only that 
it is more diminutive, and has smaller leaves ; the root too is 
smaller, though fully as large as a good- sized olive. The 
white arisaros throws out two stems, the other kind only one. 
They are curative, both of them, of running ulcers and burns, 
and are used as an injection for fistulas. The leaves, boiled in 

65 In c. 91 of this Book. This story is owing merely to its appearance, 
which somewhat resembles the skin of a serpent. 

66 " Demonstratum mini est." 

67 Identified by Fee with the Aram Italicum of Lamarck. 

69 Fee queries whether this may not be the Arum maculatum of Linnaeus, 
wake-robin, cuckoo pint, or lords and ladies. 

10 Identified by 0. Bauhin with the Calla palustris of LinnaBUs. 

n The Arum arisarum of Linnaeus, hooded arum or friar's cowl, a 
native of the coasts of Barbary and the South of Europe. 

Chap. 97.] THE MYRRHIS. 61 

water, and then beaten up with the addition of oil of roses, 
arrest the growth of corrosive ulcers. But there is one very 
marvellous fact connected with this plant it is quite sufficient 
to touch the sexual parts of any female animal with it to cause 
its instantaneous death. 



The myriophyllon, 72 by our people known as the "mille- 
folium " has a tender stem, somewhat similar to fennel-giant 
in appearance, with vast numbers of leaves, to which circum- 
stance it is indebted for its name. It grows in marshy lo- 
calities, and is remarkably useful for the treatment of wounds. 
It is taken in vinegar for strangury, affections of the bladder, 
asthma, and falls with violence ; it is extremely efficacious also 
iior tooth -ache. 

In Etruria, the same name is given to a small meadow- 
plant, 73 provided with leaves at the sides, like hairs, and par- 
ticularly useful for wounds. The people of that country say 
that, applied with axle-grease, it will knit together and unite 
the tendons of oxen, when they have been accidentally severed 
by the plough-share. 74 


The pseudobunion 75 has the leaves of the turnip, and grows 
in a shrub-like form, about a palm in height; the most 
esteemed being that of Crete. For gripings of the bowels, stran- 
gury, and pains of the thoracic organs, some five or six sprigs 
of it are administered in drink. 



The myrrhis, 76 otherwise known as the myriza or myrrha, 

72 Or " ten thousand leaves." The Myriophyllum spicatura of Linnaeus, 
according to most authorities, though Fee considers it very doubtful. 

73 Possibly the Achillea millefolium of Linnaeus, our milfoil or yarrow. 
It is still said to have the property of healing wounds made by edge-tools, 
for which reason it is known in France as the " carpenter's plant." 

74 This assertion, as Fee remarks, is more than doubtful. 

75 " Bastard turnip." Desfontaincs identifies it with the Bunium aro- 
maticum ; Fee queries whether it may not be the Pimpinella tennis of 
Sieber, found in Crete. The Berberis vulgaris has been also suggested. 

76 Desfontaincs- identifies it with the Scandix odorata of Linnaeus. Har- 


bears a strong resemblance to hemlock in the stem, leaves, and 
blossom, only that it is smaller and more slender : it is by no 
means unpleasant to the palate. Taken with wine, it acts as 
an emmenagogue, and facilitates parturition : they say too that 
in times of pestilence it is very wholesome, taken in drink. It 
is very useful also for phthisis, administered in broth. It 
sharpens the appetite, and neutralizes the venom of the pha- 
langium. The juice of this plant, after it has been macerated 
some three days in water, is curative of ulcers of the face and 


The onobrychis 77 has leaves like those of the lentil, only 
somewhat 78 longer ; the blossom is red, and the root small and 
slender. It is found growing in the vicinity of springs. 
Dried and reduced to powder, and sprinkled in white wine, 
it is curative of strangury, and arrests looseness of the 
bowels. The juice of it, used as a friction with oil, acts as a 


While I am treating of plants of a marvellous nature, I am 
induced to make some mention of certain magical plants for 
what, in fact, can there be more marvellous than they r The first 
who descanted upon this subject in our part of the world were 
Pythagoras and Democritus, who have adopted the accounts 
given by the Magi. Coracesta 79 and callicia, according to 
Pythagoras, are plants which congeal 80 water. I find no 
mention made of them, however, by any other author, and he 
himself gives no further particulars relative to them. 

douin says that it is musk chervil, the Chserophyllum aromaticum of Lin- 
naeus, in which he has followed Dodonaeus. Fuchsius suggests the Chsero- 
phyllum silvestre of Linnaeus : Fee expresses himself at a loss to decide. 

77 Probably the Hedysarum onobrycliis of Linnasus, our sainfoin. 

78 They are very much larger than those of the lentil, in fact. This 
diversity has caused Fee to express some doubts whether it really is iden- 
tical with sainfoin. The Polygala officinalis has also been suggested. 

79 Dalechamps considers these appellations to mean the " virgins' plant," 
and the "plant of beauty." 

80 The Cissampelos Pareira, as already stated, abounds in mucilage to 
such a degree, as to impart a consistency to water, without impairing its 
transparency. See c, 72 of this Book. 

Chap. 101.] THE APEOXIS. 63 


Pythagoras gives the name of minsas 81 too, or corinthia, to 
another plant ; a decoction of which, used as a fomentation, 
will effect an instantaneous cure of stings inflicted by serpents, 
according to him. He adds too, that if this decoction is poured 
upon the grass, and a person happens to tread upon it, or if 
the body should chance to be sprinkled with it, the result is 
fatal beyond all remedy ; so monstrously malignant are the 
venomous properties of this plant, except as neutralizing 
other kinds of poison. 


Pythagoras makes mention, too, of a plant called aproxis, 
the root of which takes fire 82 at a distance, like naphtha, of 
which we have made some mention, when speaking 83 of the mar- 
vellous productions of the earth. He says too, that if the 
human body happens to be attacked by any disease while the 
cabbage 84 is in blossom, the person, although he may have 
been perfectly cured, will be sensible of a recurrence of the 
symptoms, every time that plant comes into blossom ; a 
peculiarity which he attributes to it in common with wheat, 
hemlock, and the violet. 

I am not ignorant, however, that the work of his from 
which I have just quoted is ascribed to the physician Cleem- 
porua by some, though antiquity and the unbroken current of 
tradition concur in claiming it for Pythagoras. It is quite 
enough, however, to say in favour of a book, that the author 
has deemed the results of his labours worthy to be published 
under the name of so great a man. And yet who can believe 
that Cleemporus would do this, seeing that he has not 
hesitated to publish other works under his own name ? 

81 The reading of this word is doubtful. Hardouin thinks that it is the 
same as the Minyanthes mentioned in B. xxi. c. 88. 

62 Fee says that the only cases known of a phenomenon resembling 
this, are those of the Dictamnus albus, white dittany, which attracts flame 
momentarily when in flower, and of the Tropoeolum majus, or great Indian 
cress. He thinks, however, that there are some trees so rich in essential 
oil, that they might possibly ignite as readily as naphtha. 

In B. i'i. c. 109. 

84 Another reading here is " aproxis," which seems more probable. 




As to Democritus, there can be no doubt that the work 
called " Chiroemeta" 85 belongs to him. How very much more 
marvellous too are the accounts given in this book by the 
philosopher who, next to Pythagoras, has acquired the most in- 
timate knowledge of the learning of the Magi ! According 
to him, the plant aglaophotis, 86 which owes its name to the 
admiration in which its beauteous tints are held by man, is 
found growing among the marble quarries of Arabia, on the 
side of Persia, a circumstance which has given it the additional 
name of " marmaritis." By means of this plant, he says, the 
Magi can summon the deities into their presence when they 

The achaemenis, 87 he says, a plant the colour of amber, 
and destitute of leaves, grows in the country of theTradastili, an 
Indian race. The root of it, divided into lozenges and taken 
in wine in the day time, torments the guilty to suoh a degree 
during the night by the various forms of avenging deities pre- 
sented to the imagination, as to extort from them a confession 
of their crimes. He gives it the name also of " hippophobas," 
it being an especial object of terror to mares. 

* The theobrotion 88 is a plant found at a distance of thirty 
schceni 89 from the river Choaspes ; it represents the varied tints 
of the peacock, and the odour of it is remarkably fine. The 

85 " The work of his own hands," according to Hesychius. 

86 " Admiration of man." It is impossible to say what plant is meant 
under this name, but the paeony, Pseonia officinalis, has been suggested ; 
also the Tropseolum majus. Desfontaines queries whether it may not be 
the Ceesalpinia pulcherrima, a native of the East. Some authors, Fee 
says, have identified it with the " Moly " of Homer. 

e7 So called from Aehaemenes, the ancestor of the Persian kings. Fee 
thinks that it was a variety of the Euphorbia antiquorum, or else a night- 
shade. 88 " Food for the gods." 

sy See B. xii. c. 30 ; also the Introduction to Vol. 111. 

Chap. 102.] THE THEA.NUEL1S. 65 

kings of Persia, he says, are in the habit of taking it in their 
food or drink, for all maladies of the body, and derangements of 
the mind. It has the additional name of semnion, 90 from the 
use thus made of it by majesty. 

He next tells us of the adamantis, 91 a plant grown in 
Armenia and Cappadocia : presented to a lion, he says, the beast 
will fall upon its back, and drop its jaws. Its name originates 
in the fact that it is impossible to bruise it. The arianis, 92 
he says, is found in the country of the Ariani ; it is of a fiery 
colour, and is gathered when the sun is in Leo. Wood rubbed 
with oil will take fire on coming in contact with this plant. The 
therionarca, 93 he tells us, grows in Cappadocia and Mysia ; it 
has the effect of striking wild beasts of all kinds with a torpor 
which can only be dispelled by sprinkling them with the urine 
of the hyaena. He speaks too of the aethiopis, 94 a plant which 
grows in Meroe ; for which reason it is also known as the 
"mero'is." In leaf it resembles the lettuce, and, taken with 
honied wine, it is very good for dropsy. The ophiusa, 95 which 
is found in Elephantine, an island also of ^Ethiopia, is a 
plant of a livid colour, and hideous to the sight. Taken by a 
person in drink, he says, it inspires such a horror of serpents, 
which his imagination continually represents as menacing him, 
that he commits suicide at last ; hence it is that persons guilty 
of sacrilege are compelled to drink an infusion of it. Palm 
wine, he tells us, is the only thing that neutralizes its effects. 

The thalasssegle 96 he speaks of as being found on the banks 
of the river Indus, from which circumstance it is also known 
as the potamaugis. 97 Taken in drink it produces a delirium, 98 
which presents to the fancy visions of a most extraordinary 
nature. The theangelis," he says, grows upon Mount Li- 

90 "Venerable " or " majestic." 91 " Hard as a diamond." 

12 The Spina Ariana is mentioned in B. xii. c. 18. 

93 See B. xx. c. 65, where a plant is mentioned by this name. 

94 Dalecbamps thinks that an Euphorbia is meant under this name. 

95 " Serpent-plant." Fee thinks that a hemlock may possibly be meant, 
or perhaps the Arum serpentaria ; see c. 93 of this Book, 

96 Brightness of the sea." A narcotic plant, Fee thinks, probably a 

97 Hardouin suggests " potamitis," river-plant. 

98 It is not impossible that this may in reality be an allusion to the 
effects of opium, or of hasheesh. 

99 " Messenger of the gods," apparently. 

VOL. Y. P 


banus in Syria, upon the chain of mountains called Dicte in 
Crete, and at Babylon and Susa in Persis. An infusion of it 
in drink, imparts powers of divination to the Magi. The 
gelotophyllis 1 too, is a plant found in Bactriana, and on the 
banks of the Borysthenes. Taken internally with myrrh and 
wine, all sorts of visionary forms present themselves, and 
excite the most immoderate laughter, which can only be put 
an end to by taking kernels of the pine-nut, with pepper and 
honey, in palm wine. 

The hestiatoris, 3 he tells us, is a Persian plant, so called from 
its promotion of gaiety and good fellowship at carousals. 
Another name for it is protomedia, because those who eat of it 
will gain the highest place in the royal favour. The casignetes 3 
too, we learn, is so called, because it grows only among plants 
of its own kind, and is never found in company with any 
other; another name given to it is " dionysonymphas," 4 from 
the circumstance of its being remarkably well adapted to the 
nature of wine. Helianthes 5 is the name he gives to a plant 
found in the regions of Themiscyra and the mountainous parts 
of maritime Cilicia, with leaves like those of myrtle. This 
plant is boiled up with lion's fat, saffron and palm wine being 
added; the Magi, he tells us, and Persian monarchs are in 
the habit of anointing the body with the preparation, to add 
to its graceful appearance : he states also, that for this reason 
it has the additional name of " heliocallis." 6 What the same 
author calls " hermesias," 7 has the singular virtue of ensuring 
the procreation of issue, both beautiful as well as good. It is 
not a plant, however, but a composition made of kernels of 
pine nuts, pounded with honey, myrrh, saffron, and palm wine, 
to which theobrotium 8 and milk are then added. He also 

1 "Laughing leaves." Possibly, Fee thinks, the Ranunculus philonotis, 
the Herba Sardoa or Sardonic plant of Virgil, known by some authorities 
as the Apium risus, or " laughing parsley." Desfontaines suggests that 
hemp (prepared in the form of hasheesh) is meant. 

2 " Convivial " plant. Desfontaines identifies it with the Areca catechu, 
which, is chewed in India for the benefit of the teeth and stomach, and as a 
sweetener of the breath. 

3 " Brother " plant. 4 " Bride of Dionysus or Bacchus." 

5 " Sun-flower." Not the plant, however, known to us by that name. 

6 " Beauty of the sun," apparently. 

7 " Mixture of Hermes," apparently. 

6 Previously mentioned in this Chapter. 

Chap. 103.] THE EPxIPHIA. g; 

recommends those who wish to become parents to drink this 
mixture, and says, that females should take it immediately 
after conception, and during pregnancy. 9 If this is done, he 
says, the infant will be sure to be endowed with the highest 
qualities, both in mind and body. In addition to what has 
here been stated, Democritus gives the various names by which 
all these plants are known to the Magi. 

Apollodorus, one of the followers of Democritus, has added 
to this list the herb aeschynomene, 10 so called from the shrink- 
ing of its leaves at the approach of the hand ; and another 
called "crocis," 11 the touch of which is fatal to the phalan- 
gium. Crateuas, also, speaks of the cenotheris, 12 an infusion of 
which in wine, sprinkled upon them, has the effect of taming 
all kind of animals, however wild. A celebrated grammarian, 13 
who lived but very recently, has described the anacampseros, 14 
the very touch of which recalls former love, even though 
hatred should have succeeded in its place. It will be quite 
sufficient for the present to have said thus much in reference 
to the remarkable virtues attributed to certain plants by the 
Magi ; as we shall have occasion to revert to this subject in a 
more appropriate place. 15 

CHAP. 103. (18.) THE ERIPHIA. 

Many authors have made mention of the eriphia, 1 * a plant 
which contains a kind of beetle in its -hollow stem. This 

5 As Fee remarks, it has been a notion in comparatively recent times, 
that it is possible to procreate children of either sex at pleasure. 

10 The "bashful" plant. An Acacia, Fee thinks; see B. xiii. c. 19. 
The Mimosa casta, pudica, and sensitiva, have similar properties : the Sensi- 
tive Plant is well known in this country. 

11 Fee queries whether this may not be the Silene rauscipula of Lin- 
na3iis, the fly-trap. 12 The "wine-tamer." 

13 Hardouin thinks that he alludes to the Grammarian Apion. Dale- 
cliamps thinks that it is either Apion or Apollodorus. 

14 The "returning" plant. Fee says that the Sedum Telephium of 
Linnreus, or orpine, is called in the dictionaries by this name. He queries 
whether it m;iy not be the Sedum anacampseros, or evergreen orpine, as 
Hesychius says that it continues to live after being taken up from tbe 
earth ; a peculiarity, to some extent, of the house-leek. 

15 He probably alludes to his remarks upon Magic, in Books xxix. and xxx. 

16 From ept0o, a "kid." Ruellius has attempted to identify this plant 
with one of the Ranunculaceae ; but there is little doubt, as Fee says, that 
both plant and insect are imaginary, 

F 2 


beetle is continually ascending the interior of the stalk, and 
as often descending, while it emits a sound like the cry of a 
kid ; a circumstance to which the plant is indebted for its name. 
There is nothing in existence, they say, more beneficial to the 



The wool plant, 17 given to sheep fasting, greatly increases the 
milk. The plant commonly called lactoris, 18 is equally well 
known : it is full of a milky juice, the taste of which produces 
vomiting. Some persons say that this is identical with, while 
others say that it only resembles, the plant known as "mili- 
taris," 19 from the fact that, applied with oil, it will effect the 
cure, within five days, of any wound that has been inflicted 
with iron. 


The Greeks speak in high terms also of the stratiotes, 20 
though that is a plant which grows in Egypt only, and during 
the inundations of the river Nilus. It is similar in appearance 
to the aizoon, 21 except that the leaves are larger. It is of a 
remarkably cooling nature, and, applied with vinegar, it heals 
wounds, as well as erysipelas and suppurations.. Taken in 
drink with male frankincense, it is marvellously useful for 
discharges of blood 'from the kidneys. 



It is asserted also, that a plant growing 22 on the head of a 

17 "Herba lanaria." See B. xix. c. 18. 

18 Hardouin identifies it with the Ulva lactuca of Linneeus; but that 
plant, Fee says, contains no milky j nice, and does not act as an emetk*. 
One of the Euphorbiaceae is probably meant. 

19 " Military " plant. Hardouin identifies it with the Achillea mille- 
folium of Linnaeus, mentioned in c. 95 of this Book. Fee, however, docs 
not recognize the identity. 

20 " Soldier " plant. Csesalpinus identifies it with the Salvinia natans ; 
but Fee thinks, with Sprengel, that it is the Pistia stratiotes of Linnaeus, 
great duckweed or pondweed. 

21 " Always living." See B. xix. c, 58. 

22 It is pretty clear that in relating this, absurdity he is not speaking ot 
one plant solely, but of any plant which may chance to grow on the head 

Chap. 112.] THE EODAEUM. 69 

statue, gathered in the lappet of any one of the garments, and 
then attached with a red string to the neck, is an instantaneous 
cure for head- ache. 


Any plant that is gathered before sunrise on the banks of a 
stream or river, due care being taken that no one sees it 
gathered, attached to the left arm without the patient knowing 
what it is, will cure a tertian fever, they say. 


There is a herb called " lingua," 23 which grows in the 
vicinity of fountains. The root of it, reduced to ashes and 
beaten up with hog's lard the hog, they say, must have been 
black and barren will cure alopecy, the head being rubbed 
with it in the sun. 



Plants that take root in a sieve that has been thrown in 
a hedge-row, if gathered and worn upon the person by a. preg- 
nant woman, will i'acilitate delivery. 


A plant that has been grown upon a dungheap in a field, is 
a very efficacious remedy, taken in water, for quinzy. 



A plant upon which a dog has watered, torn up by the roots, 
and not touched with iron, is a very speedy cure for sprains. 


We have already 24 made mention of the rumpotinus, when 
speaking of the vine-growing 25 trees. Near the tree, when not 

of a statue. Numerous mosses grow upon marble ; and statues are 
gradually covered, Fee says, with the Byssus antiquitatis. 

23 " Tongue " plant. Fee identifies it with the Scolopendrium officinaruru 
of "Willdenow, the Lingua cervina of other botanists. See B. xxv. c. 84. 

24 In B. xiv. c. 3. 25 Or " vine-supporting." 


accompanied by the vine, there grows a plant, known to the 
Gauls as the "rodarurn." 26 It has a knotted stem like the 
branch of a fig-tree, and the leaves, which are very similar to 
those of the nettle, are white in the middle, though in process 
of time they become red all over. The blossom of it is of a 
silvery hue. Beaten up with stale axle-grease, due care being 
taken not to touch it with iron, this plant is extremely useful 
for tumours, inflammations, and gatherings ; the patient, how- 
ever, on being anointed with it must spit three times on the 
right side. They say too, that as a remedy it is still more 
efficacious, if three persons of three different nations rub the 
right side of the body with it. 


The plant called "impia" 27 is white, resembling rosemary 
in appearance. It is clothed with leaves like a thyrsus, and is 
terminated by a head, from which a number of small branches 
protrude, terminated, all of them, in a similar manner. It is 
this peculiar conformation that has procured for it the name 
of " impia," from the progeny thus surmounting the parent. 
Some persons, however, are of opinion that it is so called 
because no animal will touch it. Bruised between two stones 
it yields an effervescent juice, which, in combination with 
wine and milk, is remarkably efficacious for quinzy. 

There is a marvellous property attributed to this plant, to 
the effect that persons who have once tasted it will never be 
attacked by quinzy ; for which reason it is given to swine : 
those among them, however, which refuse to take it will be sure 
to die of that disease. Some persons too are of opinion that 
if slips of it are put into a bird's nest, they will effectually 
prevent the young birds from choking themselves by eating too 


Prom its resemblance to a comb, they give the name of 
" Venus' comb" 29 to a certain plant, the root of which, bruised 

16 Fee suggests that this may possibly be the Spiraea ulmaria of Linnaeus. 

27 The " impious " or " unnatural " plant, Fee identifies it with the 
Filago Gallica of Linnaeus, the corn cudweed. It is destitute of medicinal 
properties, and what Pliny states is without foundation. 

29 Generally identified with the Scandix pecten Veneris, corn cicely, or 
shepherd's needle. See B. xxii. c. 38. 

Chap. 117.] TORDILON OR SYREON. 71 

with mallows, extracts all foreign substances from the human 



The plant called " exedum" 30 is curative of lethargy. The 
herbaceous plant called "notia," which is used by curriers 
for dyeing leather a bright, cheerful colour, and known by 
them under various names is curative of cancerous ulcers ; 
I find it also stated that, taken in wine or in oxycrate, it is 
extremely efficacious for stings inflicted by scorpions. 



The Greeks wittily give the name of " philanthropes" 31 to a 
certain plant, because it attaches itself to articles of dress. 3 - 
A chaplet made of this plant has the effect of relieving head- 

As to the plant known as the " lappa canaria," 33 beaten up 
in wine with plantago and mille folium, 34 it effects the cure of 
carcinomatous sores, the application being removed at the end of 
three days. Taken out of the ground without the aid of iron, 
and thrown into their wash, or given to them in wine and milk, it 
cures diseases in swine. Some persons add, however, that the 
person, as he takes it up, must say " This is the plant arge- 
mon, a remedy discovered by Minerva for such swine as shall 
taste thereof/* 


Tordylon is, according to some authorities, the seed of sili, 35 
while according to others it is a distinct plant, 36 known also 
as " syreon." I find no particulars relative to it, except that 

30 Fee queries whether this may not possibly he the Rhus coriaria of 
Linnaeus, elm-leaved sumach, mentioned in B. xiii. c. 13. He would 
appear, however, to have confounded it with the Notia, next mentioned. 

31 " Man-loving," or rather " attached to man." Identified with the 
Galium aparine of Linnaeus, goose-grass, or common ladies bedstraw ; the 
seeds of which attach themselves to the dress. 32 See B. xxi. c. 64. 

33 The dog -bur. The Lappa tomentosa of Lamarck. See B. xxvi. c. 65. 

34 See c. 95 of this Book. 

35 Or hartwort; see B. xx. cc. 18, 87. 

38 The Tordylium officinale of Linnaeus, officinal hart- wort. 


it grows upon mountains, and that the ashes of it, taken in 
drink, act as an einmenagogue and facilitate expectoration. It 
is stated also, that for this last purpose the root is even more 
efficacious than the stem; that the juice of it, taken in doses of 
three oboli, cures diseases of the kidneys ; and that the root is 
used as an ingredient for emollient plasters. 


Gramen 37 is of all herbaceous productions the most common. 
As it creeps along the ground it throws out jointed stems, from 
the joints of which, as well as from the extremity of the stem, 
fresh roots are put forth every here and there. In all other 
parts of the world the leaves of it are tapering, and come to a 
point ; but upon Mount Parnassus 38 they resemble the leaves of 
the ivy, the plant throwing out a greater number of stems than 
elsewhere, and bearing a blossom that is white and odoriferous. 
There is no vegetable production that is more grateful 39 to 
beasts of burden than this, whether in a green state or whe- 
ther dried and made into hay, in which last case it is sprinkled 
with water when given to them. It is said that on Mount 
Parnassus a juice is extracted from it, which is very abun- 
dant and of a sweet flavour. 

In other parts of the world, instead of this juice a decoction 
of it is employed for closing wounds ; an eliect equally pro- 
duced by the plant itself, which is beaten up for the purpose 
and attached to the part affected, thereby preventing inflamma- 
tion. To the decoction wine and honey are added, and in some 
cases, frankincense, pepper, and myrrh, in the proportion of one 
third of each ingredient; after which it is boiled again in a 
copper vessel, when required for tooth- ache or defluxions of the 
eyes. A decoction of the roots, in wine, is curative of griping 
pains in the bowels, strangury, and ulcerations of the bladder, 
and it disperses calculi. The seed is still more powerful as a 
diuretic, 40 arrests looseness and vomiting, and is particularly 

37 u Grass." The Triticum repens, or Paspalum dactylon of Linnaeus, 
our couch-grass. 

33 This is probably quite a different production, being the Parnassia 
palustris, according to Dodonaeus ; but Fee is inclined to think that it is 
the Campanula rapunculus of Linnaeus, bell-flower or rampions. 

39 Fee thinks that this appplies to the plant of Parnassus, and not to ' 
the common Gramen. 

40 This property, Fee says, is still attributed to couch-grass. 

Chap. 119.] DACTFL03. 73 

useful for wounds inflicted by dragons. 41 There are some 
authorities which give the following prescription for the cure 
of scrofulous sores and inflamed tumours : From one, two, 
or three stems, as many as nine joints must be removed, 
which must then be wrapped in black wool with the grease in 
it. The party who gathers them must do so fasting, and must 
then go, in the same state, to the patient's house while he is 
from home. When the patient comes in, the other must say to 
him three times, " I come fasting to bring a remedy to a fast- 
ing man;" and must then attach the amulet to his person, re- 
peating the same ceremony three consecutive days. The 
variety of this plant which has seven 43 joints is considered a 
most excellent amulet for the cure of head-ache. For excru- 
ciating pains in the bladder, some recommend a decoction of 
gramen, boiled down in wine to one half, to be taken imme- 
diately after the bath. 


There are some authorities who mention three varieties of 
the pointed gramen. That which has at the extremity five 43 
points at the utmost, is called "dactylos." Twisting these 
points together, persons introduce them into the nostrils and then 
withdraw them, with the view of preventing haemorrhage. 
The second kind, which resembles aizoon/ 4 is employed with 
axle-grease for whitlows and hangnails, and for fleshy excres- 
cences upon the nails : this also is called " dactylos," because 
it is so useful as a remedy for diseases of the fingers. 

The third 45 kind, which is also known as " dactylos," is more 
diminutive, and is found growing upon walls or tiles. It has 
certain caustic properties, and arrests the progress of serpigi- 
nous ulcers. By placing a wreath of gramen round the head, 
bleeding at the nose is stopped. In Babylonia, it is said, the 
gramen 4G which grows by the wayside is fatal to camels. 

41 " Draconum." A peculiar kind of serpent. See Lucan's Pharsalia, 
B. ix. 11. 727-8. 42 No such variety is known. 

43 Fee is somewhat at a loss as to its- identity, but thinks that it may be 
the Panicum sanguinale of Linmeus, or possibly the Cynodon dactykm. 

44 See B. xix. c. 58, and B. xxv. c. 102. Possibly a Sedum or houseleek, 
Fee thinks ; certainly not a grass. 

45 Fee queries whether this may not be the Poa rigida of Linnaus, hard 

46 An Euphorbia, Fee thinks. 



NOT is fenugreek held in less esteem. By some it is known 
as " telis," by others as " carphos," and by others again as 
"buceras," 47 or " segoceras," 47 the produce of it bearing some 
resemblance to horns. Among us it is known as " silicia." 
The mode of sowing it we have already 48 described on the 
appropriate occasion. Its properties are desiccative, 49 emollient, 
and resolvent. A decoction of it is useful for many female 
maladies, indurations for instance, tumours, and contractions of 
the uterus ; in all which cases it is employed as a fomentation or 
used for a sitting-bath : it is serviceable also as an injection. 
It removes cutaneous eruptions on the face ; and a decoction of 
it, applied topically with nitre or vinegar, cures diseases of 
the spleen or liver. In cases of difficult labour, Diocles re- 
commends the seed pounded, in doses of one acetabulum, 
mixed with boiled 50 must. After taking one third of the mix- 
ture, the patient must use a warm bath, and then, while in a 
perspiration, she must take another third, and, immediately 
after leaving the bath, the remainder this, he says, will prove 
a most effectual means of obtaining relief. 

The same authority recommends fenugreek boiled, with 
barley or linseed, in hydromel, as a pessary for violent pains 
in the uterus : he prescribes it also as an external application 
for the lower regions of the abdomen. He speaks also of 
treating leprous sores and freckles with a mixture composed 
of equal proportions of sulphur and meal of fenugreek, recom- 
mending it to be applied repeatedly in the course of the day, 
due care being taken not to rub the part affected. 

For the cure of leprosy, Theodorus prescribes a mixture of 
fenugreek, and one fourth part of cleaned nasturtium, the whole 
to be steeped in the strongest vinegar. Damion used to give 
a potion by way of emmenagogue, consisting of half an aceta- 
bulum of fenugreek seed in nine cyathi of boiled must 51 and 
water. There is no doubt too, that a decoction of it is re- 
markably useful for diseases of the uterus and for ulcerations 

47 "Bull's horn" or "goat's horn." & In B.xviii. c. 39. 

4a The seed contains a mucilage, and is considered emollient and resolvent. 
Till recently, Fenugreek was the base, Fee says, of a plaster held in high 
esteem. * 

50 " Sapa." Grape-juice boiled down to one-third. 


Chap. 120.] SUMMARY. 75 

of the intestines, and that the seed is beneficial for affections 
of the joints and chest. Boiled with mallows and then taken 
in honied wine, fenugreek is extolled in the highest terms, as , 
serviceable for affections of the uterus and intestines. Indeed, 
the very steam that arises from the decoction may be produc- 
tive of considerable benefit. A decoction too of fenugreek seed 
is a corrective of the rank odours of the armpits. Meal of 
fenugreek, with wine and nitre, speedily removes ring-worm 
and dandriff of the head ; and a decoction of it in hydromel, 
with the addition of axle-grease, is used for the cure of diseases 
of the generative organs, inflamed tumours, imposthumes of 
the parotid glands, gout in the feet and hands, maladies of 
the joints, and denudations of the bones. Kneaded with 
vinegar, it effects the cure of sprains, and, boiled in oxymel 
only, it is used as a liniment for affections of the spleen. 
Kneaded with wine, it acts as a detergent upon carcinomatous 
sores ; after which, applied with hone}', it effects a perfect cure. 
A pottage too is made of this meal, which is taken for ulcera- 
tions of the chest and chronic coughs ; it is kept boiling a con- 
siderable time, in order to remove the bitterness, 52 after which 
honey is added. 

We shall now proceed to speak of the plants which have 
gained a higher degree of reputation. 

SUMMARY. Remedies, narratives, and observations, eleven 
hundred and seventy- six. 

ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED. C. Yalgius, 53 Pompeius Lenaeus, 54 
Sextius Niger 55 who wrote in Greek, Julius Eassus 56 who 
wrote in Greek, Antonius Castor, 57 Cornelius Celsus. 58 

FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED. Theophrastus, 59 Apollodorus, 60 
Democritus, 61 Orpheus, 62 Pythagoras, 63 Mago, 64 Menan- 

52 Fee remarks, that in reality there is no bitterness in fenugreek. He 
suggests therefore, that the meaning maybe " offensive smell," that emitted 
by fenugreek being far from agreeable. 

53 See end of B. xx. M See end of B. xiv. 
55 See end of B. xii. 66 See end of B. xx. 
51 See end of B. xx. 58 See end of B. vii. 
59 See end of B. iii. 6 See end of B. xi. 
61 See end of B. ii. 62 g ee en( i O f 3. xx . 
03 See end of B. ii. 6 * See end of B. Yin. 


dei 165 who wrote the " Biochresta," Meander, 66 Homer, He- 
siod, 67 Musseus, 68 Sophocles, 69 Anaxilatis. 70 

MEDICAL AUTHORS QUOTED. Mnesitheus, 71 Callimachus, 72 
Phanias 73 the physician, Timaristus, 74 Simus, 75 Hippo- 
crates, 76 Chrysippus, 77 Diocles, 78 Ophelion, 79 Heraclides, 80 Hi- 
cesius, 81 Dionysius, 82 Apollodorus 83 of Citium, Apollodorus 84 
of Tarentuin, Praxagoras, 85 Plistonicus, 86 Medius, 87 Dieuches, 88 
Cleophantus, 89 Philistion, 90 Asclepiades, 91 Crateuas, 93 Petronius 
Diodotus, 93 lollas, 94 Erasistratus, 95 Diagoras, 86 Andreas, 
Mnesides, 97 Epicharinus, 58 Damion," Sosinienes, 1 Tlepolemus, 2 
Metrodorus, 8 Solon, 4 Lycus, 5 Olympias 6 of Thebes, Philinus, 7 
Petrichus, 8 Micton, 9 Glaucias, 10 Xenocrates. 11 

65 See end of B. xix. 6G See end of B. viii. 

67 See end of B. vii. e8 See end of B. xxi. 

9 See end of B. xxi. 70 See end of B. xxi. 

See end of B. xxi. 72 See end of B. iv. 

See end of B. xxi. 74 See end of B. xxi. 

See end of B. xxi. 76 See end of B. vii. 

77 See end of B. xx. ~ 8 See end of B. xx. 

79 See end of B. xx. 80 Se.e end of B. xii. 

81 See end of B. xxv. 82 See end of B. xxii. 

63 See end of B. xx. 84 See end of B. xx. 

85 See end of B. xx. 6 See end of B. xx. 

87 See end of B. xx. S8 See end of B. xx. 

83 See end of B. xx. 90 See end of B. xx. 

91 See end of B. vil 92 See end of B. xx. 

93 See end of B. xx. 94 See end of B. xii. 

95 See end of B. xi. 96 See end of B. xii. 

97 See end of B. xx. 98 See end of B. xii. ' 

99 See end of B. xx. l See end of B. xx. 

2 See end of B. xx. 3 See end of B. xx. 

4 See end of B. xx. 5 See end of B. xx. 

6 See end of B. xii. 7 See end of B xx. 

8 See end of B. xx. 9 See end of B. xix. 

10 See end of B. xx. u See end of B. xx. 
12 See end of B. xx. 






THE more highly esteemed plants of which I am now about 
to speak, and which are produced by the earth for medicinal 
purposes solely, inspire me with admiration of the industry 
and laborious research displayed by the ancients. Indeed there 
is nothing that they have not tested by experiment or left 
untried ; no discovery of theirs which they have not disclosed, 
or which they have not been desirous to leave for the benefit 
of posterity. We, on the contrary, at the present day, make 
it our object to conceal and suppress the results of our labours, 
and to defraud our fellow- men of blessings even which have 
been purchased by others. For true it is, beyond all doubt, 
that those who have gained any trifling accession of knowledge, 
keep it to themselves, and envy the enjoyment of it by others; to 
leave mankind uninstructed being looked upon as the high prero- 
gative of learning. So far is it from being the habit with them 
to enter upon new fields of discovery, with the view of bene- 
fitting mankind at large, that for this long time past it has been 
the greatest effort of the ingenuity of each, to keep to himself 
the successful results of the experience of former ages, and so 
bury them for ever ! 

And yet, by Hercules ! a single invention before now has 
elevated men to the rank of gods ; and how many an individual 
has had his name immortalized in being bestowed upon some 
plant which he was the first to discover, thanks to the 
gratitude which prompted a succeeding age to make some 
adequate return ! If it had been expended solely upon the 
plants which are grown to please the eye, or which invite 
us by their nutrimental properties, this laborious research on 
the part of the ancients would not have been so surprising ; 
but in addition to this, we find them climbing by devious 
tracts to the very summit of mountains, penetrating to the very 


heart of wilds and deserts, and searching into every vein and 
fibre of the earth and all this, to discover the hidden virtues 
of every root, the properties of the leaf of every plant, and the 
various purposes to which they might be applied ; converting 
thereby those vegetable productions, which the very beasts of 
the field refuse to touch, into so many instruments for our 



This subject has not been treated of by the writers in our 
own language so extensively as it deserves, eager as they have 
proved themselves to make enquiry into everything that is 
either meritorious or profitable. M. Cato, that great master 
in all useful knowledge, was the first, and, for a long time, the 
only author who treated of this branch 1 of learning; and 
briefly as he has touched upon it, he has not omitted to make 
some mention of the remedial treatment of cattle. After him, 
another illustrious personage, C. Valgius, 2 a man distinguished 
for his erudition, commenced a treatise upon the same subject, 
which he dedicated to the late Emperor Augustus, but left 
unfinished. At the beginning of his preface, replete as it is 
with a spirit df piety, 3 he expresses a hope that the majestic 
sway of that prince may ever prove a most efficient remedy 
for all the evils to which mankind are exposed. 


The only 4 person among us, at least so far as I have been able 
to ascertain, who had treated of this subject before the time of 
Yalgius, was Pompeius Lenseus, 5 the freedman of Pompeius 
Magnus; and it was in his day, I find, that this branch of 
knowledge first began to be cultivated among us. Mithridates, 
the most powerful monarch of that period, and who was finally 
conquered by Pompeius, is generally thought to have been a 

1 As Fee remarks, it is more as a writer upon Agriculture than upon 
Materia Medica, that Cato is entitled to the thanks of posterity. 

2 See end of B. xx. 

3 His piety, apparently, was tainted with adulation. 

4 With the exception of Cato, of course. 

5 See end of B. xiv. 


more zealous promoter of discoveries for the benefit of mankind, 
than any of his predecessors a fact evinced not only by many 
positive proofs, but by universal report as well. It was he 
who first thought, the proper precautions being duly taken, of 
drinking poison every day ; it being his object, by becoming 
habituated to it, to neutralize its daugerous effects. This 
prince was the first discoverer too of the various kinds of anti- 
dotes, one 6 of which, indeed, still retains his name ; and it is 
generally supposed that he was the first to employ the blood 
of the ducks of Pontus as an ingredient in antidotes, from the 
circumstance that they derive their nutriment from poisons. 7 

It was to Mithridates that Asclepiades, 8 that celebrated 
physician, dedicated his works, still extant, and sent them, as a 
substitute for his own personal attendance, when requested by 
that monarch to leave Rome and reside at his court. It is a 
well-known fact, that this prince was the only person that was 
ever able to converse in so many as two-and-twenty languages, 
and that, during the whole fifty-six years of his reign, he never 
required the services of an interpreter when conversing with 
any individuals of the numerous nations that were subject to 
his sway. 

Among the other gifts of extraordinary genius with which 
he was endowed, Mithridates displayed a peculiar fondness for 
enquiries into the medical art j and gathering items of informa- 
tion from all his subjects, extended, as they were, over a large 
proportion of the world, it was his hubit to make copies 
of their communications, and to take notes of the results which 
upon experiment had been produced. These memoranda, which 
he kept in his private cabinet, 9 fell into the hands of Pompeius, 
when he took possession of the royal treasures ; who at once 
commissioned his freedman, Lenaeus the grammarian, to trans- 
late them into the Latin language : the result of which was, 
that his victory was equally conducive to the benefit of the 
republic and of mankind at large. 

6 See c. 79 of this Book : also B. xxiii. c. 77, and B. xxix. c. 8. 

7 A mere prejudice, arising from the fact that numerous poisonous plants 
grew in the countries on the shores of the Euxine. The blood of no 
animal whatever is an antidote to any poison, 

8 See B. vii. c. 37. An interesting account of his system will be found 
in B. xxvi. c. 7. See also B. xxix. c. o. 

9 See B. xxiii. c. 77. 




In addition to these, there are some Greek writers who 
have treated of this subject, and who have been already men- 
tioned on the appropriate occasions. Among them, Crateuas, 
Dionysius, and Hetrodorus, adopted a very attractive method 
of description, though one which has done little more than 
prove the remarkable difficulties which attended it. It was 
their plan to delineate the various plants in colours, and then 
to add in writing a description of the properties which they 
possessed. Pictures, however, are very apt to mislead, and 
more particularly where such a number of tints is required, 
for the imitation of nature with any success ; in addition to 
which, the diversity of copyists from the original paintings, 
and their comparative degrees of skill, add very considerably 
to the chances of losing the necessary degree of resemblance 
to the originals. And then, besides, it is not sufficient to de- 
lineate a plant as it appears at one period only, as it presents 
a different appearance at each of the four seasons of the year. 10 


Hence it is that other writers have confined themselves to 
a verbal description of the plants ; indeed some of them have 
not so much as described them even, but have contented them- 
selves for the most part with a bare recital of their names, 
considering it sufficient if they pointed out their virtues and 
properties to such as might feel inclined to make further en- 
quiries into the subject. Nor is this a kind of knowledge 
by any means difficult to ' obtain ; at all events, so far as re- 
gards myself, with the exception of a very few, it has been 
my good fortune to examine them all, aided by the scientific 
researches of Antonius Castor, 11 who in our time enjoyed the 
highest reputation for an intimate acquaintance with this 
branch of knowledge. I had the opportunity of visiting his 
garden, in which, though he had passed his hundredth year, he 
cultivated vast numbers of plants with the greatest care. 
Though he had reached this great age, he had never experienced 

10 The four great changes in plants, though not always at the four 
seasons of the year, are the budding and foliation, the blossoming, the 
fructification, and the fall of the leaf. n See end of B. xx. 


any bodily ailment, and neither his memory nor his natural 
vigour had been the least impaired by the lapse of time. 

There was nothing more highly admired than an intimate 
knowledge of plants, in ancient times. It is long since the 
means were discovered of calculating before-hand, not only 
the day or the night, but the very hour even at which au 
eclipse of the sun or moon is to take place ; and yet the greater 
part of the lower classes still remain firmly persuaded that 
these phenomena are brought about by compulsion, through the 
agency of herbs and enchantments, and that the knowledge of 
this art is confined almost exclusively to females. What 
country, in fact, is not filled with the fabulous stories about 
Medea of Colchis and other sorceresses, the Italian Circe in 
particular, who has been elevated to the rank of a divinity 
even ? It is with reference to her, I am of opinion, that 
^Eschylus, 12 one of the most ancient of the poets, asserts that 
Italy is covered with plants endowed with potent effects, and 
that many writers say the same of Circeii, 13 the pla<;e of her 
abode. Another great proof too that such is the case, is the 
fact, that the nation of the Marsi, 14 descendants of a son of 
Circe, are well known still to possess the art of taming ser- 

Homer, that great parent of the learning and traditions of 
antiquity, while extolling the fame of Circe in many other 
respects, assigns to Egypt the glory of having first discovered 
the properties of plants, and that too at a time when the 
portion of that country which is now watered by the river 
Nilus was not in existence, having been formed at a more recent 
period by the alluvion 15 of that river. At all events, he states 16 
that numerous Egyptian plants were sent to the Helena of his 
story, by the wife of the king of that country, together with 
the celebrated nepenthes, 17 which ensured oblivion of all 
sorrows and forgetfulness of the past, a potion which Helena 
was to administer to all mortals. The first person, however, 
of whom the remembrance has come down to us, as having 

12 There is little doubt that he alludes to the passage of jEschylus, 
quoted by Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. ix. c. 15. Tvpprjvwv -ytviav 
QapfiaicoTroibv iQvoQ " The race of the Tyrrheni, a drug-preparing nation.'* 

13 See B. ii. c. 87, B. iii, c. 9, B. xv. c. 36, and B. xxxii. c. 21. 

14 See B. vii. c. 2. ]5 See B. ii. c. 87. 
16 Od. iv. 228, et seq. 17 See B. xxi. c, 91. 

VOL. V. 8 


treated with any degree of exactness on the subject of plants, 
is Orpheus ; and next to him Musaeus and Hesiod, of whose 
admiration of the plant called polium we have already made 
some mention on previous occasions. 18 Orpheus and Hesiod 
too we find speaking in high terms of the efficacy of fumiga- 
tions. Homer also speaks of several other plants by name, of 
which we shall have occasion to make further mention in their 
appropriate places. 

In later times again, Pythagoras, that celebrated philosopher, 
was the first to write a treatise on the properties of plants, a 
work in which he attributes the origin and discovery of them 
to Apollo, ^Esculapius, and the immortal gods in general. 
Demoeritus too, composed a similar work. Both of these philo- 
sophers had visited the magicians of Persia, Arabia, ^Ethiopia, 
and Egypt, and so astounded were the ancients at their recitals, 
as to learn to make assertions which transcend all belief. 
Xanthus, the author of some historical works, tells us, in the 
first of them, that a young dragon 19 was restored to life by its 
parent through the agency of a plant to which he gives the 
name of " ballis," and that one Tylon, who had been killed by 
a dragon, was restored to life and health by similar means. 
Juba too assures us that in Arabia a man was resuscitated by 
the agency of a certain plant. Demoeritus has asserted and 
Theophrastus believes it that there is a certain herb in 
existence, which, upon being carried thither by a bird, the name 
of which we have already 20 given, has the effect, by the contact 
solely, of instantaneously drawing a wedge from a tree, when 
driven home by the shepherds into the wood. 

These marvels, incredible as they are, excite our admiration 
nevertheless, and extort from us the admission that, making 
all due allowance, there is much in them that is based on 
truth. Hence it is too that I find it the opinion of most 
writers, that there is nothing which cannot be effected by the 
agency of plants, but that the properties of by far the greater 
part of them remain as yet unknown. In the number of 
these was Herophilus, a celebrated physician, a saying of whose 
is reported, to the effect that some plants may possibly exercise 
a beneficial influence, if only trodden under foot. Be this as 
it may, it has been remarked more than once, that wounds and 

18 See B. xxi. cc. 21, 84. 19 Or serpent. 

20 In B. x. c. 20. 


maladies are sometimes inflamed 21 upon the sudden approach of 
persons who have been journeying on foot. 



Such was the state of medical knowledge in ancient times, 
wholly concealed as it was in the language of the Greeks. But 
the main reason why the medicinal properties of most plants 
remain still unknown, is the fact that they have been tested 
solely by rustics and illiterate people, such being the only class 
of persons that live in the midst of them : in addition to 
which, so vast is the multitude of medical men always at hand, 
that the public are careless of making any enquiries about 
them. Indeed, many of those plants, the medicinal properties 
of which have been discovered, are still destitute of names 
such, for instance, as the one which we mentioned' 22 when speak- 
ing of the cultivation of grain, and which we know for certain 
will have the effect of keeping birds away from the crops, if 
buried at the four corners of the field. 

But the most disgraceful cause of all, why so few simples 
are known, is the fact that those even who are acquainted 
with them are unwilling to impart their knowledge ; as though, 
forsooth, they should lose for ever anything that they might 
think fit to communicate to others ! Added to all this, there is 
no well- ascertained method to guide us to the acquisition of this 
kind of knowledge ; for, as to the discoveries that have been 
made already, they have been due, some of them, to mere 
accident, and others again, to say the truth, to the interposition 
of the Deity. 

Down to our own times, the bite of the mad dog, the symp- 
toms of which are a dread of water and an aversion to every 
kind of beverage, was incurable ; 23 and it was only recently that 

21 Most probably by the agency of " feverish expectation " on the 
part of the patient. 22 In B. xviii. c. 45. 

23 As Fee remarks, this dreadful malady is still incurable, notwithstand- 
ing the eulogiums which have been lavished upon the virtues of the Scu- 
tellaria laterifolia of Linnaeus, the Alisma pJantago, Genista tinctoria, and 
other plants, as specifics for its cure. 



the mother of a soldier who was serving in the praetorian guard, 
received a warning in a dream, to send her son the root of 
the wild rose, known as the cynorrhodos, 24 a plant the beauty 
of which had attracted her attention in a shrubbery the 
day before, and to request him to drink the extract of it. The 
army was then serving in Lacetania, the part of Spain which 
lies nearest to Italy ; and it so happened that the soldier, 
having been bitten by a dog, was just beginning to manifest a 
horror of water when his mother's letter reached him, in 
which she entreated him to obey the words of this divine 
warning. He accordingly complied with her request, and, 
against all hope or expectation, his life was saved ; a result 25 
which has been experienced by all who have since availed them- 
selves of the same resource. Before this, the cynorrhodos had 
been only recommended by writers for one medicinal purpose ; 
the spongy excrescences, they say, which grow 26 in the midst of 
its thorns, reduced to ashes and mixed with honey, will make the 
hair grow again when it has been lost by alopecy . I know too, 
for a fact, that in the same province there was lately discovered 
in the land belonging to a person with whom I was staying, a 
stalked plant, the name given to which was dracunculus. 27 This 
plant, about an inch in thickness, and spotted with various 
colours, like a viper's skin, was generally reported to be an 
effectual preservative against the sting of all kinds of serpents. 
I should remark, however, that it is a different plant from the 
one of the same name of which mention has been made in the 
preceding Book, 28 having altogether another shape and appear- 
ance. There is also another marvellous property belonging to 
it : in spring, when the serpents begin to cast their slough, it 
shoots up from the ground to the height of about a couple of 
feet, and again, when they retire for the winter it conceals 
itself within the earth, nor is there a serpent to be seen so long 
as it remains out of sight. Even if this plant did nothing 
else but warn us of impending danger, and tell us when to 
be on our guard, it could not be looked upon otherwise than 
as a beneficent provision made by Nature in our behalves. 

24 Dog-rose, or eglantine. See B. via. c. 63. 

25 An unwarranted assertion, no doubt. 

26 He alludes to a substance known to us as " bedeguar," a kind of 
gall-nut, produced by the insect called Cynips rosae. 

27 Or " little dragon." The Arum dracunculus of Linnaeus. See B. 
xxiy. cc. 91, 93. 28 j n c . 93. 

Chap. 6.] THE BlilTANNICA. 85 

(3.) It is not, however, the animals only that are endowed 
with certain baneful and noxious properties, but, sometimes, 
waters 29 even, and localities as well. Upon one occasion, in his 
German campaign, Germanicus Caesar had pitched his camp 
beyond the river Ehenus ; the only fresh water to be obtained 
being that of a single spring in the vicinity of the sea-shore. 
It was found, however, that within two years the habitual use 
of this water was productive of loss of the teeth and a total 
relaxation of the joints of the knees : the names given to 
these maladies, by medical men, were " stomacace" 30 and 
" sceloturbe." A remedy for them was discovered, however, 
in the plant known as the " britannica," 31 which is good, not 
only for diseases of the sinews and mouth, but for quinzy 32 also, 
and injuries inflicted by serpents. This plant has dark oblong 
leaves and a swarthy root : the name given to the flower of it 
is " vibones," 33 and if it is gathered and eaten before thunder 
has been heard, it will ensure safety in every respect. The 
Frisii, a nation then on terms of friendship with us, and within 
whose territories the Roman army was encamped, pointed out 
this plant to our soldiers : the name 34 given to it, however, 

29 As Fee remarks, the influence of water impregnated with selenite 
upon the health is well known. 

30 Fee says that this disease was an " intense gastritis, productive of a 
fetid breath." It would seem, however, to be neither more nor less than 
the malady now known as " scurvy of the gums." Galen describes the 
"sceloturbe," as a kind of paralysis. "Stomacace" means " disease of 
the mouth ;" " sceloturbe " ** disease of the legs." 

31 Sprengel and Desfontaines identify it with the Runiex aquaticus, but 
Fee considers it to be the Inula Britannica of Linnaeus. The Statice 
armeria, Statice plantaginea, and Polygonum persicaria have also been 

32 The pseudo-Apuleius, in B. xxix. t. 7, says, that if gathered before 
thunder has been heard, it will be a preservative against quinzy for a whole 

33 The flower of the Inula Britannica, Fee says, is much more likely, 
from its peculiarities, to have merited a peculiar name, than that of the 

34 Lipsius, in his Commentaries upon Tacitus, Ann. i. 63, has very 
satisfactorily shown that it did not derive its name from the islands of 
Britain, but from a local appellation, the name given by the natives to the 
marshy tracts upon the banks of the Ems, between Lingen and Covoerden, 
which are still known as the " Bretaasche Heyde." Munting and Poiii- 
sinet de Sivry suggest that it may have received its name from being used 
as a strengthener of the teeth in their sockets, being compounded of the 
words tann, " tooth," and brita, " to break." 

surprises nu 
^-auod Nvaiise tho s> 
Ml} soparaiod by th 
by Uus namo from t 
a'imnda.iuv. that is (|' 
oi. Urilaunia N\as s:: 

7. WHAT JftSU 


that has boon dono 
oov'asion to snow : -v 

Uiado tho dlSOOYOrY 

it is far from imj 

look upon thoso ivs 
f;;l to a Mfo of oas, 

SnH. ho\vovoi\ i 
place thoso plar.:s 

in tho \u mitv, and 

Ht&tD "un rur o,uvuTsrruN. 

v;soo\i ur- vvvoi s n VMS. 

ort of ambition, as it wt^iv. of 

pon them one's name, a thins? 

a thing did it appear to have 

,t. thus far to ha\o i-ontri- 

At tho pivsont day. ho\vo\or, 

;'\ i\' !r..-.\ bo sor.\o NN ;:o \\ ill 

plojred: in taking a reyiew of which one< 
than bewail the unhappy lot of mankind 

T*TJ bo:;v is bnn-;:^ wi:h il. to thousand 

menace the existence of each mortal bein 
almost an act of folly to attempt to detormi 
diseases is attended with the most excmc 

ftyat ox cry ono is of opinion that tho mal 
the moment he himself is afflicted, is the 
and insupportable. The general e*perien< 

pivson! a^o lias oomo to tho oonolnsion, that 

calculiin the bladder ; next to them, those 
of the stomach 5 and in the IV 

pains and art'ovtions of tho hoad ; for it is 

V .V Vt I 


Ami thcartfore 

thw Book. 


o castffl, wo find, it patient-. 

rwu p'-nt, I am r.urprr-ed that the Or< 
' gono HO f lantt 

V: Under 

I do not m< -:jrj th' -, plants merely ; for such is OUT 

ri of lib; that death 

of men. \V< use of a somewhat 

peaks of S .odius, M a 

memher of tne !/]',< illy tormented out, that he had ) :i poisons, 


the / that frofl tha* 

fion, orjii.'ijjy with all pain, | 

}>'>dy. J*iit wliat oxou'-.' ! 

world ,'irf|uai.']t<:<J v, it.h , : Jy roj-ult of t; 

\vliif:}j in. to r](:r;jn^o tli'- '. to pro'K 

<;r effects eq ua! So far as I am 

<:on<;.'-rnf.-<J, I nliall (Jr : ' l }jf;r abortives nor pliiltres, 

.n# in mind, an I do, that Jjjr;ullu, that most celebrated 
nil, dif-d of th< of a philtre.* Nor shall I speak 

of othor ill-oirjMif-d d':vif:' ; s of rna^io, unloH it he to give 

warning a^ain-:t th<-m, or to BXpQf6 thorn, for I most emphati- 

rally oondornn all faith and h^liof in t; 8 for 

rri(:, and I shall havr : abundantly dono my duty, if J point out 
'; }>!ants which WTO made for tho bo-riofit of manJ 

tho propr-rtios of whioh I rod in th'. I 


MIAP. 8. (4.) MOI.V : 'J n HEE KEMKDIES. 

According to Horn' r/*' 1 the mo-t r:el<:hr;. 
that, which, according to him, is known as moly 41 a: 

;f: tho cae of M. ACTippa, rm .-ritjon^l in 1i. xxiii. c. 27. 

-'' Said, by Plutarch, to haw: b:<-n a<JrniniKU-rcd to him by hi freedman 
Callisthonos, with the view of securing his affection. 

<" Od. x. 1. -W2, ^*<-y. 

41 F('o rlrjvotfcs a couj)N: of pajres to thet?af/' r /y>"' 

of thiH plant, and CO! <Hiori that tho Moly of JJorri'-r, 

ni<;ntiori<:d on the pr':K:nl occa.-.ion, stn'1 of Theophrahtus, Ovid, and the 
. | only an imaginary plant ; that t.hc whiUi-flowered Moly 
of b: 1 OaJen is identical with the AJliurn Jjioscoridig of 

thorpo; and that the yellow-flowered Moly of the author of the Priapeia 
is not improbably the Allium Moly or magicum of Linnseiw. Sprengel 


gods. The discovery of it he attributes to Mercury, who was 
also the first to point out its uses as neutralizing the most 
potent spells of sorcery. At the present day, it is said, it 
grows in the vicinity of Lake Pheneus, and in Cyllene, a dis- 
trict of Arcadia. It answers the description given of it by 
Homer, having a round black root, about as large as an onion, 
and a leaf like that of the squill : there is no 42 difficulty ex- 
perienced in taking it up. The Greek writers have deline- 
ated 43 it as having a yellow flower, while Homer, 44 on the 
other hand, has spoken of it as white. I once met with a 
physician, a person extremely well acquainted with plants, 
who assured me that it is found growing in Italy as well, and 
that he would send me in a few days a specimen which had 
been dug up in Campania, with the greatest difficulty, from a 
rocky soil. The root of it was thirty 45 feet in length, and even 
then it was not entire, having been broken in the getting up. 


The plant next in esteem to moly, is that called dodeca- 
theos, 46 it being looked upon as under the especial tute- 
lage of all the superior gods. 47 Taken in water, it is a cure, 
they say, for maladies of every kind. The leaves of it, seven 
in number, and very similar to those of the lettuce, spring 
from a yellow root. 



The plant known as "paBonia" 48 is the most ancient of them 
all. It still retains the name 49 of him who was the first to 

derives the name "Moly" from the Arabic, and identifies it with the 
Allium nigram of Linnseus. 

42 Homer says that there is difficulty to men, but not to the gods. 

43 In their pictures, mentioned in c. 4- 

44 Ovid, Galen, and Theophrastus, say the same. 

45 There must either be some error in the reading here, or the physician 
must have attempted to impose upon our author's credulity. 

46 Or "the twelve gods." 

47 Generally identified with the Primula vulgaris or officinalis of Lin- 
naeus. Its leaves, however, are of varying number, and not like those of 
the lettuce. The Dodecatheos Meadia, or Virginian cowslip, it must be 
remembered, is an American plant. 

4S The Pseonia officinalis of Linnseus, our Peony. 
49 Paeon, the physician, mentioned in the Iliad, B. v. 1. 401, as healing 
Pluto, when wounded by Hercules. 

Chap. 11.] THE PANACES ASCLEPIOtf. 89 

discover it, being known also as the " pentorobus" 50 by some, 
and the " glycyside" 51 by others; indeed, this is one of the great 
difficulties attendant on forming an accurate knowledge of 
plants, that the same object has different names in different 
districts. It grows in umbrageous mountain localities, and puts 
forth a stem amid the leaves, some four fingers in height, at the 
summit of which are four or five heads resembling Greek 
nuts 52 in appearance ; enclosed in which, ^there is a considerable 
quantity of seed of a red or black colour. This plant is a 
preservative against the illusions 63 practised by the Fauni in 
sleep. It is generally recommended to take it up at night ; 
for if the wood-pecker^ of Mars should perceive a person doing 
so, it will immediately attack his eyes in defence of the plant. 


Thepanaces, by its very name, 55 gives assurance of a remedy for 
all diseases: there are numerous kinds of it, and the discovery 
of its properties has been attributed to the gods. One of these 
kinds is known by the additional name of " asclepion," 56 in 
commemoration of the circumstance that JEsculapius gave the 
name of Panacia 57 to his daughter. The juice of it, as we have 
had occasion to remark already, 58 coagulates like that of 
fennel- giant; the root is covered with a thick rind of a salt 

After this plant has been taken up, it is a point religiously 
observed to fill the hole with various kinds of grain, a sort of 
expiation, as it were, to the earth. We have already 59 stated, 
when speaking of the exotic productions, where and in what 
manner this juice is prepared, and what kind is the most 
esteemed. That which is imported from Macedonia is known 
as " bucolicon," from the fact that the neatherds there are 
in the habit of collecting it as it spontaneously exudes : it 
evaporates, however, with the greatest rapidity. As to the 

50 From \\sfive seeds, which resemble Jitehes. 

51 "'Sweet to the view," apparently. 

52 See B. xxiii. c. 76. 53 He means nightmare. 

54 See B. x. cc. 18, 20, and B. xxvii. c. 60. 

55 The Greek for "all-healing." 

68 Probably the Laserpitium hirsutum of Lamarck. The Echinophora 
tenuifolia of Linnaeus, the thin-leaved prickly parsnip, has also been named. 
Or "All-heal." 3 In B. xii. c. 57. 

89 In B. xii. c. 57. 


other kinds, that more particularly is held in disesteem which 
is "black and soft, such being a proof, in fact, that it has been 
adulterated with wax. 


A second kind of panaces is known by the name of " hera- 
cleon," 60 from the fact that it was first discovered by Hercules. 
Some persons, however, call it " Heracleotic origanum," or 
wild origanum, from its strong resemblance to the origanum 
of which we have already 61 spoken : the root of it is good ibr 


A third kind of panaces is surnamed " chironion," from 
him 62 who first discovered it. The leaf is similar to that of 
lapathum, except that it is larger and more hairy ; the flower 
is of a golden colour, and the root diminutive. It grows in rich, 
unctuous soils. The flower of this plant is extremely effi- 
cacious ; hence it is that it is more generally used than the 
kinds previously mentioned. 



A fourth kind of panaces, discovered also by Chiron, is 
known by the additional name of " centaurion :" 63 it is also 
called " pharnacion," from King Pharnaces, it being a matter 
in dispute whether it was really discovered by Chiron or by 
that prince. It is grown from seed, 64 and the leaves of it are 
longer than those of the other kinds, and serrated at the edge. 
The root, which is odoriferous, is dried in the shade, and is 
used for imparting an aroma to wine. Some writers distin- 

60 Identified with the Laserpitium Chironium of Linnaeus, otherwise 
called Pastinaca opopanax. Fee observes, that when the word ' Panaces ' 
is used alone, this plant is always the one meant. 

61 In B. xx. ec. 62, 69. 

62 The Centaur Chiron ; see B. vii. c. 57. Sprengel identifies this plant 
with the Hypericum origani folium of Willdenow, but Fee is inclined to 
think that its synonym is still unknown. M. Fraas, in his Synopsis, p. 
139, identifies it with the Hypericum Olympicum, an odoriferous plant, 
which the H. organifoiium is not. 

63 The Centaurea centaurium of Linnaeus, the greater centaury. 
6i " Seritur." 

Chap. 17.] IITOSCYAMOS. 91 

guish two varieties of this plant- the one with a smooth leaf, 
the other of a more delicate form. 


The heracleon siderion 65 is also another discovery of Her- 
cules. The stem is thin, about four fingers in length, the 
flower red, and the leaves like those of coriander. It is found 
growing in the vicinity of lakes and rivers, and is extremely 
efficacious for the cure of all wounds made by iron. 66 


The ampelos Chironia 67 also, which we have already 63 men- 
tioned when speaking of the vines, is a discovery due to 
Chiron. We have spoken too, on a previous occasion, 69 of a 
plant, the discovery of which is attributed to Minerva. 



To Hercules also is attributed the discovery of the plant 
known as the " apollinaris," and, among the Arabians, as the 
"altercum" or " altercaugenum :" by the Greeks it is called 
" hyoscyamos." 70 There are several varieties of it; one of 
them, 71 with a black seed, flowers bordering on purple, and a 
prickly stem, growing in Galatia. The common kind 73 again, 
is whiter, more shrublike, and taller than the poppy. Tho 
seed of a third variety is similar to that of irio 73 in appearance ; 
but they have, all of them, the effect of producing vertigo and 
insanity. A fourth 74 kind again is soft, lanuginous, and more 
unctuous than the others ; the seed of it is white, and it grows 
in maritime localities. It is this kind that medical men 

65 Hardouin identifies it with the Geranium Robertianum of Linnseus ; 
Sprengel and Desfontaines with the Phellandriura mutellina of Linnaeus; 
Colunma with the Sanicula ; Sibthorpe with the Scrofularia lucida ; and 
M. Fraas with the Scrofula chrysanthemifolia of Linnaeus. Fee expresses 
himself unable to speak with any certainty on the subject. 

66 Whence its name " sidereon." 67 Or *' Chironian vine." 
68 In B. xxiii. c. 17. 69 In B. xxii. c. 20. 

70 " Swine's bean " our henbane. 

71 The Hyoscyamus reticulatus of Linnaeus, reticulated henbane. 

72 The Hyoscyamus niger of Linnaeus, black henbane. 

73 See B. xviii. c. 22, and B. xxii. c. 75. The Hyoscyamus aureus of 
Linnams, golden henbane. 

74 The Hyoscyamus albus of Linnaeus, white henbane. 


employ, as also that with, a red seed. 75 Sometimes, however, 
the white seed turns of a reddish colour, if not sufficiently 
ripe when gathered ; in which case it is rejected as unfit for 
use : indeed, none of these plants are gathered until they are 
perfectly dry. Hyoscyamos, like wine, has the property of 
flying to the head, and consequently of acting inj uriously upon 
the mental faculties. 

The seed is either used in its natural state, or else the juice 
of it is extracted : the juice also of the stem and leaves is 
sometimes extracted, separately from the seed. The root is 
sometimes made use of; but the emploj'ment of this plant in 
any way for medical purposes is, in my opinion, highly dan- 
gerous. For it is a fact well ascertained, that the leaves even 
will exercise a deleterious effect upon the mind, if more than 
four are taken at a time ; though the ancients were of opinion 
that the leaves act as a febrifuge, taken in wine. From the 
seed, as already 76 stated, an oil is extracted, which, injected 
into the ears, deranges the intellect. It is a singular thing, 
bat we find remedies mentioned for those who have taken 
this juice, as though for a poison, while at the same time we 
find it prescribed as a potion among the various remedies. 
In this way it is that experiments are multiplied without end, 
even to forcing the very poisons themselves to act as an- 



Linozostis 77 or parthenion is a discovery attributed to Mer- 
cury : hence it is that among the Greeks it is known as 
" hermupoa" 78 by many, while among us it is universally 
known as " mercurialis." There are two varieties of this 
plant, the male and the female, the last possessing more 
decided properties than the other, and having a stem a cubit in 
height, and sometimes branchy at the summit, with leaves 
somewhat narrower than those of ocimum. The joints of the 
stem lie close together, and the axils are numerous : the seed 
hangs downwards, having the joints for its basis. In the 

75 The third kind mentioned above. 

' 6 In B. xv. c. 7, and B. xxiii. c. 49. This cannot have been a fixed oil. 
77 The Mercuralis anmia of Linnaeus, male and female ; the herb mercury. 
< 8 " Herb of Hermes." 

Chap. 18.] MEIICUUIALTS. 93 

female plant the seed is very abundant, but in the male 79 it is 
less so, lies closer to the joints, and is short and wreathed. In 
the female plant the seed hangs more loosely, and is of a white 
colour. The leaves of the male plant are swarthy, while 
those of the female are whiter : the root, which is made no 
use of, is very diminutive. 

Both of these plants grow in cultivated champaign local- 
ities. A marvellous property is mentioned as belonging to 
them : the male plant, they say, ensures the conception of 
male children, the female plant of females ; a result which is 
ensured by drinking the juice in raisin wine, the moment after 
conception, or by eating the leaves, boiled with oil and salt, 
or raw with vinegar. Some persons, again, boil the plant 
in a new earthen vessel with heliotropium and two or three 
ears of corn, till it is thoroughly done; and say that the decoc- 
tioa should be taken in drink by the female, and the plant 
eaten for three days successively, the regimen being com- 
menced the second day of menstruation. This done, on the 
fourth day she must take a bath, immediately after which the 
sexual congress must take place. 

Hippocrates 81 has lavished marvellous encomiums upon these 
plants for the maladies of females, while at the present day 
no physician recognizes their utility for such purpose. It was 
his practice to employ them for affections of the uterus, in the 
form of a pessary, in combination with honey, rose-oil, oil of 
iris, or oil of lilies. He employed them also as an emmena- 
gogue, and for the purpose of bringing away the after-birth ; 
effects which are equally produced, according to him, by taking 
them in drink, or using them in the form of a fomentation. It 
was his practice also, to inject the juice of these plants in cases 
of fetid odours of the ears, and then to wash the ear with old 
wine. The leaves also were used by him as a cataplasm for 
the abdomen, defluxions of the eyes, strangury, and affections 
of the bladder ; a decoction too, of the plants is prescribed by 
him, with frankincense and myrrh. 

For the purpose of relaxing 82 the bowels, or in cases of fever, 

79 The male, as Fee suggests, bears no seed at all. 

80 A mere absurdity, of course. 

81 De Nat. Mul. and De Morb. Mul. B. i. and B. ii. 

82 The medicinal properties of the Mercurialis are not by any means 
energetic, but it is still used, Fee says, as a gentle aperient. 


a handful of this plant is boiled down to one half, in two 
sextarii of water, the decoction being taken with salt and 
honey : if a pig's foot or a cock is boiled with it, it will be all 
the more beneficial. Some persons have been of opinion, that 
as a purgative the two kinds of mercurialis ought to be used 
together, or else that a decoction should be made of the plant 
in combination with mallows. These plants act as a detergent 
upon the chest, and carry off the bilious secretions, but they are 
apt to be injurious to the stomach. We shall have to speak 
further of their properties on the appropriate occasions. 83 



Achilles too, the pupil of Chiron, discovered a plant which 
heals wounds, and which, as being his discovery, is known as 
the " achilleos." It was by the aid of this plant, they say. 
that he cured Telephus. Other authorities, however, assert that 
he was the first 81 to discover that verdigris 85 is an extremely 
useful ingredient in plasters ; and hence it is that he is some- 
times represented in pictures as scraping with his sword the 
rust from off a spear 86 into the wound of Telephus. Some again, 
are of opinion that he made use of both remedies. 

By some persons this plant is called "panaces heracleon," 
by others, " sideritis," 87 and by the people of our country, 
" millefolium : ' >88 the stalk of it, they say, is a cubit in length, 
branchy, and covered from the bottom with leaves somewhat 
smaller than those of fennel. Other authorities, however, 
while admitting that this last plant is good for wounds, affirm 
that the genuine achilleos has a bluish stem a foot in length, 

83 B. xxvi. cc, 74, 76, 89, 

84 Both stories are equally improbable. 

85 See B. xxxiv. c. 45. 

86 The weapons in early time, it must be remembered, were made of 
copper or bronze. 

87 The third Sideritis of Dioscorides is thought to be the same with the 
Heracleon siderion of c. 15 of this Book. Pliny evidently confounds the 
Achillea and the Sideritis, totally different plants. The Achillea is identified 
by Fee with the Achillea tomentosa or abrotonifolia of Linnaeus. As to 
the Sideritis, see B. xxvi. c. 12. The real Panaces heracleon has been 
mentioned >in c. 12 of this Book. 

83 Or_ " Thousand leaves," probably identical with the Achillea mille- 
folium of Linnseus, milfoil or yarrow. See B. xxiv. c. 95. 

Chap. 20.] THE TEUCRICW. 95 

destitute of branches, and elegantly clothed all over with 
isolated leaves of a round form. Others again, maintain that 
it has a squared stem, that the heads of it are small and like 
those of horehound, 89 and that the leaves are similar to those 
of the quercus they say too, that this last has the property of 
uniting the sinews when cut asunder. Another statement is, 
that the sideritis 90 is a plant that grows on garden walls, and 
that it emits, when bruised, a fetid smell ; that there is also 
another plant, very similar to it, but with a whiter and more 
unctuous leaf, a more delicate stem, and mostly found growing 
in vineyards. 

They speak also of another 91 sideritis, with a stem two 
cubits in length, and diminutive branches of a triangular 
shape : the leaf, they say, resembles that of fern, and has a 
long footstalk, the seed being similar to that of beet. All 
these plants, it is said, are remarkably good for the treatment 
of wounds. The one with the largest leaf is known among 
us by the name of "scopae regiae," 9 * and is used for the cure 
of quinzy in swine. 


At the same period also, Teucer discovered the teucrion, a 
plant known to some as the " hemionion." 93 It throws out 
thin rush-like stems, with diminutive leaves, and grows in 
rugged, uncultivated spots : the taste of it is rough, and it 
never blossoms or produces seed. It is used for the cure of 
affections of the spleen, 91 and it is generally understood that 
its properties were discovered in the following manner : The 
entrails of a victim having been placed upon this plant, it 
attached itself to the milt, and entirely consumed it ; 95 a 

89 "Marrubii." 

90 "Ironwork" The third Sideritis of Dioscorides, above mentioned. 
See c. 15 of this Book. See also B. xxvi. cc. 12 and 88. 

91 Identified by Desfontaines with the Sanguisorba officinalis of Linnaeus. 

92 " lloyal broom," identified by many commentators with the Cheno- 
podium seoparia of Linnaeus. 

93 Or "mule-plant." It is identified by Fee with the Asplenion eete- 
rach, or Ceterach officinarum of Linnaeus, the Ceterach, a fern, and a dif- 
ferent plant from the Teucrium of B. xxiv. c. SO, or Germander. 

94 Hence its name, " Aspleniurn." 

95 " Exinanisse." A fable, of course. 


property to which it is indebted for the name of " splenion," 
given to it by some. It is said too, that swine which have fed 
upon the root of this plant are found to have no milt. 

Some authors give this name also to a ligneous plant, 96 with 
branches like those of hyssop, and a leaf resembling that of 
the bean ; they say too, that it should be gathered while in 
blossom, from which we may conclude that they entertain no 
doubt that it does blossom. That which grows on the moun- 
tains of Cilicia and Pisidia is more particularly praised by them. 



The repute of Melarnpus, as being highly skilled in the arts of 
divination, is universally known. This personage has given a 
name to one species of hellebore, known as the " rnelampodion." 
Some persons, however, attribute the discovery of this plant 
to a shepherd of that name, who remarked that his she-goats 
were violently purged after browsing upon it, and afterwards 
cured the daughters of Prcetus of madness, by giving them 
the milk of these goats. It will be the best plan, therefore, to 
take this opportunity of treating of the several varieties of 
hellebore. The two principal kinds are the white 97 and the 
black ; 98 though, according to most authorities, this difference 
exists in the root only. There are some authors, however, 
who assure us that the leaves of the black hellebore are similar 
to those of the plane-tree, only darker, more diminutive, and 
more jagged at the edges : and who say, that the white hel- 
lebore has leaves like those of beet when first shooting, 
though at the same time of a more swarthy colour, with reddish 
veins on the under side. The stem, in both kinds, is feru- 
laceous, a palm" in height, and covered with coats like those 
of the bulbs, the root, too, being fibrous like that of the onion. 1 

96 The Teucrium lucidum of Linnaeus : though, as Fee says, there is 
little similarity between it and hyssop, or between its leaves and those of 
the bean. See B. xxiv. c. 80. 

97 Identified by Fe'e with the Veratrum album and Veratrum nigrum of 
Linnaeus, species between which there is little difference. 

98 Identified by Tournefort with the Helleborus niger of Lamarck. 
Littre mentions the Helleborus orientalis of Linnaus. 

09 The stem of white hellebore is much longer than this. 

1 This comparison with the onion, Fee says, is altogether inexact. 

Chap. 21.] HELLEBORE. 97 

The black hellebore kills horses, oxen, and swine ; hence it 
is that those animals avoid it, while they eat the white 2 kind. 
The proper time, thay say, for gathering this last, is harvest. 
It grows upon Mount (Eta in great abundance ; and the best 
of all is that found upon one spot on that mountain, in the 
vicinity of Pyra. The black hellebore is found growing every- 
where, but the best is that of Mount Helicon ; which is also 
equally celebrated for the qualities of its other plants. The 
white hellebore of Mount (Eta is the most highly esteemed, 
that of Pontus occupying the second place, and the produce of 
Elea the third ; which last, it is generally said, grows in the 
vineyards there. The fourth rank is held by the, white 
hellebore of Mount Parnassus, though it is often adulter 
with that of the neighbouring districts of ^Etolia. 

Of these kinds it is the black hellebore that is known as the 
' melampodium :" it is used in fumigations, attd for the purpose 
of purifying houses ; cattle, too, are sprinkled^with it, a certain 
form of prayer being repeated. This last plant, too, is gathered 
with more numerous ceremonies than the okher : a circle is 
first traced around it with a sword, after which, the person 
about to cut it turns towards the East, and offers up a prayer, 
entreating permission of the gods to do so. At the same time 
he observes whether an eagle is in sight for mostly while the 
plant is being gathered that bird is near at hand and if one 
should chance to fly close at hand, it is looked upon as a presage 
that he will die within the year. The white hellebore, too, is 
gathered not without difficulty, as it is very oppressive to the 
head ; more particularly if the precaution has not been used 
of eating garlic first, and of drinking wine every now and 
then, care being taken to dig up the plant as speedily as possible. 

Some persons call the black hellebore "ectomon," 3 and 
others " polyrrhizon :" it purges 4 by stool, while the white 
hellebore acts as an emetic, and so carries off what might other- 
wise have given rise to disease. In former days hellebore was 
regarded with horror, but more recently the use 5 of it has be- 
come so familiar, that numbers of studious men are in the 

2 If he would imply that they do this without inconvenience, the state- 
ment, Fee says, is incorrect. 

3 " Cut off," and " With many roots." 

4 Hellebore is no longer used, except in veterinary medicine. 

5 Petronius Arbiter says that the philosopher Chrysippus used it. 
VOL. V. H 


habit of taking it for the purpose of sharpening the intellectual 
powers required by their literary investigations. Carneades, 
for instance, made use of hellebore when about to answer the 
treatises of Zeno ; Drusus 6 too, among us, the most famous of 
all the tribunes of the people, and whom in particular the 
public, rising from their seats, greeted with loud applause to 
whom also the patricians imputed the Marsic war is well 
known to have been cured of epilepsy in the island of Anti- 
cyra ; 6 * a place at which it is taken with more safety than else- 
where, from the fact of sesamoides being combined with it, as 
already 7 stated. In Italy the name given to it is " veratrum." 
These kinds of hellebore, reduced to powder and taken alone, 
or else in combination with radicula, a plant used, as already 
mentioned, 8 for washing wool, act as a sternutatory, and are 
both of them productive of narcotic effects. The thinnest and 
shortest roots are selected, and among them the lower parts 
in particular, which have all the appearance of having been 
cut short ; 9 for, aa to the upper part, which is the thickest, and 
bears a resemblance to an onion, it is given to dogs only, as a 
purgative. The ancients used to select those roots the rind of 
which was the most fleshy, from an idea that the pith extracted 
therefrom was of a more refined 10 nature. This substance they 
covered with wet sponges, and, when it began to swell, used 
to split it longitudinally with a needle ; which done, the fila- 
ments were dried in the shade, for future use. At the present 
day, however, the fibres 11 of the root with the thickest rind 
are selected, and given to the patient just as they are. The 
best hellebore is that which has an acrid, burning taste, and 
when broken, emits a sort of dust. It retains its efficacy, they 
say, so long as thirty years. 


Elack hellebore is administered for the cure of paralysis, 
insanity, dropsy provided there is no fever chronic gout, 
and diseases of the joints : it has the effect too, of carrying 

6 M. Livius Drusus. See B. xxviii. c. 42, and B. xxxiii. c. 6. 
6 * Anticyra in Phocis was a peninsula, not an island. 
In B. xxii. c. 64. 8 In B. xix. c. 18. 

9 Hence the Greek name "ectomon. 10 "Tenuior." 

11 This is the meaning assigned by Hardouin to the word "ramulos." 
Holland renders it "small shoots " or " slips," and he is probably right. 

Chap. 23.] WHITE HELLEBORE. 99 

off the bilious secretions and morbid humours by stool. It is 
given also in water as a gentle aperient, the proportion being 
one drachma at the very utmost, and four oboli for a moderate 
dose. Some authorities have recomended mixing scammony 
with it, but sa]t is looked upon as more safe. If given in any 
considerable quantity in combination with a sweet substance, 
it is highly dangerous : used in the form of a fomentation, it 
disperses films upon the eyes ; and hence it is that some medical 
men have pounded it and used it for an eye-salve. It ripens 
and acts detergently upon scrofulous sores, suppurations, and 
indurated tumours, as also upon fistulas, but in this latter case 
it must be removed at the end of a couple of days. In com- 
bination with copper filings 12 and sandarach, it removes warts ; 
and it is applied to the abdominal regions, with barley-meal 
and wine, in cases of dropsy. 

This plant is employed for the cure of pituitous defluxions 
in cattle and beasts of burden, a slip of it being passed 13 
through the ear, and removed at the same hour on the fol- 
lowing day. With frankincense also, wax, and pitch, or else 
pisselaeon, 14 it is used for the cure of itch in quadrupeds. 



The best white hellebore is that which acts most speedily as 
a sternutatory ; but it would seem to be a much more formid- 
able 16 plant than the black kind ; more particularly if we read 
in the ancient authors the precautions used by those about 
to take it, against cold shiverings, suffocation, unnatural 
drowsiness, continuous hiccup or sneezing, derangements of 
the stomach, and vomitings, either retarded or prolonged, too 
sparing or in excess. Indeed, it was generally the practice to 
administer other substances to promote vomiting, and to carry 
off the hellebore by the aid of purgatives or clysters, while 
bleeding even was frequently had recourse to. In addition to 
all this, however successful the results may prove, the symptoms 
by which it is attended are really most alarming, by reason of 

2 " Squama aeris." 

13 See a similar statement as to Consiligo, in B. xxvi. c. 21. 

14 See B. xv. c. 7, and B. xxiv. c. 11. 

15 Its properties, Fee says, are not more active than those of black helle- 

H 2 


the various colours which the matter vomited presents : besides 
which, after the vomiting has subsided, the physician has to 
pay the greatest attention to the nature of the alvine evacu- 
ations, the due and proper use of the bath, and the general 
regimen adopted by the patient ; all of them inconveniences 
in themselves, and preceded by the terrors naturally inspired 
by the character of the drug ; for one story is, that it has the 
property of consuming flesh, if boiled with it. 

The great error, 16 however, on the part of the ancients was, 
that in consequence of these fears, they used to give it too 
sparingly, the fact being, that the larger the dose, the more 
speedily it passes through the body. Themison used to give 
no more than two drachmae, but at a later period as much as 
four drachmae was administered ; in conformity with the cele- 
brated eulogium passed upon it by Herophilus, 17 who was in 
the habit of comparing hellebore to a valiant general, and 
saying, that after it has set in motion all within, it is the 
first to sally forth and show the way. In addition to these 
particulars, there has been a singular discovery made : the 
hellebore which, as we have already stated, has been cut with 
a small pair of scissors, 18 is passed through a sieve, upon which 
the pith makes its way through, while the outer coat remains 
behind. The latter acts as a purgative, while the former is 
used for the purpose of arresting vomiting when that evacuation 
is in excess. 



In order to secure a beneficial result, due precautions must 
be taken not to administer hellebore in cloudy weather ; for if 
given at such a time, it is sure to be productive of excruciating 
agonies. Indeed there is no doubt that summer is a better 
time for giving it than winter : the body too, by an abstinence 
from wine, must be prepared for it seven days previously, 
emetics being taken on the fourth and third days before, and 

1(5 Fee remarks, that they showed their wisdom in this. 

17 Herophilus, it must be remembered, lived a considerable time before 

js 4< Porficulis." He probably refers to c. 21, where, however, he has 
mentioned only a needle " acus." It is possibly a lapsus memoria oil 
his part. 

Chap. 25.] HELLEBORE. 101 

the patient going without his evening meal the previous day. 
White hellebore, too, is administered in a sweet 19 medium, 
though lentils or pottage are found to be the best for the pur- 
pose* There has been a plan also, lately discovered, of splitting 
a radish, and inserting the hellebore in it, after which the 
sections are pressed together ; the object being that the strength 
of the hellebore may be incorporated with the radish, and mo- 
dified thereby. 

At the end of about four hours it generally begins to be 
brought up again ; and within seven it has operated to the full 
extent. Administered in this manner, it is good for epilepsy, 
as already 20 stated, vertigo, melancholy, insanity, delirium, 
white elephantiasis, leprosy, tetanus, palsy, gout, dropsy, in- 
cipient tympanitis, stomachic affections, cynic spasms, 21 sciatica, 
quartan fevers which defy all other treatment, chronic coughs, 
flatulency, and recurrent gripings in the bowels. 



It is universally recommended not to give hellebore to aged 
people or children, to persons of a soft and effeminate habit of 
body or mind, or of a delicate or tender constitution. It is given 
less frequently too to females than to males ; and persons of a 
timorous disposition are recommended not to take it : the same 
also, in cases where the viscera are ulcerated or tumefied, and 
more particularly when the patient is afflicted with spitting of 
blood, or with maladies of the side or fauces. Hellebore is ap- 
plied, too, externally, with salted axle-grease, to morbid eruptions 
of the body and suppurations of long standing : mixed with 
polenta, it destroys rats and mice. The people of Gaul, when 
hunting, tip their arrows with hellebore, taking care to cut 
away the parts about the wound in the animal so slain : the 
flesh, they say, is all the more tender for it. Flies are destroyed 
with white hellebore, bruised and sprinkled about a place with 
milk : phthiriasis is also cured by the use of this mixture. 

19 This he has stated to be attended with danger, in the case of black 
hellebore, should the dose be too strong. 

20 In c. 21 of this Book. 

21 Twitchings of the mouth, which cause the patient to show his teeth, 
like a dog-. 



Crateuas ascribes the discovery of one plant to Mithridates 
himself, the name of which is " rnithridatia." 22 Near the root 
it has two leaves resembling those of the acanthus, between 
which it puts forth a stem supporting a flower at the extre- 
mity, like a rose. 


Lenaeus attributes to Mithridates the discovery of another 
plant, the scordotis 23 or scordion, which has been described, he 
tells us, by the hand even of that prince. This plant, he says, 
is a cubit in height, and has a square stem, branchy, covered 
with downy leaves, and resembling the quercus 24 in appearance : 
it is found growing in Pontus, in rich, humid soils, and has a 
bitter taste. 

There is another 25 variety also of this plant, with a larger 
leaf, and resembling wild mint in appearance. They are both 
of them used for numerous purposes, both individually and in 
combination with other ingredients, as antidotes. 



The polemonia 26 is known as the " philetaeria" by some, in 
consequence of the contest which has arisen between certain 
kings for the honour of its discovery. The people of Cappa- 
docia also give it the name of " chiliodynamus." 27 The root of 
it is substantial, and it has slender branches, with umbels 

22 Caesalpinus identifies it with the Erythronium dens canis of Linnaeus, 
and Commerson and Schreiber with the Dorstenia tambourissa of Sonnerat. 
Fee is probably right in considering its synonym as still unknown. 

23 Hardouin identifies it with the Stachys Gernianica, Linnaeus and 
Sprengel with the Nepeta scordotis of Linnaeus, and Fee with the Stachys 

24 Fee remarks, that none of the plants mentioned in the last Note bear 
any resemblance to the " quercus," or oak. 

25 Probably tue Teucrium scorodonia of Linnaeus, Fee says ; though, as 
he remarks, the description might apply to many of the Labiatae. 

26 Its names were derived from Poleraon, a king of Pontus, and Phile- 
taerus, a king of Cappadocia. It is generally identified with the Pole- 
monium caeruleum of Linnaeus, Greek valerian, or Jacob's ladder. M. 
Fraas suggests that it may be the Hypericum Olympicum of Linnaeus, 
with which he also identifies the Panaces chironion. 

' " With a thousand virtues." 

Chap. 30.] CENTAURIOHT. 103 

hanging from the extremities, and a black seed. In other 
respects, it bears a resemblance to rue, and is found growing 
in mountainous localities. 


The eupatoria 28 also is a plant under royal patronage. The 
stem of it is ligneous, hairy, and swarthy, and a cubit or more 
in length. The leaves, arranged at regular intervals, resemble 
those of cinquefoil or hemp ; they have five indentations at the 
edge, and are swarthy like the stem, and downy. The root is 
never used. The seed, taken in wine, is a sovereign, remedy 
for dysentery. 


Centaury, 29 it is said, effected a cure for Chiron, on the 
occasion when, while handling the arms of Hercules, his 
guest, he let one of the arrows fall upon his foot : hence it is 
that by some it is called " chironion." The leaves of it are 
large and oblong, serrated at the edge, and growing in 
thick tufts from the root upwards. The stems, some three 
cubits in height and jointed, bear heads resembling those of 
the poppy. The root is large and spreading, of a reddish, 
colour, tender and brittle, a couple of cubits in length, and full 
of a bitter juice, somewhat inclining to sweet. 

This plant grows in rich soils upon declivities ; the best in 
quality being that of Arcadia, Elis, Messenia, Mount Pholoe, and 
Mount Lyca3us : it grows also upon the Alps, and in numerous 
other localities, and in Lycia they prepare a lycium 30 from it. 
So remarkable are its properties for closing wounds, that 
pieces of meat even, it is said, are soldered together, when boiled 
with it. The root is the only part in use, being administered 
in dt>ses of two drachmae in the several cases hereafter 31 men- 

28 So called probably from a king Eupator. Sprengel and Desfontaines 
identify it with the Agrimonia eupatorium, but Fee prefers the Eupatorium 
cannabinum of Linnaeus, relying upon the description given by Dioscorides. 
B. iv. c. 41. 

29 Fee considers this to be the same with the Panacea centaurion or 
Pharnaceon of c. 14 of this Book, the greater Centaury. Littre also 
names the Centaurea centaureum of Linnasus. 

30 See B. xii. c. 15. B. xxiii. cc. 58, 60, and B. xxiv. c. 77, for a pre- 
paration with a similar name, but, as Fee says, of an entirely different 

31 In B. xxvi. cc, 15, 19, 34, 55, 66, 76, 85, and 91. 


tioned. If, however, the patient is suffering from fever, it 
should be bruised and taken in water, wine being used in 
other cases. A decoction of the root is equally useful for all 
the same purposes. 



There is another centaury also, with diminutive leaves, 
known by the additional name of " lep ton." 32 By some per- 
sons it is called "libadion," 33 from the circumstance that it 
grows upon the borders of fountains. It is similar to origanum 
in appearance, except that the leaves are narrower and longer. 
The stem is angular, branchy, and a palm in height ; the flower 
is like that of the lychnis, 34 and the root is thin, and never 
used. It is in the juice that its medicinal properties are 
centred: it being gathered in the autumn, and the juice extracted 
from the leaves. Some persons cut up the stalks, and steep 
them for some eighteen days in water, and then extract the 

In Italy this kind of centaury is known as "gall 55 of the 
earth," from its extreme bitterness. The Gauls give it the 
name of " exacum ;" 36 from the circumstance that, taken in 
drink, it purges off all noxious substances by alvine evacuation. 


There is a third kind of centaury also, known as the 
" centauris triorchis." 37 It is but rarely that a person cuts it 
without wounding himself. The juice emitted is just the 
colour of blood. 38 Theophrastus relates that this plant is under 

32 Or "small" centaury. Probably the Chironia centaureum of Smith, 
Flor. Brit. , our Felwort. Littre names the Ery thraea centaureum of Persoon . 

33 From Xipades, " flowing streams." 

31 See B. xxi. cc. 10, 39, and 98, also c. 80 of this Book. 
35 " Fel terrae." 

35 A word of Celtic origin, most probably, and not from the Greek, as 
Pintianus supposes. 

37 Theophrastus, as stated by Pliny, in B. ix. c. 9, says that centaury is 
protected by the "triorchis"' (see B. x. cc. 95, 96), and Pliny in trans- 
lating the passage has made a mistake as to a third kind. Fee is probably 
right in his conjecture that the Gentaurea centaureum is meant ; though 
Brotier and Desfontaines look upon this as being a distinct plant, and 
identify it with the Rumex sanguineus of Linnaeus. 

38 The root of the greater centaury, Fee remarks, is of a deep red wi thin. 

Chap. 34.1 GENTIAN. 105 

the protection of the triorchis, a kind of hawk, which attacks 
those who gather it ; a circumstance to which it owes its 
name. Ignorant 39 persons are in the habit of confounding all 
these characteristics, and attributing them to the centaury 
first named. 


Clymenus is a plant so called, after a certain king. 46 It 
has leaves like those of ivy, numerous branches, and a hollow, 
jointed stem. The smell of it is powerful, and the seed like 
that of ivy : it grows in wild and mountainous localities. 
"We shall have to state hereafter, of what maladies it is curative, 
taken in drink, but it is as well to take the present opportunity 
of remarking that, while effecting a cure, in the male sex it 
neutralizes the generative powers. 

The Greeks speak 41 of this plant as being similar to the 
plantago in appearance, with a square stem, and a seed in 
capsules, interlaced like the arms of the polypus. The juice 
of this plant, too, is used, being possessed of refreshing pro- 
perties in a very high degree. 


Gentian 42 was first discovered by Gentius, king of Illyria. 
It is a plant to be found everywhere, 43 but that of Illyria is 
the finest. It has a leaf like that of the ash, 44 but equal in 
size to a lettuce-leaf: the stem is tender, about the- thickness 
of the thumb, hollow and empty, and covered with leaves at 
regular intervals. This stem is sometimes three cubits in 
length, and the root is flexible, swarthy, 45 and inodorous. It 
is found in the greatest abundance in humid localities at the 
foot of the Alps. The root and juice are the parts of it 
that are used : the root is possessed of certain warming pro- 

39 Pliny himself is one of the "imperiti" here. 

40 Son of Caeneus, and king of Arcadia. The plant is identified with 
the Lonicera periclymenum of Linnaeus, our Woodbine or Honeysuckle. 
Sibthorp identifies the Clymenum of Dioscorides with the Convolvulus 
sepiura of Linnaeus, andSprengel with the Lathyrus clymenum of Linnaeus. 

41 Possibly the Clymenum of Dioscorides, mentioned in the preceding 
Note. Littre names the Calendula arvensis, the Field marigold. 

4 - The Gentiana lutea of Linnaeus. 

4 > This, Fee remarks, is not the fact. 

44 This comparison is inexact. * 5 It is not swarthy. 


perties, but it should never be taken by women in a state of 


King Lysimachus 46 first discovered the plant which from 
him has received the name of lysimachia, and the merits of 
which have been so highly extolled by Erasistratus. This 
plant has green leaves resembling those of the willow, and a 
purple 47 blossom : it has all the appearance of a shrub, the 
branches are erect, and it has a pungent smell. It is found 
growing in watery soils. The properties of it are so extremely 
powerful, that if placed upon the yoke when beasts of burden 
are restive, it will be sure to overcome all stubbornness on their 
part. 48 



"Women too have even affected an ambition to give their 
name to plants: thus, for instance, Artemisia, the wife of 
King Mausolus, adopted the plant, which before was known 
by the name of " parthenis." There are some persons, how- 
ever, who are of opinion that it received this surname from the 
goddess Artemis Ilithyia, 49 from the fact of its being used for 
the cure of female complaints more particularly. It is a 
plant with numerous branches, like those of wormwood, but 
the leaves of it are larger and substantial. 

There are two varieties of it ; one has broader 50 leaves than 
the other, 51 which last is of a slender form, with a more diminu- 
tive leaf, and grows nowhere but in maritime districts. 

46 A -king of Thrace, contemporary with Alexander the Great. Sprengel 
and Desfontaines identify this plant with the Ly thrum salicaria of Linnaeus, 
the purple Willow-herb. Fee, on the authority of Dioscorides, identifies 
it with the Lysimachia vulgaris of Linnaeus, the yellow Willow-plant. 
Littre gives the Lysimachia atro-purpurea of Linnaeus. 

47 Pliny has probably mistranslated the Greek -n-vppov here, "reddish 
yellow." 48 An absurdity, of course. 

49 Artemis or Diana, the guardian of pregnant women. 

50 Probably the Artemisia chamaemelifolia, Camomile-leaved mugwort. 
The A. arborescens, the Tree-wormwood is named by Littre. 

51 Either the Artemisia Pontica of Linnaeus, Little wormwood, or 
Roman wormwood, or else A. campestris of Linnaeus, Field southern- wood. 

Chap. 38.] EUPHORBIA. 107 

Some persons again, give this name to a plant 62 which grows 
more inland, with a single stem, extremely diminutive leaves, 
and numerous blossoms which open at the ripening of the 
grape, and the odour of which is far from unpleasant. In addi- 
tion to this name, this last plant is known as "botrys " to some 
persons, and " ambrosia" to others : M it grows in Cappadocia. 


The plant called "nymphgea," owes its name, they say, to a 
Nymph who died of jealousy conceived on account of Hercules, 
for which reason it is also known as " heracleon" by some. Ey 
other persons, again, it is called " rhopalon," from the resem- 
blance of its root to a club. 54 * * * * and hence it is that 
those who take it in drink become impotent for some twelve 
days, and incapacitated for procreation. That of the first 
quality is found in Orchomenia and at Marathon : the people of 
Bceotia call it " madon, " and use the seed for food. It grows 
in spots covered with water ; the leaves 65 of it are large, and 
float upon the surface, while others are to be seen springing 
from the roots below. The flower is very similar to a lily 
in appearance, and after the plant has shed its blossom, the 
place of the flower is occupied by a head like that of the 
poppy. The stem is slender, and the plant is usually cut in 
autumn. The root, of a swarthy hue, is dried in the sun; 
garlic 56 manifests a peculiar antipathy to it. 

.There is another 57 nymphaea also, which grows in the river 
Peneus, in Thessaly : the root of it is white, and the head 
yellow, about the size of a rose. 



In the time, too, of our fathers, King Juba discovered 58 a 

52 Identified with the Artemisia camphorata of Linnaeus, Camphorated 
mngwort. 53 Quite a different plant. See B. xxvii. c. 11. 

54 Judging from the text of Dioscorides, a passage has been probably 
lost here, to the effect that "it is taken in drink by persons troubled with 
lascivious dreams." 

55 Identified with the Nymphaea alba of Linnaeus, the "White-flowered 

56 " Adversatur ei allium." A corrupt reading, in all probability. 

57 The Nuphar lutea of Sib thorp ; the Yellow-flowered nymphjea, or 
Nenuphar. 6S See B. v. c. i. 


plant, to which he gave the name of " euphorbia," in honour 
of his physician, Euphorbus, the brother of the same Musa, 
whom we have mentioned 59 as having saved the life of the late 
Emperor Augustus. It was these brothers who introduced the 
practice of douching the body with large quantities of cold 
water, immediately after the bath, for the purpose of bracing 
the system : whereas in former times, as we find stated in the 
works of Homer 60 even, it was the practice to wash the body 
with warm water only. With reference to euphorbia, 61 there 
is a treatise still in existence, written upon it by King Juba, 
in which he highly extols its merits : he discovered it growing 
upon Mount Atlas, and describes it as resembling a thyrsus in 
appearance, and bearing leaves like those of the acanthus. 62 

The properties of this plant are so remarkably powerful, 63 
that the persons engaged in collecting the juices of it are 
obliged to stand at a considerable distance. The incisions are 
made with a long pole shod with iron, the juice flowing into 
receivers of kid-leather placed beneath. The juice has all the 
appearance of milk, as it exudes, but when it has coagulated 
and dried, it assumes the form and consistency of frankincense. 
The persons engaged in collecting it, find their sight improved 64 
thereby. This juice is an excellent remedy for the stings of 
serpents : in whatever part of the body the wound may have 
been inflicted, the practice is to make an incision in the crown 
of the head, and there introduce the medicament. The Gsetuli 
who collect it, are in the habit of adulterating it with warm 
milk ; M a fraud, however, easily to be detected by the agency 
of fire, that which is not genuine emitting a most disgusting 

Much inferior to this is the juice extracted, in Gaul, 66 from 
the chamelaea, 67 a plant which bears the grain of Cnidos. When 
broken asunder, it resembles hammoniacum 68 in appearance j 
and however slightly tasted, it leaves a burning sensation in 

59 In B. xix. c. 38. 6 II. xii. 444. 

61 The Euphorbia officinarum of Linnaeus, Officinal spurge. 

62 An incorrect statement, as Fee remarks. 

63 Its odour, Fee says, is not so strong as Pliny would have us believe. 

64 On the contrary, Fee observes, it would be not unlikely to produce 
ophthalmia of the most obstinate kind. 

65 This Fee considers to be almost impracticable. 

6<i Cisalpine Gaul. 67 See B. xiii. c, 35. 

68 See B. xii. c. 49, B. xxiv. c. 14, and B. xxxi. c. 39. 

Chap. 40.] BT7GLOSSOS. 109 

the mouth, which lasts a considerable time, and increases every 
now and then, until, in fact, it has quite parched the fauces. 


The physician Themiso, too, has conferred some celebrity 
upon the plantago, otherwise a very common plant ; indeed he 
lias written a treatise upon it, as though he had been the first 
to discover it. There are two varieties ; one, more diminu- 
tive 69 than the other, has a narrower and more swarthy leaf, 
strongly resembling a sheep* s tongue in appearance : the stem 
of it is angular and bends downwards, and it is generally found 
growing in meadow lands. The larger 70 kind has leaves 
enclosed with ribs at the sides, to all appearance, from the 
fact of which being seven 71 in number, the plant has been 
called " heptapleuron" 72 by some. The stem of it is a cubit in 
height, and strongly resembles that of the turnip. That 
which is grown in a moist soil is considered much the most 
efficacious : it is possessed of marvellous virtues as a desiccative 
and as an astringent, and has all the effect of a cautery. There 
is nothing that so effectually arrests the fluxes known by the 
Greeks as " rheumatism!. " 


To an account of the plantago may be annexed that of 
the buglossos, the leaf of which resembles an ox tongue. 73 The 
main peculiarity of this plant is, that if put into wine, it pro- 
motes 74 mirth and hilarity, whence it has obtained the additional 
name of " euphrosynurn." 75 

69 The Plantago 'lagopus of Linnaeus, according to Sibthorp ; but 
Sprengel identifies it with the Plantago lanceolata of Linnaeus, or else the 
P. maritima. 

70 The Plantago altissiraa or major of modern botany. 

71 I. e. the ribs, nerves, or sine\vs of the leaf. 

72 " Seven-sided." 

73 Whence its name, from the Greek. Sprengel and Desfontaines iden- 
tify it with the Borrago officinalis of Linnaeus, our Borage. Littre gives 
the Anchusa Italica, 

74 Though Pliny's assertion is supported by the authority of the School of 
Salerno, Fee treats it as entirely unfounded. Leaves of borage still form 
an ingredient in the beverages known as Copas and Cider-cup at Cam- 
bridge. See tbis usage, and the identity of the Buglossos discussed at 
some length by Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. ii. p. 340, John's Ed. 

75 " Promoting cheerfulness." 



To this plant we may also annex an account of the cynoglos- 
sos, 76 the leaf of which resembles a dog's tongue, and which pro- 
duces so pleasing an effect 77 in ornamental gardening. The 
root, it is said, of the kind which bears three 78 stems sur- 
mounted with seed, is very useful, taken in water, for tertian, 
and of that with four stems, for quartan, fevers. 

There is another plant 79 very similar to it, which bears 
diminutive burrs resembling those of the iappa : 79 * the root of 
it, taken in water, is curative of wounds inflicted by frogs 80 
or serpents. 


There is the buphthalmos 81 also, so called from its resem- 
blance to an ox's eye, and with a leaf like that of fennel. It 
grows in the vicinity of towns, and is a branchy plant, with 
numerous stems, which are boiled and eaten. Some persons 
give it the name of " cachla." In combination with wax, it 
disperses scirrhi. 82 


Entire nations, too, have been the discoverers of certain 
plants. The Scythse were the first to discover the plant known 
as " scythice," 83 which grows in the vicinity of the Palus 83 * 

76 " Dog's tongue." The Cynoglossum offieinale of Linnaeus, Hounds' 
tongue, or Venus' navel-wort ; or else the C. pictum of Alton. 

77 Fee is at a loss to know how it can have been employed in topiary 
work, or ornamental gardening. 

78 This statement is made by Dioscorides with reference to Arnoglossos, 
Lamb's tongue, or Plantago. See c. 39, above. 

79 Identified with the Myosotis lappula of Linnaeus, Prickly-seeded 
scorpion-grass. 79 * See B. xxi. c. 64. 

80 " Ranis." Under this name he probably includes toads. 

81 Sprengel and Desfontaines identify it with the Anthemis valentina of 
Linnaeus, the Purple-stalked camomile ; but Fee agrees with Sibthorp in 
considering it to be the Chrysanthemum segetum of Linnaeus, the Corn 
marigold, the former not being, apparently, a native of Greece. Littre gives 
the Chrysanthemum coronarium of Linnaeus, the Garland chrysanthemum. 

2 " Steatomata." Tumours of a fatty nature. 

83 Generally agreed to be identical with the Glycyrrhiza of B. xxii. c. 2, 
our Liquorice. Fee says that the G. asperrima grows in great abundance 
on the banks of the river Volga. 83 * See B. xxvii. c. 1. 

Chap. 46.] THE CESTROS. 1 1 1 

Maeotis. Among its other properties, this plant is remarkably 
sweet, and extremely useful for the affection known as 
" asthma. " It is also possessed of another great recommenda- 
tion so long as a person keeps it in his mouth, he will never 84 
experience hunger or thirst. 


The hippace, 85 another plant that grows in Scythia, is 
possessed of similar properties : it owes 86 its name to the 
circumstance that it produces the like effect upon horses. By 
the aid of these two plants, the Scythse, they say, are enabled 
to endure hunger and thirst, so long as twelve days even. 


The Thracians were the first to discover the ischsemon, 87 
which, it is said, has the property of stanching the flow of 
blood, not only when a vein has been opened, but when it has 
been cut asunder even. This is a creeping plant ; it is like 
millet in appearance, and the leaves of it are rough and lanugi- 
nous. It is used as a plug 88 for the nostrils. The kind that 
grows in Italy, attached to the body as an amulet, has the pro- 
perty of arresting haemorrhage. 



The Yettones, a people of Spain, were the original discoverers 
of the plant known as the " vettonica" 89 in Gaul, the " serra- 
tula" 90 in Italy, and the " cestros" or " psycho trophon" 91 in 

i Liquorice certainly palls the appetite, but it is very apt to create thirst. 

85 In copying from the Greek, Pliny has mistaken " hippace," a cheese 
made from mare's milk, for a plant ! It is very likely, however, that it 
would tend, like any other cheese, to appease hunger, though, probably, 
not thirst. 

86 He has probably invented this reason himself, as it is hardly probable 
that the Scythians would feed their horses with cheese, even though made 
from mare's milk. 

87 Sprengel identifies it with the Andropogon ischsemon of Linnaeus, the 
Woolly andropogon. Fee expresses his doubts as to its identification. It 
derives its name "ischaemon," from its property of stanching blood. 

** To arrest epistaxis or bleeding at the nose. 

89 The Betoniea alopecuros of Linnaeus, the Fox-tail betony. 

90 The " little saw." 

&1 " Nurtured by breezes." M. Fraas thinks that the Cestros of the 


Greece. This is a plant more highly esteemed than any other : it 
puts forth an angular stem two cubits in height, and throws out 
leaves from the root, with serrated edges, and closely resembling 
those of lapathum. 92 The seed of it is purple : the leaves are 
dried and powdered, and used for numerous purposes. There 
is a wine also prepared from it, and a vinegar, remarkably 
beneficial to the stomach and the eyesight. Indeed, this plant 
enjoys so extraordinary a reputation, that it is a common be- 
lief even that the house which contains it is insured against 
misfortunes of every kind. 


In Spain, too, is found the cantabrica, 93 which was first dis- 
covered by the nation of the Cantabri in the time of the late 
Emperor Augustus. It grows everywhere in those parts, having 
a stem like that of the bulrush, a foot in height, and bearing 
small oblong flowers, like a calathus 94 in shape, and enclos- 
ing an extremely diminutive seed. 

Nor indeed, in other respects, have the people of Spain 
been wanting in their researches into the nature of plants ; for 
at the present day even it is the custom in that country, at 
their more jovial entertainments, to use a drink called the 
hundred-plant drink, combined with a proportion of honied 
wine; it being their belief, that the wine is rendered more whole- 
some and agreeable by the admixture of these plants. It still 
remains unknown to us, what these different plants are, or in 
what number exactly they are used : as to this last question, 
however, we may form some conclusion from the name that is 
given to the beverage. 


Our own age, too, can remember the fact of a plant being 
discovered in the country of the Marsi. It is found growing 
also in the neighbourhood of the village of Kervesia, in the 
territory of the JEquicoli, and is known by the name of 

Greeks is a different plant from the Vettonica of the Romans, and identifies 
it with the Sideritis Syriaca. 92 See B. xx. e. 85. 

93 Pliny is the only author that mentions the Cantabrica, and his account, 
Fee thinks, is too meagre to enahle us satisfactorily to identify it with the 
Convolvulus cantahrica of Linnasus. 

84 A conical work-basket or cup. See B, xxi. c. 11, 

Chap. 49.] THE IBEKIS. 113 

" consiligo." 9 ' It is very useful, as we shall have occasion to 
mention 96 in the appropriate place, in cases of phthisis where 
recovery is considered more than doubtful. 


It is but very lately, too, that Servilius Democrates, one of 
our most eminent physicians, first called attention to a plant 
to which he gave the name of iberis, 97 a fanciful appellation 98 
only, bestowed by him upon this discovery of his in the 
verses by him devoted 99 to it. This plant is found mostly 
growing in the vicinity of ancient monuments, old walls, and 
overgrown footpaths : it is an evergreen, and its leaves are 
like those of nasturtium, with a stem a cubit in height, and a 
seed so diminutive as to be hardly perceptible ; the root, too, 
has just the smell of nasturtium. Its properties are more 
strongly developed in summer, and it is only used fresh- 
gathered : there is considerable difficulty in pounding it. 

Mixed with a small proportion of axle- grease, it is extremely 
useful for sciatica and all diseases of the joints ; the application 
being kept on some four hours at the utmost, when used by 
the male sex, and about half that time in the case of females. 
Immediately after its removal, the patient must take a warm 
bath, and then anoint the body all over with oil and wine 
the same operation being repeated every twenty days, so long 
as there are any symptoms of pain remaining. A similar 
method is adopted for the cure of all internal defluxions ; it 

95 Sprengel and other commentators identify it with the Pulmonaria 
officinalis of Linnaeus, Lungwort or Pulmonary. Others, again, consider it 
to he the Veratrum album of Linnaeus, or "White hellebore. Fee considers 
that its synonym has not hitherto been discovered. Holland calls it Bear- 
foot. 96 B. xxvi. c. 21. 

97 Fee identifies it with the Lepidium graminifolium of Linnaeus, Grass- 
leaved pepperwort ; Desfontaines with the L. Iberis of Linnaeus, Bushy 
pepperwort Littre gives as its synonym the Iberis amara of Linnaeus, 
the White candy-tuft. 

98 " Fictum nomen." Salmasius thinks that by these words, Pliny 
means that Democrates invented the name of a friend of his as being the 
discoverer of this plant, which in reality was discovered by himself. It 
would seem to mean, however, that the name " iberis " was only a fanciful 
title, derived from the country where it was found, and given to it for want 
of acquaintance with its real name. 

99 Still preserved in Galen, B. x. c. 2. 

VOL. v. I 


is never applied, however, so long as the inflammation is at its 
height, but only when it has somewhat abated. 



The brute animals also have been the discoverers of certain 
plants : among them, we will name chelidonia first of all. It 
is by the aid of this plant that the swallow restores the sight 
of the young birds in the nest, and even, as some persons will 
have it, when the eyes have been plucked out. There are two 
varieties of this plant ; the larger 1 kind has a branchy stem, and 
a leaf somewhat similar to that of the wild parsnip, 2 but 
larger. The plant itself is some two cubits in height, and of 
a whitish colour, that of the flower being yellow. The smaller 3 
kind has leaves like those of ivy, only rounder and not so 
white. The juice of it is pungent, and resembles saffron in 
colour, and the seed is similar to that of the poppy. 

These plants blossom, 4 both of them, at the arrival of the 
swallow, and wither at the time of its departure. The juice 
is extracted while they are in flower, and is boiled gently in a 
copper vessel on hot ashes, with Attic honey, being esteemed 
a sovereign remedy for films upon the eyes. This juice is 
employed also, unmixed with any other substance, for the 
eyesalves, 5 which from it take their name of " chelidonia." 


Dogs, too, are in the habit of seeking a certain plant, as a 
stimulant to the appetite ; but although they eat it in our 
presence, it has never yet been discovered what it is, it being 
quite impossible to recognize it when seen half-chewed. 
There has also been remarked another bit of spitefulness in 
this animal, though in a much greater degree, in reference to 

1 The Chelidonium majus of Linnaeus, the Greater celandine or swallow- 
wort. 2 " Pastinaca erratica." See c. 64 of this Book. 

3 Identified with the Ranunculus ficaria of Linnaeus, the Pilewort, or 
Lesser celandine. 

4 The same is the case, Fee remarks, with numbers of other plants. 

5 "Collyriis." 

6 The Dactylos of B. xxiv. c. 119, is supposed to be the plant alluded to. 
The word " canariam " is found here in former editions, but Sillig 1 omits 
it. Indeed Pliny seems to say that it is quite unknown to him. 

Chap. 53.] DICTAMNON. 115 

another plant. When stung by a serpent, it cures itself, they 
say, by eating a certain herb, taking care, however, never to 
gather it in presence of man. 


The hind, with a much greater degree of frankness, has dis- 
covered to us the elaphoboscon, a plant of which we have 
already 7 spoken, and which is also called " helxine," 8 from the 
assistance it affords those animals in yeaning. 



It is the hind, too, that, as already 9 stated, first made us ac- 
quainted with dictamnon, 10 or dittany ; for when wounded, it 
eats some of this plant, and the weapon immediately falls from 
the body. This plant grows nowhere 11 but in Crete. The 
branches of it are remarkably thin ; it resembles pennyroyal 
in appearance, and is hot and acrid to the taste. The leaves 
are the only part employed, it being destitute of 12 blossom, 
seed, and stem : the root is thin, and never used. In Crete 
even, it is found growing only in a very limited locality, and 
is sought by goats with singular avidity. 

In place of it, the pseudodictamnum 13 is employed, a plant 
that is found growing in many countries. In leaf it is similar 
to the other, but the branches are more diminutive : by some 
persons it is known as " chondris." Its properties not being 
so strongly developed, the difference is immediately recognized : 
for an infusion of the very smallest piece of the real dittany, 

7 In B. xxii. c. 37. 

8 From the Greek e'Xicw, " to draw." 

9 In B. viii. c. 41. 

10 The Origanum dictamnus of Linnaeus, Dittany of Candia. 

11 This is an error : it grows, and doubtless did in Pliny's time, in 
numerous other places ; but that of Mount Ida in Crete was held in the 
highest esteem. 

12 It has all three, in fact ; as Fee says, it is evident that Pliny never 
saw it. Its medicinal properties are no longer held in any esteem. 

13 " False-dittany." It is generally identified with the Marrubium 
pseudodictamnus of Linnaeus, the Shrubby white horehound ; though per- 
haps on insufficient grounds. 

I 2 


is sufficient to burn the mouth. The persons who gather it 
are in the habit of enclosing it in a stem of fennel-giant or in a 
reed, which they close at the ends that the virtues of it may 
not escape. Some persons say, that both plants grow indis- 
criminately in numerous localities, the inferior sort being the 
produce of rich soils, and the genuine dittany being found 
nowhere but in rugged, uncultivated spots. 

There is, again, a third 14 plant called " dictamnum," which, 
however, has neither the appearance nor the properties of the 
other plant so called ; the leaves of it are like those of sisym- 
brium, 15 but the branches are larger. 

There has long been this impression with reference to Crete, 
that whatever plant grows there is infinitely superior in its 
properties to a similar plant the produce of any other country ; 
the second rank being given to the produce of Mount Parnassus. 
In addition to this, it is generally asserted that simples of ex- 
cellent quality are found upon Mount Pelion in Thessaly, 
Mount Teleuthrius in Eubcea, and throughout the whole of 
Arcadia and Laconia, Indeed, the Arcadians, they say, are 
in the habit of using, not the simples themselves, but milk, 
in the spring season more particularly ; a period at which the 
field plants are swollen with juice, and the milk is medicated 
by their agency. It is cows' milk in especial that they use 
for this purpose, those animals being in the habit of feeding 
upon nearly every kind of plant. The potent properties of 
plants are manifested by their action upon four-footed animals 
in two very remarkable instances : in the vicinity of Abdera 
and the tract known as the Boundary 16 of Diomedes, the horses, 
after pasturing, become inflamed with frantic fury ; the same 
is the case, too, with the male asses, in the neighbourhood of 



In the number of the most celebrated plants is the aristo- 

14 Fee is inclined, with Sprengel, to identify it with the Origanum 
Creticum of Linnaeus. Other commentators have suggested the Origanum 
Tournefortii, the Thymus mastichina of Linnaeus, and the Marrubium 
acetabulosum of Linnaeus. 

15 See B. xx. c. 91. 16 " Limes Diomcdis." 

Chap. 54.] THE AKISTOLOCHIA. 117 

lochia, which would appear to have derived its name from 
females in a state of pregnancy, as being apiGrri Xo^ou<ra/$, 17 
Among us, however, it is known as the " malum terrse," or 
apple of the earth, 18 four different varieties of it being dis- 
tinguished. One of these has a root covered with tubercles of 
a rounded 19 shape, and leaves of a mixed appearance, between 
those of the mallow and the ivy, only softer and more swarthy. 
The second 20 kind is the male plant, with an elongated root 
some four fingers in length, and the thickness of a walking- 
stick. A third 21 variety is extremely thin and long, similar to 
a young vine in appearance : it has the most strongly-marked 
properties of them all, and is known by the additional names 
of " clematitis," and "cretica." All these plants are the 
colour of boxwood, have a slender stem, and bear a purple flower 
and small berries like those of the caper : the root is the only 
part that is possessed of any virtues. 

There is also a fourth 22 kind, the name given to which is 
" plistolochia ;" it is more slender than the one last mentioned, 
has a root thickly covered with filaments, and is about as thick 
as a good-sized bulrush : another name given to it is " polyr- 
rhizos." The smell of all these plants is medicinal, but that of 
the one with an oblong root and a very slender stem, is the most 
agreeable : this last, in fact, which has a fleshy outer coat, is 
well adapted as an ingredient for nardine unguents even. They 
grow in rich champaign soils, and the best time for gathering 
them is harvest ; after the earth is scraped from off them, they 
are put by for keeping. 

The aristolochia that is the most esteemed, however, is that 

17 "Most excellent for pregnancy." 18 See B. xxvi. c. 56. 

19 Identified by Fee with the Aristolochia rotunda of Linnseus, Kounded 
birthwort, a native of the south of France and the southern parts of 
Europe. Littre gives the Aristolochia pallida of Willdenow. 

20 Most probably the Aristolochia longa of Linnaeus, found in France, 
Spain, Portugal, and Italy, Littre gives as its synonym the Aristolochia 
parvifolia of Sibthorp. 

21 The Aristolochia clematis of Linnaeus, almost identical with the 
Aristolochia Cretica and Baetica. 

22 The Aristolochia plistolochia of Linnaeus, the Spanish branching 
stemmed birthwort. Fee thinks that these identifications, though probable 
enough, are not altogether satisfactory, and that the Greeks may have made 
these distinctions between varieties of the plant comparatively unknown to 
the rest of Europe. They are no longer held in any esteem for their 
medicinal properties. 


which comes from Pontus ; but whatever the soil may happen 
to be, the more weighty it is, the better adapted it is for me- 
dicinal purposes. The aristolochia with a round root is re- 
commended for the stings of serpents, and that with an oblong 
root * * * * But in this is centred its principal repu- 
tation ; applied to the uterus with raw beef, as a pessary, im- 
mediately after conception, it will ensure the birth of male'" 3 
issue, they say. The fishermen on the coasts of Campania 
give the round root the name of "poison of the earth ;" and I 
myself have seen them pound it with lime, and throw it into 
the sea ; immediately on which the fish flew towards it with 
surprising avidity, and being struck dead in an instant, floated 
upon the surface. 

The kind that is known as " polyrrhizos," 24 is remarkably 
good, they say, for convulsions, contusions, and falls with 
violence, an infusion of the root being taken in water : the 
seed, too, is useful for pleurisy and affections of the sinews. It 
is considered, too, to be possessed of warming and strengthening 
properties, similar to those of satyrion, 26 in fact. 



But it will be as well now to mention the various uses made 
of these plants, and the effects produced by them, beginning 
with that most dangerous of all evils that can befall us, stings 
inflicted by serpents. In such cases the plant britannica 27 
effects a cure, and the same is the case with the root of all the 
varieties of panaces, 28 administered in wine. The flower, too, 
and seed of panaces chironion are taken in drink, or applied 
externally with wine and oil : cunila bubula, 29 too, is looked 
upon as particularly useful for this purpose, and the root of 
polemonia or philetaeris is taken in doses of four drachmae in 
unmixed wine. Teucria, 30 sideritis, 31 and scordotis, 32 are used 
in wine, plants particularly good,, all of them, for injuries in- 
flicted by snakes ; the juice or leaves, or else a decoction of 

23 See B. xxvi. c. 91. 24 " With many roots." 

26 See B. xxvi. c. 62. See c. 6 of this Book. 

28 See cc. 11, 12, 13, 14, of this Book. 

29 See B. xx. c. 61. 30 See B. xxiv. c. 80. 

31 See c. 15 of this Book. 32 See c. 27 of this Book. 

Chap. 56.] THE ARGEHONIA. 119 

them, being taken in drink or applied to the wound. For a 
similar purpose also, the root of the greater centaury is taken, 
in doses of one drachma to three cyathi of white wine. Gentian, 
too, is particularly good for the stings of snakes, taken either 
fresh or dried, in doses of two drachmae, mixed with rue and 
pepper in six cyathi of wine. The odour, too, of lysima- 
chia 53 puts serpents to flight. 

Chelidonia 34 is also given in wine to persons who have been 
stung ; and betony in particular is used as an external appli- 
cation to the wound, a plant the virtues of which are so ex- 
traordinary, it is said, that if a circle of it is traced around a 
serpent, it will lash itself to death 35 with its tail. The seed 
of this plant is also administered in such cases, in doses of one 
denarius to three cyathi of wine ; or else it is dried and pow- 
dered, and applied to the wound, in the proportion of three 
denarii of powder to one sextarius of water. 

Cantabrica, dittany, and aristolochia, are also similarly used, 
one drachma of the root of this last plant being taken every 
now and then in a semisextarius of wine. It is very useful 
too, rubbed in with vinegar, and the same is the case, also, 
with plistolochia : 36 indeed it will be quite sufficient to suspend 
this last over the hearth, to make all serpents leave the house. 


The argemonia, 37 too, is remedial in such cases ; the root of 
it being taken, in doses of one denarius, in three cyathi of 
wine. It will be as well, however, to enter into some further 
details in reference to this plant and others, which I shall have 
occasion next to mention ; it being my intention first to describe, 
under each head, those plants which are the most efficacious 
for the treatment of the affection under consideration. 

The argemonia has leaves like those of the anemone, but 
divided 38 like those of parsley : the head grows upon a slender 
stem resembling that of the wild poppy, and the root is also 

33 See c. 35 of this Book. 34 See c. 50 of this Book. 

35 See B. xvi. c. 24. 

86 See c. 54 of this Book. As Fee remarks, these asserted remedies for 
the stings of serpents are not deserving of discussion. 

37 The Papaver argemone of Linnaeus, the Bough poppy. It is a native 
of France, and many other parts of Europe. 

38 This, Fee remarks, is not stated by Dioscorides, whose description is 
more correct. 


very similar to that of the same plant. The juice is of a 
saffron colour, acrid and pungent: the plant is commonly 
found in the fields of this country. Among us there are three* 9 
varieties of it distinguished, the one being the most highly 
approved of, the root of which smells 40 like frankincense.* 1 


Agaric 42 is found growing in the form of a fungus of a white 
colour, upon the trees in the vicinity of the Bosporus. It is 
administered in doses of four oboli, beaten up in two cyathi of 
oxymel. The kind that grows in Galatia is generally looked 
upon as not so efficacious. The male 43 agaric is firmer than 
the other, and more bitter ; it is productive too of head- ache. 
The female plant is of a looser texture ; it has a sweet taste at 
first, which speedily changes into a bitter flavour. 


Of the echios there are two kinds; one 44 of which resembles 
pennyroyal in appearance, and has a concave leaf. It is ad- 
ministered, in doses of two drachmae, in four cyathi of wine. 
The other 45 kind is distinguished by a prickly down, and bears 
small heads resembling those of vipers : it is usually taken in 
wine and vinegar. Some persons give the name of " echios 
personata " 48 to a kind of echios with larger leaves than the 
others, and burrs of considerable size, resembling that of the 
lappa. 47 The root of this plant is boiled and administered in 

39 It is supposed by commentators that he is in error here, and that this 
description applies to the Lappa banaria, mentioned in B. xxiv. c. 116. 

40 The root of the Papaver argemone has no such smell. 

41 See B. xxi. c. 94, B. xxiv. c. 116, and B. xxvi. c. 59. 

42 The Boletus agaricum of Aiton, or White agaric. It is a strong 
purgative, but is rarely used for that purpose. 

43 This distinction into male and female is no longer recognized, 
though it continued to be so till within the last century. 

44 Desfontaines identifies it with the Saponaria ocimoides. Fee thinks 
it may have possibly been some kind of sage, or else a variety of the La- 
vendula stcechas of Linnaeus, French lavender. Littre gives the Silene 
Gallica of Linnaeus, the Gallic catchfly. 

45 Identified by Fee with the Pseudanchusa, Echis, or Doris of B. xxii. 
c. 24, the Anchusa Italica of Linnaeus. Littre gives the Echium rubrum 
of Linnaeus. 

46 The Arctium lappa of Linnfeus, probably, our Great clot-burr. See 
B. xxi. c. 51. *7 See B. xxi. c. 64. 

Chap. 59.] HIEBABOTANE. 121 

Henbane, pounded with the leaves on, is taken in wine, for 
the sting of the asp in particular. 



But among the Romans there is no plant that enjoys a more 
extended renown than hierabotane, 48 known to some persons 
as " peristereon," 49 and among us more generally as " verbe- 
naca." 50 It is this plant that we have already 51 mentioned as 
being borne in the hands of envoys when treating with the 
enemy, with this that the table of Jupiter is cleansed, 52 with 
this that houses are purified and due expiation made. There 
are two varieties of it : the one that is thickly covered with 
leaves 53 is thought to be the female plant ; that with fewer 
leaves, 54 the male. Both kinds have numerous thin branches, 
a cubit in length, and of an angular form. The leaves are 
smaller than those of the quercus, and narrower, with larger 
indentations. The flower is of a grey colour, and the root 
is long and thin. This plant is to be found growing every- 
where, in level humid localities. Some persons make no 
distinction between these two varieties, and look upon them as 
identical, from the circumstance of their being productive of 
precisely similar effects. 

The people in the Gallic provinces make use of them both for 
soothsaying purposes, and for the prediction of future events ; 
but it is the magicians more particularly that give utterance to 
such ridiculous follies in reference to this plant. Persons, they 
tell us, if they rub themselves with it will be sure to gain the 
object of their desires ; and they assure us that it keeps away 
fevers, conciliates friendship, and is a cure for every possible 
disease ; they say, too, that it must be gathered about the 
rising of the Dog-star but so as not to be shone upon by sun 
or moon and that honey-combs and honey must be first pre- 
sented to the earth by way of expiation. They tell us also 

48 "Holy plant." 49 "_ Pigeon plant." 

so o ur u vervain." It was much used in philtres, and was as highly 
esteemed as the mistletoe by the people of Gaul. It is no longer used in 
medicine. 51 In B. xxii. c. 3. 

52 On the occasion of the Feasts of Jupiter in the Capitol, prepared by 
the Septemviri. 

33 The Verbena supina of Linnaeus. Recumbent vervain. 

54 The Verbena officinalis of Linnaeus, Vervain or holy plant. 


that a circle must first be traced around it with iron ; after 
which it must be taken up with the left hand, and raised aloft, 
care being taken to dry the leaves, stem, and root, separately 
in the shade. To these statements they add, that if the ban- 
queting couch is sprinkled with water in which it has been 
steeped, merriment and hilarity will be greatly promoted 

As a remedy for the stings of serpents, this plant is bruised 
in wine. 


There is a plant very similar in appearance to verbascum, 55 
so much so, indeed, as to be frequently gathered for it by mis- 
take. The leaves, 56 however, are not so white, the stems are 
more numerous, and the flower is of a yellow colour. Thrown 
upon the ground, this plant attracts black beetles 57 to it, whence 
its Roman appellation " blattaria." 


Lemonium 68 furnishes a milky juice, which thickens like 
gum. It grows in moist, watery localities, and is generally 
administered, in doses of one denarius, in wine. 


There is no one to whom quinquefolium 59 is unknown, being 
recommended by a sort of strawberry 60 which it bears : The 
Greeks give it the name of pentapetes, 61 pentaphyllon, 61 and 
chamaezelon. 62 The root, when taken up, is red; but as it 

65 See c. 73 of this Book. 

56 Mostly identified with the third Phlomos, mentioned in c. 74 of 
this Book. Littre gives as its synonym the Phlomis fruticosa of Linnaeus, 
Jerusalem sage, or tree-sage, 57 " Blattse." 

6 s Not the " Limonion" of B. xx. c. 28, as the Statice limonium emits 
no juice. Desfontaines identifies it with the Scolymos or Limonia of B. 
xxii. c. 43 ; but Fee is inclined to think that Pliny is speaking of the 
Atractylis gummifera, but has made a mistake in the name. 

sa Or " five-leaved." Most probably the Potentilla reptans of Linnseus, 
our Cinquefoil, or Five-leaved grass. Sprengei, however, identifies it with 
the Tormentilla reptans of Linnaeus, the Tormentil ; and other authorities 
with the Potentilla rupestris of Linnaeus. 

50 Its fruit is dry, and bears no resemblance to the strawberry. 

6i Five-leaved." 62 " Creeping on the' ground." 

Chap. 64.] THE DAUCUS, 123 

dries it becomes black and angular. Its name is derived from 
the number of its leaves : it puts forth and withers with the 
leaves of the vine. This plant also is employed in the purifica- 
tion of houses. 


The root, too, of the plant known as the sparganion, 63 is 
taken in white wine, as a remedy for the stings of serpents. 



Petronius Diodotus has distinguished four kinds of daucus, 
which it would be useless here to describe, the varieties being 
in reality but two 64 in number. The most esteemed kind is that 
of Crete, 65 the next best being the produce of Achaia, and of 
all dry localities. It resembles fennel in appearance, only 
that its leaves are whiter, more diminutive, and hairy on the 
surface. The stem is upright, and a foot in length, and the root 
has a remarkably pleasant taste and smell. This kind grows 
in stony localities with a southern aspect. 

The inferior sorts are found growing everywhere, upon de- 
clivities for instance, and in the hedges of fields, but always in 
a rich soil. The leaves are like those of coriander, 66 the stem 
being a cubit in length, the heads round, often three or more in 
number, and the root ligneous, and good for nothing when 
dry. The seed of this kind is like that of cummin, while that 
of the first kind bears a resemblance to millet ; in all cases 
it is white, acrid, hot, and odoriferous. The seed of the 
second kind has more active properties than that of the first ; 
for which reason it should be used more sparingly. 

If it is considered really desirable to recognize a third 

63 Identified by Fee with the Sparganium ramosura of Linnaeus, or 
Branchy burr-reed. Littre gives the Butonus umbellatus of linnaeus, the 
Flowering rush, or Water gladiole. 

64 Fee remarks, that the account given by Pliny has not the same pre- 
cision as that of Dioscorides, who describes three varieties of the Daucus. 

65 Fee is inclined to identify the Daucus of Crete and Achaia with the 
Daucus Creticus of Fuchsius, the Athamanta annua of Linnaeus. Des- 
fontaines identifies it with the Athamanta Cretensis of Linnaeus. 

66 This kind is identified by Fee with the Seseli ammoides of Linnaeus, 
and by Littre with the Ammi majus of Linnaeus, the Common or Greater 
bishop's weed. 


variety of the daucus, there is a plant 67 of this nature very 
similar to the staphy linos, known as the " pastinaca 68 erratica," 
with an oblong seed and a sweet root. Quadrupeds will touch 
none of these plants, either in winter or in summer, except 
indeed, after abortion. 69 The seed of the various kinds is used, 
with the exception of that of Crete, in which case it is the 
root that is employed ; this root being particularly useful for the 
stings of serpents. The proper dose is one drachma, taken in 
wine. It is administered also to cattle when stung by those 


The therionarca, altogether a different plant from that of 
the Magi, 70 grows in our own climates, and is a branchy plant, 
with greenish leaves, and a rose-coloured flower. It has a 
deadly effect upon serpents, and the very contact of it is suf- 
ficient to benumb 71 a wild beast, of whatever kind it be. 


The persolata, 72 a plant known to every one, and called 
" arcion" by the Greeks, has a leaf, larger, thicker, more 
swarthy, and more hairy than that of the gourd even, with a 
large white root. This plant also is taken, in doses of two 
denarii, in wine. 

67 Identified by Sprengel with the Daucus Mauritanicus, and by Brotero 
and Desfontaines with the Daucus carota, var. a, our Common carrot. Fee 
seems inclined to identify it with the Athamanta cervaria of Linnseus, 
Mountain carrot, or Broad-leaved spignel. The account given by Pliny 
is, however, a mass of confusion. 

es Or " wild parsnip." See B. xix. c. 27. 

69 For the purpose of expelling the dead foetus, according to Dioscorides, 
B. iii. c. 83. 

70 See B. xxiv. c. 102. The plant here spoken of has not been identified, 
but the Epilobium angustifolium, montanum, tetragonum, &c., varieties of 
the Willow-herb, have been suggested. They are destitute, however, of 
all poisonous qualities. 

71 Hence its name " Benumbing wild beasts." 

72 Fee thinks that there is an error in the name, and that it is the " per- 
sonata" that is here spoken of, the plant already mentioned in c. 58 of 
this Book. Hardouin identifies it with the Tussilago petasites the Butter- 
burr, according to Nemnich but apparently without any sufficient au- 



So too, the root of cyclaminos 73 is good for injuries inflicted 
by serpents of all kinds. It has leaves smaller than those of 
ivy, thinner, more swarthy, destitute of angles, and covered 
with whitish spots. The stem is thin and hollow, the flowers 
of a purple colour, and the root large and covered with a 
black rind ; so much so, in fact, that it might almost be taken 
for the root of rape. This plant grows in umbrageous local- 
ities, and by the people of our country is known as the "tuber 
terrae." 74 It ought to be grown in every house, if there is any 
truth in the assertion that wherever it grows, noxious spells 
can have no effect. This plant is also what is called an 
" amulet ;" and taken in wine, they say, it produces all the 
symptoms and appearances of intoxication. The root is dried, 
cut in pieces, like the squill, and put away for keeping. When 
wanted, a decoction is made of it, of the consistency of honey. 
Still, however, it has some deleterious 75 properties ; and a 
pregnant woman, it is said, if she passes over the root of it, 
will be sure to miscarry. 


There is also another kind of cyclaminos, known by the ad- 
ditional name of " cissanthemos ;" 76 the stems of it, which are 
jointed, are good for nothing. It is altogether different from 
the preceding plant, and entwines around the trunks of trees. 
It bears a berry similar to that of the ivy, but soft ; and the 
flower is white and pleasing to the sight. The root is never 
used. The berries are the only part of it in use, 'being of an 

73 Fee identifies it with the Cyclamen hederaefolium of Alton, the Ivy- 
leaved sow-bread ; Littre with the Cyclamen Grsecum of Lamarck. 

74 " Tuberosity of the earth." 

75 *' Suum venenum ei est." Gerard seems to have had a worse opinion 
of it than our author ; for he states in his Herbal, p. 845, that he had ex- 
perienced great misfortunes owing to his imprudence in having cultivated 
Cyclamen in his garden. 

76 Ivy-flowered." It resembles the other plant in nothing but the 
name. Fee is inclined, with Desfontaines, to identify it with the Lonicera 
caprifolium of Linnaeus, the Italian honeysuckle, though that plant bears 
no resemblance in either leaf or flower to the ivy. The Lonicera pericly- 
menum of Linn feus, the Common woodbine or honeysuckle, has been also 
suggested, as well as the Brvonia alba, Solanum dulcamara, and Cucubalus 


acrid, viscous taste. They are dried in the shade, after which 
they are pounded and divided into lozenges. 


A third kind 77 of cyclaminos has also been shown to me, the 
additional name of which is " chamsecissos." It consists of 
but a single leaf, with a branchy root, formerly employed for 
killing fish. 


But in the very first rank among these plants, stands peuceda- 
num, 78 the most esteemed kind of which is that of Arcadia, the 
next best being that of Samothrace. The stem resembles that of 
fennel, is thin and long, covered with leaves close to the ground, 
and terminating in a thick black juicy root, with a powerful smell. 
It grows on umbrageous mountains, and is taken up at the end 
of autumn. The largest and tenderest roots are the most es- 
teemed ; they are cut with bone-knives into slips four fingers 
in length, and left to shed their juice 79 in the shade ; the persons 
employed taking the precaution of rubbing the head and nos- 
trils with rose- oil, as a preservative against vertigo. 

There is also another kind of juice, which adheres to the 
stems, and exudes from incisions made therein. It is con- 
sidered best when it has arrived at the consistency of honey : 
the colour of it is red, and it has a strong but agreeable smell, 
and a hot, acrid taste. This juice, as well as the root and a 
decoction of it, enters into the composition of numerous medica- 
ments, but the juice has the most powerful properties of 
the two. Diluted with bitter almonds or rue, it is taken in 
drink as a remedy for injuries inflicted by serpents. Eubbed 
upon the body with oil, it is a preservative against the attacks 
of those reptiles. 

77 According to Brotero, it is the Parnassia palustris of Tournefort, an 
opinion with which Fee is inclined to agree. Sprengel considers it to be 
the same as the Convallaria bifolia of Linnasus, our Small lily of the valley, 
and identifies it with the one-leafed Ceratia of B. xxvi. c. 34. Littre 
names the Antirrhinum asarina of Linnaeus, the Bastard asarum. 

78 The Peucedanum officinale of Linnaeus, Sulphur- wort, or Hog's fennel. 
It receives its name from a fancied resemblance between its fruit and that 
of the " Peuce," or pitch-tree. 

79 This juice, Fee remarks, is no longer known. 

Chap. 74.] THE PHLOMIS. 127 


A fumigation, too, of ebulum, 80 a plant known to every one, 
will put serpents to flight. 


The root of polemonia, 81 even worn as an amulet only, is 
particularly useful for repelling the attacks of scorpions, as also 
the phalangium and other small insects of a venomous nature. 
For injuries inflicted by the scorpion, aristolochia 82 is also used, 
or agaric, in doses of four oboli to four cyathi of wine. For 
the bite of the phalangium, vervain is employed, in combina- 
tion with wine or oxy crate : cinquefoil, too, aod daucus, are 
used for a similar purpose. 


Verbascum has the name of " phlomos" with the Greeks. 
Of this plant there are two principal kinds ; the white, 83 which 
is considered to be the male, and the black, 84 thought to be the 
female. There is a third 85 kind, also, which is only found in 
the woods. The leaves of these plants are larger than those of 
the cabbage, and have a hairy surface: the stem is upright, and 
more than a cubit in height, and the seed black, and never 
used. The root is single, and about the thickness of the finger. 
The two principal kinds are found growing in champaign locali- 
ties. The wild verbascum has leaves like those of elelisphacus, 86 
but of an elongated form ; the branches are ligneous. 



There are also two 87 varieties of the phlomis, hairy plants, 

80 Or Wall-wort. See B. xxiv. c. 35. and B. xxvi. c. 49. 

81 See c. 28 of this Book. 82 See c. 54 of this Book. 

83 Identified by Fee with the Verbascum thapsus of Linnaeus, Great 
mullein, High-taper, or Cow's lung-wort. 

84 Identified by Fee with the Verbascum sinuatum of Linnaeus. Des- 
fontaines considers this to be the male plant of Pliny, and the V. thapsus 
to be the female. 

85 Fee considers this to be the same as the Blattaria mentioned in c. 60, 
and identifies it with the Verbascum phlomoides of Linnaeus. Sprengel 
and Desfontaines consider it to be the Phlomis lychnitiu of Linnaeus. Littre 
gives the Phlomis fruticosa of Linnaeus, the Jerusalem sage, or Tree sage. 

86 See B. xxii. c 71. 

67 Fee identifies these two kinds with the Phlomis fruticosa of Linnaeus ; 


with rounded leaves, and but little elevated above the surface 
of the earth. A third kind, again, is known as the " lychnitis" 88 
by some persons, and as the " thryallis" by others : it has three 
leaves only, or four at the very utmost, thick and unctuous, 
and well adapted for making wicks for lamps. The leaves of 
the phlomos which we have mentioned as the female plant, if 
wrapped about figs, will preserve them most efficiently from 
decay, it is said. It seems little better than a loss of time to 
give the distinguishing characteristics of these three 89 kinds, 
the effects of them all being precisely the same. 

For injuries inflicted by scorpions, an infusion of the root 
is taken, with rue, in water. Its bitterness is intense, but it 
is quite as efficacious as the plants already mentioned. 


The thelyphonon 90 is a plant known as the "scorpio" to some, 
from the peculiar form of its roots, the very touch of which 
kills 91 the scorpion: hence it is that it is taken in drink for stings 
inflicted by those reptiles. If a dead scorpion is rubbed with 
white hellebore, it will come to life, they say. The thelypho- 
non is fatal to all quadrupeds, on the application of the root to 
the genitals. The leaf too, which bears a resemblance to that 
of cyclaminos, is productive of a similar effect, in the course of 
the same day. It is a jointed plant, and is found growing in 
unbrageous localities. Juice of betony or of plantago is a 
preservative against the venom of the scorpion. 



Frogs, too, have their venom, the bramble- frog 92 in particular, 

Spvengel and Desfontaines consider the second kind to be the Phlomis 
Italica of Smith ; on insufficient grounds, Fee thinks. Littre mentions 
the Sideritis Romana and S. elegans of Linnaeus. 

88 The " Lamp plant." It is mostly identified with the Verbascum 
lychnitis of Linnaeus, the "White mullein. Fee is somewhat doubtful on 
the point. It is doubtful whether it is not the same as the Thryallis, men- 
tioned in B. xxi. c. 61. Littre identifies it with the Phlomis lychnitis. 

89 In the last paragraph he is speaking of the Phlomos, here he evidently 
reverts to the Phlomis. 

so Q r Female killer." See B. xxvii. c. 2. 

91 Dioscorides states, somewhat more rationally, that this plant strikes 
the scorpion with torpor, and that the contact of hellebore revives it. 

92 "Rubetis." A kind of toad, probably. See B. viii. c. 48, B. xi. c. 
16, and B. xxxii. c. 18. 

Chap. 77.] THE ALISMA. 129 

and I myself have seen the Psylli, in their exhibitions, 
irritate them by placing them upon flat vessels made red hot, 93 
their bite being fatal more instantaneously than the sting even 
of the asp. One remedy for their poison is the phrynion, 94 
taken in wine, which has also the additional names of "neuras" 95 
and " poterion :" it bears a small flower, and has numerous 
fibrous roots, with an agreeable smell. 



Similar, too, are the properties of the alisma, 96 known to some 
persons as the " damasonion," and as the " lyron " to others. 
The leaves of it would be exactly those of the plantago, were it 
not that they are narrower, more jagged at the edges, and 
bent downwards in a greater degree. In other respects, they 
present the same veined appearance as those of the plantago. 
This plant has a single stem, slender, a cubit in height, and 
terminated by a spreading head. 97 The roots of it are nume- 
rous, thin like those of black hellebore, acrid, unctuous, and 
odoriferous : it is found growing in watery localities. 

There is another kind also, which grows in the woods, of a 
more swarthy colour, and with larger leaves. The root of 
them both is used for injuries inflicted by frogs and by the 
sea-hare, 98 in doses of one drachma taken in wine. Cycla- 
minos, too, is an antidote for injuries inflicted by the sea-hare. 

The bite of the mad dog has certain venomous properties, 
as an antidote to which we have the cynorrhodos, of which 

93 Schneider, on Nicander's Alexiph. p. 277, says that he cannot under- 
stand this passage. There is little doubt that Sillig is right in his con- 
jecture that it is imperfect, for the pith of the narrative, whatever it may 
have been, is evidently wanting. The Psylli were said to be proof against 
all kinds of poisons. * See B. viii. c. 38, and B. xi. c. 30 ; also Lucan's 
Pharsalia, B. ix. 1. 192, et seq. 

04 See also B. xxvii. c. 97. Fee identifies it with the Astragalus Creticus 
of Lamarck, Desfontaines with the Astragalus poterium. 

95 The "nerve-plant" and the " drinking-plant," apparently. 

96 Sprengel identifies it with the Alisma Parnassifolium of Linnajus ; but 
as that plant is not found in Greece, Sibthorp suggests the Alisma plantago 
of Linnaeus, the Great water-plantain. It has no medicinal properties, 
though it was esteemed till very recent times as curative of hydrophobia. 

97 "Capite thyrsi." 

98 See B. ix. c. 72, and B. xxxii. c. 3. 

TOL. T. K 


we have spoken" elsewhere already. The plantago is useful 
for the bites of all kinds of animals, either taken in drink or 
applied topically to the part affected. Betony is taken on 
similar occasions, in old wine, unmixed. 


The name of peristereos 1 is given to a plant with a tall stem, 
covered with leaves, and throwing out other stems from the top. 
It is much sought hy pigeons, to which circumstance it 
owes its name. Dogs will never bark, they say, at persons 
who have this plant about them. 


Closely approaching in their nature to these various kinds of 
poisons, are those which have been devised by man for his own 
destruction. In the number of antidotes to all these artificial 
poisons as well as to the spells of sorcery, the very first place 
must be accorded to the moly 2 of Homer ; next to which come 
the mithridatia, 3 scordotis, 4 and centaury. The seed of betony 
carries off all kinds of noxious substances by stool ; being taken 
for the purpose in honied wine or raisin wine, or else pulverized, 
and taken, in doses of one drachma, in four cyathi of old wine : 
in this last case, however, the patient must bring it off the 
stomach by vomit and then repeat the dose. Persons who 
accustom themselves to take this plant daily, will never ex- 
perience any injury, they say, from substances of a poisonous 

When a person has taken poison, one most powerful remedy 
is aristolochia, 5 taken in the same proportions as those used for 
injuries inflicted by serpents. 6 The juice, too, of cinquefoil is 
given for a similar purpose ; and in both cases, after the patient 
has vomited, agaric is administered, in doses of one denarius, in 
three cyathi of hydromel. 

99 In c. 6 of this Book. 

1 "Pigeon-plant." The same as Vervain, already described in c. 59 of 
this Book. 2 See c. 8 of this Book. 

3 By "Mithridatia. " he probably means the antidotes attributed to 
Mithridates in c, 3 of this Book, and in B. xxix. c. 8, and not the plant 
previously mentioned in c. 26. 

4 See c.. 27 of this Book. 5 See c. 54 of this Book. 
e See c. 55. 

Chap. 82.] THE PEBICABPUM:. 131 


The name of antirrhinum 7 .or anarrhinon is given to the 
lychnis agria, 8 a plant which resembles flax in appearance, is 
destitute of root, has a flower like that of the hyacinth, and 
a seed similar in form to the muzzle of a calf. According to 
what the magicians say, persons who rub themselves with this 
plant improve their personal appearance thereby ; and they 
may ensure themselves against all noxious substances and 
poisons, by wearing it as a bracelet. 


The same is the case, too, with the plant to which they give 
the name of " euclea," 9 and which, they tell us, rubbed upon 
the person, will ensure a more extended consideration. They 
say, too, that if a person carries artemisia 10 about him, he will 
be ensured against all noxious drugs, the attacks of wild beasts 
of every kind, and sunstroke even. This last plant is taken 
also in wine, in cases of poisoning by opium. Used as an 
amulet, or taken in drink, it is said to be particularly effica- 
cious for injuries inflicted by frogs. 



The pericarpum is a kind of bulbous plant. There are two 
varieties of it ; one with a red 11 outer coat, and the other, 12 

7 Generally identified with the Antirrhinum Orontium of Linnaeus, 
Small toad-flax, Calf's snout, or Lesser wild snapdragon. Desfontaines 
mentions the Antirrhinum purpureum, and Littre the A. majus of Lin- 
naeus, the Common snapdragon, or Greater calf's snout. 

8 " Wild lychnis." 

9 Theophrastus says, B. ix. c. 21, speaking of the last-mentioned plant, 
" The same too, with reference to glory and consideration." Pliny, 
singularly enough, has mistaken the Greek word "eucleia" (glory) for 
the name of a plant, and has fabricated one accordingly : a similar blunder 
to that made by him with reference to " hippace," in c. 44 of this Book. 

10 See c. 36 of this Book. 

11 Fee is inclined to identify it with the Bulbine of B. xx. c. 41, pro- 
bably the Hyacinthus botryoides of Linnaeus, the Blue grape hyacinth. 
Brotero and Desfontaines name the Hyacinthus comosus, the Purple grnpe 
hyacinth, Littre mentions the Ornithogalum nutans of Linnaeus, the May 
star of Bethlehem. 

12 Identified by Fee with the Bulbus vomitorius or Bulb emetic of B. xx. 


similar in appearance to the black poppy, and possessed of 
greater virtues than the first. They are both, however, of a 
warming nature, for which reason they are administered to 
persons who have taken hemlock, a poison for which frankin- 
cense and panaces are used, chironion 13 in particular. This 
last, too, is given in cases of poisoning by fungi. 



But we shall now proceed to point out the various classes 
of remedies for the, several parts of the body, and the maladies 
to which those parts are subject, beginning in the first place 
with the head. 

The root of nymphsea heraclia u effects the cure of alopecy, 
if they are beaten up together, 15 and applied. The polythrix 16 
differs from, the callitrichos 17 in having white, rushlike suckers, 
larger leaves, and more numerous ; the main stem, 18 too, is 
larger. This plant strengthens the hair, prevents it from 
falling off, and makes it grow more thickly. 


The same is the case too with the lingulaca, 19 a plant that 
grows in the vicinity of springs, and the root of which is 
reduced to ashes, and beaten up with hog's lard. Due care 
must be taken, however, that it is the lard of a female, of a 
black colour, and one that has never farrowed. The application 
is rendered additionally efficacious, if the ointment is applied in 
the sun. Root, too, of cyclaminos is employed in the same 

c. 41, the same, in his opinion, with the Narcissus jonquilla. the Emetic jon- 
quil. Sprengel, however, would identify the Bulbus vomitorius with either 
the Narcissus orientalis or the Pancratium Illyricum; and Sibthorp con- 
siders its synonym to be the Ornithogalum stachyoides of Alton. Littre 
gives the Muscari comosum. 

13 See e. 13 of this Book. 

14 See c. 37 of this Book, and B. xxvi. c. 28. 

15 There seems to be an hiatus here. From the words of Dioscorides, 
B, iii. c. 138, it would appear that pitch was the other ingredient, to be 
beaten up with the plant. 

16 The same as the Polytrichos of B. xxii. c. 30. 

17 In B. xxii. c. 30, he makes them to be the same plant, and it is most 
probable that they may be both referred to the Asplenium trichomanes of 
Linnaeus. 18 " Frutice." 

See B. xxiv. c. 108. 

Chap. 87.] HYSSOP. 133 

manner for a similar purpose. A decoction of root of helle- 
bore in oil or in water is used for the removal of porrigo. For 
the cure of head-ache, root of all kinds of panaces 20 is used, 
beaten up in oil ; as also aristolochia 21 and iberis, 22 this last being 
applied to the head for an hour or more, if the patient can 
bear it so long, care being taken to bathe in the meanwhile. 
The daucus, too, is curative of head-ache. Cyclaminos, 23 intro- 
duced into the nostrils with honey, clears the head; used in 
the form of a liniment, it heals ulcers of the head. Periste- 
reos, 24 also, is curative of diseases of the head. 


The name of " cacalia" 25 or " leontice" is given to a plant 
with seed resembling small pearls in appearance, and hang- 
ing down between large leaves : it is mostly found upon 
mountains. Fifteen grains of this seed are macerated in oil, 
and the head is rubbed with the mixture, the contrary way to 
the hair. 


A sternutatory, too, is prepared from the callitrichos. 26 The 
leaves of this plant are similar to those of the lentil, and the 
stems resemble fine rushes ; the root is very diminutive. It 
grows in shady, moist localities, and has a burning taste in the 


Hyssop, 27 beaten up in oil, is curative of phthiriasis and 

20 See c. 11 of this Book. 

21 See c. 54 of this Book. 22 See c. 49 of this Book. 
23 See c. 67 of this Book. * Or Vervain. 

25 Sprengel identified this plant at first with the Buplevnim longifolium' 
of Linnaeus, the Long-leaved hare's ear, but at a later period with the 
Mercurialis tomentosa, the Woolly mercury. Fee suggests the Cacalia 
petasites or albifrons, though with diffidence. ,Littr6 gives the Cacalia ver- 
bascifoiia of Sibthorp. 

26 See c. 83 of this Book ; also B. xxii. c. 30, and B. xxvii. c. 111. 

27 There has been much discussion on the identification of the Hyssopum 
of the ancients, their descriptions varying very considerably. It has been 
suggested that that of the Egyptians was the Origanum JEgyptianum ; that 
of the Hebrews, the Origanum Syriacum ; that of Dioscorides, the Origa- 
num Smyrnaeum; and that of the other Greek writers, the Teucrium pseudo- 
hyssopus, or else the Thymbra verticillata and spicata. Fee is inclined to 
identity that here mentioned by Pliny with the Thymbra spicata of Lin- 
naeus, and the Garden hyssop of Dioscorides, with the Hyssopus officinalis 


prurigo of the head. The best hyssop is that of Mount 
Taurus in Cilicia, next to which in quality is the produce of 
Pamphylia and Smyrna. This plant is injurious to the 
stomach : taken with figs, it produces alvine evacuations, and 
used in combination with honey, it acts as an emetic. It is 
generally thought that, beaten up with honey, salt, and cum- 
min, it is curative of the stings of serpents. 


The lonchitis 29 is not, as most writers have imagined, the 
same plant as the xiphion 30 or phasganion, although the seed 
of it does bear a resemblance to the point of a spear. The 
lonchitis, in fact, has leaves like those of the leek, of a red- 
dish colour near the root, and more numerous there than on the 
upper part of the stem. It bears diminutive heads, which are 
very similar to our masks of comedy, and from which a small 
tongue protrudes : 31 the roots of it are remarkably long. It 
grows in thirsty, arid soils. 


The xiphion 32 or phasganion, on the other hand, is found 
growing in humid localities. On first leaving the ground it 
has the appearance of a sword ; the stem of it is two cubits in 
length, and the root is fringed like a hazel nut. 33 

This root should always be taken up before harvest, and 
dried in the shade. The upper part of it, pounded with 
frankincense, and mixed with an equal quantity of wine, ex- 
tracts fractured bones of the cranium, purulent matter in all 
parts of the body, and bones of serpents, 34 when accidentally 

of Linnaeus. Littre states, however, that this last is a stranger to Greece, 
.and that M. Fraas (Synopsis, p. 182) identifies the hyssop of Dioscorides 
with the Origanum Smyrnseum or Syriacum. 

29 Generally identified with the Serapias lingua of Linnaeus. 

30 The same, most probably, as the Gladiolus of B. xxi. c. 67. See also 
the next Chapter in thig JBook. 

31 This was a characteristic feature of the masks used in the Roman 

32 See Note 30 above. The medicinal properties here attributed to the 
Xiphion, or Gladiolus communis, our common Red corn-flag, are very doubt- 
ful, as Fee remarks. 

33 "With the outer coat on, of course. 

34 Dalechamps is probably right iu preferring the reading " carpentis " 
to " serpentis," in which case the meaning would be, " or bones when 
accidentally crushed by the wheels of vehicles." 

Chap. 90.] PSYLLION. 135 

trodden upon ; it is very efficacious, too, for poisons. In cases 
of head-ache, the head should be rubbed with hellebore, boiled 
and beaten up in olive oil, or oil of roses, or else with peuce- 
danum steeped in olive oil or rose oil, and vinegar. This last 
plant, made lukewarm, is very good also for hemicrania 36 and 
vertigo. It being of a heating nature, the body is rubbed with 
the root as a sudorific. 


Psyllion, 36 cynoi'des, crystallion, sicelicon, or cynomyia, has 
a slender root, of which no use is made, and numerous thin 
branches, with seeds resembling those of the bean, at the ex- 
tremities. 37 The leaves of it are not unlike a dog's head in 
shape ; 38 and the seed, which is enclosed in berries, bears a 
resemblance to a flea whence its name " psyllion." This plant 
is generally found growing in vineyards, is of a cooling nature, 
and is extremely efficacious as a dispellent. The seed of it is 
the part made use of; for head-ache, it is applied to the fore- 
head and temples with rose oil and vinegar, or else with 
oxy crate ; it is used as a liniment for other purposes also. 
Mixed in the proportion of one acetabulum to one sextarius of 
water, it i left to coagulate and thicken ; after which it is 
beaten up, and the thick solution is used as a liniment for all 
kinds of pains, abscesses, and inflammations. 

Aristolochia is used as a remedy for wounds in the head ; it 
has the property, too, of extracting fractured bones, not only 
from other parts of the body, but the cranium in particular. 
The same, too, with plistolochia. 

'Thryselinum 39 is a plant not unlike parsley ; the root of it, 
eaten, carries off pituitous humours from the head. 

35 Or "meagrim." 

36 Identified with the Plantago Psyllium of Linnaeus, our Fleawort, 
Fleaseed, or Fleabane. 

37 Nothing, Fee says, can be more ahsurd than this description of the 

38 Whence its name "cynoi'des" and "cynomyia." 

89 This plant has not been identified ; Wild water-parsley, perhaps a kind 
of Sium, has heen suggested. 



It is generally thought that the greater centaury 40 strengthens 
the sight, if the eyes are fomented with it steeped in water ; 
and that by employing the juice of the smaller kind, in com- 
bination with honey, films and cloudiness may be dispersed, 
marks obliterated, and small flies removed which have got 
into the eye. It is thought also that sideritis is curative of 
albugo in beasts of burden. As to chelidonia, 41 it is marvel- 
lously good for all the affections above mentioned. Boot of 
panaces 42 is applied, with polenta, 43 to defluxions of the eyes ; 
and for the purpose of keeping them down, henbane- seed is 
taken, in doses of one obolus, with an equal proportion of 
opium, in wine. Juice, too, of gentian is used as a lini- 
ment, and it sometimes forms an ingredient in the more ac- 
tive eyesalves, 44 as a substitute for meconium. Euphorbia, 45 
applied in the form of a liniment, improves the eyesight, 
and for ophthalmia juice of plantago 46 is injected into the 

Aristolochia disperses films upon the eyes; and iberis, 47 
attached to the head with cinquefoil, is curative of defluxions 
and other diseases of the eyes. Yerbascum 48 is applied topi- 
cally to defluxions of the eyes, and vervain is used for a 
similar purpose, with rose oil and vinegar. For the treat- 
ment of cataract and dimness of sight, cyclaminos is reduced 
to a pulp and divided into lozenges. Juice, too, of peu- 
cedanum, as already mentioned, 49 mixed with meconium and oil 
of roses, is good for the sight, and disperses films upon the 
eyes. Psyllion, 60 applied to the forehead, arrests defluxions of 
the eyes. 


The anagallis is called " corchoron" 51 by some. There are 

40 All the plants here mentioned are of a more or less irritating nature, 
and would greatly imperil the sight. 

1 See c. 50 of this Book. 42 See c. 11 of this Book. 

3 See B. xviii. c. 14, and B. xxii. c. 59, **> " Collyriis." 

5 A most dangerous application, in reality. 

6 A comparatively harmless, though useless application. 

7 See c. 49 of this Book. ** See c. 73 of this Book. 
9 In c. 70 of this Book. 50 See c. 90 of this Book. 

51 The Corchorus of B. xxi. c. 106, is most probably altogether a differ- 
ent plant. 

Chap. 92.] THE ANAGALLIS. 137 

two kinds of it, the male 52 plant, with a red blossom, and the 
female, 53 with a blue flower. These plants do not exceed a 
palm in height, and have a tender stem, with diminutive 
leaves of a rounded form, drooping upon the ground. They 
grow in gardens and in spots covered with water, the blue 
anagallis being the first to blossom. The juice 54 of either 
plant, applied with honey, disperses films upon the eyes, 
suffusions of blood 55 in those organs resulting from blows, and 
argema 56 with a red tinge : if used in combination with Attic 
honey, they are still more efficacious. The anagallis has the 
effect also of dilating 57 the pupil ; hence the eye is anointed 
with it before the operation of couching 58 for cataract. These -\ 
plants are employed also for diseases of the eyes in beasts of 

The juice, injected into the nostrils, which are then rinsed 
with wine, acts as a detergent upon the head : it is taken also, 
in doses of one drachma, in wine, for wounds inflicted by ser- 
pents. It is a remarkable fact, that cattle will refuse to touch 
the female plant ; but if it should so happen that, deceived by 
the resemblance the flower being the only distinguishing 
mark they have accidentally tasted it, they immediately have 
recourse, as a remedy, to the plant called " asyla," 59 but more 
generally known among us as " ferus oculus." 60 Some persons 
recommend those who gather it, to prelude by saluting it 
before sunrise, and then, before uttering another word, to take 
care and extract the juice immediately ; if this is done, they 
say, it will be doubly efficacious. 

As to the juice of euphorbia, we have spoken 61 of its pro- 
perties at sufficient length already. In cases of ophthalmia, 

52 Identified with the Anagallis arvensis of Linnaeus, with a red flower, 
the Red pimpernel, Corn pimpernel, or Shepherd's weather-glass. 

53 The Anagallis caeruleo flore of Tournefort, the Blue pimpernel. 

54 In reality they are destitute of medicinal properties. It is said, 
though apparently on no sufficient grounds, that red pimpernel is poisonous 
to small birds. 

55 Or u blood-shot eyes." 56 A disease of the pupil. 

57 Belladonna, a preparation from the Atropa belladonna, is now gene- 
rally used for this purpose. 58 " Paracentesis." 

59 This plant is unknown. Fee suggests that Pliny may have made a 
mistake, and that the account from which he copies may have been, that 
when cattle have been stung by the asilus, or gadfly, they have recourse to 
the Anagallis. 60 " Savage eye." 

61 In c. 38 of this Book. 


attended with swelling, it will be a good plan to apply worm- 
wood beaten up with honey, as well as powdered betony. 


The fistula of the eye, called " eegilops," is cured by the 
agency of the plant of the same name, 63 which grows among 
barley, and has a leaf like that of wheat. The seed is 
pounded for the purpose, and applied with meal ; or else the 
juice is extracted from the stem and more pulpy leaves, the 
ears being first removed. This juice is incorporated with meal 
of three-month wheat, and divided into lozenges. 


Some persons, too, were in the habit of employing mandra- 
gora for diseases of the eyes ; but more recently, the use of it 
for such a purpose has been abandoned. It is a well-ascertained 
fact, however, that the root, beaten up with rose oil and 
wine, is curative of defluxions of the eyes and pains in those 
organs ; and, indeed, the juice of this plant still forms an in- 
gredient in many medicaments for the eyes. Some persons 
give it the name of " circseon." 63 There are two varieties, 
the white 64 mandragora, which is generally thought to be the 
male plant, and the black, 65 which is considered to be the 
female. It has a leaf narrower than that of the lettuce, a 
hairy stem, and a double or triple root, black without and 
white within, soft and fleshy, and nearly a cubit in length. 

Both kinds bear a fruit about the size of a hazel-nut, 
enclosing a seed resembling the pips of a pear in appearance. 
The name given to the white plant by some persons is 
"arsen," 66 by others "morion," 67 and by others again, "hippo- 
phlomos." The leaves of it are white, while those of the other 

62 See B. xviii. c. 44, and B. xxi. c. 63. 

63 Or "Plant of Circe." 

64 Identified by Fee with the Atropa mandragora vernalis of Bertolini, 
the Spring mandrake. 

65 The Atropa mandragora autumnalis of Bertolini, the Autumnal man- 
drake. 66 The Greek for " male." 

67 "Dementing." Fee remarks that the "Morion" in reality is a 
different plant, and queries whether it may not be the Atropa bella- 
donna of Linnaeus, the Belladonna, or Deadly nightshade, mentioned above 
in Note 57. 

Chap. 94.] MANDEAGORA. 139 

one 68 are broader, and similar to those of garden lapathum 69 in 
appearance. Persons, when about to gather this plant, take 
every precaution not to have the wind blowing in their face ; 
and, after tracing three circles round it with a sword, turn 
towards the west and dig it up. 70 The juice is extracted both 
from the fruit and from the stalk, the top being first removed ; 
also from the root, which is punctured for the purpose, or else 
a decoction is made of it. The filaments, too, of the root ^are 
made use of, and it is sometimes cut up into segments and 
kept in wine. 

It is not the mandragora of every country that will yield a 
juice, but where it does, it is about vintage time that it is 
collected : it has in all cases a powerful odour, that of the 
root and fruit the most so. The fruit is gathered when ripe, 
and dried in the shade ; and the juice, when extracted, is left 
to thicken in the sun. The same is the case, too, with the 
juice of the root, which is extracted either by pounding it or 
by boiling it down to one third in red wine. The leaves 
are best, kept in brine ; indeed, when fresh, the juice of them 
is a baneful poison, 71 and these noxious properties are far from 
being entirely removed, even when they are preserved in 
brine. The very odour of them is highly oppressive to the 
head, although there are countries in which the fruit is eaten. 
Persons ignorant of its properties are apt to be struck dumb 
by the odour of this plant when in excess, and too strong a 
dose of the juice is productive of fatal effects. 

Administered in* doses proportioned to the strength of the 
patient, this juice has a narcotic effect ; a middling dose being 
one cyathus. It is given, too, for injuries inflicted by serpents, 
and before incisions or punctures are made in the body, in 

68 The female, or black, mandrake. 

69 See B. xx. c. 85. 

70 The superstitions with reference to the Mandrake extended from the 
earliest times till a very recent period. It was used in philtres, and was 
supposed to utter piercing cries when taken up ; Josephus counsels those 
whose business it is to do so, to employ a dog for the purpose, if they would 
avoid dreadful misfortunes. All these notions probably arose from the re- 
semblance which the root bears to the legs and lower part of the human 
body. See B. xxii. c. 9, where we have queried in a Note whether the 
Eryngium may not have been the " mandrake," the possession of which 
was so much coveted by the wives of Jacob. 

71 "Pestis est." 

140 PLINY'S NATURAL HiSTcrar. [Book XXY. 

order to ensure insensibility to the pain. 72 Indeed, for this last 
purpose, with some persons, the odour of it is quite sufficient 
to induce sleep. The juice is taken also as a substitute for 
hellebore, in doses of two oboli, in honied wine : hellebore, 
however, is more efficacious as an emetic, and as an evacuant 
of black bile. 


Hemlock, 73 too, is a poisonous plant, rendered odious by the 
use made of it by the Athenian people, as an instrument of 
capital punishment: still, 74 however, as it is employed for 
many useful purposes, it must not be omitted. It is the seed 
that is noxious, the stalk being eaten by many people, either 
green, or cooked 78 in the saucepan. This stem is smooth, 
jointed like a reed, of a swarthy hue, often as much as two 
cubits in height, and branchy at the top. The leaves are like 
those of coriander, only softer, and possessed of a powerful 
odour. The seed is more substantial than that of anise, and 
the root is hollow and never used. The seed and leaves are 
possessed of refrigerating properties ; indeed, it is owing to 
these properties that it is so fatal, the cold chills with which it 
is attended commencing at the extremities. The great remedy 76 
for it, provided it has not reached the vitals, is wine, which is 
naturally of a warming tendency ; but if it is taken in wine, 
it is irremediably fatal. 

A juice is extracted from the leaves and flowers ; for it is 
at the time of its blossoming that it is in ifs full vigour. The 
seed is crushed, and the juice extracted from it is left to 
thicken in the sun, and then divided into lozenges. This 

72 In the same way that chloroform is now administered. 

73 "Cicuta." Identified with the Conium maculatum of Linnaeus, 
Common hemlock or Keghs. It grows in the vicinity of Athens, and pro- 
bably formed the basis of the poisons with which that volatile people " re- 
compensed," as Fee remarks, the virtues and exploits of their philosophers 
and generals. Socrates, Phocion, and Philopcemen, are said to have been 
poisoned with hemlock ; but in the case of Socrates, it was probably com- 
bined with opium and other narcotics. See B. xiv. cc. 7, 28, and B. xxiii. 
c. 23, 

74 He has more than once stated, that it is not his object to enter into 
a description of poisons. 

75 Fee doubts if it is possible to eat it, boiled even, with impunity. 

76 See B. xiv. cc. 7, 28, and B. xxiii. c. 23. 

Chap. 97.] MOLYBDJ31S-A. 141 

preparation proves fatal by coagulating the blood another 
deadly property which belongs to it ; and hence it is that the 
bodies of those who have been poisoned by it are covered with 
spots. It is sometimes used in combination with water as a me- 
dium for diluting certain medicaments. An emollient poultice 
is also prepared from this juice, for the purpose of cooling the 
stomach ; but the principal use made of it is as a topical ap- 
plication, to check defluxions of the eyes in summer, and to 
allay pains in those organs. It is employed also as an ingre- 
dient in eyesalves, and is used for arresting fluxes in other parts 
of the body : the leaves, too, have a soothing effect upon all 
kinds of pains and tumours, and upon defluxions of the eyes. 

Anaxilaiis makes a statement to the effect, that if the 
mamillaB 77 are rubbed with hemlock during virginity, they will 
always be hard and firm : but a better-ascertained fact is, that 
applied 78 to the mamillge, it dries up the milk in women re- 
cently delivered ; as also that, applied to the testes at the age 
of puberty, it acts most effectually as an antaphrodisiac. 79 As 
to those cases in which it is recommended to take it internally 
as a remedy, I shall, for my own part, decline to mention them. 
The most powerful hemlock is that grown at Susa, in Parthia, 
the next best being the produce of Laconia, Crete, and Asia. 80 
In Greece, the hemlock of the finest quality is that of Megara, 
and next to it, that of Attica. 


Crethmos agrios, 81 applied to the eyes, removes rheum ; and, 
with the addition of polenta, it causes tumours to disappear. 


Molybdaena 82 also grows everywhere in the fields, a plant 
commonly known as " plumbago." 82 It has leaves like those of 
lapathum, 83 and a thick, hairy root. Chewed and applied to the 

77 A very dangerous use of it, Desfontaines thinks. 
' 8 Desfontaines says that it is still employed in various ways when the 
milk is in excess. 

79 By causing those organs to waste away. ^ 

80 The province of Asia Minor. 

81 " Wild crethmos." Generally identified with the Crithmum mariti- 
mum of Linnseus, Small samphire, or sea fennel. 

82 Or "lead plant." Identified with the Plumbago Europcea of Lin- 
nseus, Leadwort, or French dittander. 83 g ee B, xx> c< $5, 


eye from time to time, it removes the disease called " plum- 
bum," 84 which affects that organ. 



The first kind of capnos, 85 known also as "chicken's foot/' 86 is 
found growing on walls and hedges: it has very thin, 
straggling branches, with a purple blossom. It is used in a 
green state, and the juice of it disperses films upon the eyes ; 
hence it is that it is employed as an ingredient in medicinal 
compositions for the eyes. 


There is another kind 87 of capnos also, similar both in name 
and properties, but different in appearance. It is a branchy 
plant, is extremely delicate, has leaves like those of coriander, 
is of an ashy colour, and bears a purple flower : it grows in 
gardens, and amid crops of barley. Employed in the form of 
an ointment for the eyes, it improves the sight, producing 
tears in the same way that smoke does, to which, in fact, it 
owes its name. It has the effect also of preventing the eye- 
lashes, when pulled out, from growing again. 


The acoron 88 has leaves similar to those of the iris, 89 only 
narrower, and with a longer stalk ; the roots of it are black, 
and no.t so veined, but in other respects are similar to those of 
the iris, have an acrid taste and a not unpleasant smell, and 
act as a carminative. The best roots are those grown in 
Pontus, the next best those of Galatia, and the next those of 

84 " Lead disease," apparently; livid spots on the eyelids, Hardouin 

85 Or " smoke-plant ;" so called from its smell, which resembles that of 
smoke or soot. 

86 Pedes gallinacei." Identified by Fee with the Corydalis digitata of 
Persoon, or else the C. bulbosa, or C. fabacea, several varieties of Fu- 

87 Identified by Fee with the Fumaria parvifolia of Lamarck, Small- 
leaved fumitory, or Earth-smoke. Other varieties of Fumitory have also 
been mentioned. 

b8 The Acorus calamus of Linnaeus, Sweet cane, or Sweet- smelling flag. 
See B. xii. c. 48. 89 See B. ixi. c. 19. 

Chap. 102.] THE GBEATEE AIZOUM. 143 

Crete ; but it is in Colchis, on the banks of the river Phasis, 
and in various other watery localities, that they are found in 
the greatest abundance. When fresh, they have a more 
powerful odour than when kept for some time : these of Crete 
are more blanched than the produce of Pontus. They are cut 
into pieces about a finger in length, and dried in leather bags 90 
in the shade. 

There are some authors who give the name of " acoron" to 
the root of the oxymyrsine ; 91 for which reason also some prefer 
giving that plant the name of " acorion." It has powerful pro- 
perties as a calorific and resolvent, and is taken in drink for 
cataract and films upon the eyes ; the juice also is extracted, 
and taken for injuries inflicted by serpents. 



The cotyledon 92 is a small herbaceous plant, with a diminu- 
tive, tender stem, and an unctuous leaf, with a concave surface 
like that of the cotyloid cavity of the thigh. It grows in 
maritime and rocky localities, is of a green colour, and has a 
rounded root like an olive : the juice of it is remedial for 
diseases of the eyes. 

There is another 93 kind also of the same plant, the leaves of 
which are of a dirty green 94 colour, larger than those of the 
other, and growing in greater numbers about the root, which 
is surrounded with them just as the eye is with the socket. 
These leaves have a remarkably astringent taste, and the stem 
is of considerable length, but extremely slender. This plant 
is employed for the same purposes as the iris and aizourn. 



Of the plant known as aizoum 94 * there are two kinds; the 
9<> " Utribus." 91 s ee B. xv. c. 7. 

92 Identified with the Cotyledon umbilicus of Smith, Ilor. rit., Navel- 
wort, Kidney-wort, or Wall penny-wort. 

93 Identified by Littre with the Saxifraga media of Gouan ; and by Fee 
with the Cotyledon serrata of Linnaeus, Saw- toothed navel-woit. 

94 "Sordidis." ''Always living." 


larger of which is sown in earthen pots. By some persons it 
is known as " buphthalmos," 96 and by others as "zoopth- 
almos," or else as " stergethron," because it forms an in- 
gredient in the composition of philtres. Another name 
given to it is "hypogeson," from the circumstance that it 
generally grows upon the eaves 95 * of houses : some persons, 
again, give it the names of " ambrosion" and " amerimnon." 
In Italy it is known as " sedum magnum," 96 "oculus," or 
" digitellus." The other kind 97 of aizoiim is more diminutive, 
and is known by some persons as " erithales" 98 and by others 
as " trithales," from the circumstance that it blossoms three 
times in the year. Other names given to it are " chryso- 
thales" 99 and " isoetes : J)1 but aizoiim is the common appellation 
of them both, from their being always green. 

The larger kind exceeds a cubit in height, and is somewhat 
thicker than the thumb : at the extremity, the leaves are simi- 
lar to a tongue in shape, and are fleshy, unctuous, Ml of juice, 
and about as broad as a person's thumb. Some are bent down- 
wards towards the ground, while others again stand upright, 
the outline of them resembling an eye in shape. The smaller 
kind grows upon walls, old rubbish of houses, and tiled roofs ; 
it is branchy from the root, and covered with leaves to the ex- 
tremity. These leaves are narrow, pointed, and juicy : the 
stem is a palm in height, and the root is never used. 



A similar plant is that known to the Greeks by the name of 
" andrachle agria," 2 and by the people of Italy as the " illece- 

95 "Bull's eye," "living eye, "and " love exciter." The Semper vivum 
tectorum of Linnaeus, common Houseleek or Sengreene. 

95 * Called "geisa" in Greek. 

96 " Great houseleek," "eye," or "little finger/' 

97 Fee identifies it with the Sedum ochroleiicum of Sibthorp ; Sprengel 
with the Sedum altissimum, and others with the Sedum acre, varieties of 
Wall pepper, or Stone-crop. Littre gives the Sedum amplexicaule of 
Decandolle. 98 " Spring blossoming." 

99 " Blossoming like gold." l " The same all the year." 

2 " Wild andrachle." Desfontaines identifies it with the Sedum stel- 
latuin ; Fee, though with some hesitation, with the Sedum reflexum of 
Linnaeus, the Sharp-pointed stone-crop, or Prick-madam. The Sedum, 
however, is of a caustic and slightly corrosive nature, and not edible ; in 
which it certainly differs from the Andrachle agria of our author. Holland 
calls it " Wild purslain." 


bra." Its leaves, though small, are larger than those of the 
last-named plant, but growing on a shorter stem. It grows in 
craggy localities, and is gathered for use as food. All these 
plants have the same properties, being cooling and astringent. 
The leaves, applied topically, or the juice, in form of a lini- 
ment, are curative of defluxions of the eyes : this juice too 
acts as a detergent upon ulcers of the eyes, makes new flesh, 
and causes them to cicatrize ; it 3 cleanses the eyelids also of 
viscous matter. Applied to the temples, both the leaves 
and the juice of these plants are remedial for head-ache ; they 
neutralize the venom also of the phalangium ; and the greater 
aizoiim, in particular, is an antidote to aconite. It is asserted, 
too, that those who carry this last plant about them will never 
be stung by the scorpion. 

These plants are curative of pains in the ears ; which 
is the case also with juice of henbane, applied in moderate 
quantities, of achillea, 4 of the smaller centaury and plantago, 
of peucedanum in combination with rose-oil and opium, and of 
acoron 5 mixed with rose-leaves. In all these cases, the liquid 
is made warm, and introduced into the ear with the aid of a 
syringe. 6 The cotyledon is good, too, for suppurations in the 
ears, mixed with deer's marrow made hot. The juice of 
pounded root of ebulum 7 is strained through a linen cloth, 
and then left to thicken in the sun : when wanted for use, it 
is moistened with oil of roses, and made hot, being employed 
for the cure of iinposthumes of the parotid glands. Yervain 
and plantago are likewise used for the cure of the same 
malady, as also sideritis, 8 mixed with stale axle-grease. 


Aristolochia, 8 * mixed with cyperus, 9 is curative of polypus 
of the nose. 10 


The following are remedies for diseases of the teeth : root 

3 This is probably the meaning of " palpebras deglutinat." 

4 See c. 19 of this Book. 5 See c. 100 of this Book. 

6 " Strigil." This in general means a " body-scraper ;" but it most 
probably signifies a " syringe," in the present instance. See B. xxix. c. 
39, and B. xxxi c. 47. 7 See B. xxiv. c. 35. 

8 See c. 19 of this Book. * See c. 54 of this Book, 

9 See B. xxi. cc. 69, 70. 10 " Ozaenam." 

VOL. V. L 


of panacea, 11 chewed, that of the chironion in particular, and 
juice of panaces, used as a collutory ; root, too, of henbane, 
chewed with vinegar, and root of polemonia. 12 The root of 
plantago is chewed for a similar purpose, or the teeth are 
rinsed with a decoction of the juice mixed with vinegar. The 
leaves, too, are said to he useful for the gums, when swollen 
with sanious blood, or if there are discharges of blood there- 
from. The seed, too, of plantago is a cure for abscesses in the 
gums, and for gum-boils. Aristolochia has a strengthening 
effect upon the gums and teeth ; and the same with vervain, 
either chewed with the root of that plant, or boiled in wine 
and vinegar, the decoction being employed as a gargle. The 
same is the case, also, with root of cinquefoil, boiled down to 
one third, in wine or vinegar ; before it is boiled, however, the 
root should be washed in sea or salt water : the decoction, too, 
must be kept a considerable time in the mouth. Some persons 
prefer cleaning the teeth with ashes of cinquefoil. 

Root of verbascum 13 is also boiled in wine, and the decoction 
used for rinsing the teeth. The same is done too with hyssop 
and juice of peucedanum , mixed with opium ; or else the juice 
of the root of anagallis, 14 the female plant in particular, is 
injected into the nostril on the opposite side to that in which 
the pain is felt. 



Erigeron 15 is called by our people " senecio." It is said 
that if a person, after tracing around this plant with an imple- 
ment of iron, takes it up and touches the tooth affected with it 
three times, taking care to spit each time on the ground, and 
then replaces it in the same spot, so as to take root again, 
he will never experience any further pain in that tooth. This 
plant has just' the appearance and softness of trixago, 16 with a 
number of small reddish-coloured stems: it is found growing 
upon walls, and the tiled roofs of houses. The Greeks have 

11 See c. 11 of this Book. 12 See c. 28 of this Book. 

13 See c. 73 of this Book. u See c. 92 of this Book. 

15 Identified by Desfontaines with the Senecio Jacobaea of Linnaeus, 
Common ragwort. Fee identifies it with the Senecio vulgaris of Linnieus, 
our Groundsel. They are botli destitute of medicinal properties. 

l . 6 See B. xxiv. c. 80. 

Chap. 107.] THE EPHEMEEON. 147 

given it the name of " erigeron," 17 because it is white in 
spring. The head is divided into numerous downy filaments, 
which resemble those of the thorn, 18 protruding from between 
the divisions of the head : hence it is that Callimachus has 
given it the name of " acanthis," 19 while others, again, call it 
" pappus. 20 " 

After all, however, the Greek writers are by no means agreed 
as to this plant; some say, for instance, that it has leaves 
like those of rocket, while others maintain that they resemble 
those of the robur, only that they are considerably smaller. 
Some, again, assert that the root is useless, while others aver 
that it is beneficial for the sinews, and others that it produces 
suffocation, if taken in drink. On the other hand, some have 
prescribed it in wine, for jaundice and all affections of the 
bladder, heart, and liver, and give it as their opinion that it 
carries off gravel from the kidneys. It has been prescribed, 
also, by them for sciatica, the patient taking one drachma 
in oxymel, after a walk ; and has been recommended as ex- 
tremely useful for griping pains in the bowels, taken in raisin 
wine. They assert, also, that used as an aliment with vinegar, 
it is wholesome for the thoracic organs, and recommend it to 
be grown in the garden for these several purposes. 

In addition to this, there are some authorities to be found, 
which distinguish another variety of this plant, but without 
mentioning its peculiar characteristics. This last they recom- 
mend to be taken in water, to neutralize the venom of serpents, 
and prescribe it to be eaten for the cure of epilepsy. For my 
own part, however, I shall only speak of it in accordance with 
the uses made of it among us Romans, uses based upon the 
results of actual experience. The down of this plant, beaten 
up with saffron and a little cold water, is applied to defluxions 
of the eyes ; parched with a little salt, it is employed for the 
cure of scrofulous sores. 


The ephemeron 21 has leaves like those of the lily, but smaller j 

17 "Ea/oi ypa>i/, "aged," or " hoary in spring." 

18 " Spinae." He probably uses a wrong term, and means " thistle." 

19 It may possibly have been so called from the Acanthis, or goldfinch, . 
that bird being fond of groundsel, 

20 u Thistle-down." If Pliny is speaking of groundsel, he is wrong in 
his assertion that it turns white, or in other words, goes to seed, in spring. 

21 Sprengel identifies it with the Ornithogalum stachyoides ; but that 


a stem of the same height, a blue flower, and a seed of which 
no use is made. The root is single, about the thickness of 
one's finger, and an excellent remedy for diseases of the teeth ; 
for which purpose it is cut up in pieces, and boiled in vinegar, 
the decoction being used warm as a collutory. The root, too, 
is employed by itself to strengthen the teeth, being inserted for 
the purpose in those that are hollow or carious. 

Boot of chelidonia 22 is also beaten up with vinegar, and kept in 
the mouth. Black hellebore is sometimes inserted in carious 
teeth ; and a decoction of either of these last-mentioned plants, 
in vinegar, has the effect of strengthening loose teeth. 


Labrum Venereum 23 is the name given to a plant that grows 
in running streams. 24 It produces a small worm, 25 which is 
crushed by being rubbed upon the teeth, or else enclosed in 
wax and inserted in the hollow of the tooth. Care must be 
taken, however, that the plant, when pulled up, does not touch 
the ground. 



The plant known to the Greeks as " batrachion," 26 we call 
ranunculus. 27 There are four varieties of it, 28 one of which 

has no blue flower, and the same is the case with many other plants that 
have been suggested as its synonym. Fee suggests the Convallaria verti- 
cillata of Linna3us, the whorl-leaved Solomon's seal ; as to which, however, 
there is the same difficulty in reference to the flower. Holland calls it the 
" May lily," otherwise the Lily of the valley, the Convallaria Maialis ; 
and this is the synonym suggested by Fuchsius. Littre gives the Conval- 
laria multiflora of Linnaeus. 22 See c. 50 of this Book. 

23 Or "Venus' bath." Identified by Littre with the Dipsacus silvestris 
of Linnaeus, and by Fee with the Dipsacus fullonum of Linnaeus, the 
Teazel, or Fuller's thistle. It received its Roman name from the form of 
the leaves, which are channelled, and curved at the edges. 

24 This is entirely erroneous ; he may possibly have mistranslated some 
author, who has stated that the rain-water settles in reservoirs formed by 
the leaves. 

25 He alludes to the larvae of the Curculio or weevil, which are found 
in the head of the Dipsacus, and many other plants.* See B. xxvii. c. 62, 
and B. xxx. c. 8. 26 " Frog-plant." 

1 " Little frog." Called " Crow-foot" by us. 

28 Sprengel identifies it with the Ranunculus Seguieri, Fee with the R. 
Asiaticus, also a native of Greece. 

Chap. 109.] THE BATEACHION. 149 

has leaves somewhat thicker than those of coriander, nearly the 
size of those of the mallow, and of a livid hue : the stem of 
the plant is long and slender, and the root white ; it grows on 
moist and well-shaded embankments. The second 29 kind is 
more foliated than the preceding one, the leaves have more 
numerous incisions, and the stems of the plant are long. The 
third 30 variety is smaller than the others, has a powerful smell, 
and a flower of a golden colour. The fourth 31 kind is very like 
the one last mentioned, but the flower is milk-white* 

All these plants have caustic properties : if the leaves are 
applied unboiled, they raise blisters like those caused by the 
action of fire ; hence it is that they are used for the removal of 
leprous spots, itch- scabs, and brand marks upon the skin. 
They form an ingredient also in all caustic preparations, and 
are applied for the cure of alopecy, care being taken to remove 
them very speedily. The root, if chewed for some time, in 
cases of tooth-ache, will cause 32 the teeth to break ; dried and 
pulverized, it acts as a sternutatory. 

Our herbalists give this plant the name of " struraus," from 
the circumstance of its being curative of strumous 33 sores and 
inflamed tumours, for which purpose a portion of it is hung 
up in the smoke. It is a general belief, too, with them, that if 
it is replanted, the malady so cured will reappear 34 a criminal 
practice, for which the plaritago is also employed. The juice 
of tliis last-mentioned plant is curative of internal ulcerations 
of the mouth ; and the leaves and root are chewed for a similar 

29 Identified by Desfontaines with the Ranunculus hirsutus, or philonotis. 
Fee, with Ilardouin, considers it to be the same as the Apiastrum of H. 
xx. c. 45, and identifies it with the Ranunculus Sardoiis of Crantz, the 
plant probably which produces a contraction of the mouth, rendered famous 
as the " Sardonic grin," and more commonly known as the Ranunculus 
seeleratus, Apium risus, or Apium Sardoiim, "Laughing parsley," or 
" Sardinian parsley/ 

30 Identified by Sprengel and Desfontaines with the Ranunculus repens. 
or Creeping crow-foot ; but by Fee, with the Ranunculus muricatus of 

31 Identified by Desfontaines with the Ranunculus aconitifolius; by Fee 
with the Ranunculus aquatilis of Linnaeus, the Water crowfoot. The 
Ranunculi are all active poisons. 

32 A fabulous assertion, probably, and it is very doubtful if any one ever 
made the trial of its efficacy. 

33 Or scrofula. 34 Sje B. xxi. c. 83, and B. xxvi. c. 5. 


purpose, even when the mouth is suffering from defluxions. 
Ginquefoil effects the cure of ulcerations and offensive breath ; 
psyllium 35 is used also for ulcers of the mouth. 


We shall also here make mention of certain preparations for 
the cure of offensive breath a most noisome inconvenience. 
For this purpose, leaves of myrtle and lentisk are taken in equal 
proportions, with one half the quantity of Syrian nut-galls ; 
they are then pounded together and sprinkled with old wine, 
and the composition is chewed in the morning. In similar 
cases, also, ivy berries are used, in combination with cassia and 
myrrh ; these ingredients being mixed, in equal proportions, 
with wine. 

For offensive odours of the nostrils, even though attended 
with carcinoma, the most effectual remedy is seed of dra- 
contium 36 beaten up with honey. An application of hyssop has 
the effect of making bruises disappear. Brand marks 37 in the 
face are healed by rubbing them with mandragora. 38 

SUMMARY. Remedies, narratives, and observations, twelve 
hundred and ninety-two. 

ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED. C. Yalgius, 39 Pompeius Lenaeus, 40 
Sextius Niger 41 who wrote in Greek, Julius Bassus 42 who 
wrote in Greek, Antonius Castor, 43 Cornelius Celsus, 44 Fabi- 

FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED. Theophrastus, 46 Apollodorus, 47 
Democritus, 48 Juba, 49 Orpheus, 50 Pythagoras, 51 Mago, 52 Menan- 

35 See c. 90 of this Book. 36 See B. xxiv. cc. 91, 93. 

37 " Stigmata." 3S See c. 94 of this Book. 

39 See end of B. xx. 40 See end of B. xiv. 

41 See end of B. xii. 42 See end of B. xx. 

43 See end of B. xx. 44 See end of B. vii. 

45 j^ Fabianus Papirius, see end of B. ii. ; for Fabianus Sabinus, see 
end of B. xviii. 

46 See end of B. iii. 47 See end of B. xi. 
48 See end of B. ii. 49 See end of B. v. 
50 See end of B, xx. 5l See end of B. ii. 
52 See end of B. viii. 


dor 53 who wrote the " Biochresta," Nicander, 54 Horaer, He- 
siod, 65 Musaeus, 56 Sophocles, 57 Xanthus, 68 Anaxilaiis. 59 

MEDICAL AUTHORS QUOTED. Mnesitheus, 60 Callimachus, 61 
Phanias 62 the physician, Timaristus, 63 Sim us, 64 Hippo- 
crates, 65 Chrysippus, 66 Diocles, 67 Ophelion, 68 Heraclides, 69 Hi- 
cesius, 70 Dionysius, 71 Apollodorus 7a of Citium, Apollodorus 
of Tarentum, Praxagoras, 74 Plistonicus, 75 Medius, 76 Dieuches, 77 
Cleophantus, 78 Philistion, 79 Asclepiades, 80 Crateuas, 81 Petronius 
Diodotus, 82 lollas, 83 Erasistratus, 84 Diagoras, 85 Andreas, 88 
Mnesides, 87 Epicharmus, 88 Damion, 89 Sosimenes, 90 Tlepolemus, 91 
Metrodorus, 92 Solon, 93 Lycus, 94 Olympias 95 of Thebes, Philinus, 96 
Petrichus, 97 Micton, 98 Glaucias," Xenocrates. 1 

63 See end of B. xix. 54 See end of B. viii. 

65 See end of B. vii. 56 See end of B. xxi. 

57 See end of B. xxi. 

58 A Lydian historian, anterior to Herodotus, of whom little is known 
with any degree of certainty. He prohably flourished in the earlier part 
of the fifth century B.C. 

59 See end of B. xxi. * See end of B. xxi. 
61 See end of B. iv. 62 See end of B. xxi. 
63 See end of B. xxi. 64 See end of B. xxi. 
65 See end of B. vii. 66 See end of B. xx. 
67 See end of B. xx. 6S See end of B. xx. 
69 See end of B. xii. 70 See end of B. xv. 
71 See end of B. xii. 72 See end of B. xx. 
73 See end of B. xx. 74 See end of 1*. xx. 
75 See end cf B. xx. 76 See end of B. xx. 
77 See end of B. xx. 78 See end of B. xx. 

* 79 See end of B. xx. * See end of B. vii. 

81 See end of B. xx. 82 See end of B. xx. 

83 See end of B. xii. w See end of B. xi. 

85 See end of B. xii. 86 See end of B. xx. 

87 See end of B. xii. 88 See end of B. xx. 

89 See end of B. xx. 90 See end of B. xx. 

91 See end of B. xx. 92 See end of B. xx. 

93 See end of B. xx. 94 See end of B. xii. 

95 See end of B. xx. 96 See end of B. xx. 

97 See end of B. xix. 98 See end of B. xx. 

99 See end of B. xx. l See end of B. xx. 







THE face of man has recently been sensible of new forms of 
disease, unknown 1 in ancient times, not only to Italy, but to 
almost the whole of Europe. Still, however, they have not as 
yet extended to the whole of Italy, nor have they made any 
very great inroads in Illyricum, Gaul, or Spain, or indeed 
any other parts, to so great an extent as in Rome and its en- 
virons. Though unattended with pain, and not dangerous to 
life, these diseases are of so loathsome a nature, that any form 
of death would be preferable to them. 


The most insupportable of all these diseases is the one which, 
after its Greek appellation, is known to us as " lichen." 1 In 
consequence, however, of its generally making its first appear- 
ance at the chin, the Latins, by way of joke, originally so 
prone are mankind to make a jest of the misfortunes of others 
gave it the name of " mentagra ;" 2 an appellation which has 
since become established in general use. In many cases, how- 
ever, this disease spreads over the interior of the mouth, and 
takes possession of the whole face, with the sole exception of 
the, eyes ; after which, it passes downwards to the neck, breast, 
and hands, covering them with foul furfuraceous eruptions. 



This curse was unknown to the ancients, 3 and in the times of 
our fathers even, having first entered Italy in the middle of 

1 Probably as Littre suggests, a peculiar form of elephantiasis, the 
leprosy of the middle ages. 

2 The "chin disease :" from "men turn," the " chin." It is difficult to 
detect the joke which has here incurred the censure of our author. 

3 Meaning the people of Italy. 


the reign of the Emperor Tiberius 4 Claudius Caesar ; where 
it was introduced from Asia, 4 * in which country it had lately 
made 6 its appearance, by a member of the equestrian order at 
Rome, a native of Perusium, secretary to the quaestor. The 
disease, however, did not attack either females or slaves, 6 
nor yet the lower orders, or, indeed, the middle classes, but 
only the nobles, being communicated even by the momentary 
contact requisite for the act of salutation. 7 Many of those 
who persevered in undergoing a course of remedial treatment, 
though cured of the disease, retained scars upon the body more 
hideous even than the malady itself; it being treated with 
cauteries, as it was certain to break out afresh, unless means 
were adopted for burning it out of the body by cauterizing to 
the very bone. 

Upon this occasion several physicians repaired to Rome 
from Egypt, that fruitful parent of maladies of this nature, 
men who devoted themselves solely to this branch of medical 
practice ; and very considerable were the profits they made. 
At all events, it is a well-known fact that Maniiius Cornutus, 
a personage of praetorian rank, and legatus of the province of 
Aquitania, expended no less a sum than two hundred thou- 
sand 8 sesterces upon his cure. 

It is much more frequently, on the other hand, that we hear 
of new forms of diseases attacking the lower orders ; a singular 
fact, and one quite unequalled for the marvellous phaenomena 
which sometimes attend these outbreaks. Thus, for instance, 
we find an epidemic suddenly making its appearance in a cer- 
tain country, and then confining itself, as though it had made 
its election so to do, to certain parts of the body, certain ages, 
and even certain pursuits in life. In the same way, too, while 

* It is somewhat difficult to say whether Tiberius, the predecessor, or 
Claudius, the successor of Caligula, is meant ; most probably the latter, 
as the former's reign would have been in the times of " our fathers." 

4 * Asia Minor. 

5 ** Cum apparuisset." He is probably wrong here, for leprosy was 
known in Asia from the very earliest times. 

6 This assertion as to the slaves and lower orders is somewhat doubtful, 
though it is very possible that the diet and habits of the higher orders 
may have predisposed them more particularly for the attacks of the diseases. 

7 "Osculi," "kissing;" a nauseous and silly practice, still adhered to, 
between bearded men even, in many parts of Europe. 

Upwards of 1500. 


one class of diseases attacks the young, another confines itself 
to adults ; while one malady extends itself only to the higher 
classes, another is felt exclusively by the poor. 


We find it stated in the Annals, that it was in the censorship 9 
of L. Paulus and Q. Marcius that carbuncle 10 was first intro- 
duced into Italy, a malady which till then had confined itself 
solely to the province of Gallia Narbonensis. In the year 
in which I am writing these lines, two persons of consular 
rank have died of this disease, Julius Rufus 11 and Q. Lecanius 
Eassus; 12 the former in consequence of an incision unskilfully 
made by his medical attendants, the latter through a wound 
upon the thumb of the left hand by pricking a carbuncle with 
a needle, a wound so small originally as to be hardly percep- 

This disease makes its appearance in the more hidden 13 parts 
of the human body, and mostly beneath the tongue. It ori- 
ginally has the form of a hard, red, pimple, with a blackish 
head mostly, though sometimes of a livid colour. It produces 
tension of the flesh, but unattended with swelling, pain, or 
any itching sensation ; indeed, the only symptom that accom- 
panies it is a confirmed drowsiness, which overpowers the pa- 
tient, and carries him off in the course of three days. Some- 
times, however, it is accompanied with shuddering, and small 
pustules about the sore ; and occasionally, though but rarely, 
with fever. When these symptoms extend to the fauces and 
oesophagus, death ensues with the greatest rapidity. 


We have already 14 stated that elephantiasis 15 was unknown 

3 A.U.C. 590. 

10 ** Carbunculus." A malignant pustule, accompanied with swelling and 
ending with gangrene, is still known by this name, but it does not mani- 
fest any particular preference for the mouth and tongue. Fee says that 
carbuncle was recently (1833) endemic in Provence, the ancient Gallia 
Narbonensis, for which reason it had received the name of " Charbon Pro- 
ven qal." 

11 Consul, A.U.C. 819. 12 Consul, A.U.C. 816. 

13 Judging from this symptom, Dalechamps says that it looks more like 
chancre than carbuncle. 14 In B. xx. c. 52. 

15 Supposed, as Pliny says, to have originally come from Upper Egypt. 

Chap. 6.] COLIC. 155 

in Italy before the time of Pompeius Magnus. This malady, 
too, like those already mentioned, mostly makes its first ap- 
pearance in the face. In its primary form it bears a consider- 
able resemblance to a small lentil upon the nose ; the skin 
gradually dries up all over the body, is marked with spots of 
various colours, and presents an unequal surface, being thick 
in one place, thin in another, indurated every here and there, 
and covered with a sort of rough scab. At a later period, the 
skin assumes a black hue, and compresses the flesh upon the 
bones, the fingers and toes becoming swollen. 

This disease was originally peculiar to Egypt. Whenever it 
attacked the kings of that country, it was attended with pe- 
culiarly fatal effects to the people, it being the practice to 
temper their sitting-baths with human blood, for the treatment 
of the disease. As for Italy, however, its career was very 
soon cut short : the same was the case, too, with the disease 
known as " gernursa" 16 to the ancients, a malady which made 
its appearance between the toes, and the very name of which is 
now buried in oblivion. 


It is a remarkable fact that some diseases should disappear 
from among us, while others, again, should continue to prevail, 
colic 17 for example. It was only in the reign of Tiberius 
CaBsar that this malady made its appearance in Italy, the 
emperor himself being the first to be attacked by it ; a cir- 
cumstance which produced considerable mystification through- 
out the City, when it read the edict issued by that prince 
excusing his inattention to public business, on the ground of his 
being laid up with a disease, the very name of which was till 
then unknown. To what cause are we to attribute these various 
diseases, or how is it that we have thus incurred the anger of 
the gods ? Was it deemed too little for man to be exposed to 

Lucretius, B. vi. 1. 1111, et seq., attributes it to the water of the Nile. It 
is but rarely known in Europe. 

16 Fee thinks that this may have been a sort of abscess similar to those 

by the Talmudists. 

17 " Colum." Fee takes this to be Schirrus of the colon. 


fixed and determinate classes of maladies, already more than 
three hundred in number, that he must have new forms of 
disease to alarm him as well ? And then, in addition to all 
these, not less in number are the troubles and misfortunes which 
man brings upon himself! 

The remedies which I am here describing, are those which 
were universally employed in ancient times, Nature herself, 
so to say, making up the medicines : indeed, for a long time 
these were the only medicines employed. 

(2.) Hippocrates, 18 it is well known, was the first to com- 
pile a code of medical precepts, a thing which he did with the 
greatest perspicuity, as his treatises, we find, are replete with 
information upon the various plants. No less is the informa- 
tion which we gain from the works of Diocles 19 of Carystus, 
second only in reputation, as well as date, to Hippocrates. 
The same, too, with reference to the works of Praxagoras, 
Chrysippus, and, at a later period, Erasistratus 20 of Cos. 
Herophilus 21 too, though himself the founder of a more refined 
system of medicine, was extremely profuse of his commenda- 
tions of the use of simples. At a later period, however, expe- 
rience, our most efficient instructor in all things, medicine in 
particular, gradually began to be lost sight of in' mere words 
and verbiage : it being found, in fact, much more agreeable 
to sit in schools, and to listen to the talk of a professor, than 
to go a simpling in the deserts, and to be searching for this 
plant or that at all the various seasons of the year. 



Still, however, the ancient theories remained unshaken, 
based as they were upon the still existing grounds of uni- 
versally acknowledged experience ; until, in the time of Pom- 
peius Magnus, Asclepiades, 22 a professor of rhetoric, who 
considered himself not sufficiently repaid by that pursuit, and 
whose readiness and sagacity rendered him better adapted for 
any other than forensic practice, suddenly turned his attention 
to the medical art. Having never practised medicine, and 
being totally unacquainted with the nature of remedies a 

18 See B. xxix. c. i. 19 See end of B. xx. 

20 See B. xxix. c. 3. 21 See B. xxix. c. 5. 

22 See end of B. vii. 


knowledge only to be acquired by personal examination and 
actual experience as a matter of course, he was obliged to 
renounce all previously-established theories, and to trust rather 
to his flowing periods and his well-studied discourses, for 
gaining an influence upon the minds of his audience. 

Eeducing the whole art of medicine to an estimation solely 
of primary causes, he made it nothing but a merely con- 
jectural art, and established it as his creed, that there are five 
great principles of treatment for all diseases in common ; diet, 
use or non-use of wine, frictions, exercise on foot, and ex- 
ercise 23 in a carriage or on horseback. As every one perceived 
that each of these methods of treatment lay quite within his 
own reach, all, of course, with the greatest readiness gave 
their assent, willing as they were to believe that to be true 
which was so easy of acquisition ; and hence it was that he 
attracted nearly all the world about him, as though he had 
been sent among mankind on a special mission from heaven. 


In addition to this, he had a wonderful tact in gaining the 
full confidence of his patients : sometimes he would make them 
a promise of wine, and then seize the opportune moment for 
administering it, while on other occasions, again, he would 
prescribe cold water : indeed, as Herophilus, among the an- 
cients, had been the first to enquire into the primary .causes of 
disease, and Cleophantus had brought into notice the treat- 
ment of diseases by wine, so did Asclepiades, as we learn from 
M. Varro, prefer to be indebted for his surname and repute 
to the extensive use made by him of cold water as a 
remedy. He employed also various other soothing remedies 
for his patients ; thus, for instance, it was he that introduced 
swinging beds, the motion of which might either lull the 
malady, or induce sleep, as deemed desirable. It was he, 
too, that brought baths into such general use, a method of 
treatment that was adopted with the greatest avidity in 
addition to numerous other modes of treatment of a pleasant 
and soothing nature. By these means he acquired a great 
professional reputation, and a no less extended fame ; which 

23 " Gestationes ;" exercise on horseback, in a litter, or in a carriage 
drawn by horses. 


was very considerably enhanced by the following incident : 
meeting the funeral procession of a person unknown to him, 
he ordered the body to be removed from the funeral pile 24 and 
carried home, and was thus the means of saving his life. This 
circumstance I am the more desirous to mention, that it may 
not be imagined that it was on slight grounds only that so 
extensive a revolution was effected in the medical art. 

There is, however, one thing, and one thing only, at which 
we have any ground for indignation, the fact, that a single 
individual, and he belonging to the most frivolous nation 25 in 
the world, a man born in utter indigence, should all on a 
sudden, and that, too, for the sole purpose of increasing his 
income, give a new code of medical laws to mankind ; laws, 
however, be it remembered, which have been annulled by 
numerous authorities since his day. The success of Asclepi- 
ades was considerably promoted by many of the usages of ancient 
medicine, repulsive in their nature, and attended with far too 
much anxiety : thus, for instance, it was the practice to cover 
up the patient with vast numbers of clothes, and to adopt 
every possible method of promoting the perspiration ; to order 
the body to be roasted before a fire ; or else to be continually 
sending the patient on a search for sunshine, a thing hardly to 
be found in a showery climate like that of this city of ours ; 
or rather, so to say, of the whole of Italy, so prolific 25 * as it is 
of fogs and rain.- 6 It was to remedy these inconveniences, 
that he introduced the use of hanging baths, 27 an invention 
that was found grateful to invalids in the very highest 

In addition to this, he modified the tortures which had 
hitherto attended the treatment of certain maladies ; as in 
quiuzy for instance, the cure of which before his time had been 
usually effected by the introduction of an instrument' 8 into the 
throat. He condemned, and with good reason, the indiscrimi- 
nate use of emetics, which till then had been resorted to in a 

24 See B. vii. c. 37. Apuleius gives the story at considerable length., in 
the Florida, B. iv. 

25 Asia Minor. Asclepiades was a native of Prusa in Bithynia. 

25* We a( i pt Sillig's suggestion, and read " nimborum altrice," the 
word " imperatrice " being evidently out of place. The climate of Italy 
seems to have changed very materially since his day. 

26 See B. ii. c. 51. 27 Set/B. ix. c. 79. 28 " Organo." 


most extraordinary degree. He disapproved also of the prac- 
tice of administering internally potions that are naturally 
injurious to the stomach, a thing that may truthfully be pro- 
nounced of the greater part of them. Indeed it will be as well 
to take an early opportunity of stating what are the medi- 
caments which act beneficially upon the stomach. 


But above all things, it was the follies of magic more par- 
ticularly that contributed so essentially to his success follies 
which had been carried to such a pitch as to destroy all confi- 
dence in the remedial virtues of plants. Thus, for instance, 
it was stoutly maintained that by the agency of the plant gethi- 
opis 29 rivers and standing waters could be dried up, and that by 
the very touch 30 * * * * all bars and doors might be opened : 
that if the plant achaemenis 31 were thrown into the ranks of the 
enemy it would be certain to create a panic and put them to 
flight : that latace 32 was given by the Persian kings to their 
ambassadors, to ensure them an abundant supply of every- 
thing wherever they might happen to be : with numerous 
other reveries of a similar nature. Where, I should like to 
know, were all these plants, when the Cimbri and Teutones 
brought upon us the horrors of warfare with their terrific yells ? 
or when Lucullus defeated, with a few legions, so many kings 
who ruled over the Magi ? 33 Why is it too that the Roman, 
generals have always made it their first care in warfare to 
make provision for the victualling of their troops ? And how 
was it that atPharsalia the troops of Caesar were suffering from 
famine, if an abundance of everything could have been ensured 
by the fortunate possession of a single plant ? Would it not have 
been better too ibr Scipio ^Emilianus to have opened the gates 
of Carthage by touching them with a herb, than to have taken 
so many years to batter down its bulwarks with his engines of 

Turning to the present moment, let them, by the agency of 
the herb merois, 34 dry up the Pomptine 35 Marshes, if they can, 

29 See B. xxiv. c. 102. 

30 We agree with Pintianus that the name of some plant here has been 
lost, the word "condiendis " making no sense. 

31 See B. xxiv. c. 102. 

32 Some plant as fictitious as the others here mentioned. 

33 See B. xxx. c. i. See B. xxiv. e. 102. 3 > See B. iii. c. 9. 


and by these means restore so much territory to the regions of 
Italy in the neighbourhood of our city. In the works, too, of 
Democritus, already mentioned, 36 we find a recipe for the compo- 
sition of a medicament which will ensure the procreation of 
issue, both sure to be good and fortunate. What king of Persia, 
pray, ever obtained that blessing ? It really would be a mar- 
vellous fact that human credulity, taking its rise originally in 
the very soundest of notions, should have ultimately arrived at 
such a pitch as this, if the mind of man understood, under any 
circumstances, how to keep within the bounds of modera- 
tion ; and if the very system of medicine thus introduced by 
Asclepiades, had not been carried to a greater pitch of extra- 
vagance than the follies of magic even, an assertion which 
I shall prove on a more appropriate occasion. 37 

Such, however, is the natural constitution of the human 
mind, that, be the circumstances what they may, commencing 
with what is necessary it speedily arrives at the point of 
launching out in excess. 

We will now resume our account of the medicinal properties 
of the plants mentioned in the preceding Book, adding to our 
description such others as the necessities of the case may seern 
to require. 


As to the treatment of lichen, so noisome a disease as it is, 
we shall here give a number of additional remedies for it, 
gathered from all quarters, although those already described 
are by no means few in number. For the cure of lichen 
plantago is used, pounded, cinquefoil also, root of albucus 38 in 
combination with vinegar, the young shoots of the fig-tree 
boiled in vinegar, or roots of marsh-mallow boiled down to 
one-fourth with glue and vinegar. The sores are rubbed also 
with pumice, and then fomented with root of rumex 39 bruised 
in vinegar, or with scum of viscus 40 kneaded up with lime. A 
decoction, too, of tithymalos 41 with resin is highly esteemed for 
the same purpose. 

But to all these remedies the plant known as " lichen," from 

36 In B. xxiv. c. 102. 3 * In B. xxix. c. 5. 

38 See B. xxi. c. 68. 39 See B. xx. c. 85. 

" Flos visci." See c. 39 of this Book. 

Chap. 12.] SCROFULA. 161 

its efficacy as a cure, is held in preference. It is found grow- 
ing among rocks, and has a single broad leaf 42 near the root, 
and a single long stem, with small leaves hanging from it. 
This plant has the property also of effacing brand marks, 
being beaten up with honey for that purpose. There is another 
kind 43 of lichen also, which adheres entirely to rocks, like 
moss, and which is equally used as a topical application. The 
juice of it, dropt into wounds, or applied to abscesses, has the 
property of arresting haemorrhage : mixed with honey, it is 
curative of jaundice, the face and tongue being rubbed with 
it. Under this mode of treatment, the patient is recommended 
to wash in salt water, to anoint himself with oil of almonds, 
and to abstain from garden vegetables. For the cure of 
lichen, root of thapsia 44 is also used, bruised in honey. 


For the treatment of quinzy, we find argemonia 45 recom- 
mended, in wine; a decoction of hyssop, boiled with figs, 
used as a gargle ; peucedanum, 46 with an equal proportion of 
sea-calf's rennet; proserpinaca, 47 beaten up in the pickle of the 
maena 48 and oil, or else placed beneath the tongue; as also 
juice of cinquefoil, taken in doses of three cyathi. Used as a 
gargle, juice of cinquefoil is good for the cure of all affections 
of the fauces : verbascum, 49 too, taken in wine, is particularly 
useful for diseases of the tonsillary glands. 

CHAP. 12. (5.) SCROFULA. 

For the cure of scrofula 50 plantago is employed, chelidonia 61 
mixed with honey and axle-grease, cinquefoil, and root of per- 

42 Identified by Fee with the Marchantia polymorpha of Linnaeus, Com- 
mon Marchantia, or Fountain liverwort, the male plant. 

43 Identified by Fee with the Marchantia stellata, Star-headed Mar- 
chantia, or Female fountain liverwort. Desfontaines takes it to be either 
the Marchantia conica, or the Peltidea caiiina. It must be remembered 
that the Marchantia is not a Lichen in the modern acceptation of the word, 
and that our Lichens are destitute of stem. Littre identifies it with the 
Lecanora parella. 

44 See B. xiii. c. 43. See B. xxv. c. 66. 

46 See B. xxv. c. 70. 47 See B. xxvii. c. 104. 

** See B. ix. c. 42. 49 See B. xxv. c. 73. 

50 Fee remarks that none of the plants here mentioned are of any utility 
for the cure of scrofula. 51 See B. xxv. c. 50. 

VOL. V. M 


solata 52 this last being applied topically, and covered with the 
leaf of the plant artemisia, 53 also, and an infusion of the 
root of mandragora 54 in water. The large-leaved sideritis, 65 
cleft hy the left hand with a nail, is worn attached as an 
amulet : but after the cure has been effected, due care must be 
taken to preserve the plant, in order that it may not be set 
again, to promote the wicked designs of the herbalists and so 
cause the disease to break out afresh ; as sometimes happens in 
the cases already mentioned, 66 and others which I find stated, 
in reference to persons cured by the agency of artemisia or 

Damasonion, 57 also known as alcea, is gathered at the summer 
solstice, and applied with rain-water, the leaves being beaten 
up, or the root pounded, with axle- grease, so as to admit, when 
applied, of being covered with a leaf of the plant. The same 
plan is adopted also for the cure of all pains in the neck, and 
tumours on all parts of the body. 


Bellis 88 is the name of a plant that grows in the fields, with 
a white flower somewhat inclining to red ; if this is applied 
with artemisia, 59 it is said, the remedy is still more efficacious. 


The condurdum, 60 too, is a plant with a red blossom, which 
flowers at the summer solstice. Suspended from the neck, it 

52 See B. xxv. c. 66. 

53 See B. xxv. c. 36. 54 See B. xxv. c. 94. 

65 See B. xxv. c. 19, where our author has confused the Achillea with 
the Sideritis ; also c. 15, where he describes the Heraclion siderion. Fee 
identifies the Sideritis mentioned in B. xxv. c. 19, as having a square stem 
and leaves like those of the quercus, with the Stachys heraclea of modern 
botany. That mentioned in the same Chapter, as having a fetid smell, he 
identifies with the Phellandrium mutellina of Linnseus. The large-leaved 
Sideritis is, no doubt, the one mentioned as having leaves like those of 
the quercus. See the Note to B. xxv. c. 19. 

56 In B. xxi. c. 83, and B. xxv. c. 119. 57 See B. xxv. c. 77. 

58 Probably the Bellis perennis of Linnasus, the Common daisy. Fee 
remarks, that it was probably unknown to the Greeks. 

59 See B. xxv. c. 36. 

60 Identified by Sprengel and Desfontaines with the Saponaria vaccaria, 
the Perfoliate soapwort. Other commentators have suggested the Valeriana 
rubra, but Fee thinks that its synonym has not been hitherto discovered. 

Chap. 15.] COUGH. 163 

arrests scrofula, they say : the same being the case also with 
vervain, in combination with plantago. For the cure of all 
diseases of the fingers, hangnails in particular, cinquefoil is 


Of all diseases of the chest, cough is the one that is the 
most oppressive. For the cure of this malady, root of pa- 
naces 61 in sweet wine is used, and in cases where it is attended 
with spitting of blood, juice of henbane. Henbane, too, used as 
a fumigation, is good for cough ; and the same with scordotis, 62 
mixed with nasturtium and dry resin, beaten up with honey : 
employed by itself also, scordotis facilitates expectoration, a 
property which is equally possessed by the greater centaury, 
even where the patient is troubled with spitting of blood ; for 
which last juice of plantago is very beneficial. Betony, taken 
in doses of three oboli in water, is useful for purulent or 
bloody expectorations : root also of persolata, 68 in doses of 
one drachma, taken with eleven pine-nuts ; and juice of peu- 
cedanum. 64 

For pains in the chest, acoron 85 is remarkably useful ; hence 
it is that it is so much used an ingredient in antidotes. For 
cough, daucus <* and the plant scythice 67 are much employed, 
this last being good, in fact, for all affections of the chest, 
coughs, and purulent expectorations, taken in doses of three 
oboli, with the same proportion of raisin wine. The verbas- 
cum 68 too, with a flower like gold, is similarly employed. 

(6.) This last-named plant is so remarkably energetic, that 
an infusion of it, administered in their drink, will relieve 
beasts of burden, not only when troubled with cough, but when 
broken- winded even a property which I find attributed to 
gentian also. Root of cacalia 69 chewed, or steeped in wine, is 
good for cough as well as all affections of the throat. Five 
sprigs of hyssop, with two of rue and three figs, act detergently 
upon the thoracic organs and allay cough, 

61 See B. xxv. c. 11. 62 See B. xxv. c. 27. 

63 See B. xxv. c. 66. * See B. xxv. c. 70. 

5 See B. xxv. c. 100. 65 See B. xxv. c. 64. 

67 See B. xxii. c. 11, and B. xxv. c. 43. Our Liquorice probably, which, 
Fee remarks, as also figs and hyssop, has maintained its ancient reputation 
as a pectoral. 

68 See B. XXY. c. 73. 69 See B. xxv. c. 85. 



Bechion 70 is known also as tussilago : there are two kinds 
of it. "Wherever it is found growing wild, it is generally 
thought that there is a spring of water below, and it is looked 
upon as a sure sign that such is the ease, by persons in search 71 
of water. The leaves are somewhat larger than those of 
ivy, and are some five or seven in number, of a whitish hue 
beneath, and a pale green on the upper surface, The plant is 
destitute of stem, blossom, and seed, and the root is very 
diminutive. Some persons are of opinion that this bechion is 
identical with the arcion, known also as the " chamaeleuce." 72 
The smoke 73 of this plant in a dry state, inhaled by the aid 
of a reed and swallowed, is curative, they say, of chronic 
cough ; it is necessary, however, at each inhalation to take a 
draught of raisin wine. 


There is another bechion 74 also, known to some persons as 
" sal via," 75 and bearing a strong resemblance to verbascum. 
This plant is triturated, and the juice strained off and taken 
warm for cough and for pains in the side : it is considered 
very beneficial also for the stings of scorpions and sea- 
dragons. 76 It is a good plan, too, to rub the body with this 
juice, mixed with oil, as a preservative against the stings of 
serpents. A bunch of hyssop is sometimes boiled down with 
a quarter of a pound of honey, for the cure of cough. 


For the cure of pains in the side and chest, verbascum 77 is 
used in water, with rue ; powdered betony is also taken in 
warm water. Juice of scordotis 78 is used as a stomachic, 

70 See B. xxiv. c. 85. 

71 " Aquileges." 72 See B. xxiv. c. 85. 

73 Dried bechion, o* coltsfoot, is still smoked by some persons for 
affections of the chest. 

74 Generally identified with the Phlomos, or Verhascum lychnitis men- 
tioned in B. xxv. c. 74. 75 " Sage." See B. xxv. c, 73. 

76 See B. ix. c. 43, and B. xxxil c. 53. 

T 7 See B. xxv. c. 73. 78 See B. xx. c. 27. 

Chap. 19.] MOLON OB SYEON. 165 

centaury also, gentian taken in water, and plantago, either 
eaten with the food, or mixed with lentils or a pottage of 
alica. 79 Betony, which is in general prejudicial to the stomach, 
is remedial for some stomachic affections, taken in drink or 
chewed, the leaves being used for the purpose. In a similar 
manner too, aristolochia 80 is taken in drink, or dried agaric is 
chewed, a draught of undiluted wine being taken every now 
and then. Nymphsea heraclia 81 is also applied topically in 
these cases, and juice of peucedanum. 82 For burning pains in 
the stomach psyUion 83 is applied, or else cotyledon 84 beaten up 
with polenta, or aizoiim. 85 


Molon 86 is a plant with a striated stem, a soft diminutive 
leaf, and a root four fingers in length, at the extremity of 
which there is a head like that of garlic ; by some persons it 
is known as " syron." Taken in wine, it is curative of affec- 
tions of the stomach, and of hardness of breathing. For similar 
purposes the greater centaury is used, in an electuary ; juice 
also of plantago, or else the plant itself, eaten with the food ; 
pounded betony, in the proportion of one pound to half an 
ounce of Attic honey, taken daily in warm water ; and aristo- 
lochia 87 or agaric, taken in doses of three oboli, in warm water 
or asses' milk. 

For hardness of breathing an infusion of cissanthemos* 8 is 
taken in drink, and for the same complaint, as also for asthma, 
hyssop. For pains in the liver, chest, and side, if unattended 
with fever, juice of peucedanum is used. For spitting of 
blood agaric is employed, in doses of one victoriatus, 89 bruised 
and administered in five cyathi of honied wine : amomum, 90 
too, is equally useful for that purpose. For liver diseases in 

79 See B. xviii. c. 29. Fee observes that none of these prescriptions 
would be countenanced at the present day. 

80 See B. xxv. c. 54. 81 See B. xxv. c. 37. 
82 See B. xxv. c. 70. 83 See B. xxv. c. 90. 
84 See B. xxv. c. 101. 85 See B. xxv. c. 102. 

86 Possibly the same plant as the " Moly " of B. xxv. c. 8. If so, as 
Fee says, it would appear to belong to the genus Allium, or garlic. 

87 See B. xxv. c. 84. ** See B. xxv. c. 68. 

89 See Introduction to Vol. III. 

90 See B. xii. c. 28. Fee says that none of these so-called remedies 
would now be recognised. 


particular, teucria 91 is taken fresh, in doses of four drachmae 
to one hemina of oxycrate ; or else betony, in ^the proportion 
of one drachma to three cyathi of warm water. For diseases 
of the heart, betony is recommended, in doses of one drachma 
to two cyathi of cold water. Juice of cinquefoil is remedial 
for diseases of the liver and lungs, and for spitting of blood as 
well as all internal affections of the blood. The two varieties 
of anagallis 92 are wonderfully efficacious for liver complaints. 
Patients who eat the plant called " capnos" 93 discharge the 
bile by urine. Acoron 94 is also remedial for diseases of the liver, 
and daueus 95 is useful for the thorax and the pectoral organs. 


The ephedra, 96 by some persons called " anabasis/ ' mostly 
grows in localities exposed to the wind. It climbs the trunks of 
trees, and hangs down from the branches, is destitute of leaves, 
but has numerous suckers, join ted like a bulrush; the root 
is of a pale colour. This plant is given, pounded, in astringent 
reel wine, for cough, asthma, and gripings in the bowels. It 
is administered also in the form of a pottage, to which some 
wine should be added. For these complaints, gentian is also 
used, being steeped in water the day before, and then pounded 
and given in doses of 5ne denarius, in three cyathi of wine. 


Geum 97 is a plant with thin, diminutive roots, black, and 
aromatic. 98 It is curative not only of pains in the chest and 
sides, but is useful also for dispelling crudities, owing to its 
agreeable flavour. Yervain, too, is good for all affections of 
the viscera, and for diseases of the sides, lungs, liver, and 

91 See B. xxv. c. 20. 92 See B. xxv. c. 92. 

93 See B. xxv. c. 99. 9i See B. xxv. c. 100. 

95 See B. xxv. c. 64. 

96 Probably the Equisetum silvaticum of Linnaeus, our Wild horse-tail. 
He is in error in saying that it climbs the trunks of trees ; a mistake also 
made by Dioscorides, B. iv. c. 46, who calls it " hippuris." It is said by 
some to be a strong diuretic. Littre, however, gives as its synonym the 
Ephedra fragilis of Linnaeus. 

97 The Geum urbanum of Linnaeus, the Common avens, or herb bennet. 
It was probably unknown to the Greeks. 

98 Its root has a smell like that of cloves, for which reason it is some- 
times known as <c Caryophyllata." 

Chap. 24.] THE MALUNDBUM. 167 

thorax. But one invaluable remedy for diseases of the lungs, 
and for cases of incipient phthisis, is the root of consiligo, a 
plant only very recently discovered, as already" mentioned. It 
is a most efficient remedy also for pulmonary diseases in swine 
and cattle, even though only passed through the ear of the 
animal. When used, it should be taken in water, and kept 
for a considerable time in the mouth, beneath the tongue. 
Whether the part of this plant which grows above ground is 
useful or not for any purpose, is at present unknown. Plantago, 
eaten with the food, betony taken in drink, and agaric taken 
in the way prescribed for cough, are useful, all of them, for 
diseases of the kidneys. 


Tripolium 1 is a plant found growing upon cliffs on the 
sea-shore against which the waves break, springing up, so to 
say, neither upon dry land nor in the sea. The leaves are 
like those of isatis, 2 only thicker ; the stem is a palm in height 
and divided at the extremity, and the root white, thick, and 
odoriferous, with a warm flavour ; it is recommended for 
diseases of the liver, boiled with spelt. This plant is thought 
by some to be identical with polium^ of which we have already 
spoken in the appropriate place. 3 


Gromphaena 4 is the name of a plant, the stem of which is 
covered with leaves of a green and rose colour, arranged alter- 
nately. The leaves of it are administered in oxy crate, in 
cases of spitting of blood. 


For diseases of the liver the malundrum 6 is prescribed, a 

99 In B. xxv. c. 48. 

1 Sprengel identifies it with the Plumbago of B. xxv. c. 22. Fe is 
not of that opinion, and agrees with Matthioli in considering it to he the 
Aster tripolium of Linnaeus, the Sea starwort. Littre gives the Statice 
limonium of Linnaeus. 

2 See B. xx. c. 25. In B. xxi. c. 21. 

4 Sprengel and Desfontaines identify it with the Amaranthus tricolor ; 
Fee is strongly of opinion that it has not been correctly identified. 

5 Clusius and Sprengel identify it with the Lychnis silvestris of Lin- 
naeus, the Wild lychnis or Vi'scous catchfly. Fee considers it to be un- 


plant which grows in meadows and corn-fields, with a white 
odoriferous flower. The stem is diminutive, and is beaten up 
in old wine. 



Chalcetum 6 also is the name of a plant, which is pounded 
with grape husks and applied topically, for the cure of liver 
complaints. Boot of betony acts as a gentle emetic, taken in 
the same way as hellebore, in doses of four drachmse in 
raisin wine or^ honied wine. Hyssop, too, is beaten up with 
honey for similar purposes ; but it is more efficacious if nas- 
turtium or irio 7 is taken first. 

Molemonium 8 is used as an emetic, being taken in doses of one 
denarius ; the same, too, with sillybum. 9 Both of these plants 
have a milky juice, which thickens like gum, and is taken with 
honey in the proportions above-mentioned, being particularly 
good for carrying off bile. On the other hand, vomiting is 
arrested by the use of wild cummin or powdered betony, 
taken in water. Crudities and distaste for food are dispelled, 
and the digestion promoted by employing daucus, 10 powdered 
betony 11 taken in hydroinel, or else plantago boiled like 
greens. Hiccup is arrested by taking hemionium 12 or aristo- 
lochia, 13 and asthma by the use of clymenus. 14 For pleurisy 
and peripneumony, the greater centaury is used, or else 
hyssop, taken in drink. Juice of peucedanum 15 is also good 
for pleurisy. 

known, but of the two, would prefer the Lychnis dioica of Linnaeus, the 
"White lychnis, or "White campion. 

6 C. Bauhin identifies it with the Valeriana locusta of Linnaeus, Corn 
Talerian, Corn-salad, or Lamb's lettuce. Fee considers its identity as still 
unknown. 7 See B. xviii. c. 10. 

8 Perhaps the same as the Limonium of B. xxv. c. 61. 

9 See B. xxii. c. 42 ; one of the Sonchi, probably, which contain a 
milky juice. Littre" gives the Sonchus palustris of Linnaeus. 

10 See B. xxv. c. 64. 

11 The Betonica officinalis of Linnaeus. 

12 Either the Asplenium ceterach of Linnaeus, Spleenwort, Ceterach, or 
Miltwaste, or the A. hemionitis of Linnaeus, Mule's fern. See B. xxvii. c. 17. 

is See B. xxv. c. 54. u See B. xxv. c. 33. 

is See B. xxv. c. 70. 



The plant halus, 16 by the people of Gaul called "sil," and 
by the Veneti " cotonea," is curative of pains in the side, 
affections of the kidneys, ruptures, and convulsions. It resem- 
bles cunila bubula 17 in appearance, and the tops of it are like 
those of thyme. It is of a sweet flavour, and allays thirst; the 
roots of it are sometimes white, sometimes black. 



The chamserops, 18 also, is similarly efficacious for pains in 
the side. It is a plant with leaves like those of myrtle, 
arranged in pairs around the stem, the heads of it resembling 
those of the Greek rose : it is taken in wine. Agaric, admin- 
istered in drink, in the same manner 19 as for cough, assuages 
sciatica and pains in the vertebrae : the same, too, with pow- 
dered stoechas 20 or betony, taken in hydromel. 


But it is the belly, for the gratification of which the greater 
part of mankind exist, that causes the most suffering to man. 
Thus, for instance, at one time it will not allow the aliments 
to pass, while at another it is unable to retain them. Some- 
times, again, it either cannot receive the food, or, if it can, 
cannot digest it ; indeed, such are the excesses practised at 
the present day, that it is through his aliment, more than any- 
thing else, that man hastens his end. This receptacle, 21 more 
troublesome to us than any other part of the body, is ever craving, 
like some importunate creditor, and makes its calls repeatedly 
in the day. It is for its sake, more particularly, that avarice 
is so insatiate, for its sake that luxury is so refined, 22 for its sake 
that men voyage to the shores even of the Phasis, for its sake 
that the very depths of the ocean are ransacked. And yet, 
with all this, no one ever gives a thought how abject is the 
condition of this part of our body, how disgusting the results 
of its action upon what it has received ! No wonder then, 

16 For the identity of this plant, see B. xxvii. c. 24. 

17 See B. xix. c. 50, and B. xx. c. 61. 

18 See B. xxiv. c. 80. 19 See c. 18 of this Book. 

20 Identified with the Lavendula stoaehas of Linnaeus, the French lavender. 
81 " Vas." 22 In search of pheasants. See B. vi. c. 4, 


that the belly should have to be indebted to the aid of medicine 
in the very highest degree ! 

Scordotis, 23 fresh-gathered and beaten up, in doses of one 
drachma, with wine, arrests flux of the bowels ; an effect 
equally produced by a decoction of it taken in drink. Pole- 
monia, 24 too, is given in wine for dysentery, or two fingers' 
length of root of verbascum, 25 in water ; seed of nyruphsea 
heraclia, 26 in wine ; the upper root of xiphion, 27 in doses of one 
drachma, in vinegar ; seed of plantago, beaten up in wine ; 
plantago itself boiled in vinegar, or else a pottage of alica 28 
mixed with the juice of the plant; plantago boiled with 
lentils ; plantago dried and powdered, and sprinkled in drink, 
with parched poppies pounded ; juice of plantago, used as an 
injection, or taken in drink ; or be tony taken in wine heated 
with a red-hot iron. For cceliac affections, betony is taken in 
astringent wine, or iberis is applied topically, as already 29 
stated. For tenesmus, root of nymphaea heraclia is taken in 
wine, or else psyllion 30 in water, or a decoction of root of 
acoron. 31 Juice of aizotim 32 arrests diarrhoea and dysentery, and 
expels round tape-worm. Eoot of symphytum, 83 taken in wine, 
arrests diarrhoea and dysentery, and daucus 34 has a similar 
effect. Leaves of aizoiim 35 beaten up in wine, and dried 
alcea 36 powdered and taken in wine, are curative of griping 
pains in the bowels. 


Astragalus 37 is the name of a plant which has long leaves, 
with numerous incisions, and running aslant near the root. 
The stems are three or four in number, and covered with leaves : 
the flower is like that of the hyacinth, and the roots are red, 
hairy, matted, and remarkably hard. It grows on stony local- 

23 See B. xxv. c. 27. 24 See B. xxv. c. 28. 

25 See B. xxv. c. 73. 26 See B. xxv. c. 37. 

27 See B. xxv. c. 89. 28 See B. xviii. c. 29. 

29 In B. xxv. c. 84. 30 See B. xxv. c. 90. 

31 See B. xxv. c. 100. 32 See B. xxv. c. 102. 

33 See B. xxvii. c. 24. 34 See B. xxv. c. 84. 

35 See Note 32 above. S6 See B. xxvii. c. 6. 

37 Sprengel identifies it with the Phaca Baetica, Spanish bastard vetch ; 
but the flowers of that plant, as Fee remarks, are yellow. He considers 
it to be the Lathyrus tuberosus of Linnaeus, the Pease earth-nut. Littre 
gives the Orobus sessilifolius of 3ibthorp. 

Chap. 30.] LADANUM. 171 

ities, equally exposed to the sun and to falls of snow, those in 
the vicinity of Pheneus in Arcadia, for instance. Its proper- 
ties are highly astringent; the root of it, taken in wine, arrests 
looseness of the bowels, having the additional effect of throw- 
ing downward the aqueous humours, and so acting as a diuretic ; 
a property, in fact, which belongs to most substances which 
act astringently upon the bowels. 

Bruised in red 37 * wine, this plant is curative of dysentery ; 
it is only bruised, however, with the greatest difficulty. It is 
extremely useful, also, as a fomentation for gum-boils. The 
end of autumn is the time for gathering it, after the leaves are 
off; it being then left to dry in the shade. 


Diarrhoea may be also arrested by the use of either kind of 
ladanum. 38 The kind which is found in corn-fields is pounded 
for this purpose, and then passed through a sieve, being taken 
either in hydromel, or in wine of the highest quality. "Ledon" 
is the name of the plant from which ladanum 39 is obtained in 
Cyprus, it being found adhering to the beard of the goats 
there ; the most esteemed, however, is that of Arabia. 40 At 
the present day, it is prepared in Syria and Africa also, being 
known as "toxicum," from the circumstance that ingathering 
it, they pass over the plant a bow, 41 with the string stretched, 
and covered with wool, to which the dewlike flocks of lada- 
num adhere. "We have described it at further length, when 
treating of the perfumes. 42 

This substance has a very powerful odour, and is hard in the 
extreme ; for, in fact, there is a considerable quantity of earth 
adhering to it : it is most esteemed when in a pure state, 
aromatic, soft, green, and resinous. It is of an emollient, 
desiccative, and ripening nature, and acts as a narcotic : it pre- 
vents the hair from falling off, and preserves its dark colour. In 
combination with hydromel or oil of roses, it is used as an 

37 * " Bubrum," and not " nigrum," which was also what we call " red " 

38 Fee is unable to identify it. The Galeopsis ladanum of Linnaeus, 
the Red dead-nettle, has been suggested, but on insufficient grounds, pro- 
bably. 39 See B. xii. c. 37. 

40 It is still brought from the islands of Greece, but no longer from 
Arabia. 41 TOOJ/. 

In B. xii. c. 37. 


injection for the ears ; with the addition of salt, it is employed 
for the cure of furfuraceous eruptions of the skin, and for run- 
ning ulcers. Taken with storax, it is good for chronic cough ; 
it is also extremely efficacious as a carminative. 


Chondris, too, or pseudodictamnon, 43 acts astringently on the 
bowels. Hypocisthis, 44 by some known also as " orobethron," 
is similar to an unripe pomegranate in appearance ; it grows, 
as already stated, 45 beneath the cisthus, whence its name. 
Dried in the shade, and taken in astringent, red wine, these 
plants arrest diarrhoea for there are two kinds of hypocisthis, 
it must be remembered, the white and the red. It is the juice 
of the plant that is used, being of an astringent, desiccative, 
natuue : that of the red kind, however, is the best for fluxes 
of the stomach. Taken in drink, in doses of three oboli, with 
amylum, 46 it arrests spitting of blood ; and, employed either as 
a potion or as an injection, it is useful for dysentery. Vervain, 
too, is good for similar complaints, either taken in water, or, 
when there are no symptoms of fever, in Aminean 47 wine, the 
proportion being five spoonfuls to three cyathi of wine. 


Laver, 48 too, a plant which grows in streams, preserved and 
boiled, is curative of griping pains in the bowels. 



Potamogiton, 49 too, taken in wine, is useful for dysentery 
and cceliac affections : it is a plant similar to beet in the leaves, 
but smaller and more hairy, and rising but little above the 
surface of the water. It is the leaves that are used, being of 
a refreshing, astringent nature, and particularly good for 
diseases of the legs, and, with honey or vinegar, for corrosive 

13 " False-dittany," or " bastard dittany." See B. xxv. c. 53. 
44 The Cytinus hypocisthis of Linnaeus. 

15 In B. xxiv. c. 28. 46 See B. xviii. c. 17, and B. xxii. c. 67. 

*7 See B. xiv. c. 5. The Shim of B. xxii. c. 41. 

49 Probably the Potamogeton natans of Linnaeus, Broad-leaved pond- 
weed, or some kindred plant. Its name signifies " the neighbour of rivers." 

Chap. 34.] THE CERATIA. 173 

Castor has given a different description of this plant. Ac- 
cording to him, it has a smaller leaf, 50 like horse-hair, 61 with a 
long, smooth, stem, and grows in watery localities. "With the 
root of it he used to treat scrofulous sores and indurations. 
Potamogiton neutralizes the effects of the bite of the crocodile ; 
hence it is that those who go in pursuit of that animal, are in 
the hahit of carrying it about them. 

Achillea 62 also arrests looseness of the bowels; an effect 
equally produced by the statice, 53 a plant with seven heads, like 
those of the rose, upon as many stems. 



The ceratia 54 is a plant with a single 55 leaf, and a large 
knotted root: taken with the food, it is curative of cceliac 
affections and dysentery. 

Leontopodion, 66 a plant known also as " leuceoron," " dori- 
petron," or " thorybethron," has a root which acts astringently 
upon the bowels and carries off bile, being taken in doses of 
two denarii in hydromel. It grows in champaign localities 
with a poor soil: the seed, taken in drink, produces night-mare, 57 
it is said, in the sleep. 

Lagopus 58 arrests diarrhoea, taken in wine, or, if there are 
symptoms of fever, in water. This plant is attached to the 
groin, for tumours in that part of the body : it grows in corn- 
fields. Many persons recommend, in preference to anything else, 

50 C. Bauhin and Sprengel identify the plant here described with the 
Potamogeton pusillum of Linnaeus ; but Fee considers it extremely doubtful. 

51 A species of Equisetum would seem to be meant ; indeed, Littre gives 
the Equisetum telmateia. 52 See B. xxv. c. 19. 

53 Fee thinks that this may possibly be the Statice Armeria of Linnaeus, 
Sea thrift, or Sea gilly-flower. 

54 Considered by Sprengel to be the Cyclaminos chamaecissos of B. xxv. 
c. 69, which he identifies with the Convallaria bifolia of Linnaeus, the 
Little lily of the valley, or May lily. Fabius Columna and Brotero con- 
sider it to be the Dentaria trifolia, Three-leaved toothwort. 

55 This is incorrect, if it is the Lily of the valley. 

56 " Lion's paw," " white plant," or " rock-spear." Probably the 
Leontice leontopetalum of Linnaeus, Lion's paw, or Lion's leaf. See B. 
xxvii. c. 72. 57 " Lymphatica somnia." 

58 " Hare's foot." Possibly the Trifolium arvense of Linnaeus, Hare's 
foot trefoil. 


for desperate cases of dysentery, a decoction of roots of cinque - 
foil in milk, or else aristolochia, 69 in the proportion of one 
victoriatus 60 to three cyathi of wine. In the case of the pre- 
parations above-mentioned, which are recommended to be taken 
warm, it will be the best plan to heat them with a red-hot 

On the other hand, again, the juice of the smaller centaury 
acts as a purgative upon the bowels, and carries off bile, taken, 
in doses of one drachma, in one hemina of water with a little 
salt and vinegar. The greater centaury is curative of griping 
pains in the bowels. Be tony, also, has a laxative effect, taken 
in the proportion of four drachmae to nine cyathi of hydromel : 
the same, too, with euphorbia 61 or agaric, taken, in doses of two 
drachm ae, with a little salt, in water, or else in three oboli of 
honied wine. Cyclaminos, 62 also, is a purgative, either taken 
in water or used as a suppository ; the same, too, with chamae- 
cissos, 68 employed as a suppository. A handful of hyssop, 
boiled down to one third with salt, or beaten up with oxymel 
and salt, and applied to the abdomen, promotes pituitous 
evacuations, and expels intestinal worms. Root also of peu- 
cedanum 64 carries off pituitous humours and bile. 


The two kinds of anagallis, taken in hydromel, are purgative ; 
the same, too, with epithymon, 66 which is the blossom of a 
sort 66 of thyme similar to savory ; the only difference being that 
the flower of this plant is nearer grass green, while that of the 
other thyme is white. Some persons call it " hippopheos." 67 
This plant is by no means wholesome to the stomach, as 
it is apt to cause vomiting, but at the same time it disperses 

59 See B. xxv. c. 54. 

60 See Introduction to Vol. III. Fee remarks that none of the assertions 
in the present Chapter are confirmed by modern experience. 

61 See B. xxv. c. 38. 62 See B. xxv. c. 67. 

63 See B. xxiv. cc. 49, 84, and B. xxv. c. 69. 

64 See B. xxv. c. 70. 

65 Identical with the Orobanche of B. xviii. c. 44, the Cuscuta Europaea 
of Linnaeus, Dodder, Hell-weed, or Devil's guts ; or else the Cuscuta 
minor, or epithymum of Linnaeus. See also B. xxii. cc. 78, 80. 

66 He is in error here. 

67 Hardouin suggests "hypopheos," as " springing up under the Pheos" 
or Sto3be, mentioned in B. xxii. c. 13. 

Chap. 37,] POLYPODIOK. 175 

flatulency and gripings of the bowels. It is taken also, in the 
form of an electuary, for affections of the chest, with honey, 
or in some cases, with iris. 68 Taken in doses of from four to 
six drachma, with honey and a little salt and vinegar, it 
relaxes the bowels. 

Some persons, again, give a different description of epithymon : 
according to them, it is a plant without 89 a root, diminutive, 
and bearing a flower resembling a small hood, and of a red colour. 
They tell us, too, that it is dried in the shade and taken in 
water, in doses of half an acetabulum ; and that it has a slightly 
laxative effect upon the bowels, and carries off the pituitous 
humours and bile. NymphaBa 70 is taken for similar purposes, 
in astringent wine. 


Pycnocomon, 71 too, is a purgative. It is a plant with leaves 
like those of rocket, only thicker and more acrid ; the root is 
round, of a yellow colour, and with an earthy smell. The 
stem is quadrangular, of a moderate length, thin, and sur- 
mounted with a flower like that of ocimum. 72 It is found 
growing in rough stony soils. The root, taken in doses of two 
denarii in ^hydromel, acts as a purgative upon the bowels, 
and effectually carries off bile and pituitous humours. The 
seed, taken in doses of one drachma in wine, is productive of 
dreams and restlessness. Capnos, 73 too, carries off bile by the 


Polypodion, 74 known to us by the name of " filicula," bears 
some resemblance to fern. The root of it is used medicinally ; 

68 See B. xxi. c. 19. 

69 It has a root originally, but the root withers as soon as it has attached 
itself to the stem of the plant to which it clings. 

70 See B. xxv. c. 37. Holland says, on the contrary, that it is a binding 

71 " Thick hair." It is generally identified with the Leonurus mar- 
rubiastrum of Linnaeus. Colurana makes it to be the Scabiosa succisa of 
Linnaeus, the Devil's bit scabious, and Brunsfeld the Angelica silvestris of 
Linnaeus, Wild angelica. 

72 See B. xxi. c. 60. 73 See B. xxv. c. 98. 

74 " Many-footed." The Polypodium vulgare of Linnaeus, fhe Common 


being fibrous, and of a grass green colour within, about the 
thickness of the little finger, and covered with cavernous 
suckers like those on the arms of the polypus. This plant is of 
a sweetish 75 taste, and is found growing among rocks and under 
trees. The root is steeped in water, and the juice extracted; 
sometimes, too, it is cut in small pieces and sprinkled upon 
cabbage, beet, mallows, or salt meat ; or else it is boiled with 
pap, 76 as a gentle aperient for the bowels, in cases of fever even. 
It carries off bile also and the pituitous humours, but acts 
injuriously upon the stomach. Dried and powdered and ap- 
plied to the nostrils, it cauterizes polypus' 7 of the nose. It has 
neither seed 78 nor flower. 


Scammony, 79 also, is productive of derangement of the 
stomach. It carries off bile, and acts strongly as a purgative 
upon the bowels ; unless, indeed, aloes are added, in the propor- 
tion of two drachmae of aloes to two oboli of scammony. The 
drug thus called is the juice of a plant that is branchy from 
the root, and has unctuous, white, triangular, leaves, with 
a solid, moist root, of a nauseous flavour : it grows in rich 
white soils. About the period of the rising of the Dog- 
star, an excavation is made about the root, to let the juice 
collect : which done, it is dried in the sun and divided into 
tablets. The root itself, too, or the outer coat of it, is some- 
times dried. The scammony most esteemed is that of Colophon, 
Mysia, and Priene. In appearance it ought to be smooth and 
shiny, and as much like bull glue as possible : it should present 
a fungous surface also, covered with minute holes ; should melt 
with the greatest rapidity, have a powerful smell, and be sticky 
like gum. When touched with the tongue, it should give out 
a white milky liquid ; it ought also to be extremely light, and 
to turn white when melted. 

75 It is for this reason that it is called "reglisse," or "liquorice," in 
some parts of France. It contains a proportion of saccharine matter, 
which acts as a purgative. 76 " Pulticula." 

77 This fancy is solely based on the accidental resemblance of the name. 

78 He very incorrectly says this of all the ferns. See B. xxvii. cc. 17, 
48, and 55. 

79 The produce of the Convolvulus scammonia of Linnaeus, the Scam- 
mony bind-weed. The scammony of Aleppo is held in the highest esteem, 
and is very valuable. That of Smyrna also is largely imported. 


This last feature is recognized in the spurious scammony 
also, a compound of meal of fitches and juice of marine tithy- 
malos, 80 which is mostly imported from Judea, and is very apt 
to choke those who use it. The difference may be easily 
detected, however, by the taste, as tithymalos imparts a burn- 
ing sensation to the tongue. To be fully efficacious, scammony 
should be two 81 years old ; before or after that age it is useless. 
It has been prescribed to be taken by itself also, in doses of 
four oboli, with hydromel and salt : but the most advantageous 
mode of using it is in combination with aloes, care being taken 
to drink honied wine the moment it begins to operate. The 
root, too, is boiled down in vinegar to the consistency of honey, 
and the decoction used as a liniment for leprosy. The head is 
also rubbed with this decoction, mixed with oil, for head-ache. 


The tithymalos is called by our people the " milk plant," 83 
and by some persons the "goat lettuce." 83 They say, that if 
characters are traced upon the body with the milky juice of 
this plant, and powdered with ashes, when dry, the letters will 
be perfectly visible ; an expedient which has been adopted 
before now by intriguers, for the purpose of communicating 
with their mistresses, in preference to a correspondence by 
letter. There are numerous varieties of this plant. 84 The 
first kind has the additional name of "characias," 85 and is 
generally looked upon as the male plant. Its branches are 
about a finger in thickness, red and full of juice, five or six in 
number, and a cubit in length. The leaves near the root are 
almost exactly those of the olive, and the extremity of the 
stem is surmounted with a tuft like that of the bulrush : it is 
found growing in rugged localities near the sea-shore. The 
seed is gathered in autumn, together with the tufts, and after 
being dried in the sun, is beaten out and put by for keeping. 

80 See the following Chapters. 

51 This assertion is erroneous ; it has all its properties in full vigour im- 
mediately after extraction, and retains them for an indefinite period. 

82 "Herbalactaria." 

5 Because goats are fond of it. See B. xx. c. 24. 

!4 Known to us by the general name of Euphorbia of Spurge. 

S5 The Euphorbia characias of Linnaeus, Red spurge. An oil is still 
extracted from the seed of several species of Euphorbia, as a purgative ; 
but they are in general highly dangerous, taken internally 

VO*L. V. K 


As to the juice, the moment the down begins to appear 
upon the fruit, the branches are broken off and the juice of 
them is received upon either meal of fitches or else figs, and 
left to dry therewith. Five drops are as much as each fig 
ought to receive ; and the story is, that if a dropsical patient 
eats one of these figs he will have as many motions as the fig 
has received drops. While the juice is being collected, due 
care must be taken not to let it touch the eyes. From the leaves, 
pounded, a juice is also extracted, but not of so useful a 
nature as the other kind : a decoction, too, is made from the 

The seed also is used, being boiled with honey and made up 
into purgative 86 pills. These seeds are sometimes inserted in 
hollow teeth with wax : the teeth are rinsed too, with a de- 
coction of the root in wine or oil. The juice is used externally 
for lichens, and is taken internally both as an emetic and to 
promote alvine evacuation : in other respects, it is prejudicial to 
the stomach. Taken in drink, with the addition of salt, it car- 
ries off pituitous humours ; and in combination with saltpetre, 86 * 
removes bile. In cases where it is desirable that it should purge 
by stool, it is taken .with oxycrate, but where it is wanted 
to act as an emetic, with raisin wine or hydromel ; three oboli 
being a middling dose. " The best method, however, of using it, 
is to eat the prepared figs above-mentioned, just after taking 
food. In taste, it is slightly burning to the throat ; indeed it 
is of so heating a nature, that, applied externally by itself, it 
raises blisters on the flesh, like those caused by the action of 
fire. Hence it is that it is sometimes employed as a cautery. 


A second kind of tithymalos is called "myrtites " 87 by some 
persons, and " caryites " by others. It has leaves like those 
of myrtle, pointed and prickly, but with a softer surface, and 
grows, like the one already mentioned, in rugged soils. The 
tufted heads of it are gathered just as barley is beginning to 
swell in the ear, and, after being left for nine days in the shade, 
are thoroughly dried in the sun. The fruit does not ripen all at 

96 - " Catapotia." 86 * " Aphronitrum." See B. xxx. c.46, 

87 The Euohorbia urn-smites of Linnaeus. 


once, some, indeed, not till the ensuing year. The name given to 
this fruit is the "nut," whence the Greek appellation "cary- 
ites." 88 It is gathered at harvest, and is washed and dried, being 
given with twice the quantity of black poppy, in doses of one 
acetabulum in all. 

As an emetic, this kind is not so efficacious as the preceding 
one, and, indeed, the same may be said of all the others. Some 
physicians recommend the leaf to be taken in the manner 
already mentioned, but say that the nut should either be taken 
in honied wine or raisin wine, or else with sesame. It carries 
off pituitous humours and bile by stool, and is curative of ul- 
cerations of the mouth. For corrosive sores of the mouth, 
the leaf is eaten with honey. 


A third kind of tithymalos is known by the additional name- 
of " paralios," 89 or else as " ti thy mails." 90 The leaf is round, 
the stem a palm in height, the branches red, and the seed white. 
This seed is gathered just as the grape is beginning to form, and 
is dried and pounded ; being taken as a purgative, in doses of 
one acetabulum. 


A fourth kind of tithymalos 91 is known by the additional 
name of " helioscopios." 92 It has leaves like those of purslain, 93 
and some four or five small branches standing out from the root, 
of a red colour, half a foot in height, and full of juice. This 
plant grows in the vicinity of towns : the seed is white, and 
pigeons 94 are remarkably fond of it. It receives its additional 
name of " helioscopios " from the fact that the heads of it turn 95 
with the sun. Taken in doses of half an acetabulum, in 
oxymel, it carries oif bile by stool : in other respects it has 
the same properties as the characias, above-mentioned. 

83 From the Greek /cap vo v, a "nut." 
89 " Sea-shore" tithymalus. See B. xx. c. 80. 
The Euphorbia paralias of Linnaeus, Sea spurge. 
91 The Euphorbia helioscopia of Linnaeus, Sun spurge or "Wart-wort. 

93 ' k Sun- watch ing." 93 See B. xx. c. 81. 

94 Fee says that this is more than doubtful. 

95 An assertion, Fee says, not confirmed by modern observation. 

N 2 



In the fifth place we have the tithymalos known as " cypa- 
rissias," 96 from the resemblance of its leaves to those of the 
cypress. It has a double or triple stem, and grows in cham- 
paign localities. Its properties are exactly similar to those of 
the helioscopios and characias. 



The sixth kind is called "platyphyllos" 97 by some, and 
" corymbites " or " amygdalites " by others, from its resem- 
blance to the almond-tree. The leaves of this kind are the 
largest of all : it has a fatal effect upon fish. An infusion of 
the root or leaves, or the juice, taken in doses of four drachmae, 
in honied wine, or hydromel, acts as a purgative. It is par- 
ticularly useful also for carrying off the aqueous humours. 



The seventh kind has the additional name of "dendroides," 9 * 
and is known by some persons as "cobios," and by others as 
" leptophyllos." 99 It grows among rocks, and is by far the 
most shrubby of all the varieties of the tithymalos. The, 
stems of it are small and red, and the seed is remarkably abun- 
dant. Its properties are the same as those of the characias. 1 



The apios ischas or raphanos agria, 2 throws out two or 
three rush-like branches of a red colour, creeping upon the 
ground, and bearing leaves like those of rue. The root 
resembles that of an onion, only that it is larger, for which 

96 The Euphorbia cyparissias of Linnaeus, the Cypress spurge, or else the 
Euphorbia Aleppica of Linnseus. 

97 " Broad-leaved," " clustered," and " almond-like." It is the Eu- 
phorbia platyphyllos of Linnaeus, the Broad-leaved spurge. 

98 " Tree-like " 

99 " Small-leaved." The Euphorbia dendroides of Linnaeus, the Shrubby 
spurge. l See c. 39 above. 

2 " Wild radish." Identified Tvitfi the Euphorbia apios of Linnseus, a 
plant with dangerous properties. 


reason some have called it the " wild radish." The interior 
of this root is composed of a mammose substance, containing 
a white juice : the outer coat is black. It grows in rugged, 
mountainous spots, and sometimes in pasture lands. It is 
taken up in spring, and pounded and put into an earthen vessel, 
that portion of it being removed which floats upon the surface. 
The part which remains acts purgatively, taken in doses of 
an obolus and a half in hydromel, both as an emetic and by 
stool. This juice is administered also, in doses of one ace- 
tabulum, for dropsy. 

The root of this plant is dried and powdered, and taken in 
drink : the upper part of it, they say, carries off bile by acting 
as an emetic, the lower part, by promoting alvine evacuation. 


Every kind of panaces 3 is curative of gripings in the bowels ; 
as also betony, except in those cases where they arise from 
indigestion. Juice of peucedanum 4 is good for flatulency, acting 
powerfully as a carminative : the same is the case, also, with 
root of acoron 5 and with daucus, 6 eaten like lettuce as a salad. 
Ladanum 7 of Cyprus, taken in drink, is curative of intestinal 
affections ; and a similar effect is produced by powdered gentian, 
taken in warm water, in quantities about as large as a bean. 
For the same purpose, plantago 8 is taken in the morning, in 
doses of two spoonfuls, with one spoonful of poppy in four 
cyathi of wine, due care being taken that it is not old wine. It 
is given, too, at the last moment before going to sleep, and with 
the addition of nitre or polenta, 9 if a considerable time has 
elapsed since the last meal. For colic, an injection of the juice 
is used, one hemina at a time, even in cases where fever has 


Agaric, taken in doses of three oboli in one cyathus of old 
wine, is curative of diseases of the spleen. The same, too, 
with the root of every kind of panaces, 10 taken in honied wine : 
teucria, 11 also, is particularly useful for the same purpose, 

3 See B. xxv. c. 11, et seq. 4 See.B. xxv. c. 70. 

5 See B. xxv. c. 100. 6 See B. xxv. c. 64. 

7 See B. xii. c. 37, and c. 30 of this Book. 

8 See "B. xxv. c. 39. 9 See B. xviii. c. 14. 
10 See B. xxv. c. 11, et seq. n See B. xxiv. c. 80. 


taken in a dry state, or boiled down in the proportion of one 
handful to three heminae of vinegar. Teucria, too, is applied 
with vinegar to wounds of the spleen, or, if the patient cannot 
bear the application of vinegar, with figs or water. Polemo- 
nia 12 is taken in wine, and betony, in doses of one drachma, 
in three cyathi of oxymel : aristolochia, too, is used in the 
same manner as for injuries inflicted by serpents. 13 Arge- 
monia, 14 it is said, taken with the food for seven consecutive 
days, diminishes the volume of the spleen ; and a similar effect 
is attributed to agaric, taken in doses of two oboli, in oxymel. 
Eoot, too, of nymph sea heraclia, 15 taken in wine, or by itself, 
diminishes the spleen. 

Cissanthemos, 16 taken twice a day, in doses of one drachma 
in two cyathi of white wine, for forty consecutive days, 
gradually carries off the spleen, it is said, by urine. Hyssop, 
boiled with figs, is very useful for the same purpose : root of 
lonchitis, 17 also, boiled before it has shed its seed. A decoction 
of root of peucedanum 18 is good for the spleen and kidneys. 
Acoron, 19 taken in drink, diminishes the spleen ; and the roots 
of it are very beneficial for the viscera and iliac regions. Por 
similar purposes, seed of clymenus 20 is taken, for thirty con- 
secutive days, in doses of one denarius, in white wine. Powdered 
betony is also used, taken in a potion with honey and squill 
vinegar; root too of lonchitis is taken in water. Teucrium 21 
is used externally for diseases of the spleen ; scordium, 22 also, 
in combination with wax ; and agaric, mixed with powdered 


For diseases of the bladder and calculi (affections which, as 
already observed, 23 produce the most excruciating torments), 
polemonia 24 is highly efficacious, taken in wine ; agaric also, 
and leaves or root of plantago, taken in raisin wine. Betony, 

12 See B. xxv. c. 28. 13 See B. xxv. c, 55. 

14 See B. xxv. c. 56. 15 See B. xxv. c. 37. 

16 See B. xxv. c. 68. 

17 See B. xxv. c. 88. Fee says that it is the Aspidium lonchitis of Lin- 
naeus, that is meant. 18 See B. xxv. c. 70. 

19 See B. xxv. c. 100. 20 See B, xxv. c. 33. 

21 See B. xxv. c. 20. 

22 Or Scordotis. See B. xxv. c. 27, 

23 In B. xxv. c. 7. 24 See B. xxv, c. 28. 

Chap. 50.] CRETHMOS. 183 

too, is very good, as already observed, when speaking 25 of 
diseases of the liver. This last plant is used also for hernia, 
applied topically or taken in drink : it is remarkably efficacious 
too for strangury. For calculi some persons recommend 
betony, vervain, and milfoil, in equal proportions in water, as 
a sovereign remedy. It is universaDy agreed, that dittany is 
curative of strangury, and that the same is the case with 
cinquefoil, boiled down to one third in wine : this last plant is 
very useful, too, taken internally and applied topically, for 
rupture of the groin. 

The upper part of the root of xiphion 26 has a diuretic effect 
upon infants ; it is administered also in water for rupture of 
the groin, and is applied topically for diseases of the bladder. 
Juice of peucedanum 27 is employed for hernia in infants, and 
psyllion 28 is used as an application in cases of umbilical 
hernia. The two kinds of anagallis 29 are diuretic, and a 
similar effect is produced by a decoction of root of acoron, 30 or 
the plant itself bruised and taken in drink ; this last is 
good too for all affections of the bladder. Both the stem and 
root of cotyledon 31 are used for the cure of calculi ; and for all 
inflammations of the genitals, myrrh is mixed in equal propor- 
tions with the stem and seed. The more tender leaves of 
ebulum, 32 beaten up and taken with wine, expel calculi of the 
bladder, and an application of them is curative of diseases of 
the testes. Erigeron, 33 with powdered frankincense and sweet 
wine, is curative of inflammation of the testes ; and root of 
symphytum, 34 applied topically, reduces rupture of the groin. 
The white hypocisthis 35 is curative of corroding ulcers of the 
genitals. Artemisia 36 is prescribed also in sweet wine for the 
cure of calculi and of stranguiy ; and root of nymph asa heraclia, 37 
taken in wine, allays pains in the bladder. 


A similar property belongs also to crethmos, 38 a plant highly 

25 See c. 19 of this Book, M See B. xxv. cc. 88, 89. 

27 See B. xxv. c. 70. 2S See B. xxv. c. 90. 

29 See B. xxv. c. 92. 30 See B. xxv. c. 100. 

31 It is quite useless for such a purpose ; and the same is the case, Fee 
says, with all the asserted remedies mentioned in this Chapter. See B. 
xxv. c. 101. 32 See B. xxv. c. 71. 

33 See B. xxv. c. 106. 34 See B. xxvii. c. 24. 

35 See c. 31 of this Book. 36 See B. xxv. c. 36. 

37 See B. xxv. c. 37. 38 See B. xxv. c. 96. 


praised by Hippocrates. 39 This is one of the wild plants that 
are commonly eaten at all events, we find Callimachus men- 
tioning it as one of the viands set on table by the peasant 
Hecale. 40 It is a species of garden batis, 41 with a stem a palm 
in height, and a hot seed, odoriferous like that of libanotis, 42 
and round. When dried, the seed bursts asunder, and discloses 
in the interior a white kernel, known as " cachry" to some. 
The leaf is unctuous and of a whitish colour, like that of the 
olive, only thicker and of a saltish taste. The roots are three 
or four in number, and about a finger in thickness : the plant 
grows in rocky localities, upon the sea-shore. It is eaten raw 
or else boiled with cabbage, and has JL pleasant, aromatic 
flavour ; it is preserved also in brine. .^ 

This plant is particularly useful for strangury, the leaves, 
stem, or root being taken in wine. It improves the complexion 
of the skin also, but if taken in excess is very apt to produce 
flatulency. Used in the form of a decoction it relaxes the 
bowels, has a diuretic effect, and carries off the humours from 
the kidneys. The same is the case also with alcea: 43 dried and 
powdered and taken in wine, it removes strangury, and, with 
the addition of daucus, 44 is still more efficacious : it is good 
too for the spleen, and is taken in drink as an antidote to the 
venom of serpents. Mixed with their barley it is remarkably 
beneficial for beasts of burden, when suffering from pituitous 
defluxions or strangury. 



The anthyllion 45 is a plant very like the lentil. Taken in 
wine, it is remedial for diseases of the bladder, and arrests 
haemorrhage. Another variety of it is the anthyllis, a plant 
resembling the chamsepitys, 46 with a purple flower, a powerful 
smell, and a root like that of endive. 

The plant known as "cepsea" 47 is even more efficacious. It 

39 De Nat. Mul. c. 20, and De Morb. Mul. I. 10. 

40 See B. xxii. c. 44. 41 See B. xxi. c. 50. 
42 See B. xxv. c. 18. 43 See B. xxvii. c. 6. 
44 See B. xxv. c. 64. 45 See B. xxi. c. 103. 

46 See B. xxi. c. 103. 

47 The Sedum cepaea of Linnaeus, the Sea purslain. Holland calls it 
*' Beccahunga," or " Brooklime." 

Chap. 54.] CAEOS OE HYPEEICON. 185 

resembles purslain in appearance, but bas a darker root, tbat 
is never used : it grows upon the sands of the sea-shore, and 
has a bitter taste. Taken in wine with root of asparagus, it 
is remarkably useful for diseases of the bladder. 



Hypericon, 48 otherwise known as the " chamaapitys" 49 or 
" corison," 50 is possessed of similar properties. It is a plant 51 
with a stem like that 52 of a garden vegetable, thin, red, and a 
cubit in length. The leaf is similar to that of rue, and has 
an acrid smell : the seed is enclosed in a swarthy pod, and 
ripens at the same time as barley. This seed is of an astringent 
nature, arrests diarrhoea, and acts as a diuretic : it is taken 
also for diseases of the bladder, in wine. 


There is another hypericon also, known as " caros" 53 by 
some. The leaves of it resemble those of the tamarix, 54 
beneath 55 which it grows, but are more unctuous 56 and not so 
red. It is an odoriferous plant, somewhat more than a palm 57 
in height, of a sweet flavour, and slightly pungent. The seed 
is of a warming nature, and is consequently productive of eruc- 
tations ; it is not, however, injurious to the stomach. This 
plant is particularly useful for strangury, provided the bladder 

48 Perhaps so called from the impressions on the leaves, virkp and eucaw, 
or else from its resemblance to heath, v-Trep and ipKiKrj. See, however 
Note 55 helow. 49 " Ground pine." 

50 Sillig reads this "corissum." Former editions have " corion." 

51 Identified by Fee with the Hypericum perforatum of Linnaeus, the 
Perforated St. John's wort. Littre gives the Hypericum crispum of Linnaeus, 

32 " Oleraceo." Another reading is " surculaceo," <4 tough and ligneous ;" 
and is, perhaps, preferable. 

53 " Coris " is the old and more common reading, Fee identifies it with 
the Hypericum coris of Linnaeus, and Brotero with the H. saxatile of 
Tournelbrt. Desfontaines gives as its synonym the Coris Monspelliensis. 

54 See B. xxiv. c. 41. 

55 It is not improbable, supposing the " tamarix " to be one of the 
Erica3, that to this circumstance it may owe its name. Indeed Dioscorides 
has epeiKr], in the corresponding passage. 

56 Pinguioribus." 

87 Dioscorides gives the stem larger dimensions. 


be not ulcerated ; taken in wine, it is curative of pleurisy 


Callithrix, 58 beaten up with cummin seed, and administered 
in white wine, is useful also for diseases of the bladder. 
Leaves of vervain, boiled down to one third, or root of vervain, 
in warm honied wine, expel calculi of the bladder. 

Perpressa, 59 a plant which grows in the vicinity of Arretium 
and in Illyricum, is boiled down to one third in three heminse 
of water, and the decoction taken in drink : the same too with 
trefoil, 60 which is administered in wine ; and the same with 
the chrysanthemum. 61 The anthemis 62 also is an expellent of 
calculi. It is a plant with five small leaves running from the 
root, two long stems, and a flower like a rose. The roots of 
it are pounded and administered alone, in the same way as 
raw laver. 63 


Silaus 64 is a plant which grows in running streams with 
a gravelly bed. It bears some resemblance to parsley, and is 
a cubit in height. It is cooked in the same manner as the 
acid vegetables, 85 and is of great utility for affections of the 
bladder. In cases where that organ is affected with eruptions, 66 
it is used in combination with root of panaces, 67 a plant 
which is otherwise bad for the bladder. 

* 8 See B. xxii. c. 30, and B. xxv. c. 86. 

59 This plant has not been identified. Anguillara says that it is the same 
as the " repressa," a plant given to horses by the people at Rome, when 
suffering from dysuria. What this plant is, no one seems to know. 

60 See B. xxi. c. 30. 

ftl The same as the Helichrysos of B. xx. cc. 38 and 96. It is identified 
with the Chrysanthemum segetum of Linnaeus, the Corn marygold. 

62 Fee identifies it with the Eranthemis of B. xxii. c. 26, which he con- 
siders to be the Anthemis rosea of Linnaeus, the Hose camomile. 

63 See c. 32 of this Book. 

64 Hardouin thinks that it is the Apium graveolens of Linnaeus, Smallage ; 
but at the present day it is generally identified with the Peucedanum silaus 
of Linnaeus, the Meadow sulphur- wort, or saxifrage. 

65 Sorrel, for instance. 66 " Scabiem." 
67 See B. xxv. c. 11. 



The erratic apple, 68 too, is an expellentof calculi. For this 
purpose, a pound of the root is boiled down to one half in a 
congius of wine, and one hemina of the decoction is taken for 
three consecutive days, the remainder being taken in wine 
with sium. 69 Sea-nettle 70 is employed too for the same pur- 
pose, daucus, 71 and seed of plantago in wine. 


The plant of Fulvius 72 too so called from the first discoverer 
of it, and well known 73 to herbalists bruised in wine, acts as 
a diuretic. 



Scordion 74 reduces swellings of the testes. Henbane is 
curative of diseases of the generative organs. Strangury is cured 
by juice of peucedanum, 75 taken witli honey ; as also by the 
seed of that plant. Agaric is also used for the same purpose, 
taken in doses of three oboli in one cyathus of old wine ; root 
of trefoil, in doses of two drachmae in wine ; and root or seed 
of daucus, 76 in doses of one drachma. For the cure of sciatica, 
the seed and leaves of erythrodanum 77 are used, pounded ; 
panaces, 78 taken in drink ; polemonia, 79 employed as a friction ; 
and leaves of aristolochia, 80 in the form of a decoction. Agaric, 
taken in doses of three oboli in one cyathus of old wine, is 
curative of affections of the tendon known as " platys" 81 and 
of pains in the shoulders. Cinquefoil is either taken in drink 
or applied topically for the cure of sciatica ; a decoction of 
scammony is used also, with barley meal ; and the seed of 
either kind of hypericon 82 is taken in wine. 

68 Generally supposed to be the same as the " Apple of the earth," 
mentioned in B. xxv. c. 54. 69 See B. xx. c. 41. 

70 It is doubtful whether he means an animal or plant ; most probably 
the latter, but if so, it is quite unknown. 1l See B. xxv. c. 64. 

'* " Herba Fulviana." 73 A plant now unknown. 

74 See B. xxv. c. 27. In reality it is of an irritating nature. 

75 See B. xxv. c. 70. 76 See B. xxv. c. 64. 

77 Or madder ; see B. xix. c. 17. The seed and leaves are no longer 
employed in medicine ; the root has been employed in modern times, Fee 
says, but with no success. 78 See B. xxv. c. 11, et seq. 

79 See B. xxv. c. 28. 80 See B. xxv. c. 54. 

81 Or "broad" tendon. The Tendon A chillis. 

83 See ec. 53 and 54 of this Book. 


Eor diseases of the fundament and for excoriations plantago 
is remarkably efficacious ; for condylomata, cinquefoil ; and for 
procidence of the rectum, root of cyclaminos, 83 applied in 
vinegar. The blue anagallis 81 reduces procidence of the 
rectum, while, on the contrary, that with a red flower has a 
tendency to bear it down. Cotyledon 85 is a marvellous cure 
for condylomatous affections and piles ; and root of acoron, 86 
boiled in wine and beaten up, is a good application for swel- 
ling of the testes. According to what Cato 87 says, those who 
carry about them Pontic 88 wormwood, will never experience 
chafing between the thighs. 

(9.) Some persons add pennyroyal to the number of these 
plants : gathered fasting, they say, and attached to the hinder 
part of the body, it will be an effectual preservative against 
all pains in the groin, and will allay them in cases where they 
already exist. 


Inguinalis 89 again, or, as some persons call it, "argemo," a 
plant commonly found growing in bushes and thickets, needs 
only to be held in the hand to be productive of beneficial effects 
upon the groin. 



Panaces, 90 applied with honey, heals inflammatory tumours ; 
an effect which is equally produced by plantago applied with 
salt, cinquefoil, root of persolata 91 used in the same way as 
for scrofula ; damasonium 92 also, and verbascum 93 pounded with 
the root, and then sprinkled with wine, and wrapped in a leaf 
warmed upon ashes, and applied hot. Persons of experience 
in these matters have asserted that it' is of primary importance 
that the application should be made by a maiden, as also that 
she must be naked at the time, and fasting. The patient must 

83 See B. xxv. c. 67. 84 See B. xxv. c. 92. 

85 See B. xxv. c. 101. 86 See B. xxv. c. 100. 

87 De Re Rust. c. 159. He says that it must be carried under the ring. 

88 See B. xxvii. c. 28. 

89 The " Groin plant." Probably the same as the Bubonion of B. xxvii. 
c. 19. 

30 See B. xxv. c. 11, et seq. 9l See c. 12 of this Book. 

M See B. xxv. c. 77. 23 See B. xxv. c. 73, 

Chap. 62.] THE ORCHIS. 189 

be fasting too, and the damsel must say, touching him with 
the back of her hand, 94 " Apollo forbids that a disease shall 
increase which a naked virgin restrains." So saying, she 
must withdraw her hand, and repeat to the above effect three 
times, both of them spitting upon the ground each time. 

Root, too, of mandragora 95 is used for this purpose, with 
water ; a decoction of root of scammony with honey ; sideritis y6 
beaten up with stale grease ; horehound with stale axle- 
grease ; or chrysippios, 97 a plant which owes its name to its 
discoverer with pulpy figs. 


Nymph a3a heraclia, used as already stated, 98 acts most 
powerfully as an antaphrodisiac ; the same too if taken once 
overy forty days in drink. Taken in drink fasting, or eaten 
with the food, it effectually prevents the recurrence of libidi- 
nous dreams. The root too, used in the form of a liniment and 
applied to the generative organs, not only represses all prurient 
desires, but arrests the seminal secretions as well ; for which 
reason, it is said to have a tendency to make flesh and to 
improve the voice. 99 

The upper part of the root of xiphion, 1 taken in wine, acts 
as an aphrodisiac. The same is the case too with .the wild 
crethmos, 2 or agrios as it is called, and with horminum, 3 beaten 
up with polenta. 4 



Eut there are few plants of so marvellous a nature as the 
orchis 5 or serapias, a vegetable production with leaves like 

94 The following is the formula of this monstrous piece of absurdity : 
" Negat Apollo pestem posse crescere cui nuda virgo restinguat.' 1 

95 See B. xxv. c. 94. * See B. xxv. c. 19. 

97 An unknown plant. 

98 In B. xxv. c. 37. This alleged property of the Nymphsea is entirely 
fabulous. " See B. xx. c. 13. 

1 See B. xxv. cc. 88 and 89. 2 See B. xxv. e. 96. 

3 See B. xviii. cc. 10 and 22. ^ 4 See B. xviii. c. 14. 

5 Identified by Littre with the Orchis undulatifolia, and by Fee with 
the Orchis morio of Linnaeifs, the Female orchis, or Female fool-stones. 
Its aphrodisiac properties seem not to have been proved by modern ex- 
perience, hut it is nourishing in the highest degree. LinnaBus, however, 
seems to be of opinion that it may have the effect of an aphrodisiac upou 


those of the leek, a stem a palm in height, a purple flower, 
and a twofold root, formed of tuberosities which resemble the 
testes in appearance. The larger of these tuberosities, or, as 
some say, the harder of the two, taken in water, is provocative 
of lust ; while the smaller, or, in other words, the softer one, 
taken in goat's milk, acts as an antaphrodisiac. Some persons 
describe this plant as having a leaf like that of the squill, 
only smoother and softer, and a prickly stem. The roots heal 
ulcerations of the mouth, and are curative of pituitous dis- 
charges from the chest ; taken in wine they act astringently 
upon the bowels. 

Satyrion is also a powerful stimulant. There are two kinds 
of it : the first 6 has leaves like those of the olive, but longer, 
a stem four fingers in length, a purple flower, and a double 
root, resembling the human testes in shape. This root swells 
and increases in volume one year, and resumes its original 
size the next. The other kind is known as the " satyrios or- 
chis/' 7 and is supposed to be the female plant. It is dis- 
tinguished from the former one by the distance between its 
joints, and its more branchy and shrublike form. The root is 
employed in philtres : it is mostly found growing near the 
sea. Beaten up and applied with polenta, 8 or by itself, it 
heals tumours and various other affections of the generative 
organs. The root of the first kind, administered in the milk 
of a colonic 9 sheep, causes tentigo ; taken in water it produces 
a contrary effect. 



The Greeks give the name of "satyrion" 10 to a plant with 

cattle. It is the name, no doubt, signifying " testicle," which originally 
procured for it the repute of being an aphrodisiac. 

6 Identified by Desfontaines with the Orchis pyramidalis, and by Fee 
with the 0. papilionacea of Linnaeus. Littre gives the Limodorum abor- 

7 He is probably speaking of the Cratsegonon of B. xxvii. c. 40, which 
Fee identifies with the Thelygonon of c. 91 of this Book. He remarks 
that from the description, the Satyrios orchis cannot have been a Mono- 

8 See B. xviii. c. 14. 9 See B. viii. c. 72. 

10 Littre identifies it with the Aceras anthropophora of Linnaeus ; Des- 
fontaines with the Orchis bifolia, the Butterfly orchis. The Iris ftorentina 

Chap. 63.] SATTEION. 191 

red leaves like those of the lily, but smaller, not more than 
three of them making their appearance above ground. The 
stem, they say, is smooth and bare and a cubit in length, and 
the root double ; the lower part, which is also the larger, pro- 
moting the conception of male issue, the upper or smaller part, 
that of female. 

They distinguish also another kind of satyrion, by the 
name of " erythraicon :"" it has seed like that of the vitex, 12 
only larger, smooth, and hard ; the root, they say, is covered 
with a red rind, and is white within and of a sweetish taste : 
it is mostly found in mountainous districts. The root, we are 
told, if only held in the hand, acts as a powerful aphrodisiac, 
and even more so, if it is taken in rough, astringent wine. It 
is administered in drink, they say, to rams and he-goats when 
inactive and sluggish ; and the people of Sarmatia are in the 
habit of giving it to their stallions when fatigued with cover- 
ing, a defect to which they give the name of " prosedamum." 
The effects of this plant are neutralized by the use of hydro- 
mel or lettuces. 13 

The Greeks, however, give the general name of " satyrion" 
to all substances of a stimulating tendency, to the cratsegis 1 * 
for example, the thelygonon, 15 and the arrenogonon, plants, 
the seed of which bears a resemblance to the testes. 16 Persons 
who carry the pith of branches of tithynialos 17 about them, 
are rendered more amorous thereby, it is said. The statements 
are really incredible, which Theophrastus, 18 in most cases an 
author of high authority, makes in relation to this subject ; 
thus, for instance, he says that by the contact only of a cer- 

of Linnaeus has also been named ; but, though with some doubt, Fee is 
inclined to prefer the Tulipa Clusiana, or some other kind of tulip. 

11 Mostly identified with the Erythronium dens canis of Linnaeus, the 
Dog's tooth violet. M. Fraas, however, in his Synopsis, p. 279, remarks 
that the E. dens canis is not to be found in Greece, and is of opinion that 
the Fritillaria Pyrenaica, the Pyrenean lily, or Fritillary, is meant. The 
Serapias cordigera of Linnaeus has been suggested, and Fee "thinks that 
it is as likely to be the plant meant by Pliny as any other that has been 

12 See B. xxiv. c. 38. 13 See B. xix. c. 38. 

14 " Crataegonon " is most probably the correct reading. See B. xvi. 
c. 52, and B. xxvii. c. 40. 13 See c. 91 of this Book. 

16 Of the three plants named, the Thelygonon is the only one to which 
this assertion will apply. See c. 91 of this Book, and B. xxvii. c. 40, 

17 See B. zxvi. c. 39. Hist. Plant. B. ix. c. 20. 


tain plant, a man has been enabled, in the sexual congress, to 
repeat his embraces as many as seventy times even ! The 
name and genus, however, of this plant, he has omitted to 


Sideritis, 19 attached to the body as an amulet, reduces vari- 
cose veins, and effects a painless cure. Gout used to be an 
extremely rare disease, not in the times of our fathers and 
grandfathers only, but within my own memory even. Indeed, 
it may justly be considered a foreign complaint ; for if it had 
been formerly known in Italy, it would surely have found a 
Latin name. It should, however, by no means be looked 
upon as an incurable malady ; for before now, in many in- 
stances, it has quitted the patient all at once, and still more 
frequently, a cure has been effected by proper treatment. 

For the cure of gout, roots of panaces 20 are used, mixed with 
raisins ; juice of henbane, or the seed, combined with meal ; 
scordion, 21 taken in vinegar ; iberis, as already mentioned ; 22 
vervain, beaten up with axle-grease ; or root of cyclaminos, 23 
a decoction of which is good also for chilblains. 

As cooling applications for gout, root of xiphion 24 is used ; 
seed of psyllion ; 25 hemlock, with litharge or axle-grease ; 
and, at the first symptoms of red gout, or, in other words, hot 
gout, the plant aizoiirn. 26 For either kind of gout, erigeron, 27 
with axle-grease, is very useful ; leaves of plantago, beaten up 
with a little salt ; or argemonia, 28 pounded with honey. An 
application of vervain is also remedial, and it is a good plan 
to soak the feet in a decoction of that plant in water. 



Lappago 29 is employed also for this disease ; a plant 
similar to the anagallis, 30 were it not that it is more branchy, 

19 See B. xxv. c. 19. 20 See B. xxv. c. 11, et seq. 

21 See B. xxv. c. 27. 

22 In B. xxv. c. 49. None of these so-called remedies are now employed. 

23 See B. xxv. c. 67. 24 See B. xxv. cc. 88, 89. 
25 See B. xxv. c. 90. 26 See B. xxv c. 102. 

27 See B. xxv. c. 106. M See B. xxv. c. 66. 

20 See B. zsiv. c. 116. 30 See B. xxv. c. 92. 

Chap. 66.] P1ITCOS THALASSEON. 193 

bristling with a greater number of leaves, covered with rugo- 
sities, full of a more acrid juice, and possessed of a powerful 
smell. The kind that resembles anagallis most closely, is 
known as mollugo. 31 Asperugo 32 is a similar plant, only with 
a more prickly leaf. The juice of the first is taken daily, in 
doses of one denarius, in two cyathi of wine. 



But it is the phycos thalassion, or sea-weed, 33 more particu- 
larly, that is so excellent a remedy for the gout. It resembles 
the lettuce in appearance, and is used as the basis in dyeing 
tissues with the purple of the murex. 34 Used before it be- 
comes dry, it is efficacious as a topical application not only 
for gout, but for all diseases of the joints. There are three 
kinds of it ; one with a broad leaf, another with a longer leaf 
of a reddish hue, and a third with a crisped leaf, and used in 
Crete for dyeing cloths. 35 All these kinds have similar pro- 
perties ; and we find Nicander prescribing them in wine as an 
antidote to the venom of serpents even. The seed also of the 
plant which we have spoken of as " psyllion," 36 is useful for 
the cure of gout : it is first steeped in water, and one hemina of 
the seed is then mixed with two spoonfuls of resin of Colophon, 
and one spoonful of frankincense. Leaves of mandragora, 37 
too, are highly esteemed for this purpose, beaten up with 

(11.) For swellings of the ankles, slime, 38 kneaded up with 
oil, is wonderfully useful, and for swellings of the joints the 
juice of the smaller centaury ; this last being remarkably good 
also for diseases of the sinews. Centauris, 39 too, is very useful ; 
and for pains in the sinews of the shoulder-blades, shoulders, 

31 Identified with the Galium mollugo of Linnaeus, Great ladies' bed- 
straw, or Wild bastard madder. 

32 The Asperugo procumbens of Linnaeus has been named, but Fee re- 
marks that from its resemblance to Mollugo, the plant must be sought 
among the Rubiaceae, and not among the Borragineae. 

33 <* Fucus marinus." See B. xiii. c. 48. 

34 " Qui conchyliis substernitur." See Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. I. 
p. 36, Bohn's Ed. 

35 What Fucus or Laminaria this may have been is now unknown. 
86 See B. xxv. c. 90. 37 See B. xxv. c. 94. 

38 " Limus aquaticus." 39 See B. xxv. c. 32, 

VOL. V. O 


vertebrae, and loins, an infusion of betony is taken in drink in 
the same way as for diseases of the liver. 40 Cinquefoil is ap- 
plied topically to the joints, and a similar use is made of the 
leaves of mandragora, mixed with polenta, 41 or else the root, 
beaten up fresh with wild cucumber 42 or boiled in water. For 
chaps upon the toes, root of polypodion 43 is used ; and for dis- 
eases of the joints, juice of henbane with axle- grease ; amo- 
mum, 44 with a decoction of the plant ; centunculus, 45 boiled ; or 
fresh moss steeped in water, and attached to the part till it is 
quite dry. 

The root, too, of lappa boaria, 46 taken in wine, is productive 
of similar effects. A decoction of cyclaminos 47 in water, is cura- 
tive of chilblains, and all other affections resulting from cold. 
For chilblains, cotyledon 48 is also employed with axle-grease, 
leaves of batrachion, 49 and juice of epithymum. 50 Ladanum, 51 
mixed with castoreum, 51 and vervain applied with wine, ex- 
tract corns from the feet. 


Having now finished the detail of the diseases which are 
perceptible in individual parts of the body, we shall proceed 
to speak of those which attack the whole of the body. The 
following I find mentioned as general remedies : in preference 
to anything else, an infusion of dodecatheos, 52 a plant already 
described, should be taken in drink, and then the roots of the 
several kinds 53 of panaces, in maladies of long standing more 
particularly : seed, too, of panaces should be used for intestinal 
complaints. For all painful affections of the body we find 
juice of scordium 54 recommended, as also that of betony : this 
last, taken in a potion, is particularly excellent for removing 
a wan and leaden hue of the skin, and for improving its gene- 
ral appearance. 

40 See c. 19 of this Book. 41 See B. xviii. c. 14. 

42 See B. xx. c. 2. 43 See c. 37 of this Book. 

44 See B. xii. c. 28. 45 See B. xxiv. c. 88. 

46 (4 Q X i a pp a /' Possibly the same as the Philanthropes, or else the 
Lappa canina, both, mentioned in B. xxiv. c. 116. 

47 See B. xxv. c. 67. 48 See B. xxv. c. 101. 

49 3ee B. xxv. c. 109. 

50 See B. xii. c. 37, and c. 35 of this Book. 

51 See B. viii. c. 47. 52 See B. xxv. c. 9. 
58 See B. txv. c. li, et scq. 51 See B. xxv. c. 27. 

Chap. 68.] THE GEEANIOtf. 195 


The plant geranion has the additional names of " myrrhis" 54 * 
and " myrtis." It is similar to hemlock in appearance, but 
has a smaller leaf and a shorter stem, rounded, and of a plea- 
sant taste and odour. Such, at all events, is the description 
given of it by our herbalists ; but the Greeks speak of it as 
bearing leaves a little whiter than those of the mallow, thin 
downy stems, and branches at intervals some two palms in 
length, with small heads at their extremities, in the midst 
of the leaves, resembling the bill 55 of a crane. 66 There is also 
another 57 variety of this plant, with leaves like those of the 
anemone, but with deeper incisions, and a root rounded like 
an apple, sweet, and extremely useful and refreshing 5S for 
invalids when recovering their strength : this last would al- 
most seem to be the true geranion. 

For phthisis this plant is taken, in the proportion of one 
drachma to three cyathi of wine, twice a day ; as also for 
flatulency. Eaten raw, it is productive of similar effects. The 
juice of the root is remedial for diseases of the ear ; and for 
opisthotony the seed is taken in drink, in doses of four drachmae, 
with pepper and myrrh. Juice of plantago, 59 taken in drink, 
is curative of phthisis, and a decoction of it is equally good for 
the purpose. Plantago taken as a food with oil and salt, 
immediately after rising in the morning, is extremely refreshing; 
it is prescribed, too, in cases of atrophy, on alternate days. 
Betony is given with honey, in the form of an electuary, for 
phthisis, in pieces the size of a bean ; agaric, too, is taken in 
doses of two oboli in raisin wine, or else daucus 60 with the 
greater centaury in wine. For the cure of phagedsena, a 

54 * Not in reality the same plant as the Geranion ; see B. xxiv. c. 97. 
Littre, however, gives the Erodium moschatum of Linnaeus as the synonym 
of this Geranion myrrhis. 

55 Hence its name, from the Greek yspavos, a " crane." 

56 This kind of Geranion has been identified with the Geranium molle, 
or Erodium malacoides of Linnaeus, the Common dore's-foot crane's bill. 

57 Identified with the Geranium tuberosum of Linnaeus. 

58 Fee remarks that all his assertions as to the medicinal properties of 
the Geranion are erroneous. 

59 See B. XXY. c. 39. eo g ee g, XX7 c . 64> 


name given in common to bulimia 61 and to a corrosive kind 
of ulcer, tithymalos 63 is taken in combination with sesame. 


Among the various evils by which .the whole of the body in 
common is afflicted, that of wakefulness is the most common. 
Among the remedies for it we find panaces 63 mentioned, 
clymenus, 64 and aristolochia, 65 the odour of the plant being 
inhaled and the head rubbed with it. Aizoiim, or houseleek, 
is beneficial, wrapped in black cloth and placed beneath the 
pillow, without the patient being aware of it. The onotheras 66 
too, or onear, taken in wine, has certain exhilarating pro- 
perties ; it has leaves like those of the almond tree, a rose- 
coloured flower, numerous branches, and a long root, with a 
vinous smell when dried : an infusion of this root has a 
soothing effect upon wild beasts even. 

For fits of indigestion 67 attended with nausea, betony is 
taken in drink : used similarly after the evening meal, it faci- 
litates the digestion. Taken in the proportion of one drachma 
to three cyathi of oxymel, it dispels crapulence. The same is 
the case, too, with agaric, taken in warm water after eating. 
Betony is curative of paralysis, it is said; the same, too, with 
iberis, as already stated. 68 This last is good, too, for numbness 
of the limbs ; the same being the case with argemonia, 69 a 
plant which disperses those affections which might otherwise 
necessitate the application of the knife. 


Epilepsy is cured by the root of the panaces which we have 
spoken 70 of as the " heraclion," taken in drink with sea-calf's 
rennet, the proportions being three parts of panaces and one of 
rennet. For the same purpose an infusion of plantago 71 is 
taken, or else betony or agaric, with oxymel, the former in 
doses of one drachma, the latter in doses of three oboli ; leaves 

01 Voracious appetite "sine modo esurientium." 
6 - See B. xxvi. c. 39. 63 See B. xxv. cc. 11 and 12. 

i;4 See B. xxv. c. 33. 65 See B. xxv. c. 54. 

6>i Identified with the Epilobiurn roseum of Linnceus, Rose-coloured 
willow-herb. 67 See c. 25 of this Book. 

** In B. xxv. c. 49. 69 See B. xxv. c. 56. 

" In B. xxv. c. 12. 71 See B. xxv. c. 39. 

Chap. 71.] REMEDIES FOB FEVERS. 197 

of cinquefoil are taken, also, in water. Archezostis 72 is also 
curative of epilepsy, but it must be taken constantly for a 
year ; root of bacchar, 73 too, dried and powdered, and taken in 
warm water, in the proportion of three cyathi to one cyathus 
of coriander; centunculus 74 also, bruised in vinegar, warm 
water, or honey ; vervain, taken in wine ; hyssop 75 berries, 
three in number, pounded and taken in water, for sixteen days 
consecutively ; peucedanum, 76 taken in drink with sea-calf's 
rennet, in equal proportions ; leaves of cinquefoil, bruised in 
wine and taken for thirty days ; powdered betony, in doses of 
three denarii, with one cyathus of squill vinegar and an ounce 
of Attic honey ; as also scammony, in the proportion of two 
oboli to four drachmae of castoreum. 


Agaric, taken in warm water, alleviates cold fevers : sideritie, 
in combination with oil, is good for tertian fevers ; bruised 
ladanum 77 also, which is found in corn fields ; plantago, 78 taken 
in doses of two drachmae, in hydromel, a couple of hours before 
the paroxysms come on ; juice of the root of plantago made 
warm or subjected to pressure ; or else the root itself beaten up 
in water made warm with a hot iron. Some medical men pre- 
scribe three roots of plantago, in three cyathi of water ; and 
in a similar manner, four roots for quartan fevers. When 
buglossos 79 is beginning to wither, if a person takes the pith out 
of the stem, and says while so doing, that it is for the cure 
of such and such a person suffering from fever, and then 
attaches seven leaves to the patient, just before the paroxysms 
come on, he will experience a cure, they say. 

Fevers too, those which are attended with recurrent cold 
shiverings more particularly, are cured by administering one 
drachma of betony, or else agaric, in three cyathi of hydromel. 
Some medical men recommend three leaves of cinquefoil for 
tertian, four for quartan, and an increased number for other 
fevers ; while others again prescribe in all cases three oboli of 
cinquefoil, with pepper, in hydromel. 

Vervain, administered in water, is curative of fever, in beasts 

73 See B. xxiii. c. 16. 73 See B. xxi. c. 16. 

74 See B. xxiv. c. 88. 75 See B. xxv, c. 87. 

76 See B. xxv. c. 70. 77 See c. 30 of this Book. 

18 See B, xxv. c. 39. 79 See B. xxv. c. 40. 


of burden even ; but care must be taken, in cases of tertian 
fever, to cut the plant at the third joint, and of quartan fever 
at the fourth. The seed of either kind of hypericon 80 is taken 
also for quartan fevers and cold shiverings. Powdered betony 
modifies these fits, and panaces 81 is of so warming a nature 
that persons when about to travel amid the snow are recom- 
mended to drink an infusion of it, and to rub the body all over 
with the plant. Aristolochia 81 * also arrests shivering produced 
by cold. 



Phrenitis is cured by sleep induced by the agency of an 
infusion of peucedanum 82 in vinegar, poured upon the head, or 
else by the juice of either kind of anagallis. 82 * On the other 
hand, when patients are suffering from lethargy, it is with the 
greatest difficulty that they are aroused ; a result which may 
be effected, they say, by touching the nostrils with juice of 
peucedanum in vinegar. For the cure of insanity, betony is 
administered in drink. Panaces 83 brings carbuncles to a head, 
and makes them break; and they are equally cured by 
powdered betony applied in water, or else cabbage leaves 
mixed with frankincense in warm water, and taken in con- 
siderable quantities. For a similar purpose, a red-hot coal is 
extinguished in the patient's presence, and the ashes are taken 
up with the finger and applied to the sore. Bruised plantago 83 * 
is also used for the cure of carbuncles. 



For the cure of dropsy, tithymalos characias 84 is employed ; 
panaces 85 also ; plantago, 86 used as a diet, dry bread being 
eaten first, without any drink ; betony, taken in doses of two 
drachmas in two cyathi of ordinary wine or honied wine ; 
agaric or seed of lonchitis, 87 in doses of two spoonfuls, in 

80 See Chapters 53 and 54 of this Book. 

81 See B. xxv. c. 11, et seq. 81 * See B. xxv. c. 54. 
33 See B. xxv. c. 70. 82 * See B. xxv. c. 92. 

83 See B. xxv. c. 11, et seq. 88 ' See B. xxv. c. 39. 

84 See c. 39 of this Book. 85 See B. xxv. c. 11, et sea. 
86 See B. xxv. c. 39. 87 g e e B. xxv. c. 88. 


water; psyllion, 88 taken in wine; juice of either anagallis; 89 
root of cotyledon 90 in honied wine ; root of ebulum, 91 fresh 
gathered, with the mould shaken off, but not washed in 
water, a pinch in two fingers being taken in one hemina of 
old wine mulled; root of trefoil, taken in doses of two 
drachmae in wine ; the tithymalos 92 known as " platyphyllos ;" 
seed of the hypericon, 93 otherwise known as "caros;" the 
plant called "acte" the same thing as ebulum 94 according to 
some the root of it being pounded in three cyathi of wine, if 
there are no symptoms of fever, or the seed of it being ad- 
ministered in red wine ; a good handful of vervain also, boiled 
down in water to one half. But of all the remedies for this 
disease, juice of chamaeacte 95 is looked upon as by far the most 

Morbid or pituitous eruptions are cured by the agency of 
plantago, or else root of cyclaminos 96 with honey. Leaves of 
ebulum, 97 bruised in old wine and applied topically, are curative 
of the disease called "boa," which makes its appearance in 
the form of red pimples. Juice of strychnos, 98 applied as a 
liniment, is curative of prurigo. 


For the cure of erysipelas, aizoiim 99 is used, or else pounded 
leaves of hemlock, or root of mandragora j 1 this last being cut 
into round slices like cucumber and suspended over must, 2 after 
which it is hung up in the smoke, and then pounded in wine 
or vinegar. It is a good plan too to use fomentations with 
myrtle wine : two ounces of mint beaten up in vinegar with 
one ounce of live sulphur, form a mixture sometimes employed ; 
as also soot mixed with vinegar. 

There are several kinds of erysipelas, one in particular 
which attacks the middle of the body, and is known as 
" zoster :" 3 should it entirely surround the body, its effects are 

88 See B. xxv. c. 90. 89 See B. xxv. c. 92. 

90 See B. xxv. c. 101. 91 See B. xxv. c. 71. 

93 See c. 44 of this Book. 93 See c. 54 of this Book, 

u See B. xxv. c. 71. 95 See B. xxv. c. 71. 

96 See B. xxv. c. 67. 9T See B. xxv. c. 71. 

98 See B. xxi. c. 105. M See B. xxv. c. 102. 

1 See B. xxv. c. 94. 2 Or Grape-juice. 

3 The "belt " known to us as " shingles." 


fatal. For this disease, plantago 4 is remedial, mixed with 
Cimolian 5 chalk ; vervain, used by itself; or root of persolata. 6 
For other kinds of erysipelas of a spreading nature, root of 
cotyledon 7 is used, mixed with honied wine ; aizoiim also, 8 or 
juice of linozostis, 9 in combination with vinegar. 


For the cure of sprains, root of polypodion 10 is used, in the 
form of a liniment : the pain and swelling are modified also by 
using seed of psyllion ; n leaves of plantago 12 beaten up with 
a little salt ; seed of verbascum, 13 boiled in wine and pounded ; 
or hemlock with axle-grease. Leaves of ephemeron 14 are applied 
topically to tumours and tuberosities, so long as they are 
capable of being dispersed. 


It is upon the eyes in particular that jaundice is productive 
of so remarkable an effect ; the bile penetrating between the 
membranes, so extremely delicate as they are and so closely 
united. Hippocrates 15 tells us that the appearance of jaundice 
on or after the seventh day in fevers is a fatal symptom ; but 
I am acquainted with some instances in which the patients 
survived after having been reduced to this apparently hopeless 
state. We may remark also, that jaundice sometimes comes 
on without fever supervening. It is combated by taking the 
greater centaury, 16 as already mentioned, in drink ; agaric, in 
doses of three oboli in old wine ; or leaves of vervain, in doses 
of three oboli, taken for four consecutive days in one hemina of 
mulled wine. But the most speedy cure of all is effected by 
using juice of cinquefoil, in doses of three cyathi, with salt 
and honey. Eoot of cyclaminos 17 is also taken in drink in 
doses of three drachmae, the patient sitting in a warm room 
free from all cold and draughts, the infusion expelling the 
bile by its action as a sudorific. 

4 See B. xxv. c. 39. 5 See B. xxxv. c. 57. 

6 See B. xxv. c. 66. 7 See B. xxv. c. 101. 

8 See B. xxv. c. 102. 9 See B. xxv. c. 18. 

10 See c. 37 of this Book. " See B. xxv. c. 90. 

12 See B. xxv. c. 39. 13 See B. xxv. c. 73. 

14 See B. xxv. c. 107. 15 B. iv. cc. 62, 64. 

16 See B. xxv. c. 3'J. tf See B. xxv. c. 67. 


Leaves of tussilago 18 are also used in water for this purpose ; 
the seed of either kind of linozostis, 19 sprinkled in the drink, or 
made into a decoction with chick-pease or wormwood : hyssop 
berries taken in water; the plant lichen, 20 all other vege- 
tables being carefully abstained from while it is being used ; 
polythrix, 21 taken in wine ; and struthion, 22 in honied wine. 


There are boils also, known as " furunculi," 23 which make 
their appearance indiscriminately on all parts of the body, and 
are productive of the greatest inconvenience : sometimes 
indeed, when the constitution is exhausted, they are fatal in 
their effects. For their cure, leaves of pycnocoinon 24 are em- 
ployed, beaten up with polenta, 25 if the boil has not come to a 
head. They are dispersed also by an application of leaves of 
ephedron. 26 


Fistulas, too, insidiously attack all parts of the body, owing 
to unskilfulness on the part of medical men in the use of the 
knife. The smaller centaury 27 is used for their cure, with the 
addition of lotions 28 and boiled honey : juice of plantago 29 is 
also employed, as an injection ; cinquefoil, mixed with salt and 
honey ; ladanum, 30 combined with castoreum ; 31 cotyledon, 32 
applied hot with stag's marrow ; pith of the root of verbascum 33 
reduced to a liquid state in the shape of a lotion, and injected ; 
root of aristolochia ; 34 or juice of tithymalos. 35 


Abscesses and inflammations are cured by an application of 
leaves of argemonia. 36 For indurations and gatherings of all 
descriptions a decoction of vervain or cinquefoil in vinegar is 

18 Or Bechion. See B. xxiv. c. 85. 

19 See B. xxv. c. 19. 20 See c. 10 of this Book. 
21 See B. xxv. c. 83. 22 See B. xix. c. 18. 

23 "Little thieves," literally. 24 See c. 36 of this Book. 

25 See B. xviii. c. 14. 26 See c. 83 of this Book. 

27 See B. xxv. c. 31. 28 " Collyriis." 

29 See B. xxv. c. 39 See B. xii. c. 37, and c. 30 of this Book. 

31 See B. viii. c. 47. 32 See B. xxv. c. 101. 

33 See B. xxv. c. 73. 34 See B. xxv. c. 54. 

*> See c. 39 of this Book. 36 See B. xxv. c. 56. 


used ; leaves or root of verbascum ; 37 a liniment made of wine 
and hyssop ; root of acoron, 38 a decoction of it being used as a 
fomentation ; or else aizoiim. 39 Contusions also, hard tumours, 
and fistulous abscesses are treated with illecebra. 40 

All kinds of foreign substances which have pierced the 
flesh are extracted by using leaves of tussilago, 41 daucus, 42 or 
seed of leontopodium 43 pounded in water with polenta. 44 To 
suppurations, leaves of pycnocomon 45 are applied, beaten up 
with polenta, or else the seed of that plant, or orchis. 46 An 
application of root of satyrion 47 is said to be a most efficacious 
remedy for deep-seated diseases of the bones. Corrosive ulcers 
and all kinds of gatherings are treated with sea- weed, 48 used 
before it has dried. Boot, too, of alcima 49 disperses gatherings. 


Burns are cured by the agency of plantago, 50 or of arction, 51 
so effectually indeed as to leave no scar. The leaves of this 
last plant are boiled in water, beaten up, and applied to the 
sore. Boots of cyclaminos 52 are used, in combination with 
aizoum ; 53 the kind of hypericon also, which we have mentioned 
as being called " corissum." 54 


For diseases of the sinews and joints, plantago, 55 beaten up 
with salt, is a very useful remedy, or else argemonia, 56 pounded 
with honey. Patients affected with spasms or tetanus are 
rubbed with juice of peucedanum. 57 For indurations of the 
sinews, juice of aegilops 58 is employed, and for pains in those 
parts of the body erigeron 69 or epithymum, 60 used as a liniment, 

37 See B. xxv. c. 73. 38 See B. xxv. c. 100. 

39 See B. xxv. c. 102. 40 See B. xxv. c. 103. 

41 See B. xxiv. c. 85. 42 See B. xxv. c. 64. 

43 See B. xxvii. c. 72. 44 See B. xviii. c. 14. 

45 See Chapters 36 and 77 of this Book. 

46 See c. 62 of this Book. 4 ? See c. 62 of this Book. 

48 See c. 66 of this Book. 

49 Probably the " Alcea " of B. xxvii. c. 6. See also B. xxv. c. 77. 

50 See B. xxv. c. 39. 6l See B. xxvii. c. 16, 
32 See B. xxv. c. 67. 53 See B. xxv. c. 102. 

54 Or " Corison." See c. 53 of this Book. 

55 See B. xxv. c. 39. 56 See B. xxv. c. 56. 
67 See B. xxv. c. 70. 58 See B. xxv. c. 93. 

59 See B. xxv. c. 106. o See c. 35 of this Book. 

Chap. 83.] HIPPUEIS. 203 

with vinegar. In cases of spasms and opisthotony, it is an 
excellent plan to rub the part affected with seed of the hype- 
ricon known as " caros," 61 and to take the seed in drink. 
Phrynion, 62 it is said, will effect a cure even when the sinews 
have been severed, if applied instantaneously, bruised or 
chewed. For spasmodic affections, fits of trembling, and opis- 
thotony, root of alcima 63 is administered in hydromel ; used in 
this manner, it has a warming effect when the limbs are 
benumbed with cold. 


The red seed of the plant called " paeonia" 64 arrests haemorr- 
hage ; the root also is possessed of similar properties. But it 
is clyinenus 65 that should be employed, when there are dis- 
charges of blood at the mouth or nostrils, from the bowels, or 
from the uterus. In such cases, lysimachia 66 also is taken in 
drink, applied topically, or introduced into the nostrils ; or 
else seed of plantago, 67 or cinquefoil, is taken in drink, or em- 
ployed in the form of a liniment. Hemlock seed is introduced 
into the nostrils, for discharges of blood there, or else it is 
pounded and applied in water ; aizoum 68 also, and root of as- 
tragalus. 69 Isehsemon 70 and achillea 71 likewise arrest haemorr- 



Equisaetum, a plant called " hippuris" by the Greeks, and 
which we have mentioned in terms of condemnation, when 
treating of meadow lands 72 it being, in fact, a sort of hair of 
the earth, similar in appearance to horse- hair 78 is used by 
runners for the purpose of diminishing 74 the spleen. For this 

61 See c. 53 of this Book. 62 See B. xxv. c. 76. 

63 See Note 49 above. 64 Our peony. See B. XXY. c. 10. 

65 See B. xxv. c. 33. 66 See B. xxv. c. 35. 

67 See B. xxv. c. 39. m See B. xxv. c. 102. 

69 See c. 29 of the present Book. 70 See B. xxv. c. 45. 

71 See B. xxv. c. 19. 

72 In B. xviii. c. 67 ; where it is called " equissetis." M. Fraas identifies 
it with the Equisaetum limosum of Linnaeus. 

73 Whence its name " equisaetum." 
7* See B. xi. c. 30. 


purpose it is boiled down in a new earthen vessel to one third, 
the vessel being filled to the brim, and the decoction taken 
in doses of one hemina for three successive days. It is strictly 
forbidden, however, to eat any food of a greasy nature the day 
before taking it. 

Among the Greeks there are various opinions in relation to 
this plant, According to some, who give it the same name of 
" hippuris," it has leaves like those of the pine tree, and of a 
swarthy hue ; and, if we are to believe them, it is possessed of 
virtues of such a marvellous nature, that if touched by the 
patient only, it will arrest haemorrhage. Some authorities call it 
" hippuris, "others, again, "ephedron," and others "anabasis;" 
and they tell us that it grows near trees, the trunks of which it 
ascends, and hangs down therefrom in numerous tufts of black, 
rush-like hair, much like a horse's tail in appearance. The 
branches, we are told, are thin and articulated, and the leaves, 
few in number, small, and thin, the seed round, and similar to 
coriander in appearance, and the root ligneous : it grows, they 
say, in plantations more particularly. 

This plant is possessed of astringent properties. The juice 
of it, kept in the nostrils, arrests bleeding therefrom, and it 
acts astringently upon the bowels. Taken in doses of three 
cyathi, in sweet wine, it is a cure for dysentery, is an efficient 
diuretic, and is curative of cough, hardness of breathing, rup- 
tures, and serpiginous affections. For diseases of the intestines 
and bladder, the leaves are taken in drink ; it has the property, 
also, of reducing ruptures of the groin. 

The Greek writers describe another 75 hippuris, also, with 
shorter tufts, softer and whiter. This last, they say, is remark- 
ably good for sciatica, and, applied with vinegar, for wounds, 
it having the property of stanching the blood. Bruised nym- 
phaea 76 is also applied to wounds. Peucedanum 77 is taken in drink 
with cypress seed, for discharges of blood at the mouth or by 
the lower passages. Sideritis 79 is possessed of such remark- 
able virtues, that applied to the wound of a gladiator just 
inflicted, it will stop the flow of blood ; an effect which is equally 
produced by an application of charred fennel-giant, or of the 

75 Identified by Littre with the Ephedra fragilis of Linnaeus. Fee gives 
as its synonym the Equisaetum arvense of Linnaeus, the Common horse-tail, 
or Corn horse-tail. 76 See B. xxv. c. 37. 

77 See B. xxv. c. 70. See B. xxv. c. 15. 


ashes of that plant. For a similar purpose, also, the fungus 
that is found growing near the root of fennel-giant is still 
more efficacious. 


For bleeding at the nostrils, seed of hemlock, pounded in 
water, is considered efficacious, as also stephanomelis, 79 applied 
with water. Powdered betony, taken with goat's milk, or 
bruised plantago, 80 arrests discharges of blood from the ma- 
millae. Juice of plantago is administered to patients when 
vomiting blood. For local discharges of blood, an application of 
root of persolata 81 with stale axle-grease is highly spoken of. 



For ruptures, convulsions, and falls with violence, the greater 
centaury*- is used ; root of gentian pounded or boiled ; j uice of 
betony this last being employed also for ruptures produced by 
straining the vocal organs or sides panaces j 83 scordium j 84 or 
aristolochia 85 taken in drink. For contusions and falls, agaric 
is taken, in doses of two oboli, in three cyathi of honied wine, 
or if there are symptoms of fever, hydromel ; the verbascum, 86 
also, with a golden flower ; root of acoron ; 87 the several varieties 
of aizoiim, 88 the juice of the larger kind being particularly 
efficacious; juice of symphytum, 89 or a decoction of the root of 
that plant ; daucus, 90 unboiled ; erysithales, 91 a plant with a 
yellow flower and a leaf like that of acanthus, taken in wine ; 
chamaerops ; 92 irio, 93 taken in pottage ; plantago 94 taken any 
way, as also * * * * 

79 Dalechamps identifies it with the Potentilla anserina of Linnaeus, 
Silver- weed, or White tansy ; bat on insufficient grounds, Fee thinks. 

80 See B. xxv. c. 39. bl See B. xxv. c. 66. 

82 See B. xxv. c. 30. 83 See B. xxv. c. 11, et seq. 

84 See B. xxv. c. 27. 85 See B. xxv. c. 54. 

be See B. xxv. c. 73. 87 See B. xxv. c. 100. 

88 See B. xxv. c. 102. 89 See B. xxvii. c. 24. 

90 See B. xxv. c. 64. 

91 C. Bauhin identifies it with the Cnicus erysithales of Willdeuow ; - 
but that plant, Fee says, was unknown to the Greeks. 

9 * See B. xxiv. c. 80. 3 See B. xviii. c. 10. 

94 See B. xxv. c. 39., 



Phthiriasis is a disease which proved fatal to the Dictator 
Sylla, 95 and which developes itself by the production of insects 
in the blood, which ultimately consume the body. It is combated 
by using the juice of Taminian grapes 96 or of hellebore, the 
body being rubbed all over with it, in combination with oil. 
A decoction of Taminian grapes in vinegar, has the effect, also, 
of ridding the clothes of these vermin. 


Of ulcers there are numerous kinds, which are treated in 
various ways. The root of all the varieties of panaces 97 is 
used as an application for running ulcers, in warm wine. 

That which we have spoken of as the " chironion" 98 is par- 
ticularly good as a desiccative : bruised with honey, it opens 
tumours, and is useful for serpiginoyiis ulcers, the cure of which 
appears more than doubtful ; in which case it is amalgamated 
with flower 99 of copper tempered with wine, either the seed, 
flower, or root, being employed for the purpose. Mixed with 
polenta 1 it is good for old wounds. The following are also 
good detergents for wounds : heraclion siderion, 2 apollinaris, 3 
psyllion, 4 tragacantha, 5 and scordotis 6 mixed with honey. 
Powdered scordotis, applied by itself, consumes fleshy excres- 
cences on the body. Polemonia 7 is curative of the malignant 
ulcer known as " cacoethes." The greater centaury, 8 sprinkled 
in powder, or applied in the form of a liniment, or the leaves of 
the smaller 9 centaury, boiled or pounded, act as a detergent 
upon inveterate ulcers, and effect a cure. To recent wounds, 
the follicules of the clymenus 10 are applied. Gentian is applied 
to serpiginous ulcers, the root being bruised or else boiled down 
in water to the consistency of honey ; the juice also of the 
plant is employed. For wounds, a kind of lycium 11 is prepared 
from gentian. 

95 See B. xi. c. 39, and B. xx. c. 32. 96 See B. xxiii. c. 13. 

97 See B. XXT. c. 11, et seq. 98 See B. xxv. c. 15. 

99 For a description of this substance, see B. xxxiv. c. 24. 

1 See B. xviii. c. 14. 2 See B. xxv. c. 15. 

3 See B. xxv. c. 17. 4 See B. xxv. c. 90. 

5 See B. xiii. c. 36. 6 See B. xxv. c. 27. 

7 See B. xxv. c. 28. 8 See B. xxv. c. 30. 

9 See B. xxv. c. 31. 10 See B. xxv. c. 33. 
11 See B. xxiv. c. 77. 


Lysimachia 12 is curative of recent wounds, and plantago 13 of 
all kinds of ulcerations, those on females, infants, and aged per- 
sons more particularly. This plant, when softened by the action 
of fire, is better still : in combination with cerate it acts as a 
detergent upon ulcers with indurated edges, and arrests the 
progress of corrosive sores : when applied bruised, it should be 
covered with its own leaves. Chelidonia 14 also acts as a 
desiccative upon suppurations, abscesses, and fistulous ulcers ; 
indeed, it is so remarkably useful for the cure of wounds, as 
to be employed as a substitute for spodium 15 even. In cases 
where the cure is almost hopeless, it is applied with axle- 
grease. Dittany, 16 taken internally, causes arrows to fall from 
the flesh ; used as a liniment, it has the effect of extracting other 
kinds of pointed weapons : the leaves are taken in the pro- 
portion of one obolus to one cyathus of water. Nearly equal 
in its efficacy is pseudo-dictamnon : 17 they are both of them 
useful, also, for dispersing suppurations. 

Aristolochia 18 cauterizes putrid sores, and, applied with honey, 
acts as a detergent upon sordid ulcers. At the same time also, 
it removes maggots, and extracts hard cores, and all foreign 
bodies adhering to the flesh, arrows more particularly, and, 
applied with resin, splintered bones. Used by itself, it fills the 
cavities made by ulcers with new flesh, and, employed with 
iris, 19 in vinegar, it closes recent wounds. Vervain, or cinque- 
foil with salt and honey, is remedial for ulcers of long stand- 
ing. Roots of persolata 20 are applied to recent wounds in- 
flicted with iron, but for old wounds, it is the leaves that are 
employed : in both cases, in combination with axle-grease, the 
sore being then covered with the leaves of the plant. Damaso- 
niuin 21 is used for wounds the same way as for scrofula, 22 and 
leaves of verbascum 23 are employed with vinegar or wine. 

Vervain is useful for all kinds of callosities or putrid sores ; 
root of nympha3a heraclia 24 is curative of running ulcers ; and 

12 See B. xxv. c. 35. 13 See B. xxv. c. 39. 

14 See B. xxv. c. 50. 

15 See B. xix. c. 4, B. xxiii. c. 35, and B. xxxiv. c. 52. 

16 See B. xxv. c. 53. 

17 Bastard dittany. See B. xxv. C. 53. 

18 See B. xxv. c. 54. w See B. xxi. c. 19. 
20 See B. xxv. c. 66. 21 g ee B. xxv. c, 77. 
22 See c. 12 of this Book. 23 See B. xxv. c. 73. 
34 See B. xxv. c. 37. 


the same is the case with root of cyclaminos, 26 either used by 
itself, or in combination with vinegar or honey. This last root 
is useful also for the cure of steatomatous tumours, and hyssop 
for that of running ulcers ; an effect equally produced by peu- 
cedanum, 26 a plant which exercises so powerful an influence upon 
fresh wounds, as to cause exfoliation even of the bones. The two 
varieties of anagallis 27 are possessed of similar properties, and 
act as a check upon the corrosive sores known as " nomae" and 
upon defluxions; they are useful also in cases of recent wounds, 
those of aged people in particular. Fresh leaves of niandra- 
gora, 28 applied with cerate, are curative of apostemes and 
sordid ulcers: the root too is used, with honey or oil, for wounds. 

Hemlock, incorporated with flour of winter wheat 29 by the 
agency of wine as also the plant aizoum 30 is curative of her- 
petic eruptions, and corrosive or putrid sores. Erigeron* 1 
is employed for ulcers which breed maggots. Boot of astra- 
galus 32 is used for the cure of recent wounds or of ulcers of 
long standing ; and upon these last either kind of hypocisthis 33 
acts as a detergent. Seed of leontopodium, 34 bruised in water 
and applied with polenta, 35 extracts pointed weapons from the 
flesh : a result equally produced by using seed of pycnocomon. 36 
The tithymalos characias 37 supplies its juice for the cure of gan- 
grenes, phagedaenic sores, and putrid ulcers; or else a decoction 
is made of the branches with polenta and oil. Roots of or- 
chis 38 have a similar effect ; in addition to which, applied, 
either dry or fresh gathered, with honey and vinegar, they are 
curative of the ulcer known as " cacoethes." Onothera 39 also, 
used by itself, is curative of ulcers when rapidly gaining head. 

The people of Scythia employ scythice 40 for the treatment 
of wounds. For carcinoma, argemonia, 41 applied with honey, 
is extremely efficacious. For sores that have prematurely 
closed, root of asphodel is boiled, in manner already 42 stated, 

25 See B. xxv. c. 67. 26 See B. xxv. c. 70. 

27 See B. xxv. c. 92. 28 See B. xxv. c. 94. 

29 "Siligo." See B. xviii. c. 20. 30 See B. xxv. c. 102. 

31 See B. xxv. c. 106. 33 See c. 29 of this Book. 

33 See c. 31 of this Book. 34 See B. xxvii. c. 72. 

35 See B. xxviii. c. 14. 36 See c. 36 of this Book. 

37 See c. 39 of this Book. 38 See c. 62 of this Book. 

39 See c. 69 of this Book. 

40 Our "liquorice," see B. xxv. c. 43. 

41 See B. xxv. c. 66. * 2 In B. xxii. c. 33. 

Chap. 89.] EEMEDIES FOB WAETS. 209 

and then beaten up with polenta, 43 and applied. For all kinds 
of wounds apollinaris 44 is very useful. Root of astragalus, 45 
reduced to powder, is good for running ulcers ; the same, too, 
with callithrix, 46 boiled in water. For blisters, more particu- 
larly when caused by the shoes, vervain is used, as also pounded 
lysimachia, 47 or nymphsea 48 dried and powdered ; but when 
they have assumed the form of inveterate ulcers, polythrix 4 
will be found more serviceable. 


Polycnemon 50 is a plant which resembles cunila bubula ; 5l 
it has a seed like that of pennyroyal, a ligneous stem with 
numerous articulations, and odoriferous umbels, with a plea- 
sant though pungent smell. This plant is chewed and applied 
to wounds inflicted with iron, the application being removed 
at the end of four days. Symphyton 53 causes sores to cicatrize 
with the greatest rapidity; the same, too, with sideritis, 53 
which is applied in combination with honey. The seed and 
leaves of verbascum, 54 boiled in wine and pounded, are used for 
the extraction of all foreign substances adhering to the body; and 
a similar use is made of leaves of mandragora 85 mixed with po- 
lenta, 56 and roots of cyclaminos 57 with honey. Leaves of trixago, 53 
bruised in oil, are used for ulcers of a serpiginous nature more 
particularly, as also sea- weed bruised with honey. Betony, 
with the addition of salt, is employed for the cure of carcino- 
matous sores and inveterate blisters on the neck. 



Argemonia 59 with vinegar, or root of batrachion, 60 removes 
warts ; this last having the effect also of bringing off malformed 

43 See B. xviii. c. 14. 44 See B. xxv. c. 17. 

45 See c. 29 of this Book. 

46 See B. xxii. c. 30, and B. xxv. c. 86. 47 See B. xxv. c. 35. 
48 See B. xxv. c. 37. 49 See Note 46 above. 

50 Desfontaines identifies it with the Mentha cervina, or Stag mint. 

51 See B. xix. c. 50, and B. xx. c. 61. 

52 See B. xxvii. c. 24. 53 See B. xxv. c. 19. 
54 See B. xxv. c. 73. 55 See B. xxv. c. 94. 
56 See B. xviii. c. 14. 57 See B. xxv. c. 67. 
58 See B. xxiv. c. 80. 59 See B. xxv. c. 56. 
60 See B. xxv. c. 109. 

VOL. Y. p 


nails. The juice or the leaves, applied topically, of either 
kind of linozostis, 61 remove warts. All the varieties of tithy- 
malos 62 are efficacious for the removal of every kind of wart, 
as also of hangnails 63 and wens. Ladanum 64 imparts a fresh 
colour and seemly appearance to scars. 

(15.) The traveller who carries artemisia 65 attached to his 
person, or elelisphacus, 66 will never be sensible of lassitude, it 
is said. 


One great remedy for all female diseases in common, is the 
black seed of the herbaceous plant paeonia, 67 taken in hydro- 
mel : the root also is an effectual emmenagogue. Seed of 
panaces, 68 mixed with wormwood, acts as an emmenagogue and 
as a sudorific: the same, too, with scordotis, 69 taken internally 
or applied topically. Betony, in doses of one drachma to 
three cyathi of wine, is taken for various affections of the 
uterus, as also directly after child-birth. Excessive menstru- 
ation is arrested by a pessary of achillea, 70 or else a sitting-bath 
composed of a decoction of that plant. Seed of henbane in 
wine is used as a liniment for diseases of the mamillge, 
and the root is employed in the form of a plaster for uterine 
affections ; chelidonia, 71 too, is applied to the mamillaB. 

Boots of panaces, 72 applied as a pessary, bring away the 
after-birth and the dead foetus, and the plant itself, taken in 
wine, or used as a pessary with honey, acts as a detergent 
upon the uterus. Polemonia, 73 taken in wine, brings away the 
after-birth ; used as a fumigation, it is good for suffocations of 
the uterus. Juice of the smaller centaury, 74 taken in drink, or 
employed as a fomentation, acts as an emmenagogue. The root 
also of the larger centaury, similarly used, is good for pains in 
the uterus ; scraped and used as a pessary, it expels the 
dead foatus. For pains of the uterus, plantago 75 is applied as 
a pessary, in wool, and for hysterical suffocations, it is taken in 

61 See B. xxv. c. 18. 62 See c. 39 of this Book, et seq. 

es u pterygia." 64 See B. xii, c. 37 and c. 30 of this Book. 

65 See B. xxv. c. 81. 66 See B. xxii. c. 71. 

67 See B. xxv. c, 10. 68 See B. xxv. c. 11, et seq. 

69 See B. xxv. c. 27. 70 See B. xxv. c. 19. 

71 See B. xxv. c. 50. 72 See B. xxv. c. 11, et seq. 

73 See B. xxv. c. 28. 74 See B. xxv. c. 31. 

See B. xxv. c. 39. 


drink. But it is dittany that is of the greatest efficacy in cases 
of this description ; it acts as an emmenagogue, and is an ex- 
pellent of the foetus when dead or lying transversely in the 
uterus. In these cases the leaves of it are taken, in doses of 
one obolus, in water : indeed so active is it in its effects that 
ordinarily it is forbidden to be introduced into the chamber of 
a woman lying-in. Not only is it thus efficacious when taken 
in drink, but even when applied topically or used as a fumiga- 
tion. Pseudodictamnum 76 possesses pretty nearly the same vir- 
tues, but it acts as an emmenagogue also, boiled in doses of one 
denarius in unmixed wine. Aristolochia, 77 however, is employed 
for a greater number of purposes : in combination with myrrh 
and pepper, either taken in drink or used as a pessary, it acts 
as a powerful emmenagogue, and brings away the dead foetus 
and the after-birth. This plant, the smaller kind in particular, 
used either as a fomentation, fumigation, or pessary, acts as a 
preventive of procidence of the uterus. 

Hysterical suffocations and irregularities of the catamenia 
are treated with agaric, taken in doses of three oboli, in one 
cyathus of old wine : vervain is used also in similar cases, as a 
pessary, with fresh hog's lard ; or else antirrhinum, 78 with rose 
oil and honey. Root of Thessalian nymph aea, 79 used as a 
pessary, is curative of pains in the uterus ; taken in red wine, 
it arrests uterine discharges. Boot of cyclaminos, 80 on the 
other hand, taken in drink and employed as a pessary, acts as 
an emmenagogue : a decoction of it, used as a sitting-bath, 
cures affections of the bladder. Cissanthemos, 81 taken in drink, 
brings away the after-birth, and is curative of diseases of the 
uterus. The upper part of the root of xiphion, 82 taken in 
doses of one drachma, in vinegar, promotes menstruation. A 
fumigation of burnt peucedanum 83 has a soothing effect in 
cases of hysterical suffocation. Psyllion, 84 taken in the pro- 
portion of one drachma to three cyathi of hydromel, is par- 
ticularly good for promoting the lochial discharge. Seed of 
mandragora, 65 taken in drink, acts as a detergent upon the 

76 " Bastard dittany." See B. xxv. c. 53. 77 See B. xxv. c. 54. 

73 See B. xxv. c. 80. 79 See B. xxv. c. 37. 

80 See B. xxv. c. 67. 81 See B. XXT. c. 68, 

82 See B. xxv. c. 88. 83 See B. xxv. c 70. 

84 See B. xxv. c. 90. 85 g ee B xxv< c> 94> 

P 2 


uterus; the juice, employed in a pessary, promotes menstruation 
and expels the dead foetus. The seed of this plant, used with 
live sulphur, 86 arrests menstruation when in excess ; while ba- 
trachion, 87 on the other hand, acts as an emmenagogue. This 
last plant is either used as an article of food, or is taken in 
drink : in a raw state, as already stated, 88 it has a burning 
flavour ; but when cooked, the taste of it is greatly improved by 
the addition of salt, oil, and cummin. Daucus, 89 taken in drink, 
promotes the catamenia, and is an expellent of the after-birth 
in a very high degree. Ladanum, 90 used as a fumigation, acts 
as a corrective upon the uterus, and is employed topically for 
pains and ulcerations of that organ. 

Scammony, taken in drink or used as a pessary, is an ex- 
pellent of the dead foetus. Either kind of hypericon, 91 used 
as a pessary, promotes menstruation : but for this purpose it 
is crethmos, 92 according to Hippocrates, that is the most effica- 
cious, the seed or root of it being taken in wine. 93 * * * 
of the outer coat brings away the after-birth. This plant, 
taken in water, is good for hysterical suffocations ; root of 
geranion 94 also, which is peculiarly useful for the after-birth, 
and for inflation of the uterus. Hippuris, 95 taken in drink 
or applied as a pessary, acts as a detergent upon the uterus : 
polygonos, 96 taken in drink, promotes menstruation ; and the 
same with root of alcima. 97 Leaves of plantago, 98 and agaric 
in hydromel, have a similar effect. Artemisia, 99 bruised and 
applied as a pessary, with oil of iris, 1 figs, or myrrh, is curative 
of diseases of the uterus ; the root, too, of this plant, taken 
in drink, is so strongly purgative as to expel the dead foetus 
even. A decoction of the branches, used as a sitting-bath, 
promotes menstruation and brings away the after-birth ; the 

86 See B. xxxv. c. 50. 87 See B. xxv. c. 109. 

88 In B. xxv. c. 109. 89 See B. xxv. c. 64. 

90 See B. xii. c. 37, and c. 30 of this Book. 

91 See Chapters 53 and 54 of this Book. 

92 See B. xxv. c. 96. 

93 Probahly the word "juice," or " decoction,-' is lost here. 

94 See c. 68 of this Book. 

35 See Chapters 20 and 83 of this Book. M See B. xxvii. c. 91. 

97 The same as "Alcea" probably; see Chapters 79 and 81 of this 
Book. Also B. xxvii. c. 6. 

98 See B. xxv. c. 39. 99 See B. xxv. c. 36. 
1 See B. xiii. c. 2, and B. xxi. cc. 19, 83. 

Chap. 91.] ARSENOGONON. 213 

same, too, with the leaves, taken in doses of one drachma in 
drink. The leaves, if applied to the lower regions of the 
abdomen with barley-meal, will prove equally efficacious. 

Acoron 2 is very useful for internal complaints of females ; 
as also the two varieties of conyza, 3 and crethmos. 4 Either 
kind of anthyllis, 6 taken in wine, is remarkably good for uterine 
affections, griping pains in that organ, and retardations of the 
after- birth. Callithrix, 6 applied as a fomentation, is curative 
of affections of the vagina : it removes scaly eruptions 7 also 
of the head, and, beaten up in oil, it stains the hair. Ge- 
ranion, 8 taken in white wine, or hypocisthis 9 in red, arrests 
all uterine discharges. Hyssop modifies hysterical suffocations. 
Eoot of vervain, taken in water, is a most excellent remedy 
for all accidents incident to, or consequent upon, delivery. 
Some persons mix bruised cypress seed with peucedanum 10 in 
red wine. Seed, too, of psyllion,^ boiled in water and taken 
warm, has a soothing effect upon all defluxions of the uterus. 
Symphyton, 12 bruised in wine, promotes menstruation. Juice 
of scordotis, 13 in the proportion of one drachma to four cyathi 
of hydromel, accelerates delivery. Leaves of dittany are given 
for the same purpose, in water, with remarkable success. It 
is a well-known fact, too, that these leaves, to the extent of a 
single obolus even, will bring away the foetus instantaneously, 
even when dead, without the slightest inconvenience to the 
patient. Pseudodictamnum 14 is productive of a somewhat 
similar effect, but not in so marked a degree : cyclaminos, 16 
too, attached as an amulet ; cissanthemos, 16 taken in drink ; 
and powdered betony, in hydromel. 



Arsenogonon 17 and thelygonon are plants, both of them, 

2 See B. xxv. c. 100. 3 See B. xxi. c. 29. 

4 See B. xxv. c. 96. 5 See B. xxi. c. 103. 

6 See B. xxii. e. 30, and B. xxv. c. 86. 7 " Albugines." 

8 See c. 68 of this Book. 9 See c. 31 of this Book. 

10 See B. xxv. c. 70. n See B. xxv. c. 90. 

12 See B. xxvii. c. 24. 13 See B. xxv. c. 27. 

14 See B. xxv. c. 53. 15 See B. xxv. c. 67. 

16 See B. xxv. c. 68. 

17 These two plants, the names of which signify " begetting males," 


with clusters resembling the blossoms of the olive, but paler, 
and a white seed like that of the poppy. By taking thely- 
gonon in drink, they say, the conception of female issue is en- 
sured. Arsenogonon differs from it in the seed, which 
resembles that of the olive, but in no other respect. By 
taking this last plant in drink, male issue may be ensured 
that is, if we choose to believe it. Some persons, however, 
assert that both plants resemble ocimum, 18 but that the seed 
of arsenogonon is double, and resembles the testes in appearance. 


Aizoiim, which we have spoken of under the name of digi- 
tellus, 19 is the great specific for diseases of the mamillse. The 
milk is increased by taking erigeron 20 in raisin wine, or else 
sonchos 21 boiled with spelt. The plant known as " mastos," 22 
applied topically, removes the hairs from the mamillae, 23 which 
make their appearance after child-birth : it has the effect also 
of dispersing scaly crusts 24 upon the face, and other cutaneous 
affections. Gentian also, nymph a?a heraclia 25 employed in a 
liniment, and root of cyclaminos, 26 remove all blemishes of the 
skin. Seeds of cacalia, 27 mixed with melted wax, plump 
out the skin of the face and make wrinkles disappear. Boot 
of acoron, 28 also, removes all spots upon the skin. 


Lysimachia 29 imparts a blonde tint 30 to the hair, and the hy- 
pericon, 31 otherwise called " corisson," makes it black. The 
same too, with ophrys, 32 a plant with indentations, which re- 

and " begetting females," are identified by Fee as the male and the female 
of the same plant, the Mercurialis tomentosa of Linnaeus, the "Woolly 
mercury. Littre gives the Mercurialis perennis of Linnaeus, Dog's mer- 
cury ; and Desfontaines identifies them with the Thelygonum cynocrambe. 

18 See B. xxi. c. 60. 19 In B. xxv. c. 102. 

20 See B. xxv. c. 106. 21 See B. xxii. c. 44. 

22 Meaning the " breast " plant. It has not been identified. 

23 See B. xxxii. c. 10. 24 "Testes." 

25 See B. xxv. c. 37. 26 See B. xxv. c. 67. 

27 See B. xxv. c. 85. 28 See B. xxv. c. 100. 

29 See B. xxy. c. 35. 

30 The most highly esteemed among the Romans of all colours of the hair. 

31 See Chapter 53 of this Book. 

sz The " eye-brow " plant. It is identified by Fee with the Ophrys 

Chap. 93.] SUMMAEY. 215 

sembles the cabbage, but has only two leaves. Polemonia, 33 
too, boiled in oil, imparts blackness to the hair. 

As for depilatories, I reckon them in the number of cos- 
metics, fit for women only, though men use them now-a-days. 
For this purpose archezostis 34 is looked upon as highly 
efficacious, as also juice of tithymalos, 35 applied with oil 
every now and then in the sun, or after pulling out the hairs. 
Hyssop, applied with oil, heals itch-scab in beasts, and side- 
ritis 36 is particularly useful for quinzy in swine. 

But let us now turn to the remaining plants of which we 
have to speak. 

SUMMARY. Remedies, narratives, and observations, one 
thousand and nineteen. 

ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED. M. Varro, 37 C. Valgius, 38 Pom- 
peius Lenseus, 39 Sextius Niger 40 who wrote in Greek, Julius 
Bassus 41 who wrote in Greek, Antonius Castor, 42 Cornelius 
Celsus. 43 

FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED. Theophrastus, 44 Democritus, 46 
Juba, 46 Orpheus, 47 Pythagoras, 48 Mago, 49 Menander M who wrote 
the " Biochresta," Nicander, 61 Homer, Hesiod, 52 Musaeus, 53 
Sophocles, 54 Xanthus, 55 Anaxilaiis. 56 

MEDICAL AUTHORS QUOTED. Mnesitheus, 57 Callimachus, 68 

ovata or bifolia of Linnaeus, Ivy blade. The indentations in the leaves 
are almost imperceptible. 

8 s See B. xxv. c. 28. 34 See B. xxvi. c. 70. 

35 See c. 39 of this Book, et seg. 36 See B. xxv. c. 19. 

37 See end of B. ii. ** See end of B. xx. 

39 See end of B. xiv. 40 See end of B. xii. 

41 See end of B. xx. 42 See end of B. xx. 

43 See end of B. vii. 44 See end of B. iii. 

45 See end of B. ii. * See end of B. v. 

4 " See end of B. xx. 48 See end of B. ii. 

49 See end of B. viii. 50 See end of B. xix. 

51 See end of B. viii. 52 See end of B. vii. 

53 See end of B. xxi. ^ See end of B. xxi. 

55 See end of B. xxv. & See end of B. xxi. 

57 See end of B. xxi. w See end of B. iv. 


Phanias 59 the physician, Timaristus, 60 Simus, 61 Hippocrates, 62 
Chrysippus, 63 Diocles, 64 Ophelion, 65 Heraclides, 66 Hicesius, 67 
Dionysius, 68 Apollodorus 69 of Citium, Apollodorus 70 of Taren- 
tum, Praxagoras, 71 Plistonicus, 72 Medius, 73 Dieuches, 74 Cleophan- 
tus, 75 Philistion, 76 Asclepiades, 77 Creteuas, 78 Petronius Diadotus, 79 
lollas, 80 Erasistratus, 81 Diagoras, 83 Andreas, 83 Mnesides, 84 Epi- 
charmus, 85 Damion, 86 Tlepolemus, 87 Metrodorus, 88 Solo, 89 
Lycus, 90 Olympias 91 of Thebes, Philinus, 92 Petrichus, 93 Micton, 94 
Glaucias, 95 Xenocrates. 96 

59 See end of B. xxi. eo g ee en ^ O f B. xxi. 

61 See end of B. xxi. 62 See end of B. vii. 

63 See end of B. xx. * See end of B. xx. 

65 See end of B. xx. See end of B. xii. 

67 See end of B. xv. 68 See end of B. xii. 
69 See end of B. xx. 70 See end of B. xx. 

71 See end of B. xx. 72 See end of B. xx. 

73 See end of B. xx. 74 See end of B. xx. 

75 See end of B. xx. 76 See end of B. xx. 

77 See end of B. vii. 78 See end of B. xx. 

79 See end of B. xx. 8 See end of B. xii. 

8 1 See end of B. xi. ** See end of B. xii. 

83 See end of B. xx. 84 See end of B. xii. 

85 See end of B. xx. ** See end of B. xx. 

67 See end of B. xx. 88 See end of B. xx. 

89 See end of B. xx. 9 See end of B. xii. 

91 See end of B. xx. ** See end of B. xx. 

93 See end of B. xix. 94 See end of B. xx. 

S5 See end of B. xx. 95 See end of B. xx. 






THE further I proceed in this work, the more I am impressed 
with admiration of the ancients ; and the greater the number 
of plants that remain to be described, the more I am induced 
to venerate the zeal displayed by the men of former times in 
their researches, and the kindly spirit manifested by them in 
transmitting to us the results thereof. Indeed their bounteous- 
ness in this respect would almost seem to have surpassed the 
munificent disposition even of Nature herself, if our knowledge 
of plants had depended solely upon man's spirit of discovery : 
but as it is, it is evident beyond all doubt that this knowledge 
has emanated from the gods themselves, or, at all events, has 
been the result of divine inspiration, even in those cases where 
man has been instrumental in communicating it to us. In 
other words, if we must confess the truth a marvel surpassed 
by nothing in our daily experience Nature herself, that 
common parent of all things, has at once produced them, and 
has discovered to us their properties. 

Wondrous indeed is it, that a Scythian 1 plant should be 
brought from the shores of the Palus Mseotis, and the euphor- 
bia 2 from Mount Atlas and the regions beyond the Pillars of 
Hercules, localities where the operations of Nature have reached 
their utmost limit ! That in another direction, the plant 
britannica 2 * should be conveyed to us from isles of the 
Ocean situate beyond the confines of the earth ! 3 That the 
aethiopis* should reach us from a climate scorched by the 

1 He alludes to the Glycyrrhiza or Scythice, our Liquorice, which is 
still found on the hanks of the river Volga. See B. xxi. c. 54, B. xxii. 
c. 11, B. xxv. c. 43, and B. xxvi. cc. 15,87. 

2 See B. xxv. c. 38. 2 * See B. xxv. c. 6. 

3 " Extra terras." Meaning, the continental part of the earth. 

4 See c. 3 of this Book. 


luminaries of heaven ! And then, in addition to all this, that 
there should be a perpetual interchange going on between all 
parts of the earth, of productions so instrumental to the welfare 
of mankind ! Results, all of them, ensured to us by the peace 
that reigns under the majestic sway of the Roman power, a 
peace which brings in presence of each other, not individuals 
only, belonging to lands and nations far separate, but moun- 
tains even, and heights towering above the clouds, their plants 
and their various productions ! That this great bounteousness 
of the gods may know no end, is my prayer, a bounteousness 
which seems to have granted the Roman sway as a second 
luminary for the benefit of mankind. 


Eut who, I say, can sufficiently venerate the zeal and spirit of 
research displayed by the ancients ? It is they who have shown 
us that aconite is the most prompt of all poisons in its effects 
so much so indeed, that female animals, if the sexual parts 5 
are but touched with it, will not survive a single day. With 
this poison it was that M. Csecilius 6 accused Calpurnius Bestia 
of killing his wives in their sleep, and this it was that gave 
rise to that fearful peroration of his, denouncing the murderous 
finger of the accused. 7 According to the fables of mythology, 
this plant was originally produced from the foam of the dog 
Cerberus, when dragged by Hercules from the Infernal 8 Re- 
gions ; for which reason, it is said, it is still so remarkably 
abundant in the vicinity of Heraclea in Pontus, a spot where 
the entrance is still pointed out to the shades below. 

And yet, noxious as it is, the ancients have shown us how to 
employ aconite for the benefit of mankind, and have taught us 
as the result of their experience, that, taken in mulled wine, 
it neutralizes the venom of the scorpion : indeed such is the 
nature of this deadly plant, that it kills man, unless it can find 

* See B. xxv. c. 75. 

6 Properly " Caelius " the same M. Cselius Rufus who is mentioned 
in B. vii. c. 50. See also B. xxxv. c. 46. 

7 "Hinc ilia atrox peroratio ejus in digitum." Sillig is probably right 
in his suggestion that the word " mortiferum " is wanting at the end of 
the sentence. Bestia was accused of having killed his wives by the 
contact of aconite, applied, through the agency of the finger, to the secret 
parts. b See B. vi. c. i. 

Chap. 2.] ACONITE. 219 

in man something else to kill. When such is the case, as 
though it had discovered in the body a fit rival to contend with, 
that substance is the sole object of its attack ; finding another 
poison in the viscera, to it alone it confines its onslaught; 
and thus, a truly marvellous thing ! two poisons, each of them 
of a deadly nature, destroy one another within the body, and 
the man survives. Even more than this, the ancients have 
handed down to us remedies employed by the animals them- 
selves, and have shown how that venomous creatures even effect 
their own cure. By the contact of aconite the scorpion is 
struck with torpor, 9 is quite benumbed, assumes a pallid hue, 
and so confesses itself vanquished. When this is the case, 
white hellebore is its great auxiliary : the very touch of it dis- 
pels its torpor, and the aconite is forced to yield before two 
foes, its own enemy 10 and the common n enemy of all. 

Now, after this, if any one should be of opinion that man 
could, by any chance or possibility, make such discoveries as 
these, he must surely be guilty of ingratitude in thus appre- 
ciating the beneficence of the gods ! In countries frequented 
by the panther, they rub meat with aconite, and if one of 
those animals should but taste it, its effects are fatal : indeed 
were not these means adopted, the country would soon be over- 
run by them. It is for this reason, too, that some persons 
have given to hellebore the name of " pardalianches." 12 It has 
been well ascertained, however, that the panther instantaneously 
recovers if it can find the opportunity of eating human ordure. 13 
So far as these animals are concerned, who can entertain a 
doubt that it was chance only that first led them to this dis- 
covery ; and that as often as this happens the discovery is only 
a mere repetition of the accident, there being neither reason 
nor an appreciation of experience to ensure its transmission 
among them ? 

(3.) It is chance, 14 yes, it is chance that is the Deity who 
has made to us these numerous revelations for our practical 

9 See B. xxv. c. 75. 

10 The hellebore. See B. xxiii. c. 75, and B. xxv. c. 21. 

11 The scorpion. 12 4< Pard-strangle." 
See B. viii. c. 41. 

14 He seems here, by implication, to contradict himself, and, by his ex- 
planation, to be sensible that he does so. He would appear not to have 
known exactly what his belief was in reference to first causes. 


benefit ; 15 always understanding that under this name we mean 
Nature, that great parent and mistress of all things : and this 
is evident, whether we come to the conclusion, that these wild 
beasts make the discovery from day to day, or that they aro 
gifted from the first with these powers of perception. Re- 
garded in another point of view, it really is a disgrace that 
all animated beings should have an exact knowledge of what 
is beneficial to them, with the exception of man ! 

The ancients, openly professing their belief that there is no 
evil without some admixture of good, have asserted that aconite 
is a remarkably useful ingredient in compositions for the eyes. 
It may therefore be permitted me, though I have hitherto 
omitted a description of the poisonous plants, to point out the 
characteristics of aconite, if only that it may be the more 
easily detected. Aconite 16 has leaves like those of cyclaminos :7 
or of the cucumber, never more than four in number, slightly 
hairy, and rising from near the root. This root, which is of 
moderate size, resembles the sea-fish known as the " cam- 
marus," 18 a circumstance owing to which the plant has received 
the name of " cammaron " from some ; while others, for the 
reason already 19 mentioned, have called it " thelyphonon." 20 
The root is slightly curved, like a scorpion's tail, for which 
reason some persons have given it the name of ' 'scorpio." 
Others, again, have preferred giving it the name of " myoc- 
tonon," 21 from the fact that the odour of it kills mice at a 
considerable distance even. 

This plant is found growing upon the naked rocks known 
as " aconse ;" 22 and hence it is, according to some authorities, 

15 " Hoc habet nomen " is omitted ; for, as Sillig says, it is evidently a 
gloss, which has crept into the text. 

16 The ancients no doubt knew several plants under the common name 
of Aconitum. The one here described, is identified by Fee with the Do- 
ronicum pardalianches of Linnaeus, Leopard's bane. 

17 See B. xxv. c. 67. Fee says that neither the leaves of the Doronicum, 
nor of any plant of the genus Arnica, bear any resemblance to those of 
the _ Cyclamen, or the cucumber. He remarks also, that the contact solely 
of it is not productive of poisonous effects. 

18 A kind of crab. 19 At the beginning of this Chapter. 
" Female-bane," or " female-killer." See B. xx. c. 23. 

1 " Mice-killer." This assertion is incorrect. 

K So called from a, "without," and KOVIQ, "dust," Theophrastus 
says that it received its name from the town of Aconae, in the vicinity of 
which it grew in great abundance. 

Chap. 4.] AGEBATOtf. 221 

that it is called " aconitum," there being not so much as dust 
even about it to conduce to its nutriment. Such is the reason 
given for its name by some : but according to others, it re- 
ceives this appellation from the fact that it fatally exercises the 
same effects upon the body that the whetstone 23 does upon the 
edge of iron, being no sooner employed than its effects are felt. 

CHAP. 3. (4.) ^THIOPIS : roira KEMEDIES. 

JEthiopis 24 is a plant with leaves resembling those of phlo- 
mos, 25 large, numerous, hairy, and springing from the root. 
The stem is square, rough, similar to that of arction 25 * in ap- 
pearance, and with numerous axillary concavities. The seed 
resembles that of the fitch, being white and twofold ; the roots 
are several in number, long, fleshy, soft, and of a viscous taste ; 
when dry they turn black and hard, and might easily be taken 
for horns. In addition to ^Ethiopia, this plant grows upon 
Mount Ida in Troas, and in Messenia. The roots are gathered 
in autumn, and left to dry for some days in the sun, to prevent 
them from turning mouldy. Taken in white wine they are 
curative of affections of the uterus, and a decoction of them 
is administered for sciatica, pleurisy, and eruptions of the 
throat. The kind, however, which comes from ^Ethiopia, is 
by far the best, and gives instantaneous relief. 


Ageraton 26 is a ferulaceous plant, a couple of palms in height, 
similar to origanum 27 in appearance, and bearing flowers like 
balls of gold. Used as a fumigation, this plant acts as a 
diuretic ; and as a detergent upon the uterus, when used in a 
sitting bath more particularly. Its name has been given to it, 
from the circumstance that it keeps a very long time without 

23 Also called cucovrj. 

24 Generally identified with the Salvia argentea of Linnaeus, Silver sage, 
or else with the Salvia JEthiopis, Woolly sage. It must not be confounded 
with the plant of the same name mentioned in B. xxiv. c. 102. 

25 See B. xxv. c. 73. 

25 * See c. 16 of this Book. 

26 " Not growing old." It is identified by Fee and .Desfontaines with 
the Achillaea ageratum of Linnaeus, Sweet milfoil or Maudlin. Littre 
gives as its synonym, the Hypericum origanifolium, 

27 See B. xx. c. 67. 



The aloe 28 bears a resemblance to the squill, except that it is 
larger, and has more substantial leaves, with streaks running 
obliquely. The stem is tender, red in the middle, and not 
unlike that of the anthericus. 39 It has a single root, which runs 
straight downwards, like a stake driven into the ground ; its 
smell is powerful, and it has a bitter taste. The most esteemed 
aloes are those imported from India, but it grows in the Asiatic 
provinces 30 as well. This last kind, however, is never used, 
except that the leaves are applied fresh to wounds ; indeed, 
these leaves, as well as the juice, are glutinous to a marvellous 
degree, and it is for this property that it is grown in vessels of 
a conical form, in the same way as the greater aizoum. al Some 
persons make incisions in the stem to obtain the j uice, before 
the seed is ripe, while others, again, make them in the leaves 
as well. Tearlike drops are also found adhering to it, which 
exude spontaneously : hence it is that some recommend that 
the place should be paved where it is grown, to prevent this 
juice from being absorbed. 

Some authors have stated, that there is found in Judaea, 
beyond Hierosolyma, a mineral 32 aloe, but that it is inferior to 
the other kinds, being of a darker colour and more humid than 
any of the rest. Aloes 53 of the finest quality should be 
unctuous and shining, of a red colour, brittle, compact, like 
the substance of liver, and easily liquefied. That which is 
hard and black should be rejected; the same, too, when it is 
mixed with sand or adulterated with gum and acacia, a fraud 
which may be easily detected by the taste. 

This plant is of an astringent nature, binding, and slightly 
calorific. It is employed for numerous purposes, -but principally 
as a purgative, 34 it being almost the only one of all the medica- 

28 The ancients probably included under this name several distinct species 
of the aloe. They were well acquainted, Fee says, with the Indian aloe, 
but probably not with that of Africa. As described by Pliny, he identifies 
it with the Aloe perfoliata of Linnaeus: Desfontaines gives the Aloe 
umbellata. 29 See B. xxi. c. 68. 30 "Asia." 

31 See B. xxv. c. 102. The aloe is still grown in large wooden vessels, 
in this country, at least ; but only as an ornament. 

32 He alludes to the bitumen of Judaea, much used by the Egyptians for 
the purposes of embalmment. 

33 He is speaking of the prepared aloes of commerce. 

34 It is still used for this purpose. 

Chap. 5.] THE ALOE. 223 

ments which produce that effect, that is at the same time a 
good stomachic, and does not exercise the slightest noxious 
influence upon the stomach. It is taken in doses of one 
drachma, and, in cases of derangement of the stomach, it is 
administered two or three times a da} 7 , in the proportion of 
one spoonful to two cyathi of warm or cold water, at intervals, 
according to the nature of the emergency. As a purgative it 
is mostly taken in doses of three drachm a3 ; and it operates 
still more efficaciously, if food is eaten directly afterwards. 
Used with astringent wine, it prevents 36 the hair from falling 
off, the head being rubbed with it the contrary way of the 
hair, in the sun. Applied to the temples and forehead with 
rose oil and vinegar, or used as an infusion, in a more diluted 
form, it allays head-ache. It is generally agreed that it is 
remedial for all diseases 38 of the eyes, but more particularly for 
prurigo and scaly eruptions of the eye-lids ; as also for marks 
and bruises, applied in combination with honey, Pontic honey 
in particular. 

It is employed, also, for affections of the tonsillary glands and 
gums, for all ulcerations of the mouth, and for spitting of 
blood, if not in excess the proper dose being one drachma, 
taken in water or else vinegar. Used by itself, or in combination 
with vinegar, it arrests haemorrhage, whether proceeding from 
wounds or from other causes. In addition to these properties, it 
is extremely efficacious for the cure of wounds, producing 
cicatrization very rapidly : it is sprinkled also upon ulcerations 
of the male organs, and is applied to condylomata and chaps 
of the fundament, either in common wine, raisin wine, or by 
itself in a dry state, according as a mollifying or restrictive 
treatment is required. It has the effect, also, of gently 
arresting ha3morrhoidal bleeding, when in excess. In cases of 
dysentery, it is used as an injection, and where the digestion 
is imperfect it is taken shortly after the evening meal. For 
jaundice, it is administered in doses of three oboli, in 
water. As a purgative for the bowels, it is taken in pills, with 
boiled honey or turpentine. It is good also for the removal of 
hangnails. When employed in ophthalmic preparations, it is 
first washed, that the more gravelly portions of it may subside ; 

35 There is no foundation, Fee says, for this statement. 

36 It would appear that it is still employed in India for this purpose, 
but it is no longer used in Europe. 


or else it is put over the fire in a pipkin, and stirred with a 
feather from time to time, that the whole of it may be equally 


Aleea 37 is a plant with leaves, resembling those of vervain, 38 
known also as " peris tereon," some three or four stems 
covered with leaves, a flower like that of the rose, and white 
roots, at most six in number, a cubit in length, and running 
obliquely. It grows in a soil that is rich without being dry. 
The root is given in wine or water, for dysentery, diarrhoea, 
ruptures, and convulsions. 


The alypon 39 has a small stem, with a soft head, and is not 
unlike beet in appearance. It has an acrid, viscous taste, 
extremely pungent and burning. Taken in hydromel, with 
a little salt, it acts as a purgative. The smallest dose is two 
drachmae, a moderate dose, four, and the largest, six. When 
used as a purgative, it is taken in chicken broth. 



Alsine, 40 a plant known as "myosoton " 41 to some, grows in the 
woods, to which fact it is indebted for its name of " alsine." 42 
It begins to make its appearance at mid- winter, and withers in 
the middle of summer. When it first puts forth, the leaves 
bear a strong resemblance to the ears of mice. We shall have 

37 Identified by Fee with the Malva alcea of Linnaeus, the Vervain 
mallow, an emollient and, comparatively, inert plant. Littre gives as 
its synonym the Malope malacho'ides, Marsh mallow. Sibthorp identifies 
it with the Hibiscus trionum, and Anguillara with the Althaea cannabina 
of Linnaeus. It is probably the same plant as the Alcima, mentioned several 
times in B. xxvi. 38 See B. xxv. c. 59. 

39 Identified with the Globularia alypum of Linnaeus, the Three-toothed 
leaf Globularia, or Turbith. 

40 Identified by Sprengel with the Cerastium aquaticum, and by other 
authorities with the Alsine media of Linnaeus, the Common chickweed. 
Desfontaines suggests the Stellaria nemorum, the Broadleaved stitchwort, 
but Fee prefers the Parietaria Cretica of Linnaeus, Cretan pellitory, as its 
synonym. 41 " Mouse-ear." 

42 From the Greek a\<70, a "grove." 

Chap. 10.] ANDBOS^MOtf. 225 

occasion, 43 however, to speak of another plant, which may, 
with much more justice, be called " myosotis." As for alsine, it 
would be the same thing as helxine, 44 were it not that it is smaller 
and not so hairy. It grows in 45 gardens, and upon walls more 
particularly : when rubbed, it emits a smell like that of cucum- 
ber. It is used for abscesses, inflammations, and all those pur- 
poses for which helxine is employed ; its properties, however, 
are not so active. It is applied topically, also, to defluxions of 
the eyes, and to sores upon the generative organs, and ulcera- 
tions, with barley meal. The juice is used as an injection for 
the ears. 


The androsaces 46 is a white plant, bitter, without leaves, and 
bearing arms surmounted with follicules, containing the seed. 
It grows in the maritime parts of Syria, more particularly. 
This plant is administered for dropsy, in doses of two drachmae, 
pounded or boiled, in either water, wine, or vinegar : it acts 
most powerfully as a diuretic. It is used also for gout, either 
taken internally or used as a liniment. The seed is possessed 
of similar properties. 


Androsaemon 47 or, as some persons call it, " ascyron," is not 
unlike hypericon, a plant of which we have spoken already i 48 
the stems, however, are larger, redder, and lie more closely 
together. The leaves are of a white colour, and like those of 
rue in shape ; the seed resembles that of the black poppy, amd 
the upper branches, when bruised, emit a red juice the colour 
of blood : these branches have also a resinous smell. 

This plant grows in vineyards, and it is usually in the middle 

43 In c. 80 of this Book. 

44 The Parietaria officinalis ; see B. xxii. c. 19. 

45 He has previously stated that it grows in the woods. The fact is, 
M. Fraas says, that it grows equally upon garden walls, heaps of rubbish, 
in plains, upon shady rocks, and upon mountains, below an elevation of 
1500 feet. 

46 Generally supposed not to be a vegetable production, but a Madrepore. 
Fee identifies it with the Madrepora acetabulum of Linnaeus. 

47 " Man's blood." Identified by Sprengel with the Hypericum monta- 
num, and by Sibthorp and Fee with the Hypericum perforatum, of Lin- 
naeus, Perforated tutsan or St. John's wort. 48 See B. xxvi. cc. 53, 54, 

VOL. V. Q 


of autumn that it is taken up and hung to dry. Used as a 
purgative, it is bruised with the seed, and taken in the morn- 
ing or just after the evening meal, in doses of two drachmae, 
in hydromel, wine, or pure water, the draught amounting to 
one sextarius in all. It carries off bile, and is particularly 
good for sciatica ; but in this last case, caper root must be 
taken with resin the day after, the dose being one drachma, 
to be repeated every four days : after being purged, it is the 
practice for the patient, if in robust health, to take wine, but 
if in a weak state of body, water. It is employed topically, 
also, for gout, burns, and wounds, as it tends to arrest the flow 
of blood. 


Ambrosia is a vague name, which has fluctuated between 
various plants : there is one, 49 however, which has been more 
particularly designated by this appellation, a branchy, shrub- 
like plant, with a thin stem, some three palms in height ; the 
root of it is one third shorter, and the leaves, towards the lower 
part of the stem, resemble those of rue. Its diminutive 
branches bear a seed which hangs down in clusters, and has a 
vinous smell : hence it is that by some persons the plant is 
called " botrys," 50 while to others it is known as " artemisia." 
The people of Cappadocia use it for garlands. It is employed 
in medicine as a resolvent. 


The anonis, 51 by some called " ononis" in preference, is a 
branchy plant, and similar to fenugreek in appearance, except 
that it is more shrub-like and more hairy. It has an agreeable 
smell, and becomes prickly after spring. It is pickled in brine 
for eating. Applied fresh to ulcers, it cauterizes the margins of 
them. For the cure of tooth-ache, the root is boiled in oxy- 
crate : taken in drink, with honey, the root expels urinary calculi. 
For epilepsy, it is administered in oxyrnel, boiled down to one 


The anagyros, known to some by the name of " aco- 

19 Identified with the Ambrosia maritima of Linnaeus, the Sea ambrosia. 
50 The "cluster" plant. It still figures in the Materia Medica. See 
B. xxv. c. 36, and c. 31 of this Book. 51 See B. xxi. c. 58. 

Chap. 15.] APABHTE. 227 

pon," 52 is a shrub-like plant, with an offensive smell, and a 
blossom like that of the cabbage. The seed grows in small 
hornlike pods of considerable length, and resembles a kidney 
in shape ; it hardens about the time of harvest. The leaves of 
this plant are applied to gatherings, and are attached to the 
person in cases of difficult parturition, care being taken to 
remove them the moment after delivery. In cases where the 
extraction of the dead foetus is attended with difficulty, or where 
the after-birth or catamenia are retarded, the leaves are taken, in 
doses of one drachma, in raisin wine. The leaves are adminis- 
tered in the same manner for asthma : they are prescribed also 
in old wine, for injuries inflicted by the phalangium. 63 The 
root is employed medicinally as a resolvent and maturative : 
the seed, chewed, acts as an emetic. 


The anonymos, 54 through not having a name, has at last 
found one. 65 It is brought from Scythia, and has been highly 
extolled by Hicesius, a physician of no small repute, as also 
by Aristogiton. Eruisedin water and applied, it is remarkably 
useful for wounds, and taken in drink it is good for blows upon 
the chest or mamillae, as also for spitting of blood : it has 
been thought, too, that it might be advantageously taken in a 
potion for wounds. I am of opinion that the additional state- 
ment, to the effect that, burnt fresh, it acts as a solder to iron 
or copper, is wholly fabulous. 


Aparine, 56 otherwise called " omphalocarpos" 57 or " philan- 
thropes, JJ58 is a ramose, hairy, plant, with five or six leaves at 
regular intervals, arranged circularly around the branches. 

52 " Dispelling lassitude." Identified with the Anagyris fcetida of Lin- 
naeus, the Stinking bean trefoil. It is a purgative, and its seeds are emetic. 

93 See B. viii. c. 41, B. x. c. 95, B. xi. cc. 24, 23. 

5i It has not been identified, Pliny being the only author that has men- 
tioned it. The Ajuga pyraraidalis of Linnaeus, and the Ajuga iva have 
been suggested. 55 "Anonymos," or "nameless." 

56 See B. xviii. c. 44, and B. xxiv. c. 116. It is identified with the Galium 
Aparine of Linna3us, Ladies* bedstraw, Cleavers, goosegrass, hariff, or 
catchweed. Its medicinal properties are next to nothing. 

57 "Navel-fruit." Man-loving. " See B. xxiv. c. 116. 


The seed is round, hard, concave, and of a sweetish taste. It 
grows in cornfields, gardens, and meadows, and, by the aid of 
its prickly points, adheres to the clothes. The seed is em- 
ployed to neutralize the venom of serpents, being taken in 
doses of one drachma, in wine : it is useful also for the bite of 
the phalangium. 59 The leaves, applied topically, arrest hae- 
morrhage from wounds. The juice is used as an injection for 
the ears. 


The arction 60 is by some called " arcturum" in preference : 
the leaves of it are like those of verbascum, 61 except that they 
are more hairy ; the stem is long and soft, and the seed resem- 
bles that of cummin. It grows in rocky localities, and has a 
tender root, white and sweet. A decoction of it is made with 
wine for tooth-ache, being retained for that purpose in the 
mouth. The plant is taken in drink for sciatica and strangury, 
and is applied with wine to burns and chilblains, which are 
fomented also with the root and seed bruised in wine. 


Some persons call the asplenon 62 by the name of " hemio- 
nion." 63 It has numerous leaves, a third of a foot in length, 
and a slimy root, pierced with holes like that of fern, white, 
and hairy. It is destitute of stem, flower, and seed, 64 and is 
found growing upon rocks or sheltered damp walls. The most 
approved kind is that of Crete. A decoction of the leaves 
in vinegar, taken in drink for a period of thirty days, will 

50 See JSote 53 above. 

60 Brotero and Linnaeus identify it with the Arctium lappa of Linnaeus, 
the Burdock or clot-burr : Sibthorp with the Conyza Candida, the White 
fleabane : others, again, with the Celsia arcturus of Linnaeus, and Sprengel 
with the Verbascum ferrugineum of Linnaeus, the Ferruginous mullein ; 
between which two last, Fee is unable to decide. 

61 See B. xxv. c. 73. 

62 So called from its supposed property of consuming the spleen. It is 
generally identified with the Asplenium ceterach of Linnaeus, Spleenwort, 
or miltwaste. The Asplenium hemionitis of Linnaeus, Mule's fern, and 
the Asplenium scolopendrium of Linnaeus, Hart's tongue, have also been 
suggested ; but Fee prefers the first-named plant. 

53 The " mule's plant." These animals were said to be very fond of it. 
64 This is incorrect : the Ceterach has a large quantity of seed, but it 
is concealed beneath a kind of downy substance. 

Chap. 20.] ASCYRON. 229 

consume the spleen, it is said, the leaves being applied simul- 
taneously. The leaves give relief also in hiccup. This plant 
should never be given to females, being productive of sterility. 


The asclepias 65 has leaves like those of ivy, 66 long branches, 
and numerous roots, thin, and odoriferous. The flower has a 
strong offensive smell, and the seed is like that of securidaca: 67 
it is found growing in mountainous districts. The roots are 
used for the cure of griping pains in the bowels, and of 
stings inflicted by serpents, either taken in drink or applied 


The aster 68 is called " bubonion" by some, from the circum- 
stance of its being a sovereign remedy for diseases of the 
groin. It has a diminutive stem with oblong leaves, two or 
three in number ; and at the summit it is surmounted with small 
radiated heads, like stars. This plant is taken also in drink 
as an antidote to the venom of serpents : but if required for 
the cure of inguinal complaints, it is recommended that it 
should be gathered with the left hand, and attached to the 
body near the girdle. It is of great service also, worn as an 
amulet, for sciatica. 


Ascyron 69 and ascyroides are plants similar to one another, 
and to hypericon 70 as well, except that the plant known as 

65 Possibly the Asclepias vincetoxicum of Linnaeus, the Common white- 
flower swallow-wort ; though Fee considers it somewhat doubtful. 

66 Those of Swallow-wort have no such resemblance. 

67 See B. xviii. c. 44. 

68 Desfontaines suggests the Inula bubonium, but Fee adopts the opinion 
of Jussieu and Sprengel, that it is the Aster araellus of Linnaeus, the 
Italian starwort. It is probably the same plant as the Inguinalis, men- 
tioned in B. xx vi. c. 59. 

69 Identified by Fee and Desfontaines with the Hypericum androssemum 
of Linnaeus, the Common tutsan, or Park leaves. Littre gives as the 
synonym the Hypericum perforatum of Linnaeus, the Perforated St. John's 
wort ; which last is also preferred by Sprengel. Fuchsius and Mathioli 
think that it is the Hypericum montanum of Linnaeus. 

70 See B. xxvi. c. 53. 


" ascyroides" 71 has larger branches, ferulaceous, red all over, 
and bearing small yellow heads. The seed, enclosed in small 
calyces, is diminutive, black, and resinous. The tops of the 
branches, when bruised, stain like blood; for which reason 
some persons have given it the name of " androsaemon." r2 The 
seed is used for the cure of sciatica, being taken in doses of 
two drachmae, in one sextarius of hydromel. It relaxes the 
bowels, and carries off bile : it is applied also to burns. 


The aphaca 73 has remarkably diminutive leaves, and is 
but little taller than the lentil. The pods are of a larger 
size, and enclose some three or four seeds, of a darker colour, 
moister, and more diminutive than those of the lentil : it grows 
in cultivated fields. It is naturally more astringent than the 
lentil, but in other respects is applied to much the same pur- 
poses. The seed, used in a decoction, arrests fluxes of the 
stomach arid bowels. 


I have not found it stated by authors what kind of plant 
alcibium 74 is ; but the root, I find, and the leaves, are pounded 
and employed, both externally and internally, for injuries in- 
flicted by serpents. When the leaves are used, a handful of 
them is bruised in three cyathi of undiluted wine : the root 
is employed in the proportion of three drachmae to the same 
quantity of wine. 


Alectoroslophos, 75 or crista, 75 * as we call it, has numerous 

71 It is considered to be identical with the Ascyron. 

72 " Man's blood." See c. 10 of this Book. 

73 Different probably from the plant of a similar name mentioned in B. xxi. 
cc. 52, 59. Fee identifies it with the Vetch, mentioned in B. xviii. c. 37. 
Littre gives as its synonym the Vicia cracca of Linnaeus, the Tufted vetch, 
and Desfontaines the Lathyrus aphaca, the Yellow vetchling, or bindweed. 

74 Fee considers it to be the same plant as the Anchusa or Archebion, 
mentioned in B. xxii. c. 25. Desfontaines identifies the Alcibium with 
the Echium rubrum of Linnaaus. Holland observes here that Pliny 
" hath here forgotten himself/' 

75 " Cock's comb." The Rhinanthus crista galli of Linnaeus, Yellow 
rattle, or cock's comb. " Crest " or " Comb." 

Chap. 24.] ALUM. 231 

leaves resembling, a cock's comb, a thin stem, and a black seed 
enclosed in pods. Boiled with broken beans and honey, it is 
useful for cough and for films upon the eyes. The seed, too, is 
sprinkled whole into the eyes, and so far is it from injuring 
them, that it attracts and collects the filmy matter. When 
thus used, it changes colour, and from black becomes white, 
gradually swells, and comes out of itself. 



The plant which we call "alum," 78 and which is known to the 
Greeks as " symphyton 77 petrseon," is similar to cunila bubula 78 
in appearance, having a diminutive leaf and three or four 
branches springing from the root, with tops like those of thyme. 
It is a ligneous plant, odoriferous, of a sweet flavour, and pro- 
vocative of saliva : the root of it is long and red. It grows 
upon rocks, to which circumstance it is indebted for its addi- 
tional name of " petra3on ;" and is extremely useful 79 for affec- 
tions of the sides and kidneys, griping pains in the bowels, 
diseases of the chest and lungs, spitting of blood, and eruptions 
of the fauces. The root is pounded and taken in drink, or else 
a decoction is made of it in wine ; sometimes, also, it is ap- 
plied externally. Chewed, it allays thirst, and is particularly 
refreshing to the pulmonary organs. It is employed topically 
for sprains and contusions, and has a soothing effect upon the 

Cooked upon hot ashes, with the follicules removed, and 
then beaten up with nine peppercorns and taken in water, it 
acts astringently upon the bowels. For the cure of wounds it 

76 Identified by Desfontaines with the Symphytura officinale, or Great 
comfrey. Fee, however, considers it to be the Coris Monspeliensis of Lin- 
naeus, Montpellier coris. Lobel identifies it with the Prunella vulgaris of 
Linnaeus, Common self-heal, and Cassalpinus with the Hyssopus officinalis 
of Linnaeus. See B. xxvi. c. 26. 

77 Fee reiterates his assertion here that this " rock " symphytum is a 
totally different plant from the Symphytum officinale, or Comfrey, though 
they appear to have heen generally considered as identical by Scribonius 
Largus, Plinius Valerianus, Apuleius, and other writers. 

7 See B. xxvi. c. 26. 

79 This account of its medicinal properties applies properly to the Sym- 
phytum officinale, or Great comfrey, a plant which would appear to have 
been confounded by Pliny with the Alum, if Fee is right in his conjecture. 


is remarkably efficacious, being possessed of agglutinating 80 
properties to such a remarkable degree as to solder pieces of 
meat together with which it is boiled ; to which, in fact, it is 
indebted for its Greek name. 81 It is used also for the cure of 
fractured bones. 


Red sea- weed 82 is useful as an application for the sting of the 


Actaea 83 has leaves with a powerful smell, rough knotted 
stems, a black seed like that of ivy, and soft berries. It 
grows in umbrageous, rugged, watery localities ; and is used, 
in doses of one full acetabulum, for female complaints. 


Ampelos agria, or wild vine, is the name of a plant with 
leaves of an ashy colour, as already 84 stated in our description 
of the cultivated plants, and long, tough twigs of a red hue, 
like that of the flower which we have mentioned, 85 when speak- 
ing of violets, under the name of " flame of Jove." It bears 
a seed which resembles the grains of the pomegranate. The 
root, boiled in three cyathi of water, with the addition of two 
cyathi of 'Coan wine, is slightly laxative to the bowels, and is 
consequently given for dropsy. It is curative also of uterine 
affections, and of spots upon the face in females. It is found 
a good plan for patients afflicted with sciatica to use the juice 
of this plant, bruised, applied topically, with the leaves. 



There are numerous kinds of absinthium ; the Santonic, 86 for 

80 Hence its Latin name "consolida," and its French name "consoude." 
Fee says that Comfrey still figures in the French Materia Medica, and that 
the lower classes use it in most of the cases mentioned by Pliny ; he states 
also, that it is destitute of energetic properties, in a medicinal point of view. 

81 2u/i0vroi>, " consolidating." 

82 See B. xiii. c. 48, and B. xxvi. c. 66. 

83 The Actaea spicata of Linnaeus, Herb-christopher or bane-berries, is 
mentioned by Desfontaines ; but Fee is inclined to identify it with the 
Sambucus ebulus of Linnaeus, the Dwarf elder, wall- wort, or dane-wort. 

84 See B. xxiii. c, 14. 85 In B. xxi. cc. 33, 38. 
86 The Artemisia Santonica of Linnaeus, Tartarian southernwood. 

Chap. 28.] ABSINTHIUM. 233 

instance, so called from a city in Gaul, and the Pontic, 87 which 
comes from Pontus, where the cattle are fattened upon it a 
diet which causes them to be destitute of gall. 88 The Pontic 
wormwood, we may remark, is of the finest quality, superior to 
that of Italy, 89 and much more bitter ; the pith, however, of the 
Pontic wormwood is sweet. As to its general utility, a plant 
so commonly found and applied to such numerous uses, people 
are universally agreed ; but with the Romans more particularly 
it has been always held in the highest esteem, from the fact of 
its being employed in their religious ceremonials. Thus, for 
instance, upon the Latin 90 Festival, it is the custom to have a 
race of four-horsed chariots in the Capital, and for the conqueror 
to be presented with a draught of wormwood ; from the circum- 
stance, no doubt, that our forefathers were of opinion that good 
health was the most valuable reward they could bestow upon 
his skill. 

This plant is very strengthening to the stomach, and hence 
it is that wines are flavoured with it, as already 91 stated. A 
decoction of it in water is also taken, the following being 
the method employed in preparing it. Six drachmae of the 
leaves are boiled, with the branches, in three sextarii of rain 
water, and the preparation is then left to cool in the open air a 
day and a night. Salt, too, should be added to it. When old, it 
is utterly useless. A dilution of wormwood steeped in water 
is also used, such being the name 92 given to this method of 
preparing it. This dilution is made by leaving the vessel 
covered up for three days, any kind of water being used. 
Pounded wormwood is but rarely employed, and the same 
with the extracted juice of the seed. 93 In cases, however, 
where it is extracted, the seed is subjected to pressure as soon 
as it begins to swell, after which it is soaked for three days 
in water, if used fresh, and seven, if dry. It is then boiled 
in a copper vessel, in the proportion of ten heminae to forty- 
five sextarii of water, after which it is strained off and boiled 

87 The Artemisia Pontica of Linnaeus, Little wormwood, or Eoman 
wormwood. 88 See B. xi. c. 75. 

89 The Artemisia absinthium of Linnaeus, Common wormwood. 

90 Upon which occasion a sacrifice was offered on the Alban Mount. 
See further as to this Festival, in B. iii. c. 2. 

91 In B. xiv. c. 19. Wine of wormwood is still used medicinally. 

92 "Dilutum." An infusion. 

99 It contains a small quantity of essential oil. 


gently to the consistency of honey, in the same way as the juice 
is extracted from the smaller centaury. The juice, however, 
of wormwood, thus extracted, is bad for the head and stomach ; 
whereas the decoction, on the other hand, is wholesome in the 
highest degree, as it acts astringently upon the stomach, carries 
off bile, is a powerful diuretic, has a soothing effect upon the 
bowels, and assuages pains in the intestines. With the addi- 
tion of sile, 94 Gallic nard, and a little vinegar, it dispels nausea 
and flatulency, and expels intestinal worms. It removes 
qualmishness, promotes the digestion, and, with the addition 
of rue, pepper, and salt, disperses crudities of the stomach. 

The ancients were in the habit of giving wormwood as a 
purgative, the dose being six drachmas of the seed with three 
of salt and one cyathus of honey, in one sextarius of sea water 
kept for some time. This preparation, however, is rendered 
more efficacious by doubling the proportion of salt ; the seed, 
too, must be bruised with the greatest care, as there is con- 
siderable difficulty in pounding it. Some authorities have 
prescribed the dose above mentioned to be given in polenta, 95 
with the addition of pennyroyal; while others recommend 
the leaves to be given to children in a dried fig, to disguise 
their bitterness. Taken with iris, 96 wormwood acts as. a 
detergent upon the thoracic organs : for jaundice it is used 
raw, with parsley or adiantum. 97 In cases of flatulency, it is 
sipped every now and then, warmed in water ; for liver com- 
plaints it is taken with Gallic nard, and for diseases of the 
spleen, with vinegar, pap, 98 or figs. Taken in vinegar it neu- 
tralizes the bad effects of fungi and of viscus :" in wine it is 
an antidote to the poison of hemlock, and to the bite of the 
shrew-mouse, and is curative of wounds inflicted by the sea- 
dragon 1 and the scorpion. It contributes also very greatly to 
the improvement of the sight, and is used as an external appli- 
cation, with raisin wine, for defluxions of the eyes, and with 
honey, for bruises. 

94 See B. xx. c. 18. 95 See B. xviii. c. 14. 

96 See B. xxi. c. 19. 97 See B. xxii. c. 30. 

98 " Puls." See B. xviii. c. 19. 

99 From a passage in Scribonius Largus, c. 191, it has been concluded 
that by the word " YISCO," he means the juice of the Ixias or Chamceleon, 
mentioned in B. xxii. c. 21. 

1 See B. ix. c. 43, and B. xxxii. c. 53. 


The steam of a decoction of wormwood is curative of affec- 
tions of the ears ; and when they are attacked with running 
sores, a liniment of wormwood bruised with honey is applied. 
Three or four sprigs of wormwood, with one root of Gallic 
nard, taken in six cyathi of water, act as a diuretic and as 
an emmenagogue ; indeed, if taken with honey, or employed 
as a pessary with wool, it has especial virtues as an emmena- 
gogue. In combination with honey and nitre it is useful for 
quinzy, and an infusion of it in water is good for epinyctis. 
A topical application is made of it for recent wounds, provided 
always they have not been touched with water : it is em- 
ployed also for ulcers upon the head. In combination with 
Cyprian wax or figs, it is highly recommended as a plaster for 
the iliac regions : it is curative also of prurigo, but it must 
never be administered in fevers. Taken in drink, it is a pre- 
ventive of sea sickness; and, worn attached to the body, 
beneath an apron, it arrests inguinal swellings. The smell of 
it 2 induces sleep, a similar effect being produced by placing 
it under the pillow unknown to the party. Kept among 
clothes it preserves them from worms, and used as a liniment, 
with oil, or burnt as a fumigation, it has the effect of driving 
away gnats. 

Writing ink, mixed with an infusion of wormwood, effectually 
protects the writings from the attacks of mice. Ashes of 
wormwood, mixed with rose unguent, stain the hair black. 


There is a sea wormwood 3 also, known as " seriphum" by 
some, the most esteemed being that of Taposiris in Egypt. 
Those initiated in the mysteries of Isis carry a branch of it in 
the hand. It has a narrower leaf than the preceding plant, 
and is not so bitter ; it is injurious to the stomach, has a 
laxative effect upon the bowels, and expels intestinal worms. 
It is taken in drink with oil and salt ; or else an infusion of it 
is taken in a pottage made of meal of three -month wheat. 
When employed as a decoction, a handful is used to one sexta- 
rius of water, the mixture being boiled down to one half. 

2 This, Fee observes, is not the case. 

3 The Artemisia maritima of Linnaeus, Sea wormwood : see B. xxxii. 
c, 31. 




The Greeks give to the ballotes 4 the other name of " melam- 
prasion," meaning " black leek." 5 It is a branchy plant, with 
black angular stems, covered with hairy leaves, larger and darker 
than those of the leek, 6 and possessed of a powerful smell. The 
leaves, bruised and applied with salt, are highly efficacious for 
bites inflicted by dogs : cooked upon hot ashes and applied in 
a cabbage leaf, they are curative of condylomata. Mixed with 
honey, this plant acts as a detergent upon sordid ulcers. 


Botrys 7 is a shrublike plant, which has small yellow 
branches, with the seed growing all round them, and leaves 
resembling 8 those of endive. It is found upon the banks of 
running streams, and is used for the cure of hardness of 
breathing. The people of Cappadocia call this plant " am- 
brosia," others again, " artemisia." 


The brabyla 9 is possessed of astringent properties like those 
of the quince, but beyond this, authors give no particulars 
relative to it. 


Sea bryon 10 is a plant, no doubt, 11 with leaves like those of 

4 The Ballota nigra of Linnaeus, the Fetid ballota, or Stinking black 
horehound ; see B. xx. c. 89. 

5 He is in error here, as the word " raelamprasion " means " black 
horehound.'* " Black leek " would be " melamprason." 

6 " Horehound," properly. The Ballota is of a stimulating nature, and 
contains a considerable quantity of essential oil. 

7 The Chenopodium botrys of Linnaeus, Cut-leaved goose foot, or oak 
of Jerusalem. See B. xxv. c. 36, and c. 11 of this Book. 

8 There is no such resemblance. The name " botrys " was given to 
the plant from the little clusters formed by the blossoms. 

9 Identified by Fee with the Prunus domestica of Linnaeus, var. /?, or 
Damascena, the Damascene plum or damson. Desfontaines considers it 
to he the Prunus instititia, the Bullace plum. Holland mentions in a Note, 
" Bullois, skegs, or such like wild plums." 

10 The Ulva lactuca of Linnaeus, Lettuce laver ; see B. xiii. c. 49, B. 
xxiv. c. 17, and B. xxxii. c. 36. 

11 He probably says this in reference to the opinion expressed by Theo- 

Chap. 35.] THE CATANANCE. 237 

the lettuce, of a wrinkled, pursed appearance, and destitute of 
stem, the leaves arising from a single root : it grows upon 
rocks more particularly, and shells sunk in the sand. It has 
desiccative 12 and astringent qualities in a very high degree, 
properties which render it useful for reducing all kinds of 
abscesses and inflammations, those attendant upon gout in 
particular. It is good also for all affections which stand in 
need of cooling applications. 


I find it stated that seed of bupleuron 13 is given for injuries 
inflicted by serpents ; and that the wound is fomented with 
a decoction of the plant, in combination with leaves of the 
mulberry or of origanum. 14 


The catanance 15 is a Thessalian plant, which it would be 
a mere loss of time to describe, seeing that it is only used as 
an ingredient in philtres. In order, however, to expose the 
follies of the magical art, it may not be out of place to remark 
that this plant has been selected for the above-named purpose, 
from the fact that, as it withers, it gradually contracts and 
assumes the shape of the claws of a dead kite. 16 

For a similar reason we shall give no description of the 
plant called " cemos." 17 

phrastus, Hist. iv. 7, that it was a name for sea- weed in general, and not 
a specific plant. 

1 - In reality, it is destitute of medicinal properties. Some kinds of laver 
are considered a dainty food. 

13 See B. xxii. c. 35. u See B. xx. c. 67. 

15 Dioscorides speaks of two kinds of Catanance ; one of which has 
heen identified hy Sprengel with the Ornithopus compressus of Linnaeus, 
and the other with the Astragalus pugniformis. Fee expresses his doubts 
as to the correctness of these conclusions. 

16 " As if it would catch women, and hold them fast perforce." Holland. 
It has been suggested that the Coronopus, or " crow's foot," mentioned 
in B. xxi. c. 59^ was so called for a similar reason. 

17 Prosper Alpinus identifies it with the Plantago Cretica of X*inna3us, 
and Sprengel with the Micropus erectus of Linnaeus. Fee considers it to 
be the Gnaphalium leontopodium of Lamarck. 



Of the calyx 18 there are two kinds. One of these resembles 
arum, and is found growing in ploughed soils; the proper 
time for gathering it being before it begins to wither. It is em- 
ployed for the same purposes as arum ; 19 and an infusion of the 
root is taken as a purgative and as an emmenagogue. The 
stalks, boiled with the leaves and some pulse, are curative of 



The other 20 kind of calyx is known by some persons as 
*' anchusa," and by others as " onoclia." The leaves are like 
those of the lettuce, but longer, and with a downy surface. 
The root is red, and is employed topically, in combination 
with fine polenta, 21 for the cure of erysipelas : taken inter- 
nally with white wine, it is good for affections of the liver. 


The circaea 22 resembles the cultivated trychnon 23 in ap- 
pearance, It has a small swarthy flower, a diminutive seed, 
like millet, growing in small horn-shaped pods, and a root 
half a foot in length, generally triple or fourfold, white, 
odoriferous, and hot in the mouth. It is found growing upon 
rocks exposed to the sun. An infusion of it is prepared with 
wine, and administered for pains and affections of the uterus : 
to make it, three ounces of the pounded root should be steeped 

18 Other readings are "calsa, " and "calla;" but "calyx" is supported 
by the text of Dioscorides, B. iv. c. 23. The first kind has been generally 
identified with the Arum arisarum of Linnaeus, Hooded arum, or Monk's 
hood, and is identical probably with the Aris aros of B. xxiv. c. 94. 

19 See B. xxiv. c. 93. 

20 Probably the Anchusa tinctoria of Linnaeus, Dyer's alkanet. See B. 
xxii. c. 23. 

21 " Flore polentas." See B. xviii. c. 14. 

22 Sprengel identifies it with the Asclepias nigra, Black swallow-wort, 
but Fee considers it to be the Circasa Lutetiana of Linnaeus, Parisian 
circa3a, or enchanter's nightshade. Other authorities have suggested the 
Capsicum annuum of Linnaeus, Indian or Guinea pepper, and the Celosia 
margaritacea of Linnaeus, Pearly celosia, or cock's coinb. M. Fraas 
suggests, though with some doubt, the Cynanchura Monspeliacum, the 
Montpellier dog's-bane. 23 See B. xxi. c. 105. 

Chap. 40.] THE CEAT^IGONON. 239 

in three sextarii of wine a day and a night. This potion is 
effectual also for bringing away the after-birth. The seed of 
this plant, taken in wine or hydromel, diminishes the milk in 
nursing women. 


The cirsion 24 is a plant consisting of a diminutive and deli- 
cate stem, two cubits in height, of a triangular form, and 
covered with prickly leaves. The prickles on the leaves are 
downy, and the leaves themselves resemble those of buglos- 
sos 25 in shape, but are smaller, and of a whitish colour. At 
the summit of the plant there are small purple heads, which 
fall off in the shape of down. This plant or the root of it, 
worn as an amulet, it is said, is curative of the pains attendant 
upon varicose veins. 



The crataegonon 26 is similar to an ear of corn in appearance. 
It is formed of numerous shoots, springing from a single root, 
and full of joints. It grows in umbrageous localities, and has 
a seed like that of millet, with a remarkably acrid taste. If 
a man and woman, before the evening meal, take three oboli of 
this seed in three cyathi of water, for forty days consecutively, 
before the conception of their issue, it will be sure to be of the 
male 27 sex, they say. 

There is another crataagonon, known also as " thelygonos," 28 
and distinguished from the last mentioned plant by the mild- 
ness of the taste. Some persons assert that females, if they 
take the blossom of this plant in drink, will be sure to con- 
ceive before the end of forty days. These plants, used in com- 
bination with honey, are curative of black ulcers of a chronic 
nature ; they also fill the concavities made by fistulous 

24 Identified with the Carduus parviflorus of Linnaeus, the Small-flowered 
thistle. 25 See B. xxv. c. 40. 

26 Identified hy Fee and Desfontaines with the Polygonum persicaria of 
Linnaeus, the Spotted persicaria, red-shanks, fleawort, or lakeweed. Littre 
gives the Crucianella Monspeliaca of Linnaeus, Montpellier petty madder. 

27 Hence its name, signifying that it strengthens the generative powers. 

28 See B. xxvi. c. 91. 


ulcers with new flesh, and restore such parts of the hody as 
are wasted by atrophy. They act as a detergent upon purulent 
sores, disperse inflammatory tumours, and alleviate gout and 
all kind of abscesses, those of the mamillae in particular. 

Under the name of " crataegos" 29 or '*' cratsegon," Theo- 
phrastus 30 speaks of the tree known in Italy as the " aquifolia." 


The crocodileon 31 resembles the black chamseleon 32 in shape : 
the root is long, of an uniform thickness, and possessed of a 
pungent smell. It is found growing in sandy soils. Taken 
in drink, it causes a copious discharge of coagulated blood at 
the nostrils, and in this way, it is said, diminishes the volume 
of the spleen. 


The cynosorchis, 33 by some called " orchis," has leaves like 34 
those of the olive, soft, three in number, half a foot in length, 
and lying upon the ground. The root is bulbous, oblong, and 
divided into two portions, 35 the upper one hard, and the lower 
one soft. These roots are eaten boiled, like bulbs, 36 and are 
mostly found growing in vineyards. If males eat the upper 
part, they will be parents of male issue, they .say, and females, 
if they eat the lower part, of female. In Thessaly, the men 
take the soft portion in goats' milk as an aphrodisiac, and the 
hard part as an antaphrodisiac. Of these parts, the one effec- 
tually neutralizes the action of the other. 37 

29 See B. xxiv. c. 72. Littre remarks that Pliny is in error here, for 
that the Crataegos of Theophrastus is the Cratsegos azarolia of Linnseus, 
the Parsley-leaved hawthorn, while the Aquifolia of Pliny is the Holly. 
As to the latter point, see B. xvi. cc. 8, 12 

30 Hist. Plant. B. iii. c. 15. 

31 Desfontaines identifies it with the Centaurea crocodileuin of Linnaeus, 
and Littre wjth the Cardims pycnocephalus of Linnaeus. Ruellius con- 
siders it to b*e the same plant as the Leucacantha of Dioscoridesj which 
Sprengel identifies with the Cnicus Casahonce. Fee expresses himself at 
a loss as to its identity. 32 See B. xxii. c. 21. 

33 u Do-g'g testicle/"' Considered to be a synonym merely of the Orchis, 
mentioned in B. xxvi. c. 62. 34 This comparison is totally incorrect. 

35 See B. xxvi. c. 62. 3G Or onions. 

37 A tissue of groundless superstitions. 

Chap. 44.] THE GUCUBALUS. 241 


The chrysolachanum 38 grows in pine plantations, and is 
similar to the lettuce in appearance. It heals wounds of the 
sinews, if applied without delay. There is another kind 39 of 
chrysolachauum mentioned, with a golden flower, and a leaf 
like that of the cabbage : it is boiled and eaten as a laxative 
vegetable. This plant, worn as an amulet by a patient suffer- 
ing from jaundice, provided it be always kept in sight, is a cure 
for that disease, it is said. I am not certain whether this is 
all that might be said about the chrysolachanum, but, at 
all events, it is all that I have found respecting it ; for it is 
a very general fault on the part of our more recent herbalists, 
to confine their account of plants to the mere name, with u 
very meagre description of the peculiar features of the plant, 
j ust as though, forsooth, they were universally known. Thus, 
they tell us, for instance, that a plant known as " coagulum 40 
terra3," acts astringently upon the bowels, and that it dispels 
strangury, taken in water or in wine. 


The leaves of the cucubalus, 41 they tell us, bruised with 
vinegar, are curative of the stings of serpents and of scorpions. 
Some persons call this plant by the name of " strumus," 42 
while others give it the Greek name of " strychnon :" its ber- 
ries are black. The juice of these berries, administered in 
doses of one cyathus, in two cyathi of honied wine, is curative 
of lumbago ; an infusion of them with rose oil is used for head- 
ache, and they are employed as an application for scrofulous 

3S " Golden vegetable." Supposed to be identical with the Atriplex of 
B. xx. c. 38, our Orage. 

rfy Cultivated orage, probably. 

40 " Earth rennet." This plant has not been identified. Lobelius has 
made a guess at the Serapias abortiva of Linnaeus, the Helleborine. It is 
pretty clear that it was unknown to Pliny himself. 

41 The same, probably, as the Trychnon of B. xxi. cc. 52, 105, Solanum 
nigrum or Black nightshade. In the former editions the reading is "cuculus." 

4 ~ The " strumous " or "scrofula" plant. 

VOL. V. li 



The conferva 43 is peculiar to running streams, those of the 
Alpine regions more particularly ; receiving its name from 
" conferrumino," 44 to solder together. Properly speaking, it is 
rather a fresh-water sponge than a moss or a plant, being a 
dense, porous mass of filaments. I know an instance where a 
man, who fell to the ground while lopping a tree of consider- 
able height, and broke nearly every bone of his body, was cured 
by the agency of this plant. The patient's body was covered all 
over with conferva, the application being continually sprinkled 
with water the moment it began to dry, and only removed for 
the purpose of changing it when the plant gave signs of losing 
its virtues. 45 It is hardly credible with what rapidity he re- 



The Cnidian grain 46 has just the colour of the kermes berry. 47 
It is larger than a peppercorn, and has very heating proper- 
ties : hence it is that when used, it is taken in crumb of 
bread, that it may not burn the throat in passing downwards. 
It is a sovereign remedy for hemlock, and arrests 48 looseness of 
the bowels. 


The dipsacos 49 has leaves like those of the lettuce, with 
prickly tubercles on the middle of the back. The stem of it, 
two cubits in length, is bristling all over with prickles of a 
similar nature. The joints of the stem are closely covered 
with two leaves, which form a concave axil in which a saltish 
dew-like liquid collects. 50 At the summit of the stem there 

43 Possibly the Conferva rivularis, or the C. glomerata of Linnaeus, the 
Eiver conferva or River sponge, or the Green cluster conferva. 

44 On account of its asserted agglutinative properties. In reality it is 
an inert plant, and is never used in medicine. 

45 Fee considers this statement as fabulous in every respect. 

46 See B. xiii. c. 35. 

47 " Coccus." See B. xvi. c. 12. 

This is not the case. Sillig is of opinion that the passage is imperfect. 
49 The same plant as the Labrum Venereum of B. xxv. c. 108. It is 
used for carding cloth, but is no longer employed in medicine. 
30 Hence its uaiiie " Venus' bath." 

Chap. 50.] THE ELATIKE. 243 

are small heads covered with prickles : it grows in watery 

This plant is used for the cure of chaps of the fundament 
and of fistula ; in which latter case the root is boiled down in 
wine to the consistency of wax, to allow of its being introduced 
into the fistula in the form of a salve. 61 It is employed, too, 
for the cure of all kinds of warts : as a liniment for which, 
the juice collected in the axils, as above mentioned, is also used 
by some. 


The dryopteris, 52 which resembles fern in appearance, is 
found growing upon trees ; the leaves are of a somewhat sweet- 
ish 53 flavour and marked with slight indentations, and the 
root is hairy. This plant is possessed of caustic properties, 54 
and hence the root is pounded and used as a depilatory. In 
using it the skin is rubbed with it till perspiration is excited, 
the operation being repeated a second and a third time, care 
being taken not to remove the perspiration. 


The dryophonon 55 is a similar plant, with thin stems a cubit 
in length, and surrounded on either side with leaves about as 
large as the thumb and like those of the oxymyrsine 56 in ap- 
pearance, only whiter and softer : the blossom is white, and 
similar to that of the elder. The shoots of it are eaten boiled, 
and the seed is used as a substitute for pepper. 


The elatine 57 has leaves like those of the helxine, 68 diminu- 

51 "Collyrii." 

52 The same plant, prohably, as the Polypodion of B. xxvi. c. 37. Littre, 
however, identifies it with the Asplenium adiantum nigrum of Linnaeus, the 
Black maiden-hair, or spleenwort. 

63 It is the root that is sweet, and not the leaves. 

54 It has no such properties. 

55 The " oak-killer." Fee thinks that it may possibly be the Conval- 
laria uniilora of Linnaeus. Desfontaines names the Cochlearia draba, and 
Littre the Lepidium draba of Linnaeus. 

56 See B. xv. cc. 7, 37, and B. xxiii, c. 83. 

67 Desfontaines and Fee identify it with the Antirrhinum spuriura of 
Linnaeus, Bastard toad-flax, calves' snout, or snapdragon. Littre gives 
the Linaria Groeea as its synonym. 58 See B. xxii. c. 19. 

B 2 


live, round, and hairy ; its branches are small, half a foot in 
length, five or six in number, and covered with leaves from 
the root upwards. It grows in corn-fields, and has a rough 
flavour : hence it is found very useful for defluxions of the 
eyes, the leaves being beaten up and applied with polenta 59 in 
a linen pledget. A decoction of this plant with linseed, taken 
in pottage, is good for dysentery. 



Empetros, 60 by the people of our country called "calci- 
fraga," 61 grows on mountains near the sea, and is generally 
found upon rocks : the nearer it grows to the sea the salter it 
is, acting as an evacuant of bile and pituitous secretions. That, 
on the other hand, which grows at a greater distance and more 
inland, is of a more bitter flavour. It carries off the aqueous 
humours of the body, being taken for that purpose in broth of 
some kind, or else hydromel. When old, it loses its strength ; 
but used fresh, either boiled in water or pounded, it acts as a 
diuretic, and disperses urinary calculi. Authorities who wish 
full credence to be given to this asserted property, assure us 
that pebbles boiled with it will split asunder. 


The epipactis, 62 called " elleborine " by some, is a diminutive 
plant with small leaves. Taken in drink, it is extremely use- 
ful for diseases of the liver, and as an antidote to poisons. 


The epimedion 63 consists of a stem of moderate size, with 
ten or twelve leaves like those of ivy : it never flowers, and 

69 See B. xviii. c. 14. 

60 Fee, with Sprengel, identifies it with the Salsola polychlonos of Lin- 
Tiseus, Branchy saltwort or glasswort ; Bauhin with the Passerina poly- 
galifolia. The Crithmum maritinmm of Linnaeus, Sea samphire, has 
been suggested by Desfontaines. Littre gives the Frankenia pulverulenta 
of Linnaeus. Holland suggests Saxifrage. 

61 " Calculus-breaking." 62 See B. xiii. c. 35. 

63 Sprengel suggests the Marsilea quadrifolia of Linnaeus; Columna 
the Botrychium lunaria of LinnaBUs ; C. Bauhin the Ornithogalum Nar- 
bonense of Linnaeus, Narbonese star of Bethlehem ; and Talius the Caltha 
palustris of Linnseus, the Marsh marigold. Fee considers its identification 

Cbap. 55.] FILix OK FEilisr. 245 

has a thin, black root, with a powerful smell. It grows in 
humid soils. This plant also has certain astringent and cool- 
ing properties, but females must be on their guard 64 against 
it. The leaves, beaten up in wine, prevent the bosom from 
growing too large in young girls. 


The enneaphyllon 65 has nine long leaves, and is of a caustic 
nature. It is employed topically, but when used it is wrapped 
in wool to prevent it from cauterizing further than desirable, 
for it blisters immediately. For t lumbago and sciatica it is of 
the greatest utility. 


Of fern there are two varieties, equally destitute of blossom 
and of seed. 66 The Greeks give the name of "pteris," and 
sometimes " blachnon," to the kind 67 in which numerous shoots 
take their rise from a single root, exceeding two cubits even in 
length, and with a not unpleasant smell i 68 this plant is thought 
to be the male fern. 

The other kind is known to the Greeks as " thelypteris," 69 
and sometimes, "nymphoea pteris:" it has a single stem only, 
with comparatively few branches, is shorter, softer, and more 
tufted than the other, and has channelled leaves growing near 
the root. Swine are fattened upon the roots of either kind. 
The leaves of both kinds are arranged on either side in the 
form of wings, whence the Greek name " pteris." The roots 
are long, run obliquely, and are of a swarthy colour, more par- 

64 Because it was said to be a cause of sterility. 

65 Identified with the Dentaria enneaphylla of Linnaeus, the Nine-leaved 
tooth -wort. 

66 From this remark, Fee is of opinion that he had in view more par- 
ticularly the Pteris aquilina and the Blechnum spicatum of Linnaeus, plants 
in which the seed is not easily detected. 

67 Identified by Fee with the Polypodiuin filix mas of Linnaeus, the Male 

68 Dioscorides says it has a somewhat unpleasant smell, and this is nearer 
the truth. 

69 " Female fern." Identified by Fee with the Polypodium filix fsemina 
. of Linnaeus, Female fern or Pteris aquilina. 


ticularly when dried : when wanted for use, they should be 
dried in the sun. These plants are found growing everywhere, 
but in cold soils more particularly ; they should be taken up, 
too, at the setting of the Yergilise. 70 The root is only used at the 
end of three years, neither before that period nor after. They 
act as an expellent of intestinal worms ; for tapeworm 71 honey 
is taken with them, but in other cases sweet wine, for three days. 
They are, both of them, extremely detrimental to the sto- 
mach, but are laxative to the bowels, carrying off first the bile 
and then the aqueous humours of the body. When used for 
tapeworm, it is the best plan to take scammony with them, in 
equal proportions. For rheumatic defluxions, the root is taken 
in doses of two oboli, in water, after a day's abstinence from 
food, a little honey being taken first. Neither kind must ever 
be given to females ; for in pregnancy they are productive of 
abortion, and in other cases entail sterility. Powdered fern is 
sprinkled upon sordid ulcers, as also upon the necks of beasts 
of burden, when chafed. Fern-leaves kill bugs, and serpents 
will never harbour among them : hence it is a good plan to 
strew them in places where the presence of those reptiles is 
suspected. The very smell, too, of burnt fern will put serpents 
to flight. Medical men have made this distinction as to ferns ; 
that of Macedonia, they say, is the best, and that of Cassiope 
the next. 


The name of femur bubulum 72 is given to a plant which is 
good for the sinews, applied fresh, and beaten up with salt and 


Galeopsis, 73 or as some call it, " galeobdolon" or "galion," 

70 See B. xviii. c. 59. 

71 Fee remarks that root of fern is an undoubted remedy for tapeworm, 
and that it is worthy of remark that we owe to the ancients the two most 
efficient anthelmintics known, fern-root, namely, and pomegranate rind. 

72 The Femur hubulum has not been identified. C. Bauhin has suggested 
the Leonurus cardiaca of Linnaeus, Motherwort. 

73 It has been suggested that this plant is the same as the Lamium, 
mentioned in B. xxii. c. 16, but Fee is not of that opinion. He identifies 
the Galeopsis with the Lamium purpureum of Linnaeus, the Purple arch- 
angel, or dead-nettle. Littre gives as its synonym the Scrofularia pere- 
grina of Linnaeus, the Foreign figwort. 

Chap. 59.] GLAUCIOST. 247 

is a plant with a stem and leaves like those of the nettle, only 
smaller ; and which, when bruised, emit a powerful smell. The 
flower is purple, and the plant is found growing everywhere, 
about hedges and foot-paths. The leaves and stems, bruised in 
vinegar, and applied topically, are curative of indurations, 
carcinomata, and scrofulous sores. They disperse also inflam- 
matory tumours and imposthumes of the parotid glands, and 
it, is found a useful plan to foment the parts affected with a 
decoction of them. Applied with salt, this plant is curative 
of putrid ulcers and gangrenous sores. 


The glaux 74 was known in ancient times as the " eugalac- 
ton." 75 In the leaves it resembles the cytisus and the lentil, 
only that they are whiter beneath. The branches, five or six 
in number, are extremely thin, and, springing from the root, 
creep upon the ground, with small purple blossoms upon them. 
This plant is found in localities near the sea. It is boiled in 
a pottage made of similago, 76 to increase the milk : females, 
however, after taking it, must immediately use the bath. 


Glaucion 77 grows in Syria and Parthia; it is a plant of 
stunted growth, and thickly covered with leaves, like those of 
the poppy in appearance, only smaller and of a more repulsive 
aspect : it has an offensive smell, and a bitter, astringent taste. 
The seed, which is of a saffron colour, is put into a vessel 
coated with potter's claj 7 , and heated in an oven ; when taken 
out, a juice 78 is extracted, which is known by the same name as 
the plant. This juice and the leaves, bruised, are used for de- 
fluxions of the eyes, which disappear in an instant, under this 

74 Fee thinks that it may possibly be the Astragalus glaux of Linnaeus, 
or Milk vetch, as originally suggested by Clusius. Littre gives as its 
synonym the Sennebierra coronopus of Poireau. 

75 The " Good milk " plant. 

76 See B. xviii. cc. 19, 20. 

77 See B. xx. c. 78, where a similar plant is mentioned. Fee identifies 
this plant with the Glaucium hybridum, or Chelidonium of Linnaaus, 
the Violet-coloured celandine, or horned poppy. Littre' gives the Glau- 
ciura flavum of Linna3us as its synonym. 

7B This is a yellow, acrid, caustic juice ; it is no longer used in medicine. 


treatment : an eye-salve, too, is prepared from the juice, known 
as " diaglaucia," to medical men. The milk, when the secretion 
of it is stopped, is restored by the agency of this plant, for which 
purpose it is taken in water. 



The glycyside, 79 by some called " paeonia" or " pentorobos," 
has a stem two cubits in length, accompanied by two or three 
others, and of a reddish colour, with a bark like that of the 
laurel. The leaves are similar to those of isatis, 80 but more 
unctuous, rounder, and more diminutive ; the seed is enclosed 
in capsules, some being red and some black, there being 
two varieties of the plant. The female plant is generally 
thought to be the one to the root of which some six or eight 
bulbs are attached, of an elongated form; those of the male 
plant 61 being more in number, as it throws out more roots than 
one, a palm in length, and of a white colour : it has also an 
astringent taste. The leaves of the female plant smell like 
myrrh, 82 and lie closer together than those of the male. 

Both plants grow in the woods, and they should always be 
taken up at night, 83 it is said ; as it would be dangerous to do 
so in the day-time, the woodpecker of Mars being sure to 
attack the eyes 84 of the person so engaged. It is stated also 
that the person, while taking up the root, runs great risk of 
being attacked with procidence of the anus : all this, however, 
I take to be so much fiction, most frivolously invented to puff 
off their supposed marvellous properties. Both plants are used 85 
for various purposes : the red seed, taken in red wine, about 
fifteen in number, arrest menstruation ; while the black seed, 
taken in the same proportion, in either raisin or other wine, 
are curative of diseases of the uterus. The root, taken in wine, 
allays all kinds of pains in the bowels, and acts as a purgative; 
it cures opisthotony also, jaundice, nephritic diseases, and affec- 
tions of the bladder. Boiled in wine, it is used for diseases of 

79 The Peony ; described in B. xxv. c. 10. 

80 See B. xx. c. 25, and B. xxii. c. 2. 81 See B. xxv. c. 10. 

82 In reality it is destitute of smell. 

83 See B. xxv. c. 10. 

84 Or, as Holland says, would " be ready to job out tbeir eyes." 

85 In reality, the peony has no medicinal virtues whatever. 

Chap. 62.] THE GALLIDHAGA. 249 

the trachea and stomach, and acts astringently upon the howels. 
It is eaten also by beasts of burden, but when wanted for 
remedial purposes, four drachmae are sufficient. 

The black seed is useful as a preventive of night-mare, 86 
being taken in wine, in number above stated : it is very good, 
too, to eat this seed, and to apply it externally, for gnawing pains 
of the stomach. Suppurations are also dispersed, when recent, 
with the black seed, and when of long standing, with the red : 
both kinds are very useful, too, for wounds inflicted by ser- 
pents, and in cases where children are troubled with calculi, 
being employed at the crisis when strangury first makes its 


Gnaphalium 87 is called " chamaezelon" by some : its white, 
soft, leaves are used as flock, and, indeed, there is no per- 
ceptible difference. This plant is administered in astringent 
wine, for dysentery : it arrests looseness of the bowels and 
the catamenia, and is used as an injection for tenesmus. It is 
employed topically for putrid sores. 


Xenocrates gives the name of " gallidraga" 88 to a plant 
which resembles the leucacanthus, 89 and grows in the marshes. 
It is a prickly plant, with a tall, ferulaceous stem, surmounted 
with a head somewhat similar to an egg in appearance. When 
this head is growing, in summer, small worms, 90 he says, are 
generated, which are put away in a box for keeping, and are 
attached as an amulet, with bread, to the arm on the side on 
which tooth-ache is felt ; indeed it is quite wonderful, he says, 
how soon the pain is removed. These worms, however, are of 
no use after the end of a year, or in cases where they have been 
allowed to touch the ground. 

86 " Suppressionibus nocturnis." 

87 Sprengel identifies it with the Santolina maritima, Sea cudwort or 
cotton-weed. Fee considers its identification as doubtful. 

88 Identified by Hardouin and Desfontaines with the Dipsacus pilosus of 
Linnaeus, the Shepherd's rod, or small white teasel. Fee is doubtful ou 
the subject, 

*> See B. xxii. c. 18. 9 See B. xxv. c. 28. 



Holcus 91 is a plant that grows in arid, stony, spots : it has an 
ear at the end of a fine stem, and looks like barley that has put 
forth again when cut. Attached to the head or around the arm, 
it extracts 92 spikes of corn adhering to the flesh ; for which 
reason, some persons give it the name of " aristis." 


Hyoseris 92 * resembles endive in appearance, but is a smaller 
plant, and rougher to the touch : pounded and applied to 
wounds, it heals them with remarkable rapidity. 


The holosteon, 93 so called by the Greeks by way of anti- 
phrasis, 94 (in the same way that they give the name of 
" sweet" 95 to the gall,) is a plant destitute of all hardness, of 
such extreme fineness as to resemble hairs in appearance, four 
fingers in length, and very similar to hay-grass. The leaves of it 
are narrow, and it has a rough flavour : it grows upon elevated 
spots composed of humus. Taken in wine, it is used for rup- 
tures and convulsions. It has the property, also, of closing 
wounds ; indeed, if applied to pieces of meat it will solder 
them together. 


The hippophaeston is one of those prickly plants which 
fullers 96 use in their coppers ; it has neither stem nor flower, 

91 Identified with the Hordeum murinum of Linnaeus, and the same, 

most probably, as the Mouse barley of B. xxii. c. 65. 
93 "Whence its name, from the Greek g'Xfcw, "to draw." 
92* "Swine's endive." It is generally identified with the Centaurea 

nigra of Linnaeus ; though, as Fee says, on very insufficient grounds, as 

the black centaury has but little similarity to endive. 

93 The " all-bone " plant. Desfontaines identifies it with the Plantago 
coronopus of Linnaeus, the Buckshorn plantain ; but Fee prefers the Plan- 
tago holostea of Lamarck, the Grass-leaved plantain. Lfttre names the 
Holosteum umbellatum. The Plantago albicans of Linnaeus has been also 

94 Because there is no hardness in it. 95 TA yXttata. 

96 See B. xxiv. c. 68. In B. xvi. c. 92, Fee identifies this plant with the 
Calcitrapa stellata of Lamarck. He also suggests that it may possibly be 
the second " Hippophaes," mentioned in B. xxii. c. 14. Desfontaines 
identifies it with the Cuicus stellatus, the Star-thistle. Littre gives as its 

Chap. 70.] THE ISOPYRON. 251 

but only diminutive, empty heads, numerous small leaves of a 
grass-green colour, and small, soft, white roots. From these 
roots a juice is extracted in summer, which, taken in doses of 
three oboli, acts as a purgative ; being used for this purpose in 
cases of epilepsy, fits of trembling, dropsy, vertigo, hardness of 
breathing, and incipient paralysis. 


The hypoglossa 97 is a plant with leaves like those of the 
wild myrtle, of a concave form, prickly, and presenting another 
small leaf within, resembling a tongue in shape. A wreath 
made of these leaves, placed upon the head, alleviates head- 


Hypecoon 98 is a plant found growing in corn-fields, with 
leaves like those of rue. Its properties are similar to those of 
juice of poppies. 


The Idaean" plant has leaves like those of the oxymyrsine ; l 
to which leaves a sort of tendril adheres, that bears a flower. 
This plant arrests diarrhoea, the catamenia, when in excess, 
and all kinds of haemorrhage. It is of an astringent and 
repercussive nature. 


The isopyron 2 is called " phasiolon" by some, from the cir- 
cumstance that the leaf of it, which resembles that of anise, 
assumes a spiral form like the tendrils of the phasiolus. 3 At 

synonym the Centaurea spinosa, Prickly centaury ; in accordance with the 
opinion of M. Fraas, who admits, however, that the statement that it has 
neither stem nor flower, would hardly seem to indicate a species of centaury. 

97 The Ruscus hypoglossum of Linnaeus, the Double tongue. 

98 The Hypecoiim procumbens of Liunams, Horned cummin. 

99 Fee thinks that " Idsea herba," " plant of Ida," may possibly be one 
of the synonyms of the Alexandrian laurel. See B. xv. c. 39. Should 
that identity not hold good, he prefers the Uvularia amplexifolia of Linnaeus. 

1 See B. xv. cc. 7, 37, and B. xxiii. c. 83. 

2 Fee suggests the Corydalis claviculata of Decandolle. Littre mentions 
the Fumaria capreolata of Linnaeus, 

3 Or kidney-bean. See B. xxiv. c. 40. 


the summit of the stem, it bears small heads full of a seed like 
that of melanthium. 4 These heads, taken with honey or 
hydromel, are good for cough and other affections of the chest; 
they are extremely useful also for liver complaints. 


The lathyris 5 has numerous leaves like those of the lettuce, 6 
with numbers of small buds, in which the seed is contained, 
enclosed in envelopes like that of the caper. When these buds 
are dry, the seeds, about the size of a peppercorn, are taken out : 
they are white, sweet, and easily cleansed from the husk. 
Twenty of them, taken in pure water or in hydromel, are 
curative of dropsy, and carry off bile. Persons who require a 
stronger purgative, take them with the husks on. They are 
apt, however, to be injurious to the stomach ; for which reason 
a plan has been adopted of taking them with fish or else 
chicken broth. 


The leontopetalon 7 is called " pardalion" by some : it has a 
leaf like that of the cabbage, and a stem half a foot in height, 
with numerous lateral branches, and a seed at the extremities 
of them, enclosed in pods like those of the chick-pea. The root 
resembles that of rape, and is large and black : it grows in 
plough lands. The root, taken in wine, neutralizes the venom 
of all kinds of serpents ; indeed, there is nothing known that 
is more speedily efficacious for that purpose. It is given also 
for sciatica. 


The lycapsos 8 has longer and thicker leaves than those of 
the lettuce, 9 and a long, hairy stem, with numerous offshoots a 

4 Or Gith. See B. xx. c. 71. 

5 The Euphorbia lathyris of Linnaeus, the Caper plant, or Caper spurge. 

6 There is no such resemblance, except that they both contain a milky 
juice, the properties of which are, however, very different. It is a plant 
of an energetic and even dangerous nature, and must never be mistaken 
for the real caper. 

7 Mostly thought to be the same plant as the Leontopodium of B. xxvi. c. 
34. Littre, however, identifies it with the Evax pygmaeus of Linneeus. 

8 Probably the Echium Italicum of Linnsus, Italian viper's tongue. 

9 There is no resemblance between the Echium and the lettuce. 

Chap. 74.] THE LITHOSPEKMTTM. 253 

cubit in length; the flower is diminutive, and of a purple colour ; 
it grows in champaign localities. In combination with barley- 
meal, it is used as an application for erysipelas : the juice of 
it, mixed with warm water, is employed as a sudorific, in 



Among all the plants, however, there is none of a more 
marvellous nature than the lithospermum, 10 sometimes called 
" exonychon," " diospyron," 11 or "heracleos." It is about five 
inches in height, with leaves twice the size of those of rue, and 
small ligneous branches, about the thickness of a rush. It 
bears close to the leaves a sort of fine beard or spike, standing 
by itself, on the extremity of which there are small white stones, 
as round as a pearl, about the size of a chick-pea, and as hard as 
a pebble. These stones, 12 at the part where they adhere to 
the stalk, have a small cavity, and contain a seed within. 

This plant is found in Italy, no doubt, but that of Crete is 
the most esteemed. Among all the plants, there is none that 
I ever contemplated with greater admiration than this ; so 
beauteous is the conformation, that it might be fancied that the 
hand of an artist 13 had arranged a row of lustrous pearls alter- 
nately among the leaves ; so exquisite too the nicety in thus 
making a stone to grow upon a plant ! The authorities say 
that this is a creeping plant, and that it lies upon the ground ; 
but for my own part, I have only seen it when plucked, and 
not while growing. It is well known that these small stones, 
taken in doses of one drachma, in white wine, break and 
expel urinary calculi, 14 and are curative of strangury. In- 
deed, there is no plant that so instantaneously proclaims, at 

10 Identified by Fee and Desfontaines with the Lithospermum officinale 
of Linnaeus, Gremil, gromwell, or stone-crop. Littre mentions the Lithos- 
permum tenuiflorum of Linnaeus. 

11 "Jove's wheat," or the "plant of Hercules." 

12 This description applies to the variety of Gremil, known as the Coix 
lacryma of Linnseus, Job's tears, originally an Indian plant ; but it may 
have been known in Italy in Pliny's time. 

18 A poor compliment to Nature, as Fee remarks. 

14 It has in reality no medicinal properties to speak of ; but its name, 
" stone seed," and its appearance, would, of course, ensure its reputation as 
an efficient cure for calculus. 


the mere sight of it, the medicinal purposes for which it was 
originally intended; the appearance of it, too, is such, that 
it can be immediately recognized, without the necessity of 
having recourse to any botanical authority. 


There grows near running streams, a dry, white moss, 15 upon 
ordinary stones. One of these stones, with the addition of 
human saliva, is rubbed against another; after which the 
first stone is used for touching impetigo, 16 the party so doing 
uttering these words : 

Osuysrs xa,v6a,pifo$t Xvnog aypiog al/Ma biuxsi. 
11 Cantharides 17 begone, a wild wolf seeks your blood." 18 


Limeum 19 is the name given by the Gauls to a plant, in a 
preparation of which, known to them as "deer's 20 poison," they 
dip their arrows 21 when hunting. To three modii of salivating 
mixture 22 they put as much of the plant as is used for poisoning 
a single arrow ; and a mess of it is passed down the throat, 
in cases where oxen are suffering from disease, due care being 
taken to keep them fastened to the manger till they have been 
purged, as they are generally rendered frantic by the dose. In 
case perspiration supervenes, they are drenched all over with 
cold water. 



Leuce, 23 a plant resembling mercurialis, 24 has received its 

15 Some kind of lichen, probably, but what in particular it is impossible 
to say. 16 King-worm or tetter. 

17 Hardouin says that this herpetic disease is called "cantharides," be- 
cause it attacks the body as the cantharis attacks wheat. See B. xviii. c. 44. 

18 It would be superfluous to look for sense in this silly formula. 

19 Anguillara and C. Bauhin identify it with the Ranunculus thora of 
Linnaeus, and other authorities with the Doronicum pardalianches of Lin- 
naeus. Pliny is the only writer that mentions it ; and if it really had any 
existence, it would seem quite impossible, as Fee says, to identify it with 
correctness. 2 " Venenum cervarium." 21 See B. xxv. c. 25. 

22 " Salivati." Holland renders this, " A mash wherewith they used to 
drench cattle.'' 23 Identified with the Lamium of B. xxii. c. 16. 

24 See B. xxv. c. 18. The resemblance, Fee says, is by no means a 
striking one. 

Chap. 80.] THE MTOSOTA. 255 

name 25 from the circumstance that a white line runs through 
the middle of the leaf; for which reason also, some give it the 
name of " mesoleucon." 26 The juice of this plant is curative of 
fistula, and the plant itself, bruised, is good for carcinomata. 
It is prohably the same plant as that called " leucas," so 
remarkably efficacious for the venom of all kinds of marine 
animals. Authors have not given a description of it, beyond 
telling us that the wild leucas has larger leaves than the other, 
and has properties more strongly developed : they state also 
that the seed of the cultivated kind is the more acrid of the 


1 have not found a description given by any writer of the 
leucographis ; 27 a thing I am the more surprised at, as they tell 
us that it is good for the cure of spitting of blood, taken in 
doses of three oboli with saffron ; as also that it is useful for 
cceliac affections, applied beaten up in water, and in cases of 
excessive menstruation. They state also that it enters into 
the composition of ophthalmic preparations, and that it fills up 
ulcers on the more tender parts of the body with new flesh. 


The medion 28 has leaves like those of the cultivated seris, 29 
a stem three feet in length, and a large, round, purple flower, 
at its extremity. The seed is diminutive, and the root half a 
foot in length : it grows upon umbrageous, sheltered rocks. 
The root, taken in doses of two drachmae with honey, arrests 
the catamenia, the electuary being used for some days. The 
seed, too, is administered in wine for a similar purpose. 


The myosota 30 or myosotis is a smooth plant, throwing out 

25 The " white " plant. 26 " White in the middle." 

27 Identified by Fee with the Cerinthe of B. xxi. c. 41. Sprengel, how- 
ever, considers it to be the Carduus leucographus of Linnseus. 

28 Fee identifies it with the Campanula Medium of Linuieus, our Canter- 
bury or Coventry bells ; but this flower is blue, while the colour of the 
Medion is purple. Littre gives the Convolvulus althseoides of Linnaeus. 
Sibthorp has named the Campanula laciniata ; and other authorities the 
Michauxia campanuloides. 

29 See B. xx. C: 32. 

30 " Mouse-ears." Fee identifies it with the Myosotis scorpioides of 


from a single root numerous hollowed stems, of a somewhat 
reddish colour ; and bearing at the lower extremities swarthy, 
narrow, oblong leaves, sharp on the back, arranged in pairs 
at regular distances, and springing from delicate branches 
attached with axils to the main stems. The flower is blue, 
and the root, a finger in length, is provided with numerous 
filaments like hairs. This plant possesses certain septic and ul- 
cerating properties, and hence is used for the cure of fistula 
of the eye. The Egyptians say that if upon the morning of 
the twenty-eight day of their month Thoth, a day which gene- 
rally falls in our month of August, a person rubs himself with 
the juice of this plant before speaking to any one, he will be 
sure to have no diseases of the eyes all that year. 


The myagros 31 is a ferulaceous plant, with leaves like those 
of madder: the seed is of an oily nature indeed, an oil is 
extracted from it. Ulcerations of the mouth are cured by 
rubbing them with the juice of this plant. 


The plant called " nyma" 32 bears three long leaves, like 
those of endive : applied to scars, it restores the skin to its 
natural colour. 


" Matrix " 33 is the name of a plant, the root of which, when 
taken out of the ground, has just the rank smell of the he-goat. 
It is used in Picenum for the purpose of keeping away from 
females what with a singular credulity they call by the name 
of " Fatui." 34 For my own part, however, I should think that 

Linnaeus, Scorpion-grass, or mouse-ear, which is not of a corrosive nature, as 
Pliny says, but emollient and soothing. Littre names the Asperugo pro- 
cumbens of Linnaeus, Wild bugloss, German madwort, or great goose-grass. 

31 Sprengel identifies it with the Alyssum sativum, the Garden madwort ; 
Fee with the Cameliria sativa of Crantz, the Cultivated cameline. Littre 
gives the Neslia paniculata as its synonym. 

32 Or " Nigina," in some editions. It is utterly unknown. 

33 Possibly a fabulous plant ; though it is generally identified with the 
Ononis natrix of Linnaeus. Poinsinet de Sivry derives its name from the 
Celto-Germanic words, nat, "night," and ns, "wand;" a name given to it, 
according to him, for its efficacy in dispelling the illusions of the night. 

34 Q r Fauni," the same as our nightmare. 

Chap. 86.] THE ONOSMA. 2.57 

persons requiring to be treated with such medicaments as 
these, must be labouring under a sort of mental hallucination. 


Odontitis 35 is a sort of hay-grass, 36 which throws out from a 
single root numerous, small, jointed stems, of a triangular form 
and of a swarthy hue. At the joints there are small leaves, 
somewhat longer than those of the polygonos ; 37 and in the 
axils formed by these leaves is the seed, similar to barley in 
appearance. It has a purple, diminutive flower, and is found 
growing in meadows. 38 A handful of the stems, boiled in 
astringent wine, is used for the cure of tooth-ache, 39 the de- 
coction being retained for some time in the mouth. 


The othonna 40 is a Syrian plant, resembling rocket in ap- 
pearance ; its leaves are pierced with numerous holes, and its 
flower resembles that of saffron, for which reason some persons 
have given it the name of " anemone." The juice of thjte 
plant is employed in ophthalmic preparations ; it is slightly 
pungent, of a warming nature, and astringent as it dries. It 
acts as a detergent upon cicatrizations, films on the eyes, and 
all impediments of the sight. Some say that the plant is 
washed and dried, and then divided into lozenges. 


The onosma 41 has leaves some four fingers in length, lying 
upon the ground, and indented like those of the anchusa : 42 it 
has neither 43 stem, blossom, nor seed. A pregnant woman, they 
say, if she eats of this plant, or even walks over it, will be sure 
to miscarry. 

35 Probably the Euphrasia odontites of Linnaeus, the Red eye-bright. 

36 " Inter feni genera." 

37 See c. 91 of this Book. There is no resemblance between them. 

38 On the contrary, it grows in arid, sterile spots. 

39 Hence its name " odontitis," " tooth-wort." 

40 Its synonym is unknown. Sprengel has identified it with the Tagetis 
patula of Linnaeus, but that is purely an American plant ! 

41 Probably one of the Borragineae, Fee thinks, but beyond that he 
considers it impossible to say. Desfontaines identifies it with the Onosma 
echioides of Linnaeus, the Hairy onosma. 

42 See B. xxii. c. 23. 

48 If it is the plant above-mentioned, this is incorrect. 
VOL. V. S 



The onopordon, 44 it is said, has strongly carminative effects 
upon asses, when they eat of it. It acts as a diuretic and as an 
emmenagogue, arrests diarrhoea, and disperses abscesses and 


The osyris 45 bears small, swarthy, flexible branches, covered 
with dark leaves like those of flax. The seed, which grows 
upon the branches, is black at first, but afterwards changes its 
colour and turns red. Cosmetics 46 for females are prepared 
from these branches. A decoction of the roots, taken in drink, 
is curative of jaundice. The roots, cut in pieces before the 
seed ripens, and dried in the sun, act astringently upon the 
bowels : gathered after the seed has ripened, and boiled in 
pottage, they are curative of defluxions of the abdomen : they 
are taken also by themselves, bruised in rain water. 


The oxys 47 is a plant with three leaves ; it is given for 
derangement of the stomach, and patients eat it who are 
Buffering from intestinal hernia. 48 


The polyanthemum, 49 by some persons called " batrachion," 50 
by virtue of its caustic properties has an excoriating effect 
upon scars, and restores the skin to its proper colour. It heals 
white morphew 51 also. 

44 Fee suggests that it may be identical with the Onopyxos of B. xxi. 
c. 56. Desfontaines, also, identifies it with the Onopordon acanthium of 
Linnaeus, the Cotton thistle or woolly thistle. 

45 Probably the Osyris alba of Linnaeus, the Poet's cassia. Anguillara 
and Dodonaeus have mentioned the Chenopodium scoparia of Linnaeus, the 
Summer cypress, or line-leaved goosefoot, but without any good reason, it 
is thought. Holland calls it " toad -flax." 

46 "Smegmata." 

47 The " sour " plant. Mostly identified with the Oxalis acetosella of 
Linnaeus, Cuckoo's meal, three leaved sorrel, or wood-sorrel. 

48 "Enterocele." 

49 The "many-flowered" plant. Probably the Ranunciilus polyanthemos 
of Linnaeus. See B. xxv. c. 109. 

50 The " frog " plant. 51 " Vitiligines." 

Chap. 91.] THE POLYGONOS. 259 



The Greeks give the name of " polygonos" 52 to the plant 
known to us as " sanguinaria." 53 It is but little elevated above 
the ground, has leaves like those of rue, and resembles grass 
in appearance. The juice of it, injected into the nostrils, 
arrests haemorrhage : taken with wine, it has a similar effect 
upon bleeding at any other part of the body, as also spitting 
of blood. Those who distinguish several kinds of polygonos, 
make this to be the male 54 plant, and say that it is so called 
from the large number of seeds, or else from its numerous 
branches. Some call it "polygonatos," 66 from the number of 
its joints, others, again, "teuthalis," and others, " car cine - 
thron," " clema," or " myrtopetalos." 

There are some authorities to be found, however, who say that 
this is the female plant, and that the male is more diminutive, 
less swarthy, and more jointed, with a s,eed protruding beneath 
all the leaves. However this may be, these plants are of an 
astringent, cooling nature. The seed is laxative, and, taken in 
large doses, acts as a diuretic, and arrests defluxions; indeed, 
if there is no defluxion, it is of no use taking it. For burning 
heats of the stomach, the leaves are applied topically ; and they 
are used, in the form of a liniment, for pains in the bladder, and 
for erysipelas. The juice is used as an injection for suppurations 
of the ears, and by itself, for pains in the eyes. It is admi- 
nistered, also, in fevers, tertian and quartan fevers more par- 
ticularly, in doses of two cyathi, just before the paroxysms 
come on ; as also in cases of cholera, dysentery, and derange- 
ment of the stomach. 

There is a third kind, which grows on the mountains, and is 
known as "orios," 56 similar to a delicate reed in appearance, and 

52 " Many-seeded." 53 " Blood plant." 

54 Identified by Fee with the Polygonum aviculare of Linnaeus, the 

55 " Many-knotted." Scribonius says that it received its name, " poly- 
gonos," from its being found everywhere. 

56 Or "mountain" plant. Fee considers it to be the same as the 
second kind above mentioned, and to correspond with the female Polygonos 
of Dioscorides. He identifies it with the Hippuris vulgaris of Linnaeus, 

s 2 


having but a single stem, with numerous joints running into 
one another ; the leaves of it are similar to those of the pitch- 
tree, and the root is never used. This variety, however, is not 
so efficacious as those already mentioned, and, indeed, is used 
exclusively for sciatica. A fourth kind is known as the wild 57 
polygonos : it is a shrub, almost a tree in fact, with a ligneous 
root, a red trunk like .that of the cedar, and branches resem- 
bling those of spartum, 58 a couple of palms in length, and with 
three or four dark-coloured, knotted joints. This kind, also, is 
of an astringent nature, and has a flavour like that of the 
quince. . It is either boiled down in water to one third, or else 
dried and powdered for sprinkling upon ulcerations of the 
mouth and excoriations : it is chewed, also, for affections of 
the gums. It arrests the progress of corrosive ulcers and of all 
sores of a serpiginous nature, or which cicatrize with difficulty, 
and is particularly useful for ulcerations caused by snow. 
Herbalists employ it also for quinzy, and use it as a chaplet for 
head-ache ; for defluxions of the eyes, they put it round the 

In cases of tertian fever, some persons pull it up with the 
left hand, and attach it as an amulet to the body ; the same, 
too, in cases of haemorrhage. There is no plant that is more 
generally kept by them in a dry state than the polygonos. 


The pancratium is called by some the " little squill," 59 in 
preference : it has leaves like those of the white lily, but 
longer and thicker, and a root composed of a large, red, bulb. 
The juice of it, taken with meal of fitches, relaxes the bowels, 
and acts as a detergent upon ulcers : for dropsy, and diseases 
of the spleen, it is administered with honey. Some persons 
boil it till the water becomes sweet ; the water is then poured 
off, and the root is pounded and divided into tablets, which 

Mare's tail, or female horse-tail ; Littre gives the Equisetum pallidum of 
Bory as its synonym. 

57 Identified by Fee with the Ephedra distachya of Linnaeus, the Great 
shrubby horsetail. 

58 See B, xix. c. 7. 

" Scillam pusillam." Fee considers it to be a squill, the variety with 
the red root of the Scilla maritima of Linnseus, the Sea-squill. Littre 
gives as its synonym the Pancratium maritimum of Linnaeus, the Sea- 

Chap. 94.] THE PERICLYME1SOS. 261 

are dried in the sun and used for ulcerations of the head, and 
other affections which require detergents. It is sometimes 
given for cough, a pinch in three fingers in wine, and, in the 
form of an electuary, for pains in the side or peripneumony. 

It is administered, also, in wine, for sciatica, griping pains 
in the bowels, and retardations of the catamenia. 


The peplis, 60 known by the various names of " syce," 6 * 
" meconion," and " mecon aphrodes," is a shrub-like plant, 
springing from a single, diminutive, root. The leaves of it 
resemble those of rue, but are a little larger ; the seed, which 
lies beneath the leaves, is round, and smaller than that of the 
white poppy. It is ordinarily gathered in vineyards, at 
harvest- time, and is dried with the seed on, receivers being 
placed beneath to catch it as it falls. This seed, taken in drink, 
purges the bowels, and carries off bile andpituitous secretions: 
one acetabulum, taken in three heminse of hydromel, is a 
middling dose. It is sprinkled also upon meat and other articles 
of food, as a laxative medicine. 


The periclymenos 62 is also a shrub-like plant, with two 
whitish, soft, leaves, arranged at intervals. At the extremity, 
among the leaves, is the seed, hard, and very difficult to 
pluck. It grows in ploughed fields and hedges, entwining 
around every object from which it can gain support. The seed 
is dried in the shade, pounded, and divided into lozenges. 
These lozenges are left to dissolve, in three cyathi of white 
wine, for a period of thirty days, and are given for diseases of 
the spleen ; the volume of which is gradually diminished either 
by discharges of bloody urine, or else by alvine evacuation, 
the effects of the medicament being perceptible at the end of 
ten days. The leaves, boiled, act as a diuretic, and are useful 
for hardness of breathing. Taken in drink, in manner above- 

60 Probably the Euphorbia peplis of Linnaeus; see B. xx. c. 81. It is a 
strong purgative. 

61 "Fig-plant," "poppy-juice," and "poppy -froth." In reference, 
no doubt, to its milky juice. 

62 See the Clymenus, B. xxv. c. 33. 


mentioned, they facilitate delivery, and bring away the after- 


We have already 63 spoken of pelecinon as growing in corn- 
fields, a plant which throws out a number of shoots from 
thin stems, and has leaves like those of the chick-pea. The 
seed, which is contained in pods of a curved shape, like 
diminutive horns and three or four in number, is similar to 
gith 64 in appearance, bitter, and an excellent stomachic. It is 
used as an ingredient in antidotes. 65 


Polygala 66 is a palm in height, with leaves like those of the 
lentil at the extremity of the stem. It has an astringent taste ; 
taken in drink, it increases the milk in nursing women. 


Poterion, 67 or, as some call it, " phrynion" or " neuras," 68 
throws out numerous branches, is shrivelled and prickly, and 
covered with a thick down. The leaves of it are small and 
round ; the branches long, soft, thin, and flexible ; and the 
blossom elongated, and of a grass-green colour. The seed is 
never used, but it has a pungent flavour and a powerful smell : 
the plant is found growing upon moist, watery, elevations. 
The roots are two or three in number, some two cubits in 
length, sinewy, white, and firm. It is dug up in autumn, and 
the stem yields a juice like gum, when cut. The root is said 
to be of wonderful efficacy as an application for the cure of 
wounds, more particularly of the sinews, even when severed. 
A decoction of it is also taken, with honey, for relaxations of 
the sinews, and for weakness or wounds of those parts. 

63 In B. xviii. c. 44. It was also called " eecuridaca." 

64 See B. xx. c. 71. 

65 "We learn from Galen that it formed an ingredient in the great anti- 
dote of Mithridates. 

66 Fee thinks that it may possibly be the Polygala vulgaris of Linnaeus, the 
Common milk-wort. Desfontaines mentions the Polygala amara of Lin- 
naeus, the Bitter milkwort of the South of Europe ; and Littre gives the 
Polygala veniilosa of Sibthorp. 

87 See B. xxv. c. 76. 68 The " sinew " plant. 

Chap. 100.] THE PHYLLOF. 203 



The phalangitis 69 is by some called " phalangion," and by 
others " leucanthemum," 70 or, as I find it written in some 
copies, " leucacantha." 71 Its branches are diminutive, never 
less than two in number, and running in contrary directions : 
the blossom is white, and similar to the flower of the red lily ; 
the seed dark and broad, resembling the half of a lentil, but 
much thinner ; and the root slender and of a grass-green colour. 
The leaves, blossoms, or seed of this plant are employed for 
the cure of wounds inflicted by scorpions, serpents, and the 
phalangium, 72 and for the removal of griping pains in the 


As for the phyteuma, 73 1 think it a mere loss of time to 
describe it, it being only used as an ingredient in philtres. 


The Greeks give the name of "phyllon" 74 to a plant which 
grows among the rocks, in mountainous spots. The female 
plant is of a more grass-green colour than the other, with a 
thin stem, a diminutive root, and a round seed, like that of the 
poppy. This last kind ensures the conception of issue of the 
same sex ; .while the male plant, differing only in the seed, 
which resembles the olive at its first appearance, ensures the 
conception of male issue. They are both taken in wine. 

69 Generally identified with the Anthericum or Hemerocallis liliastrum 
of Linnaeus, the Savoy anthericum or Spider's-wort. M Fraas says, how- 
ever (Synopsis, p. 288), that that plant has not been found in Greece ; and 
relying upon the description of Dioscorides, he prefers the Lloydia Grseca, 
which grows commonly in Attica, the isles of Greece, and the Peloponnesus, 
as its synonym. It is found upon elevations of 1 500 feet. 

70 White flower." 71 " White thorn." 

72 Hence its name. See B. viii. c. 41, B. x. c. 95, and B. xi. cc. 24, 
28, 29. 

' 3 Most probably the Reseda phyteuma of Linnaeus, the Crosswort. 

74 See B. xxii. c. 18, and B. xxvi. c. 91. Fee thinks that it is two plants, 
the Cnicus Casabonse, and the Thelygonum cynocrambe of Linnaeus, that 
are here spoken of. Littre gives the Mercurialis perennis of Linnaeus, 
Dog's mercury, as its synonym. 



The phellandrion 75 grows in marshy spots, and has a leaf like 
that of parsley : the seed of it is taken in drink for calculi and 
affections of the bladder. 


The phalaris 76 has a long thin stem, like a reed, with a 
drooping flower at the extremity ; the seed is like that of 
sesame. 77 This plant, too, taken with milk and honey, in wine 
or vinegar, breaks urinary calculi, and is curative of diseases 
of the bladder. 


The polyrrhizon 78 has leaves like those of myrtle, and 
numerous roots. These roots are pounded and administered 
in wine, for injuries inflicted by serpents : they are useful, also, 
for cattle. 


The proserpinaca, 79 a common plant enough, is an excellent 
remedy for the sting of the scorpion. Powdered and mixed 
with brine and oil, in which the msena 80 has been preserved, it 
is an excellent cure, they say, for quinzy. 81 It is also stated 
that, however fatigued a person may be, to the extent even of 
losing his voice, he will be sure to be refreshed, by putting this 
plant beneath his tongue ; and that if it is eaten, a vomit will 
be the result, productive of good effects. 

75 Linnaeus has given to the Fine-leaved water-hemlock the name of 
PheUandrium aquaticum, but the seeds of that plant are an active poison. 
It is probable that the Phellandrium, or " Male-cork-plant " of Pliny, 
still remains unknown. 

76 Possibly the Phalaris aquatiea of Linnaeus, the Water canary-grass. 
Littre gives as its synonym, the Phalaris nodosa of Linnaeus, Knotted 
canary-grass. See Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 34, .Bohn's Ed. 

77 This is an exaggeration ; Dioscorides says " millet." 

78 Possibly the plant mentioned in B. xxv. c. 54 ; though the Aristo- 
lochia has not leaves like those of the myrtle. 

19 Supposed to be identical with the Polygonos, mentioned above inc. 91. 

80 See B.ix. c. 42, and B. xxvi. c. 11. From, this passage it would 
appear that the maena was preserved in a somewhat similar way to our 
Sardines. *i g ee g. xxvi. c. 11. 

Chap. 106.] THE RESEDA. 265 


Rhacoma 82 is imported from the regions situate beyond 
Eontus. 83 The root of it is similar to black costus,* 4 but 
smaller and somewhat redder, inodorous, and of a hot, astrin- 
gent flavour ; when pounded, it yields a colour like that of 
wine, 85 but inclining to saffron. Applied topically, it reduces 
abscesses and inflammations, and heals wounds : used with 
raisin wine, it allays defluxions of the eyes; with honey, ecchy- 
mosis; and with vinegar, livid marks upon the skin. Reduced 
to powder, it is sprinkled upon malignant ulcers, and is given 
internally for spitting of blood, in doses of one drachma, in 
water. For dysentery and cceliac affections, if unattended 
with fever, it is administered in wine ; but if there is fever, in 
water. It is pounded more easily when it has been steeped in 
water the night before. A decoction of it is given, in doses 
of two drachmae, for ruptures, convulsions, contusions, and falls 
with violence. 

In cases of pains in the chest, a little pepper and myrrh is 
added. When the stomach is deranged, it is taken in cold 
water ; and the same in cases of chronic cough, purulent ex- 
pectorations, liver complaint, affections of the spleen, sciatica, 
diseases of the kidneys, asthma, and hardness of breathing. 
Pounded and taken in doses of three oboli, in raisin wine, or 
used in the form of a decoction, it cures irritations of the tra- 
chea : applied with vinegar, it acts as a detergent upon lichens. 
It is taken in drink, also, for flatulency, cold shiverings, chilly 
fevers, hiccup, gripings of the bowels, herpetic ulcerations, 
oppressions of the head, vertigo attended with melancholy, 
lassitude accompanied with pain, and convulsions. 


In the vicinity of Ariminum, there is a well-known plant 
called " reseda :" 86 it disperses abscesses and all kinds of in- 
flammations. Those who employ it for these purposes, add 

82 The reading of this word is very doubtful. It is generally supposed 
to be the Rheum Rhaponticum of Linnaeus, Pontic rhubarb. 

83 The shores of the Euxine. 
**> See B. xii. c. 25. 

85 " Fulvum," probably, " tawny-coloured," not white, red, or black ; 
see B. xiv. cc. 11, 18. 

86 Possibly the Reseda alba of Linnaeus. 


the following words : " Beseda, P7 allay this disease ! knowest 
thou not, knowest thou not, what chick it is that has torn up 
these roots ? Let it have nor head nor feet I" 88 This formula 
is repeated thrice, the party spitting on the ground each time. 


The stcechas 89 grows only in the islands of that name. 90 It 
is an odoriferous plant, with leaves like those of hyssop, and 
of a bitter taste. Taken in drink, it promotes menstruation, 
and allays pains in the chest. It forms an ingredient, also, in 


The solanum, 91 according to Cornelius Celsus, 93 is called 
"stryehnon " by the Greeks; it is possessed of repercussive and 
refrigerative properties. 


Smyrnion 93 has a stem like that of parsley, but larger leaves, 
and growing principally about the young shoots, which are 
numerous. From the midst of these shoots the leaves make 
their appearance, unctuous, and bending towards the ground. 
This plant has a medicinal smell, penetrating to a certain 
degree, and agreeable : the colour of it is a pale yellow, and 
the stems bear rounded umbels like those of dill, 94 with a 
round, black seed, which dries at the beginning of summer. 
The root, also, is odoriferous, of an acrid, pungent flavour, soft 
and juicy, black on the outer coat and pale within. The smell 
of it partakes very much of the nature of that of myrrh, to 

87 " Reseda, morbos reseda." A pun upon the name of the plant, and 
the verb " resedo." 

88 Like the silly charm itself, " neither head nor tail." 

89 See B. xxvi. c. 27. 

90 The Stcechades. See B. iii. c. 11, and B. xxxii. c. 11. 

91 See B. xxi. c. 105, and c. 44 of this Book. The black nightshade is 
neither astringent nor cooling, but a narcotic poison. 

92 De Be Med. ii. 33. 

93 See B. xix. cc. 48, 62. It is generally identified with the Smyrniurn 
perfoliatum of Linnaeus, the Perfoliated alexander. 

94 "Anethi" is a preferable reading to "apii," "parsley." 

Chap. 110.] TELEPHION. 267 

which, in fact, it owes its name : it grows in localities of a 
stony nature, or covered with humus. Its medicinal properties 
are warming and resolvent. 

The leaves and root are used as a diuretic and as an emmen- 
agogue ; the seed arrests diarrhoea; and the root, applied topi- 
cally, disperses abscesses and suppurations, provided they are 
not inveterate, and reduces indurated tumours. It is useful, 
also, for injuries inflicted by the phalangium and by serpents, 
taken in wine, with the addition of cachrys, 95 polium, 96 or me- 
lissophyllum ; 97 the dose, however, must be taken a little at a 
time only, for otherwise it acts as an emetic, a reason for which 
it is sometimes administered with rue. The seed or root is 
curative of cough, hardness of breathing, and diseases of the 
thoracic organs, spleen, kidneys, and bladder ; the root, too, is 
used for ruptures and convulsions. This plant facilitates 
delivery, and brings away the afterbirth ; it is also given, in 
combination with crethmos, 98 in wine, for sciatica. It acts as a 
sudorific and carminative, for which reason it is used to disperse 
flatulency of the stomach ; it promotes, also, the cicatrization 
of wounds. 

A juice is extracted from the root, which is very useful for 
female complaints, and for affections of the thoracic organs 
and viscera, possessing, as it does, certain calorific, digestive, 
and detergent properties. The seed, in particular, is given in 
drink for dropsy, external applications being made of the 
juice, and emollient poultices applied of the dried rind of the 
root. It is used, also, as a seasoning for food, boiled meat in 
particular, with the addition of honied wine, oil, and garum. 90 

Sinon, 1 a plant with a flavour very like that of pepper, pro- 
motes the digestion, and is highly eflicacious for pains in the 

Telephion 2 resembles purslain in the stem and leaves. From 

95 See B. xxiv. c. 60. * See B. xxi. c. 21. 

97 See B. xxi. c. 86. 8 See B. xxvi. c. 60. 

99 " Fish-sauce." See B. ix. c. 30, and B. xxxi. c. 43. 

1 Possibly the same plant as the Sison of Dioseorides, identified with 
tlie Sison amomum of Linnaeus, Field hone-wort, or stone- parsley. 

2 Identified by Fee with the Sedum Telephiura of Linnaeus, the Or- 
pine or livelong ; by Desfontaines with the Sedum anacampseros, the Ever- 


the root of it there spring seven or eight small branches, 
covered with thick, fleshy leaves ; it grows in cultivated spots, 
and among vines in particular. It is used as an application 
for freckles, being removed as soon as dry ; it is employed, 
also, for white morphew, 3 being applied some six hours each 
night or day, and the treatment continued for about three 
months : after removing it, barley-meal should be applied. 
Telephion is healing, also, for wounds and fistulas. 


The trichomanes 4 is a plant that resembles the adiantum, 5 ex- 
cept that it is more slender and of a darker colour ; the leaves 
of it, which are similar to those of the lentil, lie close together, 
on opposite sides, and have a bitter taste. A decoction of this 
plant, taken in white wine, with the addition of wild cummin, 
is-curative of strangury. Bruised and applied to the head, it 
prevents the hair from falling off, and, where it has come off, 
restores it : pounded and applied with oil, it effects the cure 
of alopecy. The mere taste of it is provocative of sneezing. 


The thalictrura 6 has leaves like those of coriander, only 
somewhat more unctuous, and a stem resembling that of the 
poppy. 7 It is found growing everywhere, in champaign locali- 
ties more particularly. The leaves, applied with honey, heal 


Of thlaspi there are two kinds ; the first 8 of which has nar- 
row leaves, about a finger in length and breadth, turned to- 
green orpine ; and by Littre with the Cerinthe aspera, the Prickly honey- 
wort. 3 Vitiligini." 

4 The same plant as the Callitrichos of B. xxv. c. 86. 

5 See B. xxii. c. 30. 

6 Identified by Fee and Desfontaines with the Thalictrum minus of 
Linnaeus, the Small meadow rue. Littre gives the Thalictrum flavum of 
Linnaeus, the Common meadow rue. 

7 In its colour. 

8 Fee identifies it with the Thlaspi campestre of Linnaeus, the Wild 
bastard-grass ; Littre with the Thlaspi bursa pastoris of Linnseus, Shep- 
herd's purse, otherwise known as Capsella bursa pastoris. Desfontaines 
gives as the Thlaspi of Galen, the Cochlearia draba of Linnaeus. 

Chap. 115.] THE TKAGONIS. 269 

wards the ground, and divided at the point. It has a slender 
stem, half a foot in length, and not wholly destitute of 
branches; the seed, enclosed in a crescent- shaped capsule, 9 is 
similar to a lentil in shape, 'except that it has a jagged 
appearance, to which, in fact, it owes its name ; 10 the flower is 
white, and the plant is found near footpaths and in hedges. 
The seed, which has an acrid flavour, carries oif bile and 
pituitous secretions, by vomit and by alvine evacuation, the 
proper dose being one acetabulurn. It is used, also, for sciatica, 
in the form of an injection, this treatment being persevered in 
until it has induced a discharge of blood : it acts also as an 
emmenagogue, but is fatal to the foetus. 

The other thlaspi, known by some as " Persicon napy," 11 has 
broad leaves and large roots, and is also very useful as an 
injection for sciatica. Both plants are very serviceable for in- 
guinal complaints ; it being recommended that the person who 
gathers them should mention that he is taking them for diseases 
of the groin, for abscesses of all kinds, and for wounds, and 
that he should pluck them with one hand only. 


What sort of plant the trachinia 12 is, the authorities do not 
state. I think that the assurance given by Democritus must 
be false : for it would be nothing less than a prodigy, for a 
plant, attached as an amulet, to consume the spleen in so short 
a time as three days. 


The tragonis, 13 or tragion, grows nowhere but in the mari- 
time districts of the Isle of Crete ; it resembles the juniper in 

9 " Peltarum specie." The " pelta " was a small, light shield, of 
various forms, but most commonly, perhaps, that of a crescent. 

10 From 0\a'o>, " to break." 

11 " Persian mustard." The Lunaria annua of Linnaeus, the Annual 
moon-wort, honesty, or satin-flower, has been suggested by Sprengel, but 
its identity is very doubtful. 

12 This plant is unknown. A rose of this name is mentioned in E. xxi 
c. 10. 

13 See B. xiii. c. 36. Fee suggests that it may possibly be a variety of 
the Pistacia lentiscus of Linnaeus, the Mastich-tree, or lentisk. Desfou- 
taines identifies it with the Hypericon hircinum. M. Fraas (Synopsis, p. 
182) suggests the Origanum maru. 


the seed, leaf, and branches. Its milky juice, which thickens 
in the form of a gum, or its seed, taken in drink, expels pointed 
weapons from the flesh. The plant, too, is pounded fresh and 
applied as a liniment with wine, or, dried and powdered, with 
honey. It increases the milk in nursing women, and is a 
sovereign remedy for diseases- of the mamillse. 


There is another plant also, called "tragos," 14 or " scorpion" 
hy some, half a foot in height, branchy, destitute of leaves, 
and bearing diminutive red clusters, with a seed like that of 
wheat, but pointed at the extremity : this too grows in mari- 
time localities. Ten or twelve tops of the branches, bruised 
and taken in wine, are remedial in cases of cceliae affections, 
dysentery, spitting of blood, and excessive menstruation. 


There is the tragopogon, 15 also, by some called " come ;" a 
plant with a small stem, leaves like those of saffron, an elon- 
gated, sweet, root, and a large, swarthy calyx at the extremity 
of the stem. It grows in rugged soils, and is never used. 


Such, then, is all that I have hitherto been enabled to 
learn or discover, worthy of mention, relative to plants. At 
the close of this subject, it seems to me that it will not be out 
of place to remind the reader, that the properties of plants 
vary according to their age. It is elaterium, as already 
stated, 16 that preserves its properties the longest of all. The 
black chamseleon 16 * retains its virtues forty years, centaury not 
more than twelve, peucedanum 17 and aristolochia 18 six, and 
the wild vine one year that is to say, if they are kept in the 
shade. I would remark, also, that beyond those animals which 
breed within the plants, there are none that attack the roots 

14 See B. xiii. c. 37. M. Fraas (Synopsis, p. 257) identifies it with 
the Epbedra distachya of Linnaeus, the Great shrubby horsetail. 

15 " Goafs-beard. Probably the Tragopogon crocifolium of Linnaeus, 
the Saffron-leaved goat's beard. Though its properties are not inert , it 
is never used in medicine. 

16 In B. xx. c. 3. 16 See c. 41 of this Book. 

17 See B. xxv. c. 70. 18 See B. xxv. c. 54. 


of any of those which have been mentioned by me ; with the 
exception, indeed, of the sphondyle, 19 a kind of creeping 
insect, 20 which infests them all. 



It is also an undoubted truth, that the virtues and properties 
of all roots are more feebly developed, when the fruit has been 
allowed to ripen ; and that it is the same with the seed, when 
incisions have been previously made in the root, for the ex- 
traction of the juice. The efficacy, too, of all plants is impaired 
by making habitual use of them ; and these substances, if em- 
ployed daily, lose equally their good or bad properties, when 
required to be effectual. All plants, too, have more powerful 
properties, when grown in soils that are cold and exposed to 
the north-eastern blasts, or in dry localities. 


There are certain differences, also, by no means inconsider- 
able, in the predispositions of the various nations of the earth. 
I have been informed, for instance, that the people of Egypt, 
Arabia, Syria, and Cilicia, are subject to tapeworm and maw- 
worm, while those of Thracia and Phrygia, on the other hand, 
are totally exempt from them. This, however, is less sur- 
prising than the fact that, although Attica and Bceotia are 
adjoining territories, the Thebans are troubled with these 
inflictions, while among the people of Athens they are un- 

Considerations of this description lead me now to turn my 
attention to the nature of the animated beings themselves, and 
the medicinal properties which are inborn in them, the most 
assured remedies, perhaps, for all diseases. 

For Nature, in fact, that parent of all things, has produced no 
animated being for the purpose solely of eating ; she has willed 
that it should be born to satisfy the wants of others, and in 
its very vitals has implanted medicaments conducive to health. 
"While she has implanted them in mute 21 and inanimate 
objects even, she has equally willed that these, the most in- 

19 A kind of foetid beetle, Hardouin says. Probably an Aphis. 

20 " Serpentis." 21 See B. xxii. c. 3. 


valuable aids of life, should be also derived from the life of 
another a subject for contemplation, marvellous in the highest 
degree ! 21 

SUMMARY. Remedies, narratives, and observations, six hun- 
dred and two. 

ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED. Caius Yalgius, 22 Pompeius Le- 
nseus, 23 Sextius Niger 24 who wrote in Greek, Julius Bassus 25 
who wrote in Greek, Antonius Castor, 26 Cornelius Celsus. 27 

FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED, Theophrastus, 28 Apollodorus, 29 
Democritus, 30 Aristogiton, 31 Orpheus, 32 Pythagoras, 33 Mago/ 4 
Menander 35 who wrote the " Biochresta," Meander. 36 

MEDICAL AUTHORS QUOTED. Mnesitheus, 37 Timaristus, 38 Si- 
mus, 39 Hippocrates, 40 Chrysippus, 41 Diodes, 42 Ophelion, 43 Hera- 
elides, 44 Hicesius, 45 Dionysius, 46 Apollodorus 47 of Citium, Apol- 

21 It is with regret that at the close of this Book, we take leave of 
the valuable Annotations of M. Fee, a series of illustrations which reflect 
the highest credit on his learning, his industry, and his critical acumen. 
Were the ancient authors in general subjected to the same minute exami- 
nation and thorough enquiry which he has expended upon the Sixteen 
Botanical Books of Pliny, their value would be greatly enhanced, equally 
to the critical scholar, and to the general reader who makes his acquaint- 
ance with them through the medium of a translation. To say, that, in 
reference to their respective labours upon Pliny, M. Fee deserves our thanks 
almost equally with the learned Sillig now, alas ! no more is to say much 
indeed in his praise, and to bestow upon him a commendation to which he 
is eminently entitled. 

22 See end of B. xx. 23 See end of B. xiv. 
24 See end of B. xii. 25 See end of B. xx. 
26 See end of B. xx. 27 See end of B. vii. 
28 See end of .B. iii. 29 See end of B. xi. 

30 See end of B. ii. 

31 Beyond being mentioned here, and in c. 14 of this Book, nothing is 
known of this writer. 32 See end of B. xx. 

33 See end of B. ii. 34 See end of B. viii. 

35 See end of B. xix. 36 See end of B. viii. 

37 See end of B. xix. 3s See end of B. xxi. 

39 See end of B. xxi 40 See end of B. vii." 

41 See end of B. xx. 42 See end of B. xx. 

43 See end of B. xv. 44 See end of B. xii. 

45 See end of B. xv. See end of B. xii. 

47 See end of B. xx. 


lodorus 48 of Tarentum, Praxagoras, 49 Plistonicus, 50 Medius, 51 
Dieuches, 52 Cleophantus, 53 Philistion, 54 Asclepiades, 55 Crateuas, 56 
Petronius Diodotus, 57 loUas, 58 Erasistratus, 59 Diagoras, 60 An- 
dreas, 61 Mnesides, 62 Epicharmus, 63 Damion, 64 Tlepolemus, 65 Me- 
trodorus, 66 Solo, 67 Lyciis, 68 Olyrapias 69 of Thebes, Philinus, 70 
Petrichus, 71 Micton, Glaucias, 73 Xenocrates. 74 

*#* Before quitting the Botanical Books of Pliny, it is a duty both to 
our author and to the reader, to call attention to the illustrations of a few 
passages in this work, which will be found in the Textrinum Antiquorum ^ 
by Dr. James Yates, F.R.S., a book characterized by learning, equally pro- 
found and extensive, aud the most indefatigable research : it being but re- 
cently, we are sorry to say, that we have been made acquainted with its 
valuable contents. 

The following are selected as among the most useful and interesting results 
of his enquiries. 

B. vi. c. 20 [V. ii. p. 36]. Dr. Yates is of opinion that Pliny has here 
mistranslated a passage of Aristotle, Hist. Anim. v. 19, and that he has 
mistaken the word J3o/w/3vKia, <; cocoons," for webs, similar to those of 
the spider, attached to the leaves of trees. Not understanding the original, 
he would seem to have given -a distorted account of the simple operation 
of winding the threads from off the cocoons of the silkworm upon bobbins, 
by the hands of females ; the threads upon which bobbins would be after- 
wards unwound for the manufacture of silken fabrics. See Notes 8 and 9 
on the passage in question ; also B. xi. c. 26. 

B. viii. c. 74 [V. ii. p. 336]. For the word " Sororiculata," Dr. Yates 
proposes to read " Soriculata," and he suggests that the cloth thus called 
may have been a velvet or plush, which received its name from its resem- 
blance to the coat of the field-mouse, "sorex," the diminutive of which, 
would be " soricula." 

B. xix. c. 2 [V. iv. p. 133] and c. 6 [p. 138]. Dr. Yates expresses it 
as his opinion that the words li Carbasus" and " Carbasa" are derived from 
the oriental word Carpas, signifying "cotton," and thinks that Pliny, in 
B. xix. c. 2, may have used the word by Catachresis, as meaning linen, in 
the same manner as the Latin poets repeatedly use the word " carbasa," 
as signifying various kinds of woven textures. If this view be correct, 
the word "Carbasina" in B. xix. c. 6, will probably mean " awnings of 

48 See end of B. xx. 

49 See end of B. xx. 

30 See end of B. xx. 

61 See end of B. xx. 

52 See end of B. xx. 

53 See end of B. xx. 

si See end of B. xx. 

55 See end of B. vii. 

56 See end of B. xx. 

57 See end of B. xx. 

5 * See end of B. xii. 

5i) See end of B. xi. 

60 See end of "B. xii. 

61 See end of B. xx. 

6a See end of B. xii. 

6 3 See end of B. xx. 

6i See end of B. xx. 

65 See end of B. xx. 

66 See end of B. xx. 

67 See end of B. xx. 

68 See end of B. xii. 

' See end of B. xx. 

70 See end of B. xx. 

71 See end of B. xxi. 

72 See end of B. xx. 

73 See end of B. xx. 

74 See end of B. xx. 

TOL. V. 



woven material " generally, and not of fine linen, or cambric, as suggested 
in Note 55. 

B. xix. c. 2 [V. iv. p. 134]. The genuineness of the passage which, 
makes mention of the " Gossypium," is questioned by Dr. Yates, who 
thinks it possible that it is an interpolation : such, however, if we may 
judge from the result of Sillig's researches, does not appear to have been 
the case. If, on the other hand, the passage is genuine, Dr. Yates is of 
opinion that the statement is incorrect, and that cotton was not grown in 
Egypt. It seems just possible, however, that Pliny may have had in view 
the trees mentioned by him in B. xiv. c. 28, 

B. xix. c. 4 [V. iv. p. 137, also p. 134, Note 37]. Dr. Yates has ad- 
duced a number of convincing arguments to prove that the " Byssus " of 
the ancients cannot have been cotton, but that in all probability it was a 
texture of fine flax. The passages of Pausanias, (B. v. c. 25, and B. vi. 
c. 26) in which "Byssus" is mentioned, would certainly seem to apply 
to flax, a product which is still cultivated near the mouth of the river 
Peneus, in ancient Elis. There is no doubt, however, that Philostratus, 
though perhaps erroneously, has used the word "Byssus" as meaning 





WE should have now concluded our description of the various 
things 1 that are produced between the heavens and the earth, 
and it would have only remained for us to speak of the sub- 
stances that are dug out of the ground itself ; did not our expo- 
sition of the remedies derived from plants and shrubs neces- 
sarily lead us into a digression upon the medicinal properties 
which have been discovered, to a still greater extent, in those 
living creatures themselves which are thus indebted [to other 
objects] for the cure of their respective maladies. For ought we, 
after describing the plants, the forms of the various flowers, and 
so many objects rare and difficult to be found ought we to pass 
in silence the resources which exist in man himself for the 
benefit of man, and the other remedies to be derived from the 
creatures that live among us and this more particularly, 
seeing that life itself is nothing short of a punishment, unless 
it is exempt from pains and maladies ? Assuredly not ; and 
even though I may incur the risk of being tedious, I shall 
exert all my energies on the subject, it being my fixed deter- 
mination to pay less regard to what may be amusing, than to 
what may prove practically useful to mankind. 

Nay, even more than this, my researches will extend to the 
usages of foreign countries, and to the customs of barbarous 
nations, subjects upon which I shall have to appeal to the 
good faith of other authors ; though at the same time I have 
made it my object to select no 2 facts but such as are established 

1 The trees and plants. 

2 On the contrary, this and the four following Books are full of the most 
extravagant assertions, which bear ample testimony to his credulity, not- 
withstanding the author's repeated declarations that he does not believe in 
Magic. As Ajasson says, he evidently does not know what he ought to 
have inserted in his work, and what to reject as utterly unworthy of belief. 
His faults, however, were not so much his own as those of his age. Want 
of space, equally with want of inclination, compels us to forego the task of 
entering into an examination of the system of Animal Therapeutics upon 
which so much labour has been wasted by our author. 

T 2 


by pretty nearly uniform testimony, and to pay more attention, 
to scrupulous exactness than to copiousness of diction. 

It is highly necessary, however, to advertise the reader, that 
whereas I have already described the natures of the various 
animals, and the discoveries 2 due to them respectively for, in 
fact, they have been no less serviceable in former times in dis- 
covering remedies, than they are at the present day in provid- 
ing us with them it is my present intention to confine myself 
to the remedial properties which are found in the animal 
world, a subject which has not been altogether lost sight of in 
the former portion of this work. These additional details 
therefore, though of a different nature, must still be read in 
connexion with those whieh precede. 


We will begin then with man, and our first enquires will 
be into the resources which he provides for himself a subject 
replete with boundless difficulties at the very outset. 3 

Epileptic patients are in the habit of drinking the blood 
even of gladiators, draughts teeming with life, 4 as it were ; a 
thing that, when we see it done by the wild beasts even, upon 
the same arena, inspires uswitb horror at the spectacle! And 
yet these persons, forsooth, consider it a most effectual cure 
for their disease, to quaff the warm, breathing, blood from man 
himself, and, as they apply their mouth to the wound, to draw 
forth his very life ; and this, though it is regarded as an act 
of impiety to apply the human lips to the wound even of a 
wild beast ! Others there are, again, who make the marrow 5 
of the leg-bones, and the brains of infants, the objects of their 
research ! 

Among the Greek writers, too, there are not a few who have 
enlarged upon the distinctive flavours of each one of the viscera 
and members of the human body, pursuing their researches 
to the very parings of the nails ! as though, forsooth, it could 

- See B. viii. c. 97, et seq,, and B. xxv. c. 89, et seq. 

* See B. xxviii. c. 3. 

4 This practice is mentioned with reprobation by Celsus and Tertullian. 
It was continued, however, in some degree through the middle ages, and 
Louis XV. was accused by his people of taking baths of infants' blood to 
repair his premature decrepitude. 

3 In recent times, Guettard, a French practitioner, recommended human 
marrow as an emollient liniment. 


possibly be accounted the pursuit of health for man to make 
himself a wild beast, and so deserve to contract disease from 
the very remedies he adopts for avoiding it. Most righteously, 
by Hercules ! if such attempts are all in vain, is he disap- 
pointed of his cure ! To examine human entrails is deemed 
an act of impiety ; 6 what then must it be to devour them ? 

Say, Osthanes, 7 who was it that first devised these practices: 
for it is thee that I accuse, thou uprooter of all human laws, 
thou inventor of these monstrosities ; devised, no doubt, with 
the view that mankind might not forget thy name ! Who was 
it that first thought of devouring each member of the human 
body ? By what conjectural motives was he induced ? What 
can possibly have been the origin of such a system of medicine as 
this ? Who was it that thus made the very poisons less baneful 
than the antidotes prescribed for them ? Granted that barbarous 
and outlandish tribes first devised such practices, must the 
men of Greece, too, adopt these as arts of their own ? 

We read, for instance, in the memoirs of Democritus, still 
extant, that for some diseases, the skull of a malefactor is most 
efficacious, while for the treatment of others, that of one who 
has been a friend or guest is required. Apollonius, again, in- 
forms us in his writings, that the most effectual remedy for 
tooth-ache is to scarify the gums with the tooth of a man who 
has died a violent death ; and, according to Miletus, human gall 
is a cure for cataract. 8 For epilepsy, Artemon has prescribed 
water drawn from a spring in the night, and drunk from the 
skull of a man who has been slain, and whose body remains 
unburnt. From the skull, too, of a man who had been hanged, 
Antaeus made pills that were to be an antidote to the bite of a 
mad dog. Even more than this, man has resorted to similar re- 
medies for the cure of four-footed beasts even for tympanitis in 
oxen, for instance, the horns have been perforated, and human 
bones inserted ; and when swine have been found to be diseased, 

6 Hence, as Ajasson remarks, the ignorance of anatomy displayed by the 

7 For further particulars as to Osthanes, see B. xxix. c. 80, and B. xxx. 
cc. 5 and 6 ; also cc. 19 and 77 of the present Book. The reading, how- 
ever, is very doubtful. 

8 " Oculoruni suffusiones." As Ajasson says, the remedy here mentioned 
reminds us of the more harmless one used by Tobias for the cure of the 
blindness of his father Tobit. 


fine wheat has been given them which has lain for a night in 
the spot where a human being has been slain or burnt ! 

Par from us, far too from our writings, be such prescrip- 
tions 9 as these ! It will be for us to describe remedies only, 
and not abominations ; 10 cases, for instance, in which the milk 
of a nursing woman may have a curative effect, cases where 
the human spittle may be useful, or the contact 11 of the human 
body, and other instances of a similar nature. We do not look 
upon life as so essentially desirable that it must be prolonged 
at any cost, be it what it may and you, who are of that 
opinion, be assured, whoever you may be, that you will die 
none the less, even though you shall have lived in the midst 
of obscenities or abominations ! 

Let each then reckon this as one great solace to his mind, 
that of all the blessings which Nature has bestowed on man, 
there is none greater than the death 12 which comes at a season- 
able hour ; and that the very best feature in connexion with it 
is, that every person has it in his own power to procure it for 
himself. 13 



In reference to the remedies derived from man, there arises 
first of all one question, of the greatest importance and always 
attended with the same uncertainty, whether words, charms, 
and incantations, are of any efficacy or not? 14 For if such 
is the case, it will be only proper to ascribe this efficacy to 
man himself ; 15 though the wisest of our fellow-men, I should 
remark, taken individually, refuse to place the slightest faith 
in these opinions. And yet, in our every-day life, we practi- 
cally show, each passing hour, that we do entertain this belief, 

9 He gives a great many, however, which are equally abominable. 

10 " Piacula." 

11 We may here discover the first rudiments of the doctrine of Animal 

12 In accordance with the republican doctrines of Cato of Utica, Brutus, 
Cassius, and Portia. 

13 Holland remarks, " Looke for no better divinitie in Plinie, a meere 
Pagan, Epicurean, and professed Atheist." See B. vii. cc. 53, 54. 

14 Whether or not, they cannot, as Ajasson remarks, be regarded as 
remedies derived from the human body, being no part of the human body. 

15 " Homini acceptum fieri oportere conveniat." This passage is pro- 
bably corrupt. 


though at the moment we are not sensible of it. Thus, for 
instance, it is a general belief that without a certain form of 
prayer 16 it would be useless to immolate a victim, and that, 
with such an informality, the gods would be consulted to little 
purpose. And then besides, there are different forms of 
address to the deities, one form for entreating, 17 another form for 
averting their ire, and another for commendation. 

We see too, how that our supreme magistrates use certain 
formulae for their prayers: that not a single word may be 
omitted or pronounced out of its place,fit is the duty of one 
person to precede the dignitary by reacung the formula before 
him from a written ritual, of another, to keep watch upon 
every word, and of a third to see that 18 silence is not ominouslj* 
foroken; while a musician, in the meantime, is performing on the 
fiuta to prevent any other words being heard. 19 Indeed, there ^ 
Are memorable instances recorded in our Annals, of cases where 
either the sacrifice has been interrupted, and so blemished, 
fty imprecations, or a mistake has been made in the utterance 
of the prayer J the result being that the lobe of the liver or 
the heart has disappeared in a moment, or has been doubled, 20 
while the victim stood before the altar, f There is still in exist- 
ence a most remarkable testimony, 21 in the formula which the 
Decii, father and son, pronounced on the occasions when they 
devoted themselves. 22 There is also preserved the prayer 
uttered by the Vestal Tuccia, 23 when, upon being accused of 
incest, she carried water in a sieve an event which took place 
in the year of the City 609. Our own age even has seen a 
man and a woman buried alive in the Ox Market, 24 Greeks by 
birth, or else natives of some other 25 country with which we 

16 Beginning with an address to Janus and Vesta, imploring their inter- 
cession with the other divinities, and concluding with an appeal to Janus. 

17 " Impetritis." 

18 " Qui favere linguis jubeat." " Favete linguis " were the words used 
in enjoining strict silence. 

19 By him who is offering up the prayer. 

20 A trick adroitly performed by the priests, no doubt. 

21 Given by Livy, in Books viii. and x. 

!2 To death, in battle, for the good of their country. 

23 Preserved by Valerius Maximus, B. viii. c. 1. Tertullian and Saint 
Augustin doubt the authenticity of the story. She is said to have carried 
water in a sieve from the river Tiber to the temple of Vesta. 

24 " Forum Boarium ; M in the Eighth Kegion of the City. 

25 Of Gaul, as Plutarch informs us, who mentions also the Greek victims. 


were at war at the time. The prayer used upon the occasion 
of this ceremonial, and which is usually pronounced first by 
the Master of the College of the Quindecimviri, 26 if read by a 
person, must assuredly force him to admit the potency of 
formulae ; when it is recollected that it has been proved to 
be effectual by the experience of eight hundred and thirty 

At the present day, too, it is a general belief, that our Yestal 
virgins have the power, by uttering a certain prayer, to arrest 
the flight of runaway slaves, and to rivet them to the spot, 
provided they have not gone beyond the precincts of the 
City. If then these opinions be once received as truth, and if it 
be admitted that the gods do listen to certain prayers, or are 
influenced by set forms of words, we are bound to conclude 
in the affirmative upon the whole question. Our ancestors, 
no doubt, always entertained such a belief, and have even 
assured us, a thing by far the most difficult of all, that it is 
possible by such means to bring down lightning from heaven, 
as already 27 mentioned on a more appropriate occasion. 



L. Piso informs us, in the first Book of his Annals, that King 
Tullus Hostilius, 28 while attempting, in accordance with the 
books of Numa, to summon Jupiter from heaven by means of a 
sacrifice similar to that employed by him, was struck by 
lightning in consequence of his omission to follow certain 
forms with due exactness. Many other authors, too, have 
attested, that by the power of words a change has been 
effected in destinies and portents of the greatest importance. 
While they were digging on the Tarpeian Hill for the founda- 
tions of a temple, a human head was found ; upon which de- 
puties were sent to Olenus Calenus, the most celebrated 
diviner of Etruria. He, foreseeing the glory and success which 

The immolation of the Gauls is supposed to have happened in the beginning 
of the reign of Vespasian. 

2G Originally the " Decemviri Sacris Faciundis," whose number was in- 
creased by Sylla to fifteen. They had the management of the Games of 
Apollo, and the Secular Games. 

27 In B. ii. c. 54. 

23 It has been suggested that Tullus Hostilius was acquainted with some 
of the secrets of electricity, and that he met his death while trying ex- 
periments with a lightning conductor. See B. ii. c. 54, 


attached to such a presage as this, attempted, by putting a 
question to them, to transfer the benefit of it to his own 
nation. First describing, on the ground before him, the outline 
of a temple with his staff "Is it so, Romans, as you say ?" 
said he ; "here then must be the temple 29 of Jupiter, all good 
and all powerful ; it is here that we have found the head" 
and the constant asseveration of the Annals is, that the destiny 
of the Roman empire would have been assuredly transferred to 
Etruria, had not the deputies, forewarned by the son of the 
diviner, made answer " No, not here exactly, but at Rome, 
we say, the head was found/* 

It is related also that the same was the case when a certain 
four-horse chariot, made of clay, and intended for the roof of 
the same temple, had considerably increased while in the 
furnace ; 30 and that on this occasion, in a similar manner, the 
destinies of Rome were saved. Let these instances suffice 
then to show, that the virtues of presages lie in our own hands, 
and that they are valuable in each instance according as they 
are received. 31 At all events, it is a principle in the doctrine 
of the augurs, that neither imprecations nor auspices of any 
kind have any effect upon those who, when entering upon an 
undertaking, declare that they will pay no attention whatever 
to them ; a greater instance than which, of the indulgent dis- 
position of the gods towards us, cannot be found. 

And then besides, in the laws themselves of the Twelve 
Tables, do we not read the following words "Whosoever shall 
have enchanted the harvest," 32 and in another place, " Whoso- 
ever shall have used pernicious incantations"? 33 VerriusFlac- 
cus cites authors whom he deems worthy of credit, to show 
that on the occasion of a siege, it was the usage, the first thing of 
all, for the Roman priests to summon forth the tutelary divinity 
of that particular town, and to promise him the same rites, or 
even a more extended worship, at Rome ; and at the present day 
even, this ritual still forms part of the discipline of our pontiffs. 

29 Ajasson thinks that there is an equivoque here upon the word '* tern- 
plum," which signified not only a building, but certain parts of the heavens, 
and corresponding lines traced on the earth by the augur's staff. 

30 This story is mentioned by Plutarch, in the Life of Publicola. 

31 In which case it was considered necessary to repeat the words, " Ac- 
cipio omen," " I accept the omen." 

a3 "Qui fruges excantassit." 

33 " Q,ui nialum carmen incantassit." 


Hence it is, no doubt, that the name 34 of the tutelary deity of 
Rome has been so strictly kept concealed, lest any of our enemies 

should act in a similar manner. There is no one, too, who does 

[ not dread being spell-bound by means of evil imprecations ; 35 and 
hence the practice, after eating eggs or snails, of immedi- 
ately breaking 36 the shells, or piercing them with the spoon. 
Hence, too, those love- sick imitations of enchantments which 
we find described by Theocritus among the Greeks, and by 
Catullus, and more recently, Virgil, 37 among our own writers. 
Many persons are fully persuaded that articles .of pottery may 
be broken by a similar agency ; and not a few are of opinion 
even that serpents can counteract incantations, and that this is 
the only kind of intelligence they possess-^-so much so, in fact, 
that by the agency of the magic spells of the Marsi, they may 
be attracted to one spot, even when asleep in the middle of the 
night. * Some people go so far, too, as to write certain words 38 
on the walls of houses, deprecatory of accident by fire. 

But it is not easy to say whether the outlandish and unpro- 
nounceable words that are thus employed, or the Latin ex- 
pressions that are used at random, and which must appear 
ridiculous to our judgment, tend the most strongly to stagger 
our belief seeing that the human imagination is always con- 
ceiving something of the infinite, something deserving of the 
notice of the divinity, or indeed, to speak more correctly, some- 
thing that must command his intervention perforce. Homer 39 
tells us that Ulysses arrested the flow of blood from a wound 

34 Ajasson is of opinion that this name was either Favra or Fona, Aeca, 
Flora, or Valesia or Valentia. 

35 "As in saying thus, The Devill take thee, or The Ravens peck out 
thine eyes, or 1 had rather see thee Pie peckt, and such like." Holland. 

36 It is a superstition still practised to pierce the shell of an egg after 
eating it, " lest the witches should come." Holland gives the following 
Note " Because afterwards no witches might pricke them with a needle 
in the name and behalfe of those whom they would hurt and mischeefe, 
according to the practice of pricking the images of any person in wax ; 
used in the witchcraft of these daies." We learn from Ajasson that till 
recently it was considered a mark of ill-breeding in France not to pierce 
the shell after eating the egg. See also Brand's Popular Antiquities, 
Vol. III. p. 19, John's Ed. ^ 

37 See the Eighth Eclogue of Virgil. 

38 " That is to say, Arse verse, out of Afranius, as Festus noteth, which 
in the old Tuscane language signifieth, Averte ignem, Put backe the fire." 

w Odyss. xix. 457. It is not Ulysses, but the sons of Autolycus that do 
this. Their bandages, however, were more likely to be effectual. 


in the thigh, by repeating a charm ; and Theophrastus 40 says 
that sciatica may be cured by similar means. Cato 41 has 
preserved a formula for the cure of sprains, and M. Varro for 
that of gout. The Dictator Caesar, they say, having on one 
occasion accidentally had a fall in his chariot, 42 was always in 
the habit, immediately upon taking his seat, of thrice repeating 
a certain formula, with the view of ensuring safety upon the 
journey ; a thing that, to my own knowledge, is done by many 
persons at the present day. 


I would appeal, too, for confirmation on this subject, to the 
intimate experience of each individual. "Why, in fact, upon 
the first day of the new year, do we accost one another with 
prayers for good fortune, 43 and, for luck's sake, wish each other 
a happy new year ? Why, too, upon the occasion of public 
lustrations, do we select persons with lucky names, to lead the 
victims ? Why, to counteract fascinations, do we Romans 
observe a peculiar form of adoration, in invoking the Nemesis 
of the Greeks ; whose statue, for this reason, has been placed 
in the Capitol at Rome, although the goddess herself possess 
no Latin name ? 44 Why, when we make mention of the dead, 
do we protest that we have no wish 45 to impeach their good 
name P 46 Why is it that we entertain the belief that for every 
purpose odd numbers are the most effectual ; 47 a thing that is 
particularly observed with reference to the critical days in 
fevers? Why is it that, when gathering the earliest fruit, 
apples, OB pears, as the case may be, we make a point of saying 
" This fruit is old, may other fruit be sent us that is new ? " 
Why is it that we salute 48 a person when he sneezes, an obser- 
vance which Tiberius Caesar, they say, the most unsociable of 
men, as we all know, used to exact, when riding in his chariot 

40 De Enthusiasmo. 41 See B. xvii. c. 47. 

42 In passing along the Velabrum, on the occasion of his Gallic triumph, 
the axle of the carriage having broke. 

43 See Ovid's Fasti, B. i. 1. 175, et seq., and Epist. de Ponto. B. iv. 
EL 4. 1. 23, et seq. 

44 See B. xi. c. 103. 

45 Hence the saying, " De mortuis nil nisi bonura." 

46 " Defunctorum memoriam a nobis non sollieitari." 

47 It is still a saying, and perhaps a belief, that " There is luck in 
odd numbers." 

48 This has been a practice from the earliest times to the present day. 
See Brand's Popular Antiquities, Vol. III. p. 123, ohn's Ed. 


even ? Some there are, too, who think it a point religiously 
to be observed to mention the name as well of the person whom 
they salute. 

And then, besides, it is a notion 49 universally received, that 
absent persons have warning that others are speaking of them, 
by the tingling of the ears. Attalus 50 assures us, that if a 
person, the moment he sees a scorpion, says " Duo," 51 the rep- 
tile will stop short, and forbear to sting. And now that I am 
speaking of the scorpion, I recall to mind that in Africa no one 
ever undertakes any matter without prefacing with the word 
" Africa ;" while in other countries, before an enterprise is 
commenced, it is the practice to adjure the gods that they 
will manifest their good will. 

In addition to this, it is very clear that there are some 
religious observances, unaccompanied by speech, which are 
considered to be productive of certain effects. Thus, 52 when 
we are at table, for instance, it is the universal practice, we 
see, to take the ring from off the finger. Another person, 
again, will take some spittle from his mouth and place it with 
hj| finger behind the ear, to propitiate and modify disquietude 
oraiind. When we wish to signify applause, we have a proverb 
even which tells us we should press the thumbs. 53 When pay- 
ing adoration, we kiss the right hand, and turn the whole 
body to the right : while the people of the Gallic provinces, on 
the contrary, turn to the left, and believe that they show 
.mere devoutness by so doing. To salute summer lightning 
with clapping of the hands, is the universal practice with all 
nations. If, when eating, we happen to make mention of a 
fire that has happened, we avert the inauspicious omen by pour- 
ing water beneath the table. To sweep the floor at the moment 
that a person is rising from table, or to remove the table 
or tray, 64 as the case may be, while a guest is drinking, is 
looked upon as a most unfortunate presage. There is a treatise, 

49 In France and England, at the present day, this notion, or rather, per- 
haps, the memory of it, is universally to be found. If the right ear tingles, 
some one is speaking well of us ; if the left ear, the reverse. 

50 King Attalus Philometor. See end of B. viii. 
si "Two." 

52 This passage, it is pretty clear, ought to follow the preceding one, 
though in the Latin it is made to precede. 

53 The thumb was turned upwards as a mark of favour, downwards, as 
a mark of disfavour. 64 ** Repositorium." 


written by Servius Sulpicitis, a man of the highest rank, in 
which reasons are given why we should never leave the tahle 
we are eating at ; for in his day it was not yet 55 the practice to 
reckon more tables than guests at an entertainment. Where a 
person has sneezed, it is considered highly ominous for the 
dish or table to be brought back again, and not a taste thereof 
to be taken, after doing so ; the same, too, where a person at 
table eats nothing at all. 

These usages have been established by persons who enter- 
tained a belief that the gods are ever present, in all our affairs 
and at all hours, and who have therefore found the means of ap- 
peasing them by our vices even. It has been remarked, too, 
that there is never a dead silence on a sudden among the guests 
at table, except when there is an even number present ; when 
this happens, too, it is a sign that the good name and repute of 
every individual present is in peril. In former times, when 
food fell from the hand of a guest, it was the custom to return 
it by placing it on the table, and it was forbidden 56 to blow 
upon it, for the purpose of cleansing it. Auguries, too, have bet n 
derived from the words or thoughts of a person at the mom^t 
such an accident befalls him ; and it is looked upon as one of 
the most dreadful of presages, if this should happen to: 
while celebrating the feast of Dis. 67 The proper expiati< 
such a case is, to have the morsel replaced on table, 
burnt in honour of the Lar. 58 Medicines, it is said, will prove 
ineffectual, if they happen to have been placed on a table before 
they are administered. It is religiously believed by many, 
that it is ominous in a pecuniary point of view, for a person to 
pare his nails without speaking, on the market days 59 at Home, 
or to begin at the forefinger 60 in doing so : it is thought, too, 

55 It was not yet the custom to bring in several courses, each served up 
on a separate table. 

50 Good manners possibly, more than superstition, may have introduced 
this practice. 

57 Or Pluto. He alludes to the Feralia, or feasts celebrated, in the 
month of February, in honour of the dead. 

58 Or household god. 

59 The "Nundinae," held every ninth day; or rather every eighth day, 
according to our mode of reckoning. 

60 Gronovius suggests a reading which would make this to mean that it 
is ;; ominous to touch money with the forefinger." It does not appear to 
be warranted, however. 

>n as one 01 
to a pontiff, 
expiation in V\\ 
e, and then ;r* 


to be a preventive of baldness and of head- ache, to cut the hair 
on the seventeenth and twenty-ninth 60 days of the moon. 

A rural law observed in most of the farms of Italy, forbids 6 * 
women to twirl their distaffs, or even to carry them uncovered, 
while walking in the public roads ; it being a thing so pre- 
judicial to all hopes and anticipations, those of a good harvest 63 
iu particular. It is not so long ago, that M. Servilius 
Nonianus, the principal citizen at Rome, 63 being apprehensive 
of ophthalmia, had a paper, with the two Greek letters P and 
A 64 written upon it, wrapped in linen and attached to his neck, 
before he would venture to name the malady, and before any 
other person had spoken to him about it. Mucianus, too, who 
was thrice consul, following a similar observance, carried about 
him a living fly, wrapped in a piece of white linen ; and it 
was strongly asserted, by both of them, that to the use of these 
expedients they owed their preservation from ophthalmia. 
There are in existence, also, certain charms against hail- storms, 
diseases of various kinds, and burns, some of which have been 
proved, by actual experience, to be effectual; but so great is the 
diversity of opinion upon them, that I am precluded by a 
feeling of extreme diffidence from entering into further par- 
ticulars, and must therefore leave each to form his own con- 
clusions as he may feel inclined. 



We have already, 65 when speaking of the singular peculiar- 
ities of various nations, made mention of certain men of a 
monstrous nature, whose gaze is endowed with powers of 
fascination ; and we have also described properties belonging to 
numerous animals, which it would be superfluous here to repeat. 
In some men, the whole of the body is endowed with remark- 
able properties, as in those families, for instance, which are a 
terror to serpents ; it being in their power to cure persons 
when stung, either by the touch or by a slight suction of the 
wound. To this class belong the Psylli, the Marsi, and the people 

60 * Twenty-eighth, according to our reckoning. 

61 Probably from their ominous resemblance to the Parcae, or Fates, with 
their spindles, 62 "Frugum." 

63 " Princeps civitatis." 64 "Bho" and "Alpha." 

65 In B. vii. c. 2.* 


called " Ophiogenes," 66 in the Isle of Cyprus. One Euagon, 
a member of this family, while attending upon a deputation at 
Kome, was thrown by way of experiment, by order of the con- 
suls, into a large vessel 67 filled with serpents ; upon which, 
to the astonishment of all, they licked his body all over with 
their tongues. One peculiarity of this family if indeed it is 
still in existence is the strong offensive smell which proceeds 
from their body in the spring ; their sweat, too, no less than 
their spittle, was possessed of remedial virtues. The people 
who are born at Tentyris, an island in the river Nilus, are 
so formidable 68 to the crocodiles there, that their voice even is 
sufficient to put them to flight. The presence even, it is well 
known, of all these different races, will suffice for the cure of 
injuries inflicted by the animals to which they respectively 
have an antipathy ; just in the same way that wounds are- 
irritated by the approach of persons who have been stung by 
a serpent at some former time, or bitten by a dog. Such 
persons, too, by their presence, will cause the eggs upon which 
a hen is sitting to be addled, and will make pregnant cattle " 
cast their young and miscarry; for, in fact, so much of 
the venom remains in their body, that, from being poisoned 
themselves, they become poisonous to other creatures. The 
proper remedy in such case is first to make them wash their 
hands, and then to sprinkle with the water the patient who is 
under medical treatment. When, again, persons have been 
once stung by a scorpion they will never afterwards be attacked 
by hornets, wasps, or bees : a fact at which a person will be 
the less surprised when he learns that a garment which has 
been worn at a funeral will never be touched by moths ; 69 that 
it is hardly possible to draw serpents from their holes except 
by using the left hand ; and that, of the discoveries made by 
Pythagoras, one of the most unerring, is the fact, that in the 
name given to infants, an odd number of vowels is portentous 
of lameness, loss of eyesight, or similar accidents, on 70 the right 

66 In B. vii. c. 2, he speaks of these people " the serpent-born" as 
natives of Parium, a town of the Hellespont. Ajasson suggests that they 
may have been a branch of the Thamirades, a sacerdotal family of Cyprus. 

67 " Dolium." es s ee B. viii. c. 38. 

69 Ajasson has thought it worth while to contradict this assertion. 

70 Meaning, of course, in case such an accident should befall the party. 
The passage appears, however, to be corrupt. 


side of the body, and an even number of vowels of the like 
infirmities on the left. 

(4.) It is said, that if a person takes a stone or other missile 
which has slain three living creatures, a man, a boar, and a 
bear, at three blows, and throws it over the roof of a house 
in which there is a pregnant woman, her delivery, however 
difficult, will be instantly accelerated thereby. In such a case, 
too, a successful result will be rendered all the more probable, 
if a light infantry lance 71 is used, which has been drawn from 
a man's body without touching the earth ; indeed, if it is 
brought into the house it will be productive of a similar result. 
In the same way, too, we find it stated in the writings of 
Orpheus and Archelaiis, that arrows, drawn from a human 
body without being allowed to touch the ground, and placed 
beneath the bed, will have all the effect of a philtre ; and, 
what is even more than this, that it is a cure for epilepsy if 
the patient eats the flesh of a wild beast killed with an iron 
weapon with which a human being has been slain. 

Some individuals, too, are possessed of medicinal properties 
in certain parts of the body ; the thumb of King Pyrrhus, for 
instance, as already 72 mentioned. At Elis, there used to 
be shown one of the ribs 73 of Pelops, which, it was generally 
asserted, was made of ivory. At the present day even, there 
are many persons, who from religious motives will never clip 
the hair growing upon a mole on the face. 


But it is the fasting spittle of a human being, that is, as 
already n stated by us, the sovereign preservative against the 
poison of serpents; while, at the same time, our daily experience 
may recognize its efficacy and utility, 75 in many other respects. 
We are in the habit of spitting, 76 for instance, as a preservative 
from epilepsy, or in other words, we repel contagion thereby : 

71 "Hasta velitaris." 72 In B. vii. c. 2. 

73 It is the shoulder-blade of Pelops that is generally mentioned in the 
ancient Mythology. Pliny omits to say of what medicinal virtues it was 
possessed. 74 In B. vii. c. 2. 

75 It certainly does seem to be possessed of some efficacy for the removal 
of spots and stains, but for no other purpose probably. 

76 In some parts of France, the peasants spit in the hand when in terror 
of spectjres at night. In our country, prize-fighters spit in the hand before 
beginning the combat, and costermongers spit on their morning's handsel, 
or first earned money, for good luck. 


in a similar manner, too, we repel fascinations, and the evil 
presages attendant upon meeting a person who is lame in the 
right leg. We ask pardon of the gods, by spitting in 77 the 
lap, for entertaining some too presumptuous hope or expecta- 
tion. 78 On the same principle, it is the practice in all cases 
where medicine is employed, to spit three times on the ground, 
and to conjure the malady as often ; the object being to aid the 
operation of the remedy employed. It is usual, too, to mark 
a boil, when it first makes its appearance, three times with 
fasting 79 spittle. What we are going to say is marvellous, 
but it may easily be tested M by experiment : if a person re- 
pents of a blow given to another, either by hand or with a 
missile, he has nothing to do but to spit at once into the palm 
of the hand which has inflicted the blow, and all feelings 8l of 
resentment will be instantly alleviated in the person struck. 
This, too, is often verified in the case of a beast of burden, 
when brought on its haunches with blows; for upon this remedy 
being adopted, the animal will immediately step out and mend 
its pace. Some persons, however, before making an effort, spit 
into the hand in manner above stated, in order to make the 
blow more heavy. 82 

We may well believe, then, that lichens and leprous spots 
may be removed by a constant application of fasting spittle ; 
that ophthalmia may be cured by anointing, as it were, the 
eyes every morning with fasting spittle ; that carcinomata 
may be effectually treated, by kneading the root of the plant 
known as "apple of the earth," 83 with human spittle; that 
crick in the neck may be got rid of by carrying fasting spittle 
to the right knee with the right hand, and to the left knee 
with the left ; and that when an insect has got into the ear, it 

77 "In sinum." 78 See Juvenal, Sat. v. 1. 112. 

79 Ajasson remarks that the human spittle contains hydrochlorate of 
soda and potash ; the remedial virtues of which, however, would be in- 
finitely small. 

80 A quibble, Ajasson remarks. Did Pliny ever test it himself? He 
would seem to imply it. 

81 " Levatur illico in percusso culpa." 

82 This is still the case with pugilists, and persons requiring to use strong 
exertion. It is based, however, on a mere superstition, as Ajasson remarks. 

83 " Malum terrae." See B. xxv. c. 54, and B. xxvi. c. 56. Littre 
translates *' malum," " apple," in the former passage ; but here he calls it 
44 curse of the earth." 

VOL. V. U 


is quite sufficient to spit into that organ, to make it come out. 
Among the counter-charms too, are reckoned, the practice of 
spitting into the urine the moment it is voided, of spitting into 
the shoe of the right foot hefore putting it on, and of spitting 
while a person is passing a place in which he has incurred any 
kind of peril. 

Marcion of Smyrna, who has written a work on the virtues 
of simples, informs us that the sea scolopendra will burst 
asunder if spit upon ; and that the same is the case with bram- 
ble-frogs, 84 arid other kinds of frogs. Opilius says that serpents 
will do the same, if a person spits into their open mouth ; and 
Salpe tells us, that when any part of the body is asleep, the 
numbness may be got rid of by the person spitting into his 
lap, or touching the upper eyelid with his spittle. If we are 
ready to give faith to such statements as these, we must be- 
lieve also in the efficacy of the following practices : upon the 
entrance of a stranger, or when a person looks at an infant 
while asleep, it is usual for the nurse to spit three times upon 
the ground ; and this, although infants are under the especial 
guardianship of the god Fascinus, 85 the protector, not of infants 
only, but of generals as well, and a divinity whose worship is 
entrusted to the Yestal virgins, and forms part of the Roman 
rites. It is the image of this divinity that is attached beneath 
the triumphant car of the victorious general, protecting him, 
like some attendant physician, against the effects of envy ; 86 
while, at the same time, equally salutary is the advice of the 
tongue, which warns him to be wise in time, 87 that so Fortune 

84 "Rubetas." See B. viii. c. 48, B. xi. cc. 19, 76, and 116, and B. 
xxv. c. 76. 

85 This divinity was identical with Mutinus or Tutinrs, and was 
worshipped under the form of a phallus, the male generative organ. As 
the guardian of infants, his peculiar form is still unconsciously represented 
in the shape of the coral bauble with which infants are aided in cutting 
their teeth. 

b6 Hence the expression " prsefiscini," " Be it said without envy," sup- 
posed to avert the effects of the envious eye, fascination, or enchantment. 

7 " Resipiscere " seems to be a preferable reading to "respicere," adopted 
by Sillig. This passage is evidently in a very corrupt state ; but it is most 
probable that reference is made to the attendant who stood behind the 
general in his triumph, and reminded him that he was a man or, according 
to Tzetzes, bade him look behind him. Pliny speaks of a servant attending 
the triumphant general, with a golden crown, in B. xxxiii. c. 4. liardouiii 
attempts another explanation, but a very confused and improbable one. 


may be prevailed upon by his prayers, not to follow, as the 
destroyer of his glory, close upon his back. 



The human bite is also looked upon as one of the most dan- 
gerous of all. The proper remedy for it is human ear-wax : 
a thing that \ve must not be surprised at, seeing that, if ap- 
plied immediately, it is a cure for the stings of scorpions even, 
and serpents. The best, however, for this purpose, is thai 
taken from the ears of the wounded person. Agnails, too, 
it is said, may be cured in a similar manner. A human tooth, 
reduced to powder, is a cure, they say, for the sting of a ser- 



The first hair, it is said, that is cut from an infant's head, 
and, in fact, the hair of all persons that have not reached the 
age of puberty, attached to the limbs, will modify the attacks 
of gout. A man's hair, applied with vinegar, is a cure for the 
bite of a dog, and, used with oil or wine, for wounds on the 
head. It is said, too, if we choose to believe it, that the hair 
of a man torn down from the cross, is good for quartan fevers. 
Ashes, too, of burnt human hair are curative of carcinomata. 
If a woman takes the first tooth that a child has shed, provided 
it has not touched the ground, and has it set in a bracelet, and 
wears it constantly upon her arm, it will preserve her from 
all pains in the uterus and adjacent parts. If the great toe 
is tied fast to the one next to it, it will reduce tumours in the 
groin ; and if the two middle fingers of the right hand are 
slightly bound together with a linen thread, it will act as a 
preservative against catarrhs and ophthalmia. A stone, it is 
said, that has been voided by a patient suffering from calculi, 
if attached to the body above the pubes, will alleviate the 
pains of others similarly afflicted, as well as pains in the liver ; 
it will have the effect, also, of facilitating delivery. Granius 8 * 5 
adds, however, that for this last purpose, the stone will be more 
efficacious if it has been extracted with the knife. Delivery, 
when near at hand, will be accelerated, if the man by whom 
88 See end of the present Book. 

U 2 


the woman has conceived, unties his girdle, and, after tying it 
round her, unties it, adding at the same time this formula, " I 
have tied it, and I will untie it," and then taking his de- 



The hlood of the human body, come from what part it may, 
is most efficacious, according to Orpheus and Archelaiis, as an 
application for quinzy : they say, too, that if it is applied to 
the mouth of a person who has fallen down in a fit of epilepsy, 
he will come to himself immediately. Some say that, for 
epilepsy, the great toes should be pricked, and the drops of 
blood that exude therefrom applied to the face ; or else, that a 
virgin should touch the patient with her right thumb a cir- 
cumstance that has led to the belief that persons suffering from 
epilepsy should eat the flesh of animals in a virgin state. 
^Eschines of Athens used to cure quinzy, carcinoma, and affec- 
tions of the tonsillary glands and uvula, with the ashes of 
burnt excrements, a medicament to which he gave the name 
of " botryon." 89 

There are many kinds of diseases which disappear entirely 
after the first sexual congress, 90 or, in the case of females, at the 
first appearance of menstruation; indeed, if such is not the 
case, they are apt to become chronic, epilepsy in particular. 
Even more than this a man, it is said, who has been stung 
by a serpent or scorpion, experiences relief from the sexual 
congress ; but the woman, on the other hand, is sensible of 
detriment. We are assured, too, that if persons, when washing 
their feet, touch the eyes three times with the water, they will 
never be subject to ophthalmia or other diseases of the eyes. 


Scrofula, imposthumes of the parotid glands, and throat 
diseases, thej r say, may be cured by the contact of the hand of 
a person who has been carried off by an early death : indeed 
there are some who assert that any deac^body will produce the 
same effect, provided it is of the same sex as the patient, and 

89 Properly meaning "a cluster of grapes." 

90 Ajasson remarks that there is a considerable degree of truth in this 
assertion. He gives a long list of French works on the subject. 


that the part affected is touched with the back of the left 
hand. 91 To bite off a piece from wood that has been struck 
by lightning, the hands being held behind the back, and then 
to apply it to the tooth, is a sure remedy, they say, for tooth- 
ache. Some persons recommend the tooth to be fumigated 
with the smoke of a burnt tooth, which has belonged to another 
person of the same sex ; or else to attach to the person a dog- 
tooth, as it is called, which has been extracted from a body 
before burial. Earth, they say, taken from out of a human 
skull, acts as a depilatory to the eyelashes ; it is asserted, also, 
that any plant which may happen to have grown there, it' 
chewed, will cause the teeth to come out ; and that if a circle- 
is traced round an ulcer with a human bone, it will be effec- 
tually prevented from spreading. 

Some persons, again, mix water in equal proportions from 
three different wells, and, after making a libation with part of 
it in a new earthen vessel, administer the rest to patients suf- 
fering from tertian fever, when the paroxysms come on. So, 
too, in- cases of quartan fever, they take a fragment of a nail 
from a cross, or else a piece of a halter 92 that has been used 
for crucifixion, and, after wrapping it in wool, attach it to the 
patient's neck; taking care, the moment he has recovered, to 
conceal it in some hole to which the light of the sun cannot 


The following are some of the reveries of magic. 93 A whet- 
stone upon which iron tools have been frequently sharpened, 
if put, without his being aware of it, beneath the pillow of a 
person sinking under the effects of poison, will make him give 
evidence and declare what poison has been administered, and 
at what time and place, though at the same time he will not 
disclose the author of the crime. When a person has been 
struck by lightning, if the body is turned upon the side which 
has sustained the injury, he will instantly recover the power 

91 This superstition still exists among the lower classes of this country, 
with reference to the beneficial effects of stroking neck diseases with tie 
hand of a man who has been hanged. 

93 Made of " spartum." See B. xix. cc. 6, 7. 

s3 Of which the Persian Magi were the most noted professors. 


of speech that is quite certain. 94 For the cure of inguinal 
tumours, some persons take the thrum of an old web, and after 
tying seven or nine knots in it, mentioning at each knot the 
name of some widow woman or other, attach it to the part 
affected. To assuage the pain of a wound, they recommend 
the party to take a nail or any other substance that has been 
trodden under foot, and to wear it, attached to the body with 
the thrum of a web. ; To get rid of warts, some lie in a 
footpath with the face upwards, when the moon is twenty days 
old at least, and after fixing their gaze upon it, extend their 
arms above the head, and rub themselves with anything 
within their reach. If a person is extracting a corn at the 
moment that a star shoots, he will experience an immediate 
cure, 95 they say. By pouring vinegar upon the hinges of a 
' door, a thick liniment is formed, which, applied to the fore- 
head, will alleviate headache : an effect equally produced, we 
are told, by binding the temples with a halter with which a. 
man has been hanged. When a fish-bone happens to stick in 
the throat, it will go down immediately, if the person plunges 
his feet into cold water ; but where the accident has happened 
with any other kind of bone, the proper remedy is to apply 
to the head some fragments of bones taken from the same dish. 
In cases where bread has stuck in the throat, the best plan is 
to take some of the same bread, and insert it in both ears. 


In Greece, where everything is turned to account, the 
owners of the gymnasia have introduced the very excretions 96 
even of the human body among the most efficient remedies ; 
so much so, indeed, that the scrapings from the bodies of the 
athletes are looked upon as possessed of certain properties of 
an emollient, calorific, resolvent, and expletive nature, re- 
sulting from the compound of human sweat and oil. These 
scrapings are used, in the form of a pessary, for inflammations 
and contractions of the uterus : similarly employed, they act 
as an emmenagogue, and are useful for reducing condylomata 
and inflammations of the rectum, as also for assuaging pains 

94 The " constat " here, whether it belongs to the magicians, or to Pliny 
himself, is highly amusing, as Ajasson remarks. 

95 Sillig appears to be right in his conjecture that the "vel" here 
should be omitted. 96 See B. xv. c. 5. 


in the sinews, sprains, and nodosities of the joints. The 
scrapings obtained from the baths are still more efficacious for 
these purposes, and hence it is that they form an ingredient in 
maturative preparations. Such scrapings as are impregnated 
with wrestlers' oil, 97 used in combination with mud, have a 
mollifying effect upon the joints, and are more particularly 
efficacious as a calorific and resolvent ; but in other respects 
their properties are not so strongly developed. 

The shameless and disgusting researches that have been 
made will quite transcend all belief, when we find authors of 
the very highest repute proclaiming aloud that the male 
seminal fluid is a sovereign remedy for the sting of the scor- 
pion ! In the case too, of women afflicted with sterility, they 
recommend the application of a pessary, made of the first 
excrement that is voided by an infant at the moment of its 
birth; the name they give it is " meconium." 98 They have 
even gone so far, too, as to scrape the very filth from off the 
walls of the gymnasia, and to assert that this is also possessed 
of certain calorific properties. These scrapings are used as a 
resolvent for inflamed tumours, and are applied topically to 
ulcers upon aged people and children, and to excoriations and 


It would be the less becoming then for me to omit all 
mention of the remedies which depend upon the human will. 
Total abstinence from food or drink, or from wine only, from 
flesh, or from the use of the bath, in cases where the health 
requires any of these expedients, is looked upon as one of the 
most effectual modes of treating diseases. To this class of 
remedies must be added bodily exercise, exertion of the voice, 99 
anointings, and frictions according to a prescribed method : 
for powerful friction, it should be remembered, has a binding 
effect upon the body, while gentle friction, on the other hand, 
acts as a laxative ; so too, repeated friction reduces the 
body, while used in moderation it has a tendency to make 
flesh. But the most beneficial practice of all is to take walking 

97 " Ceroma." A mixture of oil and wax. 

98 Properly, " poppy juice." 

99 Or " clara lectio," "reading aloud," as Celsus calls it, recommending 
it for persons of slow digestion. 


or carriage 1 exercise; this last being performed in various ways. 
Exercise on horseback is extremely good for affections of the 
stomach and hips, a voyage for phthisis, 2 and a change of 
locality 3 for diseases of long standing. So, too, a cure may 
sometimes be effected by sleep, by a recumbent position in bed, 
or by the use of emetics in moderation. To lie upon the back 
is beneficial to the sight, to lie with the face downwards is 
good for a cough, and to lie on the side is recommended for 
patients suffering from catarrh. 

According to Aristotle and Fabianus, it is towards spring and 
autumn that we are most apt to dream ; and they tell us that 
persons are most liable to do so when lying on the back, but 
never when lying with the face downwards. Theophrastus 
assures us that the digestion is accelerated by lying on the 
right side ; while, on the other hand, it is retarded by lying 
with the face upwards. The most powerful, however, of all 
remedies, and one which is always at a person's own command, 
is the sun : violent friction, too, is useful by the agency of 
linen towels and body-scrapers. 4 To pour warm water on the 
head before taking the vapour-bath, and cold water after it, is 
looked upon as a most beneficial practice ; so, too, is the habit 
of taking cold water before food, of drinking it every now and 
then while eating, of taking it just before going to sleep, and, 
if practicable, of waking every now and then, and taking a 
draught. It is worthy also of remark, that there is no living 
creature but man 5 that is fond of hot drinks, a proof thjat they 
are contrary to nature. It has been ascertained by experiment, 
that it is a good plan to rinse the mouth with undiluted wine, 
before going to sleep, for the purpose of sweetening the breath ; 
to rinse the mouth with cold water an odd number of times 
every morning, as a preservative against tooth-ache ; and to 
wash the eyes with oxycrate, as a preventive of ophthalmia. 
It has been remarked also, that the general health is improved 
by a varying regimen, subject to no fixed rules. 

1 "Gestatio." Exercise on horseback, in a carriage drawn by horses, 
or in a litter. See B. xxvi. c. 7. 

2 See B. xxxi. c. 33. A sea voyage, to Madeira, for instance, is still re- 
commended for consumptive patients. 

3 Change of locality is still recommended for diseases of the spleen, as 
they are called. 4 " Strigilium." 

* Except monkeys and some domesticated animals, Ajasson remarks. 


(5.) Hippocrates informs us that the viscera of persons who 
do not take the morning meal 6 become prematurely aged and 
feeble ; but then he has pronounced this aphorism, it must be 
remembered, by way of suggesting a healthful regimen, and not 
to promote gluttony ; for moderation in diet is, after all, the 
thing most conducive to health. L. Lucullus gave charge to 
one of his slaves to overlook him in this respect ; and, a thing 
that reflected the highest discredit on him, when, now an aged 
man and laden with triumphs, he was feasting in the Capitol 
even, his hand had to be removed from the dish to which he 
was about to help himself. Surely it was a disgrace for a man 
to be governed by his own slave 7 more easily than by himself! 


Sneezing, provoked by a feather, relieves heaviness in the 
head ; it is said too, that to touch the nostrils of a mule with 
the lips, will arrest sneezing and hiccup. For this last pur- 
pose, Yarro recommends us to scratch the palm, first of one 
hand and then of the other ; while many say that it is a good 
plan to shift the ring from off the left hand to the longest finger 
of the right, and then to plunge the hands into hot water. 
Theophrastus says, that aged persons sneeze with greater diffi- 
culty than others. 


Democritus spoke in condemnation of the sexual congress, as 8 
being merely an act through which one human being springs from 
another ; and really, by Hercules ! the more rarely it is used 
the better. Still however, athletes, we find, when they become 
dull and heavy, are re-established by it : the voice, too, is re- 
stored by it, when from being perfectly clear, it has degenerated 
into hoarseness. The congress of the sexes is a cure also for 
pains in the loins, dimness of the eyesight, 9 alienation of the 
mental difficulties, and melancholy. 

6 " Non prandentium." 

7 Callisthenes the physician is the person supposed to be alluded to. 
Lucullus did not seem to be of opinion that a man " must be a fool or a 
physician at forty." 

8 "Ut in qua homo alius exsiliret ex homine." The true meaning of 
this it seems impossible, with certainty, to ascertain : though a more in- 
delicate one than that given might be easily suggested. 

9 On the contrary, some authorities say that it is apt to cause dimness of 



To sit by a pregnant woman, or by a person to whom any 
remedy is being administered, with the fingers of one hand 
inserted between those of the other, acts as a magic spell; a 
discovery that was made, it is said, when Alcmena 10 was 
delivered of Hercules. If the fingers are thus joined, clasping 
one or both knees, or if the ham of one leg is first put upon 
the knee of the other, and then changed about, the omen is of 
still worse signification. Hence it is, that in councils held by 
generals and persons in authority, our ancestors forbade these 
postures, as being an impediment to all business. 11 They have 
given a similar prohibition also with reference to sacrifices and 
the offering of public vows ; but as to the usage of uncovering 
the head in presence of the magistrates, that has been enjoined, 
Varro says, not as a mark of respect, but with a view to 
health, the head being strengthened 12 by the practice of keeping- 
it uncovered. 

When anything has got into the eye, it is a good plan to 
close the otber ; and when water has got into the right ear, 
the person should hop about on the left foot, with the head 
reclining upon the right shoulder, the reverse being done 
when the same has happened to the left ear. If the secretion 
of the phlegm produces coughing, the best way of stopping it 
is for another person to blow in the party's face. When the 
uvula is relaxed, another person should take the patient with 
his teeth by the crown, 13 and lift him from the ground ; while 
for pains in the neck, the hams should be rubbed, and for 
pains in the hams the neck. If a person is seized in bed with 
cramp in the sinews of the legs or thighs, he should set his 
feet upon the ground : so, too, if he has cramp on the left 
side, he should take hold of the great toe of the left foot with 
the right hand, and if on the right side, the great toe of the 
right foot with the left hand. For cold shiverings or for 
excessive bleeding at the nostrils, the extremities of the body 
should be well rubbed with sheep's wool. To arrest inconti- 
nence of urine, the extremities of the generative organs should 

10 See Ovid, Met. ix. 273, et seq. 

11 Much more probably, because they were considered to be significant 
of anything but seriousness and attention, 

12 Exemplified in the case of the Egyptians, Herodotus says. 

13 The remedy would seem to be worse than the evil. 


be tied with a thread of linen or papyrus, and a binding passed 
round the middle of the thigh. For derangement of the 
stomach, it is a good plan to press the feet together, or to 
plunge the hands into hot water. 

In addition to all this, in many cases it is found highly be- 
neficial to speak but little ; thus, for instance, Maacenas Me- 
lissus, 14 we are told, enjoined silence on himself for three 
years, in consequence of spitting blood after a convulsive fit. 
When a person is thrown from a carriage, or when, while 
mounting an elevation or lying extended at full length, he 
is menaced with any accident, or if he receives a blow, it is 
singularly beneficial to hold the breath ; a discovery for which 
we are indebted to an animal, as already 15 stated. 

To thrust an iron nail into the spot where a person's head 
lay at the moment he was seized with a fit of epilepsy, is said 
to have the effect of curing him of that disease. For pains in 
the kidneys, loins, or bladder, it is considered highly soothing 
to void the urine lying on the face at full length in a reclining 
bath. It is quite surprising how much more speedily wounds 
will heal if they are bound up and tied with a Hercules' knot : 16 
indeed, it is said, that if the girdle which we wear every day 
is tied with a knot of this description, it will be productive of 
certain beneficial effects, Hercules having been the first to 
discover the fact. 

Demetrius, in the treatise which he has compiled upon the 
number Four, alleges certain reasons why drink should never 
be taken in proportions of four cyathi or sextarii. As a pre- 
ventive of ophthalmia, it is a good plan to rub the parts be- 
hind the ears, and, as a cure for watery eyes, to rub the fore- 
head. As to the presages which are derived from man him- 
self, there is one to the effect that so long as a person is able 
to see himself reflected in the pupil of the patient's eye, 
there need be no apprehension of a fatal termination to the 


The urine, 17 too, has been the subject not only of numerous 

14 See end of B. vii. 15 In B. viii. c. 58. 

16 A knot tied very hard, and in which no ends were to be seen. 

17 This excretion was, till lately, thought of great importance, as in- 
dicative of the health of the patient. 


theories with authors, but of various religious observances as 
well, its properties being classified under several distinctive 
heads : thus, for instance, the urine of eunuchs, they say, is 
highly beneficial as a promoter of fruitfulness in females. But 
to turn to those remedies which we may be allowed to name 
without impropriety the urine of children who have not 
arrived at puberty is a sovereign remedy for the poisonous 
secretions of the asp known as the " ptyas," 18 from the fact 
that it spits its venom into the eyes of human beings. It is 
good, too, for the cure of albugo, films and marks upon the 
eyes, white specks 19 upon the pupils, and maladies of the eye- 
lids. In combination with meal of fitches, it is used for the 
cure of burns, and, with a head of bulbed leek, it is boiled 
down to one half, in a new earthen vessel, for the treatment of 
suppurations of the ears, or the extermination of worms breed- 
ing in those organs : the vapour, too, of this decoction acts as 
an emmenagogue. Salpe recommends that the eyes should 
be fomented with it, as a means of strengthening the sight ; 
and that it should be used as a liniment for sun scorches, 
in combination with white of egg, that of the ostrich being 
the most effectual, the application being kept on for a couple 
of hours. 

Urine is also used for taking oat ink spots. Male urine 
cures gout, witness the fullers for instance, 20 who, for this 
reason, it is said, are never troubled with that disease. With 
stale urine some mix ashes of calcined oyster- shells, for the 
cure of eruptions on the bodies of infants, and all kinds of 
running ulcers: it is used, too, as a liniment for corrosive sores, 
burns, diseases of the rectum, chaps upon the body, and stings 
inflicted by scorpions. The most celebrated inidwives have 
pronounced that there is no lotion which removes itching sen- 
sations more effectually ; and, with the addition of nitre, 21 they 
prescribe it for the cure of ulcers of the head, porrigo, and 
cancerous sores, those of the generative organs in particular. 
But the fact is, and there is no impropriety in saying so, that 
every person's own urine is the best for his own case, due 

18 From the Greek Trruw, " to spit." 

19 Argema." 

30 Who had to use lant, or stale urine, in their business. 
21 At a future period we shall have to discuss the identity of the 
"nitrum " of Pliny. See B. xxxi. c. 46. 


care being taken to apply it immediately, and unmixed with 
anything else ; in such cases as the bite of a dog, for instance, 
or the quill of a hedge-hog entering the flesh, a sponge or 
some wool being the vehicle in which it is applied. Kneaded 
up with ashes, it is good for the bite of a mad dog, and for the 
cure of stings inflicted by serpents. As to the bite of the 
scolopendra, the effects of urine are said to be quite mar- 
vellous the person who has been injured has only to touch 
the crown of his head with a drop of his own urine, and he 
will experience an instantaneous cure. 


Certain indications of the health are furnished by the urine. 
Thus, for example, if it is white at first in the morning and 
afterwards high-coloured, the first signifies that the digestion is 
going on, the last that it is completed. When the urine is red, 
it is a bad sign ; but when it is swarthy, it is the worst sign 
of all. So, too, when it is thick or full of bubbles, it is a bad 
sign ; and when a white sediment forms, it is a symptom of 
pains in the region of the viscera or in the joints. A green- 
coloured urine is indicative of disease of the viscera, a pale urine 
of biliousness, and a red urine of some distemper in the blood. 
The urine is in a bad state, too, when certain objects form in 
it, like bran or fine clouds in appearance. A thin, white, urine 
also is in a diseased state ; but when it is thick and possessed 
of an offensive smell, it is significant of approaching death : so, 
too, when with children it is thin and watery. 

The adepts in magic expressly forbid a person, when about 
to make water, to uncover the body in the face of the sun 22 or 
moon, or to sprinkle with his urine the shadow of any object- 
whatsoever. Hesiod 23 gives a precept, recommending persons to 
make water against an object standing full before them, that no 
divinity may be offended by their nakedness being uncovered. 
Osthanes maintains that every one who drops some urine 
upon his foot in the morning will be proof against all noxious 


The remedies said to be derived from the bodies of females 

22 This was also one of the Pythagorean precepts. 

23 Works and Days, 1. 727, et seq. 


closely approach the marvellous nature of prodigies ; to say 
nothing of still-born infants cut up limb by liinb for the most 
abominable practices, expiations made with the menstrual dis- 
charge, and other devices which have been mentioned, not 
only by midwives but by harlots 24 even as well ! The smell of a 
woman's hair, burnt, will drive away serpents, and hysterical 
suffocations, it is said, may be dispelled thereby. The ashes 
of a woman's hair, burnt in an earthen vessel, or used in 
combination with litharge, will cure eruptions and prurigo of 
the eyes : used in combination with honey they will remove 
warts and ulcers upon infants ; with the addition of honey and 
frankincense, they will heal wounds upon the head, and fill up 
all concavities left by corrosive ulcers ; used with hogs' lard, 
they will cure inflammatory tumours and gout; and applied topi- 
cally to the part affected, they will arrest erysipelas and hse- 
morrhage, and remove itching pimples on the body which 
resemble the stings of ants. 


As to the uses to which woman's milk has been applied, it 
is generally agreed that it is the sweetest and the most deli- 
cate of all, and that it is the best 25 of remedies for chronic 
fevers and cceliac affections, when the woman has just weaned 
her infant more particularly. In cases, too, of sickness at 
stomach, fevers, and gnawing sensations, it has been found by 
experience to be highly beneficial ; as also, in combination 
with frankincense, for abscesses of the mamillse. When the 
eyes are bloodshot from the effects of a blow, or affected with 
pain or defiuxion, it is a very good plan to inject woman's milk 
into them, more particularly in combination with honey and 
juice of daffodil, or else powdered frankincense. In all cases, 
however, the milk of a woman who has been delivered of a 
male child is the most efficacious, and still more so if she has 
had male twins ; provided always she abstains from wine and 
food of an acrid nature. Mixed with the white of an egg in 
a liquid state, and applied to the forehead in wool, it arrests 

24 The use of the word "prodidere" shows that treatises had been 
written on these abominable subjects. Lais, Elephantis, and Salpe were 
probably the " meretrices" to whom he here alludes. See c. 23, and the 
end of this Book. 

25 There is probably no foundation for this assertion. 


defluxions of the eyes. If a frog 26 has spirted its secretions 27 
into the eye, woman's milk is a most excellent remedy ; and 
for the bite of that reptile it is used hoth internally and ex- 

It is asserted that if a person is rubbed at the same moment 
with the milk of both mother and daughter, he will be proof 
for the rest of his life against all affections of the eyes. 
Mixed with a small quantity of oil, woman's milk is a cure for 
diseases of the ears ; and if they are in pain from the effects 
of a blow, it is applied warm with goose-grease. If the ears 
emit an offensive smell, a thing that is mostly the case in 
diseases of long standing, wool is introduced into those organs, 
steeped in woman's milk and honey. While symptoms of 
jaundice are still visible in the eyes, woman's milk is injected, 
in combination with elaterium. 28 Taken as a drink, it is pro- 
ductive of singularly good effects, where the poison of the 
sea-hare, the buprestis, 29 or, as Aristotle tells us, the plant 
dorycnium 30 has been administered ; as a preventive also of the 
madness produced by taking henbane. Woman's milk also, 
mixed with hemlock, is recommended as a liniment for gout ; 
while some there are who employ it for that purpose in com- 
bination with wool-grease 31 or goose-grease ; a form in which 
it is used as an application for pains in the uterus. Taken as 
a drink, it arrests diarrhoea, Eabirius 32 says, and acts as an 
emmenagogue ; but where the woman has been delivered of a 
female child, her milk is of use only for the cure of face 

Woman's milk is also a cure for affections of the lungs ; and, 
mixed with the urine of a youth who has not arrived at pu- 
berty, and Attic honey, in the proportion of one spoonful 
of each, it removes singing in the ears, I find. Dogs which 
have once tasted the milk of a woman who has been delivered 
of a male child, will never become mad, they say. 

26 "Rana." He means the "rubeta" probably, or " bramble- frog/' 
so often mentioned by him. See Note 84, p. 290. 

27 " Salivam." 2 * See B. xx. c. 2. 

29 See B. xxx. c. 10. Latreille has written a very able treatise on the 
Buprestis of the ancients, and considers it to belong to the family of Can- 
tharides. AnnaUs du Museum d'histoire Naturelle, Vol. xix. p. 129, et seq. 

30 Convolvulus dorycnium ; see B. xx^. c. 105, and B. xxiii. c. 18. 

31 " CEsypurn." See B- xxx c. 23. 

33 Possibly the Epic writer of that name, mentioned by Ovid. Seneca, 
Quintilian, and Velleius Paterculus. 



A woman's fasting spittle is generally considered highly 
efficacious for "bloodshot eyes : it is good also for defluxions of 
those organs, the inflamed corners of the eyes being moistened 
with it every now and then ; the result, too, is still more suc- 
cessful, if the woman has abstained from food and wine the 
day before. 

I find it stated that head-ache may be alleviated by tying a 
woman's fillet 33 round the head. 


Over and above these particulars, there is no limit to the 
marvellous powers attributed to females. For, in the first 
place, hailstorms, they say, whirlwinds, and lightning 84 even, 
will be scared away by a woman uncovering her body while 
her monthly courses are upon her. The same, too, with all 
other kinds of tempestuous weather ; and out at sea, a storm 
may be lulled by a woman uncovering her body merely, even 
though not menstruating at the time. As to the menstrual 
discharge itself, a thing that in other respects, as 35 already 
stated on a more appropriate occasion, is productive of the most 
monstrous effects, there are some ravings about it of a most 
dreadful and unutterable nature. Of these particulars, how- 
ever, I do not feel so much shocked at mentioning the follow- 
ing. If the menstrual discharge coincides with an eclipse of 
the moon or sun, the evils resulting from it are irremediable ; 
and no less so, when it happens while the moon is in conjunc- 
tion with the sun; the congress with a, woman at such a period 
being noxious, and attended with fatal effects to the man. At 
this period also, the lustre of purple is tarnished by the touch 
of a woman : so much more baneful is her influence at this 
time than at any other. At any other time, also, if a woman 
strips herself naked while she is menstruating, and walks 
round a field of wheat, the caterpillars, worms, beetles, and 
other vermin, will fall from off the ears of corn. Metrodorus 
of Scepsos tells us that this discovery was first made in Cappa- 
docia ; and that, in consequence of such multitudes of can- 

353 " Fascia." Either a stomacher, or a fillet for the head. 
34 The mention of lightning here, Hardouin seems to look upon as an 
interpolation. 35 j n g yfj c 13 


tharides being found to breed there, it is the practice for 
women to walk through the middle of the fields with their 
garments tucked up above the thighs. 36 In other places, again, 
it is the usage for women to go barefoot, with the hair 
dishevelled and the girdle loose : due precaution must be taken, 
however, that this is not done at sun-rise, for if so, the crop 
will wither and dry up. Young vines, too, it is said, are in- 
jured irremediably by the touch of a woman in this state ; and 
both rue and ivy, plants possessed of highly medicinal virtues, 
will die instantly upon being touched by her. 

Much as I have already stated on the virulent effects of this 
discharge, I have to state, in addition, that bees, it is a well- 
known fact, will forsake their hives if touched by a menstruous 
woman; that linen boiling in the cauldron will turn black, -that 
the edge of a razor will become blunted, and that copper ves- 
sels will contract a fetid smell and become covered with verdi- 
grease, on coming in contact with her. A mare big with foal, 
if touched by a woman in this state, will be sure to miscarry ; 
nay, even more than this, at the very sight of a woman, 
though seen at a distance even, should she happen to be 
menstruating for the first time after the loss of her virginity, 
or for the first time, while in a state of virginity. The bitu- 
men 37 that is found in Judaea, will yield to nothing but the 
menstrual discharge ; its tenacity being overcome, as already 
stated, by the agency of a thread from a garment which has 
been brought in contact with this fluid. Fire itself even, an 
element which triumphs over every other substance, is unable 
to conquer this ; for if reduced to ashes and then sprinkled 
upon garments when about to be scoured, it will change their 
purple tint, and tarnish the brightness of the colours. Indeed 
so pernicious are its properties, that women themselves, the 
source from which it is derived, are far from being proof against 
its effects ; a pregnant woman, for instance, if touched with 
it, or indeed if she so much as steps over it, will be liable to 

Lais and Elephantis 38 have given statements quite at va- 
riance, on the subject of abortives ; they mention the efficacy 

36 Columella describes this practice in verse, in B. x., and in B. xi. c. 3 
JElian also mentions it. ^ 

37 See B. vii. c. 13. Tacitus tells the same wonderful story. 

38 See the end of this Book. 

VOL. V. X 


for that purpose of charcoal of cabbage root, myrtle root, or 
tamarisk root, quenched in the menstrual discharge ; they say 
that she-asses will be barren for as many years as they have 
eaten barley-corns steeped in this fluid ; and they have enu- 
merated various other monstrous and irreconcileable properties, 
the one telling us, for instance, that fruitfulness may be ensured 
by the very same methods, which, according to the statement 
of the other, are productive of barrenness; to all which stories it 
is the best plan to refuse credit altogether. Bithus of Dyrrha- 
chium informs us that a mirror, 39 which has been tarnished by 
the gaze of a^menstruous female, will recover its brightness if 
the same woman looks steadily upon the back of it ; he states, 
also, that all evil influences of this nature will be entirely 
neutralized, if the woman carries the fish known as the sur 
mullet about her person. 

On the other hand, again, many writers say that, baneful as 
it is, there are certain remedial properties in this fluid ; that it 
is a good plan, for instance, to use it as a topical application for 
gout, and that women, while menstruating, can give relief by 
touching scrofulous sores and imposthumes of the parotid 
glands, inflamed tumours, erysipelas, boils, and defluxions of 
the eyes. According to Lais and Salpe, the bite of a mad dog, 
as well as tertian or quartan fevers, may be cured by putting 
some menstruous blood in the wool of a black ram and enclo- 
sing it in a silver bracelet ; and we learn from Diotimus of 
Thebes that the smallest portion will suffice of any kind of 
cloth that has been stained therewith, a thread even, if in- 
serted and worn in a bracelet. The midwife Sotira informs 
us that the most efficient cure for tertian and quartan fevers is 
to rub the soles of the patient's feet therewith, the result. being 
still more successful if the operation is performed by the woman 
herself, without the patient being aware of it ; she says, too, 
that this is an excellent method for reviving persons when 
attacked with epilepsy. 

Icetidas the physician pledges his word that quartan fever 
may be cured by sexual intercourse, provided the woman is 
just beginning to menstruate. It is universally agreed, too, that 
when a person has been bitten by a dog and manifests a dread 
of water and of all kinds of drink, it will be quite sufficient 
to put under his cup a strip of cloth that has been dipped in 
39 See B. vii. c. 13. 


this fluid ; the result being that the hydrophobia will immedi- 
ately disappear. This arises, no doubt, from that powerful 
sympathy which has been so much spoken of by the Greeks, 
and the existence of which is proved by the fact, 40 already men- 
tioned, that dogs become mad upon tasting this fluid. It is awell- 
known fact, too, that the menstruous discharge, reduced to ashes, 
and applied with furnace soot and wax, is a cure for ulcers upon 
all kinds of beasts of burden; and that stains made upon a gar- 
ment with it can only be removed by the agency of the urine 
of the same female. Equally certain it is, too, that this fluid, re- 
duced to ashes and mixed with oil of roses, is very useful, applied 
to the forehead, for allaying head-ache, in women more parti- 
cularly ; as also that the nature of the discharge is most viru- 
lent in females whose virginity has been destroyed solely by 
the lapse of time. 

Another thing universally acknowledged and one which I 
am ready to believe with the greatest pleasure, is the fact, that 
if the door-posts are only touched with the menstruous fluid 
all spells of the magicians will be neutralized a set of men 
the most lying in existence, as any one may ascertain. I will 
give an example of one of the most reasonable of their pre- 
scriptions Take the parings of the toe-nails and finger-nails 
of a sick person, and mix them up with wax, the party saying 
that he is seeking a remedy for a tertian, quartan, or quotidian 
fever, as the case may be ; then stick this wax, before sunrise, 
upon the door of another person such is the prescription they 
give for these diseases ! What deceitful persons they must be 
if there is no truth in it ! And how highly criminal, if they 
really do thus transfer diseases from one person to another ! 
Some of them, again, whose practices are of a less guilty 
nature, recommend that the parings of all the finger-nails 
should be thrown at the entrance of ant-holes, the first ant to be 
taken which attempts to draw one into the hole; this, they say, 
must be attached to the neck of the patient, and he will ex- 
perience a speedy cure. 



Such then are the remedies frt>m human beings which may 
with any degree of propriety be described, and many of those 
only with the leave and good -will of the reader. The rest are 
40 See B. vii. c. 13. x 2 


of a most execrable and infamous nature, such, in fact, as to 
make me hasten to close my description, of the remedies de- 
rived from man : we will therefore proceed to speak of the more 
remarkable animals, and the effects produced by them. The 
blood of the elephant, the male in particular, arrests all those 
defluxions known by the name of " rheumatismi." Ivory 
shavings, it is said, in combination with Attic honey, are good 
for the removal of spots upon the face : with the sawdust, too, 
of ivory, hangnails are removed. By the touch of an elephant's 
trunk head-ache is alleviated, if the animal happens to sneeze 
at the time more particularly. The right side of the trunk, 
attached to the body with red earth of Lemnos, acts powerfully 
as an aphrodisiac. Elephant's blood is good for consumption, 
and the liver for epilepsy. 


Lion's fat, mixed with oil of roses, protects the skin of the 
face from all kinds of spots, and preserves the whiteness of the 
complexion ; it is remedial also for such parts of the body as 
have been frozen by snow, and for swellings in the joints. The 
frivolous lies of the magicians assert that persons who are 
anointed with lion's fat, will more readily win favour with 
kings and peoples ; more particularly when the fat has been 
used that lies between the eyebrows of the animal a place, in 
fact, where there is no fat to be found ! The like effects they 
promise also from, the possession of a lion's tooth, one from the 
right side in particular, as also the shaggy hairs that are 
found upon the lower jaw. The gall, used as an ointment in 
combination with water, improves the eyesight, and, employed 
with the fat of the same animal, is a cure for epilepsy ; but 
a slight taste only must be taken of it, and the patient must 
run immediately after swallowing it, in order to digest it. A 
lion's heart, used as food, is curative of quartan fevers, and 
the fat, taken with oil of roses, of quotidian fevers. "Wild, 
beasts will fly from persons anointed with lion's fat, and it is 
thought to be a preservative even against treacherous practices. 


A camel's 41 brains, dried and taken in vinegar, are a cure, they 

41 Pliny has omitted the milk of the camel, which, according to Taver- 
nier, is an excellent cure for dropsy. 


say, for epilepsy : the same, too, -with the gall, taken with 
honey ; which is a remedy also for quinzy. A camel's tail 
dried, it is said, is productive of diarrhoea, and ashes of burnt 
camel's dung, mixed with oil, make the hair curl. These 
ashes, applied topically, are very useful for dysentery, as also 
taken in drink, the proper dose beiDg a pinch in three fingers 
at a time ; they are curative also of epilepsy. Camel's urine 
it is said, is very useful to fullers, and is good for the cure of 
running sores. Barbarous nations, we are told, are in the habit 
of keeping it till it is five years old, and then taking it as a 
purgative, in doses of one semisextarius. The hairs of the 
tail, it is said, plaited and attached to the left arm, are a cure 
for quartan fevers. 


But of all animals, it is the hyaena that has been held in 
the highest admiration by the magicians, who have gone so 
far as to attribute to it certain magical virtues even, and the 
power of alluring 42 human beings and depriving them of their 
senses. Of its change of sex each year, and other monstrous 
peculiarities 43 in its nature, we have spoken already; 44 we 
will now proceed to describe the medicinal virtues that are 
ascribed to it. 

The hyaena, it is said, is particularly terrible to panthers ; so 
much so, indeed, that they will not attempt to make the slight- 
est resistance to it, and will never attack a man who has any 
portion of a hyaena's skin about him. A thing truly marvel- 
lous to tell of, if the hides of these two animals are hung up 
facing one another, the hair will fall from off the panther's skin ! 
When the hyaena flies before the hunter, it turns off on the 
right, and letting the man get before it, follows in his track ; 
should it succeed in doing which, the man is sure to lose his 
senses and fall from his horse even. But if, on the other hand, 
it turns off to the left, it is a sign that the animal is losing 
strength, and that it will soon be taken. The easiest method, 
however, of taking it, they say, is for the hunter to tie his 
girdle with seven knots, and to make as many knots in the 

42 See B. viii. c. 44. 

43 One peculiarity not mentioned bf Pliny, is, that its skin, like that of 
the sea-calf, was said to be proof against the effects of lightning. 

44 In 1). viii. c. 44. 


whip with which he guides his horse. In addition to all this, 
so full of quirks and subtleties are the vain conceits of the 
magicians, they recommend the hyaena to be captured while 
the moon is passing through the sign of Gemini, and every 
hair of it to be preserved, if possible. They say, too, that the 
skin of the head is highly efficacious, if attached to a person 
suffering from head- ache ; that the gall, applied to the fore- 
head, is curative of ophthalmia ; and that if the gall is boiled 
down with three cyathi of Attic honey and one ounce of saffron, 
it will be a most effectual preservative against that disease, 
the same preparation being equally good for the dispersion of 
films on the eyes and cataract. If, again, this preparation is 
kept till it is old, it will be all the better for improving the 
sight, due care being taken to preserve it in a box of Cyprian 
copper : they assert also, that it is good for the cure of argema, 
eruptions and excrescences of the eyes, and marks upon those 
organs. For diseases 45 of the crystalline humours of the eyes, 
it is recommended to anoint them with the gravy of hyaena's 
liver roasted fresh, incorporated with clarified honey. 

We learn also, from the same sources, that the teeth of the 
hysena are useful for the cure of tooth-ache, the diseased tooth 
being either touched with them, or the animal's teeth being 
arranged in their regular order, and attached to the patient ; 
that the shoulders of this animal are good for the cure of pains 
in the arms and shoulders ; that the teeth, extracted from the 
left side of the jaw, and wrapped in the skin of a sheep or he- 
goat, are an effectual cure for pains in the stomach ; that the 
lights of the animal, taken with the food, are good for cceliac 
affections ; that the lights, reduced to ashes and applied with oil, 
are also soothing to the stomach ; that the marrow of the back- 
bone, used with old oil and gall, is strengthening to the sinews ; 
that the liver, tasted thrice just before the paroxysms, is good 
for quartan fevers ; that the ashes of the vertebrae, applied in 
hyaena's skin with the tongue and right foot of a sea-calf and a 
bull's gall, the whole boiled up together, are soothing for gout; 
that for the same disease hyaena's gall is advantageously em- 
ployed in combination with stone of Assos; 46 that for cold shiver- 
ings, spasms, sudden fits of starting, and palpitations of the 

45 " Glaucomata." Littre considers, on the authority of M. Sichel, that 
"Glaucoma" and "suffusio" are different names for the same disease- 
cataract. 46 See B. xxxvi. c. 27. 


heart, it is a good plan to eat some portion of a hyaena's heart 
cooked, care being taken to reduce the rest to ashes, and to 
apply it with the brains of the animal to the part affected ; 
that this last composition, or the gall applied alone, acts as 
a depilatory, the hairs being first plucked out which are 
wanted not to grow again; that by this method superfluous hairs 
of the eyelids may be removed ; that the flesh of the loins, 
eaten and applied with oil, is a cure for pains in the loins ; and 
that sterility in females may be removed by giving them the 
eye of this animal to eat, in combination with liquorice and dill, 
conception within three days being warranted as the result. 

Persons afflicted with night-mare and dread of spectres, will 
experience relief, they say, by attaching one of the large teeth 
of a hyaena to the body, with a linen thread. In fits of delirium 
too, it is recommended to fumigate the patient with the smoke 
of one of these teeth, and to attach one in front of his chest, 
with the fat of the kidneys, or else the liver or skin. They 
assert also that a pregnant woman will never miscarry, if she 
wears suspended from her neck, the white flesh from a hyaena's 
breast, with seven hairs and the genitals of a stag, the whole 
tied up in the skin of a gazelle. The genitals, they say, eaten 
with honey, act as a stimulant upon a person, according to 
the sex, and this even though it should be the case of a man 
who has manifested an aversion to all intercourse with females. 

Nay, even more than all this, we are assured that if the 
genitals and a certain joint of the vertebrae are preserved in 
a house with the hide adhering to them, they will ensure peace 
and concord between all members of the family ; hence it is * 
that this part is known as the " joint of the spine," 47 or ' ' At- 
lantian 48 knot." This joint, which is the first, is reckoned among 
the remedies for epilepsy. 

The fumes of the burnt fat of this animal will put ser- 
pents to flight, they say ; and the jawbone, pounded with anise 
and taken with the food, is a cure for shivering fits. A fumi- 
gation made therewith has the effect of an emmenagogue ; and 
such are the frivolous and absurd conceits of the professors of 
the magic art, that they boldly assert that if a man attaches to 

4 7 " Spinae " seems a preferable reading to " ruinse," adopted by Sillig. 

48 ** Nodum Atlantion." From the Greek drKaq, "much enduring," 
Julius Pollux says, because it was fitted for supporting burdens. The 
" hinc " " hence," of Pliny here appears to be a non sequitur. 


his arm a tooth from the right side of the upper jaw, he will 
never miss any object he may happen to aim at with a dart. 
The palate, dried and warmed with Egyptian alum, 49 is curative 
of bad odours and ulcers of the mouth, care being taken to 
renew the application three times. Dogs, they say, will never 
bark at persons who have a hyaena's tongue in the shoe, 
beneath the sole of the foot. The left side of the brain, applied 
to the nostrils, is said to have a soothing effect upon all 
dangerous maladies either in men or beasts. They say, too, that 
the skin of the forehead is a preservative against all fascina- 
tions ; that the flesh of the neck, whether eaten or dried and 
taken in drink, is good for pains in the loins ; that the sinews 
of the back and shoulders, used as a fumigation, are good for 
pains in the sinews ; that the bristles of the snout, applied to 
a woman's lips, have all the effect of a philtre ; and that the 
liver, administered in drink, is curative of griping pains and 
urinary calculi. 

The heart, it is said, taken with the food or drink, is remedial 
for all kinds of pains in the body ; the milt for pains in the 
spleen ; the caul, in combination with oil, for inflammatory ul- 
cers ; and the marrow for pains in the spine and weakness in the 
sinews. The strings of the kidneys, they say, if taken with 
wine and frankincense, will restore fruitfulness, in cases where 
it has been banished through the agency of noxious spells ; the 
uterus, taken in drink with the rind of a sweet pomegranate, 
is highly beneficial for diseases of the uterus ; and the fat of 
the loins, used as a fumigation, removes all impediments to 
delivery, and accelerates parturition. The marrow of the back, 
attached to the body as an amulet, is an effectual remedy for 
fantastic illusions, 50 and the genitals of the male animal, used 
as a fumigation, are good for the cure of spasms. For oph- 
thalmia, ruptures, and inflammations, the feet, which are kept 
for the purpose, are touched ; the left feet for affections on the 
right side of the body, and the right feet for affections on the 
left. The left foot, if laid upon the body of a woman in travail, 
will be productive, they say, of fatal effects ; but the right foot, 
similarly employed, will facilitate delivery. The vesicle 
which has contained the gall, taken in wine or with the food, is 

49 "We shall have occasion to make enquiry as to the identity of the 
" alumen " of Pliny on a future occasion. 


beneficial for the cardiac disease ; and the bladder, taken in 
wine, is a good preservative against incontinence of urine. 
The urine, too, which is found in the bladder, taken with oil, 
sesame, and honey, is said to be useful for diseases of long 

The first rib and the eighth, used as a fumigation, are said 
to be useful for ruptures ; the vertebrae for women in travail ; 
and the blood, in combination with polenta, 51 for griping pains 
in the bowels. If the door-posts are touched with this blood, 
the various arts of the magicians will be rendered of no effect ; 
they will neither be able to summon the gods into their pre- 
sence nor to converse with them, whatever the method to which 
they have recourse, whether lamps or basin, water or globe, 52 
or any other method. 

The flesh of the hyaena, taken as food, is said to be efficacious 
for the bite of a mad dog, and the liver still more so. The 
flesh or bones of a human being which have been found in the 
belly of a slain hyaena, used as a fumigation, are said to be 
remedial for gout : but if among these remains the nails are 
found, it is looked upon as a presage of death to some one among 
those who have captured it. The excrements or bones which 
have been voided by the animal at the moment when killed, 
are looked upon as counter-charms to magic spells. The dung 
found in the intestines is dried and administered in drink for 
dysentery ; and it is applied to all parts of the body with 
goose-grease, in the form of a liniment, in the case of persons 
who have received injury from some noxious medicament. By 
rubbing themselves with the grease, and lying upon the skin, 
of a hysena, persons who have been bitten by dogs are cured. 

On the other hand, the ashes of the left pastern-bone, they 
say, boiled with weasel's blood, and applied to a person's body, 
will ensure universal hatred ; a similar effect being equally 
produced by the eye when boiled. But the most extraordinary 
thing of all is, their assertion that the extremity of the rectum 
of this animal is a preservative against all oppression on the 
part of chiefs and potentates, and an assurance of success in all 
petitions, judgments, and lawsuits, and this, if a person only 
carries it about him. The anus, according to them, has so 
'powerful an effect as a philtre, that if it is worn on the left 
arm, a woman will be sure to follow the wearer the moment 
" See B. xviii. c. 14. ' Pila." 


he looks at her. The hairs, too, of this part, reduced to ashes, 
and applied with oil to the body of a man who is living a life 
of disgraceful effeminacy, will render him not only modest, 
they assure us, but of scrupulous morals even. 


For fabulous stories connected with it the crocodile may 
challenge the next place ; and, indeed for cunning, the one 53 
which lives both upon land and in the water is fully its equal : 
for I would here remark, that there are two varieties of this 
animal. The teeth of the right jaw of the amphibious croco- 
dile, attached to the right arm as an amulet, acts as an aphro- 
disiac, that is, if we choose to believe it. The eye-teeth of 
the animal, filled with frankincense for they are Jiollow are 
a cure for periodical fevers, care being taken to let the patient 
remain five days without seeing the person who has attached 
them to his body. A similar virtue is attributed to the small 
stones which are found in the belly of this animal, as being a 
check to the cold shiverings in fevers, when about to come on ; 
and with the same object the ^Egyptians are in the habit of 
anointing their sick with the fat of the crocodile. 

The other kind of crocodile 54 resembles it, but is much in- 
ferior in size : it lives upon land only, and among the most 
odoriferous flowers ; hence it is that its intestines are so greatly 
in request, being filled as they are with a mass of agreeable 
perfumes. This substance is called " crocodilea," and it is 
looked upon as extremely beneficial for diseases of the eyes, 
and for the treatment of films and cataract, being applied with 
leek-juice in the form of an ointment. Applied with oil of 
Cyprus, 56 it removes blemishes growing upon the face ; and, em- 
ployed with water, it is a cure for all those diseases, the 
nature of which it is to spread upon the face, while at the same 
time it restores the natural tints of the skin. An application 
of it makes freckles disappear, as well as all kinds of spots and 

53 Identified by Ajasson with the chamses, or common crocodile of the 

54 See B. viii. c. 38. Identified by Ajasson with the souchos of Geoffrey 
Saint-Hilaire. It is equally amphibious with the other ; and the account 
of its habits given by Pliny is probably founded on the fact that Upper 
Egypt, which it inhabits, is covered with a more aromatic vegetation than 
the other parts of that country. 

55 See B. xii. c. 51. 


pimples ; and it is taken for epilepsy, in doses of two oboli, in 
oxymel. Used in the form of a pessary it acts as an emmena- 
gogue. The best kind of crocodilea, is that which is the whitest, 
friable, and the lightest in weight : when rubbed between the 
fingers it should ferment like leaven. The usual method is 
to wash it, as they do white lead. It is sometimes adulterated 
with amylum 56 or with Cimolian earth, but the most common 
method of sophistication is to catch the crocodiles and feed 
them upon nothing but rice. It is recommended as one of 
the most efficient remedies for cataract to anoint the eyes with 
crocodile's gall, incorporated with honey. We are assured 
also that it is highly beneficial for affections of the uterus to 
make fumigations with the intestines and rest of the body, or 
else to envelope the patient with wool impregnated with the 

The ashes of the skin of either crocodile, applied with vinegar 
to such parts of the body as are about to undergo an incision, 
or indeed the very smell of the skin when burning, will render 
the patient insensible to the knife. The blood of either croco- 
dile, applied to the eyes, effaces marks upon those organs and 
improves the sight. The body, with the exception of the head 
and feet, is eaten, boiled, for the cure of sciatica, and is found 
very useful for chronic coughs, in children more particularly : 
it is equally good, too, for the cure of lumbago. These animals 
have a certain fat also, which, applied to the hair, makes it fall 
off; persons anointed with this fat are effectually protected 
against crocodiles, and it is the practice to drop it into wounds 
inflicted by them. A crocodile's heart, attached to the body 
in the wool of a black sheep without a speck of any other 
colour, due care too being taken that the sheep was the first 
lamb yeaned by its dam, will effectually cure a quartan fever, 
it is said. 


To these animals we shall annex some others that are equally 
foreign, and very similar in their properties. To begin then 
with the chamseleon, which Democritus has considered worthy 
to be made the subject of an especial work, and each part of 
which has been consecrated to some particular purpose This 
book, in fact, has afforded me no small amusement, revealing 
56 SeerB. xviii. c. 17. 


as it does, and exposing the lies and frivolities of the Greeks. 
In size, the chamseleon resembles the crocodile last mentioned, 
and only differs from it in having the back-bone arched at a 
more acute angle, and a larger tail. There is no animal, it is 
thought, more 67 timid than this, a fact to which it owes its 
repeated changes of colour. 58 It has a peculiar ascendancy over 
the hawk tribe ; for, according to report, it has the power of 
attracting those birds, when flying above it, and then leaving 
them a voluntary prey for other animals. Democritus 89 asserts 
that if the head and neck of a chamseleon are burnt in a, 
fire made with logs of oak, it will be productive of a storm 
attended with rain and thunder ; a result equally produced by 
burning the liver upon the tiles of a house. As to the rest of 
the magical virtues which he ascribes to this animal, we shall 
forbear to mention them, although we look upon them as un- 
founded ; 60 except, indeed, in some few instances where their 
very ridiculousness sufficiently refutes his assertions. 

The right eye, he says, taken from the living animal and 
applied with goats' milk, removes diseases of the crystalline 
humours of theeyes ; and the tongue, attached to the body as 
an amulet, is an effectual preservative against the perils of 
child-birth. He asserts also that the animal itself will facilitate 
parturition, if in the house at the moment ; but if, on the 
other hand, it is brought from elsewhere, the consequences, he 
says, will be most dangerous. The tongue, he tells us, if taken 
from the animal alive, will ensure a favourable result to suits 
at law ; and the heart, attached to the body with black wool 
of the first shearing, is a good preservative against the attacks 
of quartan fever. 

He states also that the right fore-paw, attached to the left 
arm in the skin of the hyaena, is a most effectual preserva- 
tive against robberies and alarms at night ; that the pap on 
the right side is a preventive of fright and panics ; that the 
left foot is sometimes burnt in a furnace with the plant which 
also has the name of "chamaeleon," 61 and is then made up, with 
some unguent, into lozenges ; and that these lozenges, kept in 

51 It is a timid animal, but Pliny's authorities have exaggerated its 

This change of colour is in reality owing to change of locality. 

59 A. Gellius tells the same story, B x. c. 12. 

60 And therefore harmless, 61 See B. xxii. c. 21. 


a wooden vessel, have the effect, if we choose to believe him, 
of making their owner invisible to others ; that the possession, 
also, of the right shoulder of this animal will ensure victory over 
all adversaries or enemies, provided always the party throws 
the sinews of the shoulder upon the ground and treads them 
under foot. As to the left shoulder of the chamaeleon, I should 
be quite ashamed to say to what monstrous purposes Demoeri- 
tus devotes it; how that dreams may be produced by the 
agency thereof, and transferred to any person we may think 
proper ; how that these dreams may be dispelled by the em- 
ployment of the right foot ; and how that lethargy, which has 
been produced by the right foot of this animal, may be removed 
by the agency of the left side. 

So, too, head -ache, he tells us, may be cured by sprinkling 
wine upon the head, in which either flank of a chamaeleon has 
been macerated. If the feet are rubbed with the ashes of the 
left thigh or foot, mixed with sow's milk, gout, he says, will 
be the result. It is pretty generally believed, however, that 
cataract and diseases of the crystalline humours of the eyes 
may be cured by anointing those organs with the gall for three 
consecutive days ; that serpents may be put to flight by drop- 
ping some of it into the fire ; that weasels may be attracted by 
water into which it has been thrown ; and that, applied to the 
body, it acts as a depilatory. The liver, they say, applied with 
the lungs of a bramble- frog, is productive of a similar effect : 
in addition to which, we are told that the liver counteracts the 
effects of philtres ; that persons are cured of melancholy by 
drinking from the warm skin of a chamaeleon the juice of 
the plant known by that name ; and that if the intestines of 
the animal and their contents we should bear in mind that 
in reality the animal lives without food 62 are mixed with 
apes* urine, and the doors of an enemy are besmeared with the 
mixture, he will, through its agency, become the object of 
universal hatred. 

We are told, too, that by the agency of the tail, the 
course of rivers and torrents may be stopped, and serpents 
struck with torpor ; that the tail, prepared with cedar and 
myrrh, and tied to a double branch of the date-palm, will 
divide waters that are smitten therewith, and so disclose every- 

62 See B. viii. c. 51. Flits and gnats are, in reality, its food. 


thing that lies at the bottom and I only wish 63 that Democri- 
tus himself had been touched up with this branch of palm, 
seeing that, as he tells us, it has the property of putting an 
end to immoderate garrulity. It is quite evident that this 
philosopher, a man who has shown himself so sagacious in 
other respects, and so useful to his fellow-men, has been led 
away, in this instance, by too earnest a desire to promote the 
welfare of mankind. 


Similar in appearance to the preceding animals is the 
scincus, 64 which by some writers has been called the land 
crocodile ; it is, however, whiter in appearance, and the skin is 
not so thick. But the main difference between it and the cro- 
codile is in the arrangement of the scales, which run from the 
tail towards the head. The largest of these animals is the Indian 
scincus, and next to it that of Arabia ; they are brought here 
salted. The muzzle and fat of the scincus, taken in white 
wine, act as an aphrodisiac ; when used with satyrion 65 and 
rocket-seed more particularly, in the proportion of one drachma 
of each, mixed with two drachmae of pepper ; the whole being 
made up into lozenges of one drachma each, and so taken in 
drink. The flesh from the flanks, taken internally in a similar 
manner, in doses of two oboli, with myrrh and pepper, is 
generally thought to be productive of a similar effect, and to 
be even more efficacious for the purpose. According to Apelles, 
the flesh of the scincus is good for wounds inflicted by poisoned 
arrows, whether taken before or after the wound is inflicted : 
it is used as an ingredient, also, in the most celebrated anti- 
dotes. Sextius tells us, that, taken in doses of more than one 
drachma, in one semisextarius of wine, the flesh is productive of 
deadly results : he adds,' too, that a broth prepared from it, 
taken with honey, acts as an ant aphrodisiac. 


Between the crocodile, too, and the hippopotamus there is a 
certain affinity, frequenting as they do the same river, and 
being both of them of an amphibious nature. The hippopo- 

63 One of the few pieces of wit in which Pliny is found to indulge. 

64 See B. viii. c. 38. Probably the Lacerta ouaran of Cuvier. 

65 bee B. xxvi. c. 62. 


tamus was the first inventor of the practice of letting blood, a 
fact to which we have 66 made allusion on a previous occasion : 
it is found, too, in the greatest numbers in the parts above the 
prefecture of Sais. 

The hide, reduced to ashes and applied with water, is cura- 
tive of inflamed tumours, and the fat, as well as the dung, 
used as a fumigation, is employed for the cure of cold agues. 
With the teeth of the left side of the jaw, the gums are 
scarified for the cure of tooth-ache. The skin of the left side of 
the forehead, attached to the groin, acts as an antaphrodisiac; and 
an application of the ashes of the same part will cause the hair 
to grow when lost through alopecy. The testes are taken in 
water, in doses of one drachma, for the cure of injuries inflicted 
by serpents. The blood is made use of by painters. 


To foreign countries, also, belongs the lynx, which of all 
quadrupeds is possessed of the most piercing sight. It is said 
that in the Isle of Carpathus a most powerful medicament is 
obtained by reducing to ashes the nails of the lynx, together 
with the hide ; that these ashes, taken in drink, have the 
effect of checking abominable desires in men; and that, if they 
are sprinkled upon women, all libidinous thoughts will be 
restrained. They are good too for the removal of itching 
sensations in any part of the body. The urine of the lynx is 
a remedy for strangury ; for which reason the animal, it is 
said, is in the habit of rooting up the ground and covering it 
the moment it is voided. 67 It is mentioned, too, that this urine 
is an effectual remedy for pains in the throat. Thus much 
with reference to foreign animals. 


We will now return to our own part of the wcrld, speaking, 
first of all, of certain remedies common to animals in general, 
but excellent in their nature ; such as the use of milk, for 
example. The most beneficial milk to every creature is the 
mother's 68 milk. It is highly dangerous for nursing women to 

66 In B. viii. c. 40. 67 See E. viii. c. 57. 

68 Except, of course, when the mother is in a state of disease. 


conceive : children that are suckled by them are known among 
us as " colostrati," 69 their inilk being thick, like cheese in ap- 
pearance the name " colostra," 70 it should be remembered, is 
given to the first milk secreted after delivery, which assumes a 
spongy, coagulated form. The most nutritive milk, in all 
cases, is woman's milk, and next to that goats' milk, to which 
is owing, probably, the fabulous story that Jupiter was suckled, 
by a goat. 71 The sweetest, next to woman's milk, is camels' 
milk ; but the most efficacious, medicinally speaking, is asses' 
milk. It is in animals of the largest size and individuals 
of the greatest bulk, that the milk is secreted with the greatest 
facility. Goats' milk agrees the best with the stomach, that 
animal browsing more than grazing. Cows' milk is considered 
more medicinal, while ewes' milk is sweeter and more nutri- 
tive, but not so well adapted to the stomach, it being more 
oleaginous than any other. 

Every kind of milk is more aqueous in spring than in sum- 
mer, and the same in all cases where the animal has grazed 
upon a new pasture. The best milk of all is that which adheres 
to the finger nail, when placed there, and does not run from off 
it. Milk is most harmless when boiled, more particularly if 
sea pebbles 72 have been boiled with it. Cows' milk is the most 
relaxing, and all kinds of milk are less apt to inflate when 
boiled. Milk is used for all kinds of internal ulcerations, 
those of the kidneys, bladder, intestines, throat, and lungs in 
particular ; and externally, it is employed for itching sensations 
upon the skin, and for purulent eruptions, it being taken fasting 
for the purpose. We have already 73 stated, when speaking of 
the plants, how that in Arcadia cows' milk is administered for 
phthisis, consumption, and cachexy. Instances are cited, also, 
of persons who have been cured of gout in the hands and feet, 
by drinking asses' milk. 

To these various kinds of milk, medical men have added 
another, to which they have given the name of " schiston ;" 74 

69 See B. xi. c. 96. Dalechamps remarks that Pliny is in error here : 
this name being properly given to infants which have been put to the breast 
too soon after child-birth. And so it would appear from the context. 

The " biestings." 71 Amalthaea, 

Dioscorides says " river pebbles." 73 j n 3. ^y, Cj 53. 

74 From the Greek <rx*<rrdv, "divided " milk, or '* curds." 


the following being the usual method of preparing it. Goats' 
milk, which is used in preference for the purpose, is boiled in 
a new earthen vessel, and stirred with branches of a fig-tree 
newly gathered, as many cyathi of honied wine being added to 
it as there are semisextarii of milk. When the mixture boils, 
care is taken to prevent it running over, by plunging into it a 
silver cyathus measure filled with cold water, none of the water 
being allowed to escape. When taken off the fire, the constitu- 
ent parts of it divide as it cools, and the whey is thus separated 
from the milk. Some persons, again, take this whey, which is 
now very strongly impregnated with wine, and, after boiling 
it down to one third, leave it to cool in the open air. The 
best way of taking it, is in doses of one semisextarius, at stated 
intervals, during five consecutive days ; after taking it, riding 
exercise should be used by the patient. This whey is admi- 
nistered in cases of epilepsy, melancholy, paralysis, leprosy, 
elephantiasis, and diseases of the joints. 

Milk is employed as an injection where excoriations have 
been caused by the use of strong purgatives ; in cases also 
where dysentery is productive of chafing, it is similarly em-, 
ployed, boiled with sea pebbles or a ptisan of barley. Where, 
however, the intestines are excoriated, cows' milk or ewes' 
milk is the best. New milk is used as an injection for dysen- 
tery ; and in an unboiled state, it is employed for affections of 
the colon and uterus, and for injuries inflicted by serpents. It 
is also taken internally as an antidote to the venom of cantha- 
rides, the pine -caterpillar, the buprestis, and the salamander. 
Cows' milk is particularly recommended for persons who have 
taken colchicum, hemlock, dorycnium, 75 or the flesh of the sea- 
hare; and asses' milk, in cases where gypsum, white-lead, 
sulphur, 76 or quick-silver, have been taken internally. This 
last is good too for constipation attendant upon fever, and is 
remarkably useful as a gargle for ulcerations of the throat. It 
is taken, also, internally, by patients suffering from atrophy, for 
the purpose of recruiting their exhausted strength ; as also in 
cases of fever unattended with head-ache. The ancients held 
it as one of their grand secrets, to administer to children, before 
taking food, a semisextarius of asses' milk, or for want of that, 
goats' milk ; a similar dose, too, was given to children troubled 

75 See B. xxi. c. 105. 

76 He perhaps means a sulphate, and not sulphur, which is harmless. 
VOL. V. Y 


with chafing of the rectum at stool. It is considered a sove- 
reign remedy for hardness of breathing, to take cows' milk 
whey, mixed with nasturtium. In cases of ophthalmia, too, the 
eyes are fomented with a mixture of one semisextarius of 
milk and four drachmae of pounded sesame. 

Goats' milk is a cure for diseases of the spleen ; but in such 
case the goats must fast a couple of days, and be fed on ivy- 
leaves the third ; the patient, too, must drink the milk for three 
consecutive days, without taking any other nutriment. Milk, 
under other circumstances, is detrimental to persons suffering 
from head-ache, liver complaints, diseases of the spleen, and 
affections of the sinews ; it is bad for fevers, also, vertigo 
except, indeed, where it is required as a purgative oppression of 
the head, coughs, and ophthalmia. Sows' milk is extremely use- 
ful in cases of tenesmus, dysentery, and phthisis ; authors have 
been found too, to assert that it is very wholesome for females. 


"We have already 77 spoken of the different kinds of cheese 
when treating of the mamillae and other parts of animals. 
Sextius attributes the same properties to mares' milk cheese 
that he does to cheese made of cows' milk : to the former he 
gives the names of " hippace." Cheese is best for the sto- 
mach when not salted, or, in other words, when new cheese is 
used. Old [salted] cheese has a binding effect upon the 
bowels, and reduces the flesh, but is more wholesome to 
the stomach [than new salted cheese]. Indeed, we may pro- 
nounce of aliments in general, that salt meats reduce the system, 
while fresh food has a tendency to make flesh. Fresh cheese, 
applied with honey, effaces the marks of bruises. It acts, 
also, emolliently upon the bowels ; and, taken in the form of 
tablets, boiled in astringent wine and then toasted with honey on 
a platter, it modifies and alleviates griping pains in the bowels. 

The cheese known as " saprurn," 78 is beaten up, in wine, with 
salt and dried sorb apples, and taken in drink, for the cure of 
cceliac affections. Goats' milk cheese, pounded and applied to 
the part affected, is a cure for carbuncle of the generative organs; 
sour cheese, also, with oxymel, is productive of a similar effect. 
In the bath it is used as a friction, alternately with oil, for the 
removal of spots. 

77 In B. xi, c. 97. 78 From the Greek vaTrpbv, "rotten" cheese. 

79 Like our cream cheese, or new milk cheese, probably. 



Prom milk, too, butter is produced ; held as the most delicate 
of food among barbarous 80 nations, and one which distinguishes 81 
the wealthy from the multitude at large. It is mostly made 
from cows' milk, and hence its name ; 82 but the richest butter 
is that made from ewes' milk. There is a butter made also 
from goats' milk ; but previously to making it, the milk should 
first be warmed, in winter. In summer it is extracted from 
the milk by merely shaking it to and fro in a tall vessel, with 
a small orifice at the mouth to admit the air, but otherwise 
closely stopped, a little water 83 being added to make it curdle 
the sooner. The milk that curdles the most, floats upon the sur- 
face ; this they remove, and, adding salt to it, give it the name 
of " oxygala." 84 They then take the remaining part and boil 
it down in pots, and that portion of it which floats on the 
surface is butter, a substance of an oily nature. The more 85 
rank it is in smell, the more highly it is esteemed. When old, 
it forms an ingredient in numerous compositions. It is of an 
astringent, emollient, repletive, and purgative nature. 

80 The people of Germany and Scythia, for instance. 

81 In this passage also it is generally supposed that he refers to the 
nomadic life of barbarous nations, in which multitudes of sheep and 
cattle constituted the chief wealth. It is, however, not improbable that 
he means to say that among the Romans it was only the wealthy who could 
afford to use it. 

82 Bovrupov, "cow cheese." 

83 Qy. whether for "aquae," "water," we should not read "acidi" 
here, " sour milk," as at the beginning of the next Chapter ? Beckmann 
suggests " aceti," " vinegar." Hist. Inv. I. 505, Bohris Ed. 

84 Beckmann says on this passage, " What Pliny says respecting oxygala 
is attended with difficulties : and I am fully persuaded that his words are 
corrupted, though I find no variations marked in MSS. by which this con- 
jecture can be supported." Hist. Inv. I. 505. He suggests another 
arrangement of the whole passage, but without improving it, for the diffi- 
culty would appear to be totally imaginary ; as it is quite clear that by 
" oxygala," or " sour milk," Pliny means the thickest part of the curd, 
which is first removed and then salted, forming probably a sort of cream 
cheese. Though his meaning is clear, he may very possibly give an, 
erroneous description of the process. 

85 The remark of Holland on this passage is curious " Some would 
amend this place, and for ' magis,' ' more/ put ' minus,' ' less/ in a con- 
trary sense ; but I suppose he writeth in regard of barbarous people, who 
make more account of such ranke butyr; like as the uncivile Irish in 
these daies." 

Y 2 



Oxygala, too, is prepared another way, sour milk being 
added to the fresh milk which is wanted to curdle. This pre- 
paration is extremely wholesome to the stomach : of its pro- 
perties we shall have occasion 86 to speak in another place. 



Among the remedies common to living creatures, fat is the 
substance held in the next highest esteem, that of swine in 
particular, which was employed by the ancients for certain 
religious purposes even : at all events, it is still the usage for 
the newly- wedded bride, when entering her husband's house, 
to touch the door-posts with it. There are two methods of 
keeping hogs' lard, either salted or fresh ; indeed, the older it 
is, the better. The Greek writers have now given it the name 
of " axungia/' 87 or axle-grease, in their works. Nor, in fact, 
is it any secret, why swine's fat should be possessed of such 
marked properties, seeing that the animal feeds to such a great 
extent upon the roots of plants owing too, to which, its dung 
is applied to such a vast number of purposes. It will be as 
well, therefore, to premise, that I shall here speak only of the 
hog that feeds in the open field, and no other ; of which kind 
it is the female that is much the most useful if she has never 
farrowed, more particularly. But it is the fat of the wild boar 
that is held in by far the highest esteem of all. 

The distinguishing properties, then, of swine's- grease, are 
emollient, calorific, resolvent, and detergent. Some physicians 
recommend it as an ointment for the gout, mixed with goose- 
grease, bull-suet, and wool- grease : in cases, however, where 
the pain is persistent, it should be used in combination with 
wax, myrtle, resin, and pitch. Hogs' lard is used fresh for 
the cure of burns, and of blains, too, caused by snow : with 
ashes of burnt barley and nutgalls, in equal proportions, it is em- 
ployed for the cure of chilblains. It is good also for excoriations 
of the limbs, and for dispelling weariness and lassitude arising 
from long journeys. For the cure of chronic cough, new 
lard is boiled down, in the proportion of three ounces to three 

86 He has forgotten to do so, however. 

87 From the Latin "axis," au "axle," and "ungo," "to anoint." 


Chap. 37.] THE VARIOUS USES OF FAT. 325 

cyathi of wine, some honey being added to the mixture. Old 
lard too, if it has been kept without salt, made up into pills 
and taken internally, is a cure for phthisis : but it is a general 
rule not to use it salted in any cases except where detergents are 
required, or where there are no symptoms of ulceration. For 
the cure of phthisis, some persons boil down three ounces of 
hogs' lard and honied wine, in three cyathi of ordinary wine ; 
and after swathing the sides, chest, and shoulders of the patient 
with compresses steeped in the preparation, administer to him, 
every four days, some tar with an egg : indeed, so potent is 
this composition, that if it is only attached to the knees even, 
the flavour of it will ascend to the mouth, and the patient 
will appear to spit it out, 88 as it were. 

The grease of a sow that has never farrowed, is the most 
useful of all cosmetics for the skin of females ; but in all cases, 
hogs' lard is good for the cure of itch-scab, mixed with pitch 
and beef-suet in the proportion of one-third, the whole being 
made lukewarm for the purpose. Fresh hogs' lard, applied as 
a pessary, imparts nutriment to the infant in the womb, and 
prevents abortion. Mixed with white lead or litharge, it re- 
stores scars to their natural colour ; and, in combination with 
sulphur, it rectifies malformed nails. It prevents the hair also 
from falling off; and, applied with a quarter of a nutgall, it 
heals ulcers upon the head in females. When well smoked, it 
strengthens the eyelashes. Lard is recommended also for phthisis, 
boiled down with old wine, in the proportion of one ounce to a 
semisextarius, till only three ounces are left ; some persons add 
a little honey to the composition. Mixed with lime, it is used 
as a liniment for inflamed tumours, boils, and indurations of 
the mamillae : it is curative also of ruptures, convulsions, 
cramps, and sprains. Used with white hellebore, it is good 
for corns, chaps, and callosities : and, with pounded earthen- 
ware 89 which has held salted provisions, for imposthumes of 
the parotid glands and scrofulous sores. Employed as a fric- 
tion in the bath, it removes itching sensations and pimples : but 
for the treatment of gout there is another method of preparing 
it, by mixing it with old oil, and adding pounded sarcopha- 
gus 90 stone and cinquefoil bruised in wine, or else with lime 

88 Hence it was a notion in the sixteenth century, that pitch and hogs' 
lard is a cure for syphilis, by promoting salivation. 

8 < Farina salsamentariae testae." V0 See B. xxxvi. c. 27. 


or ashes. A peculiar kind of plaster is also made of it for the 
cure of inflammatory ulcers, seventy-five denarii of hogs' lard 
being mixed with one hundred of litharge. 

It is reckoned a very good plan also to anoint ulcers with 
boars' grease, and, if they are of a serpiginous nature, to add 
resin to the liniment. The ancients used to employ hogs' lard 
in particular for greasing the axles of their vehicles, that the 
wheels might revolve the more easily, and to this, in fact, it owes 
its name of " axungia," When hogs' lard has been used for this 
purpose, incorporated as it is with the rust of the iron upon 
the wheels, it is remarkably useful as an application for dis- 
eases of the rectum and of the generative organs. The ancient 
physicians, too, set a high value upon the medicinal properties 
of hogs' lard in an unmixed state : separating it from the 
kidneys, and carefully removing the veins, they used to wash 
and rub it well in rain water, after which they boiled it several 
times in a new earthen vessel, and then put it by for keeping. 
It is generally agreed that it is more emollient, calorific, and 
resolvent, when salted ; and that it is still more useful when 
it has been rinsed in wine. 

Massurius informs us, that the ancients set the highest 
value of all upon the fat of the wolf : and that it was for this 
reason that the newly-wedded bride used to anoint the door- 
posts of her husband's house with it, in order that no noxious 
spells might find admittance. 

CHAP. 38. SUET. 

Corresponding with the grease of the swine, is the suet 91 that 
is found in the ruminating animals, a substance employed in 
other ways, but no less efficacious in its properties. The pro- 
per mode of preparing it, in all cases, is to take out the veins 
and to rinse it in sea or salt-water, after which it is beaten up 
in a mortar, with a sprinkling of sea-water in it. This done, 
it is boiled in several waters, until, in fact, it has lost all smell, 
and is then bleached by continual exposure to the sun '; that of 
the most esteemed quality being the fat which grows about the 
kidneys. In case stale suet is required for any medicinal pur- 
pose, it is recommended to melt it first, and then to wash it in 
cold water several times ; after which, it must again be melted 
with a sprinkling of the most aromatic wine that can be pro- 
91 " Sebum" Suet or tallow. 

Chap. 40.] GALL. 327 

cured, it being then boiled again and again, until the rank 
smell has totally disappeared. 

Many persons recommend that the fat of bulls, lions, pan- 
thers, and camels, in particular, should be thus prepared. As 
to the various uses to which these substances are applied, we 
shall mention them on the appropriate occasions. 


Common too, to all these animals, is marrow ; a substance 
which in all cases is possessed of certain emollient, expletive, 
desiccative, and calorific properties. The most highly esteemed 
of all is deer's marrow, the next best being that of the calf, and 
then that of the goat, both male and female. These substances 
are prepared before autumn, by washing them in a fresh state, 
and drying them in the shade ; after which they are passed 
through a sieve, and then strained through linen, and put by 
in earthen pots for keeping, in a cool spot. 

CHAP. 40. GALL. 

But among the substances which are furnished in common 
by the various animals, it is the gall, we may say, that is the 
most efficacious of all. The properties of this substance are of 
a calorific, pungent, resolvent, extractive, and dispersive nature. 
The gall of the smaller animals is looked upon as the most 
penetrating ; for which reason it is that it is generally con- 
sidered the most efficacious for the composition of eye-salves. 
Bull's gall is possessed of a remarkable degree of potency, 
having the effect of imparting a golden tint to the surface 
of copper even and to vessels made of other metals. Gall in every 
case is prepared in the following manner : it is taken fresh, 
and the orifice of the vesicle in which it is contained being tied 
fast with a strong linen thread, it is left to steep for half 
an hour in boiling water ; after which it is dried in the shade, 
and then put away for keeping, in honey. 

That of the horse is condemned, being reckoned among the 
poisons only. Hence it is that the Flamen 92 of the Sacrifices 
is not allowed to touch a horse, notwithstandiug that it is the 

92 Or Flamen Dialis. Festus gives another reason : lest the Flamen 
should travel to a distance, and so neglect his duties. 


custom to immolate one 93 of these animals at the public sacri- 
fices at Eoine. 


The blood, also, of the horse is possessed of certain corrosive 
properties ; and so, too, is mare's blood except, indeed, where 
the animal has not been covered it having the effect of 
cauterizing the margins of ulcers, and so enlarging them. 
Bull's blood too, taken fresh, is reckoned 94 among the poisons ; 
except, indeed, at -^Egira, 95 at which place the priestess of the 
Earth, when about to foretell coming events, takes a draught 
of bull's blood before she descends into the cavern : so power- 
ful, in fact, is the agency of that sympathy so generally spoken 
of, that it may occasionally originate, we find, in feelings of re- 
ligious awe, 96 or in the peculiar nature of the locality. 

Drusus, 97 the tribune of the people, drank goats' blood, it is 
said ; it being his object by his pallid looks to suggest that his 
enemy, Q, Caepio, had given him poison, and so expose him to 
public hatred. So remarkably powerful is the blood of the he- 
goat, that there is nothing better in existence for sharpening 
iron implements, the rust produced by this blood giving them 
a better edge even than a file. Considering, however, that the 
blood of all animals cannot be reckoned as a remedy in common, 
will it not be advisable, in preference, to speak of the effects 
that are produced by that of each kind ? 



We will therefore classify the various remedies, according 
to the maladies for which they are respectively used ; and, first 
of all, those to which man has recourse for injuries inflicted by 

93 The " Equus October," sacrificed to Mars on the Campus Martius in 
October. This sacrifice was attended with some very ridiculous ceremonies. 

84 This, as already observed, was probably a fallacy. 

95 See B. iv. c. 6. 

s6 His meaning is, that the excitement produced hy religious feeling 
neutralizes that antipathy which, under ordinary circumstances, is manifested 
towards the system by bull's blood. 

97 See B. xxxiii. c. 6. 


serpents. That deer are destructive to those reptiles 98 no one 
is ignorant ; as also of the fact that they drag them from their 
holes when they find them, and so devour them. And it is 
not only while alive and breathing that deer are thus fatal to 
serpents, but even when dead and separated limb from limb. 
The fumes of their horns, while burning, will drive away 
serpents, as already" stated ; but the bones, it is said, of the 
upper part of a stag's throat, if burnt upon a fire, will bring those 
reptiles together. Persons may sleep upon a deer's skin in 
perfect safety, and without any apprehension of attacks by 
serpents ; its rennet too, taken with vinegar, is an effectual anti- 
dote to the stings of those reptiles ; indeed, if it has been only 
touched by a person, he will be for that day effectually pro- 
tected from them. The testes, dried, or the genitals of the 
male animal, are considered to be very wholesome, taken in 
wine, and so are the umbles, generally known as the " centi- 
pellio." 1 Persons having about them a deer's tooth, or who 
have taken the precaution of rubbing the body with a deer or 
fawn's marrow, will be sure to repel the attacks of all serpents. 

But the most effectual remedy of all is thought to be the 
rennet of a fawn that has been cut from the uterus of the 
dam, as already 2 mentioned in another place. Deer's blood, 
burnt upon a fire of lentisk wood, with dracontium, 3 cunilago, 4 
and alkanet, will attract serpents, they say ; while, on the 
other hand, if the blood is removed and pyrethrum 5 substituted 
for it, they will take to flight. 

I find an animal mentioned by Greek writers, smaller than 
the stag, but resembling it in the hair, and to which they give 
the name of " ophion." 6 Sardinia, they say, is the only coun- 
try that produces it ; I am of opinion, however, that it is now 
extinct, and for that reason I shall not enlarge upon its medi- 
cinal properties. 

(10.) As a preservative against the attacks of serpents, the 
brains and blood of the wild boar are held in high esteem : 
the liver also, dried and taken in wine with rue ; and the fat, 

98 See B. viii. c. 50. " In B. viii. c. 50. 

1 Or *' hundred skins." Called the mirefeuillet in French. 

2 In B. viii. c. 50. 3 See B. xxiv. c. 91. 

4 See B. xx. c. 63. 

5 The Anthemis pyrethrura of Linnaeus, Spanish camomile or pollitory. 

6 Possibly the Musmou of B. viii. c. 49. See also B. xxx. c. 52. 


used with honey and resin. Similar properties are attributed 
to the liver of the domesticated boar and the outer filaments, 
and those only, of the gall, these last being taken in doses of 
four denarii ; the brains also, taken in wine, are equally ef- 
fectual. The fumes of the burning horns or hair of a she-goat 
will repel serpents, they say : the ashes, too, of the horns, used 
either internally or externally, are thought to be an antidote 
to their poison. A similar effect is attributed to goats' milk, 
taken with Taminian 7 grapes ; to the urine of those animals, 
taken with squill vinegar ; to goats' milk cheese, applied with 
origanum ; 8 and to goat suet, used with wax. 

In addition to all this, as will be seen hereafter, there are a 
thousand other remedial properties attributed to this animal ; 
a fact which surprises me all the more, seeing that the goat, 
it is said, is never free from fever. 9 The wild animals of the 
same species, which are very numerous, as already 10 stated, 
have a still greater efficacy attributed to them; but the he- 
goat has certain properties peculiar to itself, and Democritus 
attributes properties still more powerful to the animal when it 
has been the only one yeaned. It is recommended also to apply 
she- goat's dung, boiled 11 in vinegar, to injuries inflicted by 
serpents, as also the ashes of fresh dung mixed with wine. 
As a general rule, persons who find that they are recovering 
but slowly from injuries inflicted by a serpent, will find their 
health more speedily re-established by frequenting the stalls 
where goats are kept. Those, however, whose object is a more 
assured remedy, attach immediately to the wound the paunch 
of a she-goat killed for the purpose, dung and all. Others, 
again, use the flesh of a kid just killed, and fumigate it with 
the singed hair, the smell of which has the effect of repelling 

For stings of serpents, as also for injuries inflicted by the 
scorpion and shrew-mouse, some employ the skin of a goat 
newly killed, as also the flesh and dung of a horse that has 
been out at pasture, or a hare's rennet in vinegar. They say, 
too, that if a person has the body well rubbed with a hare's 
rennet, he will never receive injury from venomous animals. 
When a person has been stung by a scorpion, she-goat's dung, 

7 See B. xxiii. cc. 13, 14. 8 See B. xx. c. 67. 

9 See B. viii. c. 76. 10 In B. viii. c. 76. 

11 A remedy of which H. Cloquet highly approves, on chemical grounds, 


boiled with vinegar, is considered a most efficient remedy : in 
cases too, where a buprestis has been swallowed, bacon and the 
broth in which it has been boiled, are highly efficacious. Nay, 
what is even more than this, if a person applies his mouth to 
an ass's ear, and says that he has been stung by a scorpion, the 
whole of the poison, they say, will immediately pass away 
from him and be transferred to the animal. All venomous 
creatures, it is said, are put to flight by a fumigation made 
by burning an ass's lights. It is considered an excellent 
plan too, to fumigate persons, when stung by a scorpion, with 
the smoke of burnt calves' dung. 



When a person has been bitten by a mad dog, it is the " 
practice to make an incision round the wound to the quick, 
and then to apply raw veal to it, and to make the patient 
take either veal broth or hogs' lard, mixed with lime internally^ 
Some persons recommend a he-goat's liver, and maintain that 
if it is applied to the wound the patient will never be attacked 
with hydrophobia. She- goat's dung, too, is highly spoken of, 
applied with wine, as also the dung of the badger, cuckoo, and 
swallow, boiled and taken in drink. 

For bites inflicted by other animals, dried goats' milk cheese 
is applied with origanum and taken with the drink ; and for 
injuries caused by the human 12 teeth, boiled beef .is applied; 
veal, however, is still more efficacious for the purpose, provided 
it is not removed before the end of four days. 


The dried muzzle of a wolf, they say, is an effectual preser- 
vative against the malpractices of magic ; and it is for this 
reason that it is so commonly to be seen fastened to the doors of 
farm-houses. A similar degree of efficacy, it is thought, 
belongs to the skin of the neck, when taken whole from the 
animal. Indeed, so powerful is the influence of this animal, 
in addition to what we have already 13 stated, that if a horse 

12 Cloquet says that the application would be useless. 

13 In E. viii. c. 34. 


only treads in its track, it will be struck with torpor 14 in 


In case where persons have swallowed quicksilver, 15 bacon 
is the proper remedy to be employed. Poisons are neutralized by 
taking asses' milk ; henbane more particularly, mistletoe, hem- 
lock, the flesh of the sea-hare, opocarpathon, 16 pharicon, 17 and 
dorycnium : 18 the same, too, where coagulated milk 19 has been 
productive of bad effects, for the biestings,' JO or first curdled 
milk, should be reckoned as nothing short of a poison. 21 We 
shall have to mention many other uses to which asses' milk is 
applied ; but it should be remembered that in all cases it must 
be used fresh, or, if not, as new as possible, and warmed, for 
there is nothing that more speedily loses its virtue. The 
bones, too, of the ass are pounded and boiled, as an antidote to 
the poison of the sea-hare. The wild ass 22 is possessed of 
similar properties in every respect, but in a much higher 

Of the wild horse 23 the Greek writers have made no mention, 
it not being a native of their country ; we have every reason to 
believe, however, that it has the same properties as the animal 
in a tame state, but much more fully developed. Mares' milk 
effectually neutralizes the venom of the sea-hare and all 
narcotic poisons. Nor had the Greeks any knowledge from 
experience of the urus 24 and the bison, 24 although in India the 
forests are filled with herds of wild oxen : it is only reasonable, 

14 Cloquet and Ajasson admit the truth of this statement : the latter 
suggests that it may be owing to electricity. 

15 It is no longer reckoned among the poisons. 

16 Juice of carpathum, a substance which does not appear to have been 
identified ; but supposed by Bruce to have been a gum called sassa, with 
which aloes are adulterated in Abyssinia, a thing that Galen tells us was 
done with the carpathum of the ancients. The sea-hare is the Aplysia 
depilans of Gmelin. It is not poisonous. See B. ix. c. 72, and B. xxxii. 
c. 3. 

17 A composite poison, probably, the ingredients of which are now un- 
known, is See Chap. 21 of this Book, 

19 See B. xx. c. 53. 20 See B. xi. c. 96. 

21 On the contrary, cows' biestings are highly thought of in some parts 
of England ; and a very delicate dish is made of them, baked. 

22 " Onager." 33 See B. Tiii. c. 16, and B. xvi. c. 9. 
24 See B. vih. c. 15. 

Chap. 45.] REMEDIES FOIt POISONS. 333 

however, to conclude that all their medicinal properties must 
be much more highly developed than in the animal as found 
among us. It is asserted also, that cows' milk is a general 
counter-poison, in the cases above-mentioned, more particularly, 
as also where the poison of ephemeron 26 has settled internally, 
or cantharides have been administered ; it acting upon the 
poison by vomit. Broth, too, made from goats' flesh, neutral- 
izes the effects of cantharides, in a similar manner, it is said. 
To counteract the corrosive poisons which destroy by ulcer- 
ation, veal or beef-suet is resorted to ; and in cases where a 
leech has been swallowed, butter is the usual remedy, with 
vinegar heated with a red-hot iron. Indeed, butter employed 
by itself is a good remedy for poisons, for where oil is not 
to be procured, it is an excellent substitute for it. Used with 
honey, butter heals injuries inflicted by millepedes. The 
broth of boiled tripe, it is thought, is an effectual repellent of 
the above-mentioned poisons, aconite and hemlock more par- 
ticularly ; veal-suet also has a similar repute. 

Fresh goats' milk cheese is given to persons who have taken 
mistletoe, and goats' milk itself is a remedy for cantharides. 
Taken with Taminian 26 grapes, goats' milk is an antidote to the 
effects of ephemeron. Goats' blood, boiled down with the mar- 
row, is used as a remedy for the narcotic 27 poisons, and kids' blood 
for the other poisons. Kid's rennet is administered where per- 
sons have taken mistletoe, the juice of the white chameeleon, 28 
or bull's blood ; for which last, hare's rennet in vinegar is also 
used by way of antidote. For injuries inflicted \)j the pasti- 
naca, 29 and the stings or bites of all kinds of marine animals, 
hare's rennet, kid's rennet, or lamb's rennet is taken, in doses 
of one drachma, in wine. Hare's rennet, too, generally forms 
an ingredient in the antidotes for poisons. 

The moth that is seen fluttering about the flame of a lamp 
is generally reckoned in the number of the noxious substances : 
its bad effects are neutralized by the agency of goat's liver. 
Goat's gall, too, is looked upon as an antidote to venomous 

25 See B. xxv. c. 107, and B. xxvi. c. 75. 

26 See B. xxiii. cc. 13, 14. 

27 "Toxica" properly, those poisons in which the barbarous nations 
dipped their arrows. 

** See B. xxii. c. 21. 29 Or, sting-ray. 


preparations from the field weazel. 30 But we will now return 
to the other remedies, classified according to the various diseases. 



Bears' grease, 31 mixed with ladanum 32 and the plant adi- 
antum, 33 prevents the hair from falling off ; it is a cure also 
for alopecy and defects in the eyebrows, mixed with the fungus 
from the wick of a lamp, and the soot that is found in the 
nozzle. Used with wine, it is good for the cure of porrigo, a 
malady which is also treated with the ashes of deer's horns in 
wine : this last substance also prevents the growth of vermin 
in the hair. Eor porrigo some persons employ goat's gall, in 
combination with Cimolian chalk and vinegar, leaving the pre- 
pration to dry for a time on the head. Sow's gall, too, mixed 
with bull's urine, is employed for a similar purpose ; and when 
old, it is an effectual cure, with the addition of sulphur, for 
furfuraceous eruptions. The ashes, it is thought, of an ass's 
genitals, will make the hair grow more thickly, and prevent it 
from turning grey ; the proper method of applying it being to 
shave the head and to pound the ashes in a leaden mortar with 
oil. Similar effects are attributed to the genitals of an ass's 
foal, reduced to ashes and mixed with urine ; some nard being 
added to render the mixture less offensive. In cases of alopecy 
the part affected is rubbed with bull's gall, warmed with 
Egyptian alum. Running ulcers of the head are successfully 
treated with bull's urine, or stale human urine, in combination 
with cyclaminos 34 and sulphur : but the most effectual remedy is 
calf's gall, a substance which, heated with vinegar, has also the 
effect of exterminating lice. Yeal suet, pounded with salt and 
applied to ulcers of the head, is a very useful remedy : the fat, 
too, of the fox is highly spoken of, but the greatest value is 
set upon cats' dung, applied in a similar manner with mustard. 

Powdered goats' horns, or the horns reduced to ashes, those 
of the he-goat in particular, with the addition of nitre, tama- 
risk-seed, butter, and oil, are remarkably effectual for prevent- 
ing the hair from coming off, the head being first shaved for 
the purpose. So too, the ashes of burnt goats' flesh, applied 

30 See B. xxix. c. 16. 

J1 This substance still maintains its reputation, as preservative of the 
hair. 32 s ee B< xi i. c . 37, and B. xxvi. c. 30. 

33 See B. xxii. c. 30. 34 g e e B. xxv. c. 67. 

Chap. 47.] REMEDIES FOE THE EYES. 335 

to the eye-brows with oil, impart to them a black tint. By 
using goats' milk, they say, lice may be exterminated ; and the 
dung of those animals, with honey, is thought to be a cure for 
alopecy : the ashes, too, of the hoofs, mixed with pitch, prevent 
the hair from coming off. 

The ashes of a burnt hare, mixed with oil of myrtle, alle- 
viate head-ache, the patient drinking some water that has 
been left in the trough after an ox or ass has been drinking 
there. The male organs of a fox, worn as an amulet, are 
productive, if we choose to believe it, of a similar effect : the 
same, too, with the ashes of a burnt deer's horn, applied with 
vinegar, rose oil, or oil of iris. 


For denuxions 35 of the eyes, beef suet, boiled with oil, is 
applied to the parts affected ; and for eruptions of those organs, 
ashes of burnt deer's horns are similarly employed, the tips of 
the horns being considered the most effectual for the purpose. 
For the cure of cataract, it is reckoned a good plan to apply 
a wolf's excrements: the same substance, too, reduced to 
ashes, is used for the dispersion of films, in combination with 
Attic honey. Bear's gall, too, is similarly employed; and for 
the cure of epinyctis, wild boar's lard, mixed with oil of 
roses, is thought to be very useful. An ass's hoof, reduced to 
ashes and applied with asses' milk, is used for the removal of 
marks in the eyes and indurations of the crystalline humours. 
Beef marrow, from the right fore leg, beaten up with soot, 
is employed for affections of the eyebrows, and for diseases 
of the eyelids and corners of the eyes. For the same purpose, 
also, a sort of calliblepharon 36 is prepared from soot, the best 
of all being that made from a wick of papyrus mixed with 
oil of sesame ; the soot being removed with a feather and 
caught in a new vessel prepared for the purpose. This mix- 
ture, too, is very efficacious for preventing superfluous eye- 
lashes from growing again when once pulled out. 

Bull's gall is made up into eye- salves 37 with white of egg, 

35 If they are occasioned by irritation, Ajasson thinks that Pliny's re- 
medy may be of some utility. 

36 "A cosmetic for " beautifying the eye-brows." 

37 " Collyria." 


these salves being steeped in water and applied to the eyes for 
four days successively. Veal suet, with goose-grease and the 
extracted juice of ocimum, is remarkably good for diseases of 
the eye-lids. Veal marrow, with the addition of an equal 
proportion of wax and oil or oil of roses, an egg being added 
to the mixture, is used as a liniment for indurations of the eye- 
lids. Soft goats' milk cheese is used as an application, with 
warm water, to allay defluxions of the eyes ; but when they 
are attended with swelling, honey is used instead of the water. 
In both cases, however, the eyes should be fomented with 
warm whey. In cases of dry ophthalmia, it is found a very 
useful plan to take the muscles 38 lying within a loin of pork, 
and, after reducing them to ashes, to pound and apply them to 
the part affected. 

She-goats, they say, are never affected with, ophthalmia, 
from the circumstance that they browse upon certain kinds of 
herbs : the same, too, with the gazelle. Hence it is that we 
find it recommended, at the time of new moon, to swallow the 
dung of these animals, coated with wax. As they are able to 
see, too, by night, it is a general belief that the blood of a he- 
goat is a cure for those persons affected with dimness of sight 
to whom the Greeks have given the name of " nyctalopes."* 9 
A similar virtue is attributed to the liver of a she-goat, boiled 
in astringent wine. Some are in the habit of rubbing the eyes 
with the thick gravy 40 which exudes from a she-goat's liver 
roasted, or with the gall of that animal : they recommend the 
flesh also as a diet, and say that the patient should expose 
his eyes to the fumes of it while boiling : it is a general 
opinion, too, that the animal should be of a reddish colour. 
Another prescription is, to fumigate the eyes with the steam 
arising from the liver boiled in an earthen jar, or, according to 
some authorities, roasted. 

Goats* gall is applied for numerous purposes : with, honey, 
for films upon the eyes ; with one- third part of white hellebore, 
for cataract ; with wine, for spots upon the eyes, indurations of 
the cornea, films, webs, and argema; with extracted juice 
of cabbage, for diseases of the eyelids, the hairs being first 
pulled out, and the preparation left to dry on the parts affected ; 

38 This is the translation suggested by Dalecbamps for "lumbulis." 

39 ' Seers by night." *> " Same." 

Chap. 48.] REMEDIES FOE THE EARS. 337 

and with woman's milk, for rupture of the coats of the eye. 
For all these purposes, the gall is considered the most effica- 
cious, when dried. Nor is the dung of this animal held in 
disesteem, being applied with honey for defluxions of the eyes. 
The marrow, too, of a goat, or a hare's lights, we find used 
for pains in the eyes ; and the gall of a goat, with raisin wine 
or honey, for the dispersion of films upon those organs. It is 
recommended also, for ophthalmia, to anoint the eyes with 
wolf's fat or swine's marrow : we find it asserted, too, that per- 
sons who carry a wolf's tongue, inserted in a bracelet, will 
always be exempt from ophthalmia. 



Pains and diseases of the ears are cured by using the urine 
of a wild boar, kept in a glass vessel, or the gall of a wild 
boar, swine, or ox, mixed with castor-oil and oil of roses in 
equal proportions. But the best remedy of all is bull's gall, 
warmed with leek juice, or with honey, if there is any suppu- 
ration. Bull's gall too, warmed by itself in a pomegranate 
rind, is an excellent remedy for offensive exhalations from the 
ears : in combination with woman's milk, it is efficacious as a 
cure for ruptures of those organs. Some persons are of opinion 
that it is a good plan to wash the ears with this preparation in 
cases where the hearing is affected ; while others again, after 
washing the ears with warm water, insert a mixture composed 
of the old slough of a serpent and vinegar, wrapped up in a 
dossil of wool. In cases, however, where the deafness is very 
considerable, gall warmed in a pomegranate rind with myrrh 
and rue, is injected into the ears; sometimes, also, fat bacon 
is used for this purpose, or fresh asses' dung, mixed with oil 
of roses: in all cases, however, the ingredients should be 

The foam from a horse's mouth is better still, or the ashes 
of fresh horse dung, mixed with oil of roses : fresh butter too 
is good ; beef-suet mixed with goose-grease ; the urine of a 
bull or she- goat ; or fullers' lant, heated to such a degree that 
the steam escapes by the neck of the vessel. For this purpose 
also, one third part of vinegar is mixed with a small portion of 
the urine of a calf, which has not begun to graze. They apply 
also to the ears calf's dung, mixed with the gall of that animal 

VOL. V. Z 


and sloughs of serpents, care being taken to warm the ears be- 
fore the application, and all the remedies being wrapped in 
wool. Veal-suet, too, is used, with goose-grease and extract of 
ocimum ; or else veal marrow, mixed with bruised cummin 
and injected into the ears. For pains in the ears, the liquid 
ejected by a boar in copulation is used, due care being taken to 
receive it before it falls to the ground. For fractures of the 
ears, a glutinous composition is made from the genitals of a 
calf, which is dissolved in water when used ; and for other 
diseases of those organs, foxes' fat is employed, goat's gall 
mixed with rose-oil warmed, or else extracted juice of leeks : 
in all cases where there is any rupture, these preparations are 
used in combination with woman's milk. Where a patient is 
suffering from hardness of hearing, ox- gall is employed, with 
the urine of a he or she-goat ; the same, too, where there is 
any suppuration. 

Whatever the purpose for which they are wanted, it is the 
general opinion that these substances are more efficacious when 
they have been smoked in a goat's horn for twenty days. 
Hare's rennet, too, is highly spoken of, taken in Aminean 41 
wine, in the proportion of one third of a denarius of rennet to 
one half of a denarius of sacopenum. 42 Bears' grease, mixed 
with equal proportions of wax and bull-suet, is a cure for 
imposthumes of the parotid glands : some persons add hy- 
pocisthis 43 to the composition, or else content themselves with 
employing butter only, after first fomenting the parts affected 
with a decoction of fenugreek, the good effects of which are 
augmented by strychnos. The testes, too, of the fox, are very 
useful for this purpose ; as also bull's blood, dried and reduced 
to powder. She-goats' urine, made warm, is used as an injec* 
tion for the ears ; and a liniment is made of the dung of those 
animals, in combination with axle- grease. 


The ashes of deer's horns strengthen loose teeth and allay 
tooth-ache, used either as a friction or as a gargle. Some persons, 
however, are of opinion that the horn, unburnt and reduced to 
powder, is still more efficacious for all these purposes. Denti- 
frices are made both from the powder and the ashes. Another 

41 See B. xiv. c. 4. ** See B. xx. c. 75. 

43 See B. xxvi. c. 31. 


excellent remedy is a wolf's head, reduced to ashes : it is a 
well-known fact, too, that there are bones generally found in 
the excrements of that animal ; these bones, attached to the 
body as an amulet, are productive of advantageous effects. For 
the cure of tooth-ache, hare's rennet is injected into the ear : 
the head also of that animal, reduced to ashes, is used in the 
form of a dentifrice, and, with the addition of nard, is a correc- 
tive of bad breath. Some persons, however, think it a better 
plan to mix the ashes of a mouse's head with the dentifrice. 
In the side of the hare there is a bone found, similar to a, 
needle in appearance : for the cure of tooth-ache it is recom- 
mended to scarify the gums with this bone. The pastern-bone 
of an ox, ignited and applied to loose teeth which ache, has 
the effect of strengthening them in the sockets ; the same bone, 
reduced to ashes, and mixed with myrrh, is also used as a denti- 
frice. The ashes of burnt pig's feet are productive of a similar 
effect, as also the calcined bones of the cotylo'id cavities in which 
the hip-bones move. It is a well-known fact, that, introduced 
into the throat of beasts of burden, these bones are a cure for 
worms, and that, in a calcined state, they are good for strength- 
ening the teeth. 

When the teeth have been loosened by a blow, they are 
strengthened by using asses' milk, or else ashes of the burnt 
teeth of that animal, or a horse's lichen, reduced to powder, 
and injected into the ear with oil. By lichen 45 1 do not mean 
the hippomanes, a noxious substance which I purposely forbear 
to enlarge upon, but an excrescence which forms upon the 
knees of horses, and just above the hoofs. In the heart 46 of 
this animal there is also found a bone which bears a close 
resemblance to the eye-teeth of a dog : if the gums are scarified 
with this bone, or with a tooth taken from the jaw-bone of a 
dead horse, corresponding in place with the tooth affected, the 
pain will be removed, they say. Anaxilaiis assures us that if 
the liquid which, exudes from a mare when covered, is ignited 
on the wick of a lamp, it will give out a most marvellous 
representation 47 of horses' heads ; and the same with reference 

44 See B. xxi. c. 105. 45 See B. viii. c. 66. 

46 See B. xi. c. 70. Ajasson remarks that this bone is only found in 
animals that have undergone much fatigue, and that it results from the 
consolidation of certain tendinous fibres which form the ligament of the heart. 

47 " Capitum visus " seems to be a more probable reading than " capi- 

z 2 


to the she-ass. As to the hippomanes, it is possessed of proper- 
ties so virulent and so truly magical, that if it is only thrown 
into fused metal 48 which is being cast into the resemblance of 
an Olympian mare, it will excite in all stallions that approach 
it a perfect frenzy for copulation. 

Another remedy for diseases of the teeth is joiners' glue, 
boiled in water and applied, care being taken to remove it very 
speedily, and instantly to rinse the teeth with wine in which 
sweet pomegranate-rind has been boiled. It is considered, 
also, a very efficacious remedy to wash the teeth with goats' 
milk, or bull's gall. The pastern-bones of a she-goat just 
killed, reduced to ashes, and indeed, to avoid the necessity for 
repetition, of any other four-footed beast reared in the farm- 
yard, are considered to make an excellent dentifrice. 


It is generally believed that asses' milk effaces wrinkles in 
the face, renders the skin more delicate, and preserves its white- 
ness : and it is a well-known fact, that some women are in the 
habit of washing their face with it seven 49 hundred times daily, 
strictly observing that number. Poppa3a, the wife of the 
Emperor Nero, was the first to practise this ; indeed, she had 
sitting-baths, prepared solely with asses' milk, for which pur- 
pose whole troops of she- asses 50 used to attend her on her jour- 
nies. 51 Purulent eruptions on the face are removed by an 
application of butter, but white lead, mixed with the butter, 
is an improvement. Pure butter, alone, is used for serpigi- 
nous eruptions of the face, a layer of barley-meal being pow- 
dered over it. The caul of a cow that has just calved, is 
applied, while still moist, to ulcers of the face. 

The following recipe may seem frivolous, but still, to please 
the women, 52 it must not be omitted ; the pastern-bone of a 
white steer, they say, boiled forty days and forty nights, till it is 

turn usus " given by Sillig. Be it what it may, the meaning of the pas- 
sage is doubtful. 

48 See -Elian, Var. Hist. xiv. 18. 

49 There surely must be a wrong reading here, or he cannot intend this 
to be understood literally. w See B. xi. c. 96. 

91 One of the mistresses of Louis XV. not only did this, but (in a spirit 
of great charity and consideration, of course) gave the milk to the poor 
after she had thus used it. 

" Ad deside : ri mulierum." 


quite dissolved, and then applied to the face in a linen cloth, 
will remove wrinkles and preserve the whiteness of the skin. 
An application of bull's dung, they say, will impart a rosy 
tint to the cheeks, and not crocodilea 53 even is better for the 
purpose ; the face, however, must be washed with cold water, 
both before and after the application. Sun-burns and all other 
discolorations of the skin, are removed by the aid of calves' 
dung kneaded up by hand with oil and gum ; ulcerations and 
chaps of the mouth, by an application of veal or beef-suet, 
mixed with goose-grease and juice of ocirnum. There is 
another composition, also, made of veal - suet with stag's 
marrow and leaves of white- thorn, the whole beaten up 
together. Marrow, too, mixed with resin, even if it be cow 
marrow only, is equally good ; and the broth of cow-beef is 
productive of similar effects. A most excellent remedy for 
lichens on the face is a glutinous substance prepared from the 
genitals of a male calf, melted with vinegar and live sulphur, 
and stirred together with the branch of a fig-tree : this com- 
position is applied twice a day, and should be used quite fresh. 
This glue, similarly prepared from a decoction of honey and 
vinegar, is a cure for leprous spots, which are also removed by 
applying a he- goat's liver warm. 

Elephantiasis, too, is removed by an application of goats 1 
gall ; and leprous spots and furfuraceous eruptions by em- 
ploying bull's gall with the addition of nitre, or else asses' urine 
about the rising of the Dog-star. Spots on the face are re- 
moved by either bull's gall or ass's gall diluted in water by 
itself, care being taken to avoid the sun or wind after the skin 
has peeled off. A similar effect is produced, also, by using bull's 
gall or calf s gall, in combination with seed of cunila and the 
ashes of a deer's horn, burnt at the rising of Canicula. 

Asses' fat, in particular, restores the natural colour to scars 
and spots on the skin caused by lichen or leprosy. A he-goat's 
gall, mixed with cheese, live sulphur, and sponge reduced 
to ashes, effectually removes freckles, the composition being 
brought to the consistency of honey before being applied. 
Some persons, however, prefer using dried gall, and mix with it 
warm bran, in the proportion of one obolus to four oboli of honey, 
the spots being rubbed briskly first. He-goat suet, too, is highly 

53 See c. 28 of this Book. 


efficacious, used in combination with gith, sulphur, and iris; this 
mixture being also employed, with goose-grease, stag's marrow, 
resin, and lime, for the cure of cracked lips. I find it stated 
by certain authors, that persons who have freckles on the skin 
are looked upon as disqualified from taking any part in the 
sacrifices prescribed by the magic art. 



Cow's milk or goat's milk is good for ulcerations of the 
tonsillary glands and of the trachea. It is used in the form of 
a gargle, warm from the udder or heated, goat's milk being 
the best, boiled with mallows and a little salt. A broth made 
from tripe is an excellent gargle for ulcerations of the tongue and 
trachea; and for diseases of the tonsillary glands, the kidneys of a 
fox are considered a sovereign remedy^, dried and beaten up with 
honey, and applied externally. For quinzy, bull's gall or goat's 
gall is used, mixed with honey. A badger's liver, taken in 
water, is good for offensive breath, and butter has a healing 
effect upon ulcerations of the mouth. When a pointed or 
other substance has stuck in the throat, by rubbing it exter- 
nally with cats' dung, the substance, they say, will either come 
up again or pass downwards into the stomach. 

Scrofulous sores are dispersed by applying the gall of a wild 
boar or of an ox, warmed for the purpose : but it is only when the 
sores are ulcerated that hare's rennet is used, applied in a linen 
cloth with wine. The ashes of the burnt hoof of an ass or 
horse, applied with oil or water, is good for dispersing scrofu- 
lous sores ; warmed urine also ; the ashes of an ox's hoof, 
taken in water ; cow-dung, applied hot with vinegar ; goat- 
suet with lime ; goats' dung, boiled in vinegar ; or the testes 
of a fox. Soap, 54 too, is very useful for this purpose, an 
invention of the Gauls for giving a reddish 58 tint to the hair. 
This substance is prepared from tallow and ashes, the best ashes 
for the purpose being those of the beech and yoke-elm : there 
are two kinds of it, the hard soap and the liquid, both of them 
much used by the people of Germany, the men, in particular, 
more than the women. 

54 See Beckraann's Hist. Inv. II. 92-3, Bohris Ed., where this sub- 
ject is treated at considerable length. 

55 " Rutilandis capillis." 

Chap. 53.] BEMEDIES FOB COUGH. 343 


For pains in the neck, the part should be well rubbed with 
butter or bears' grease ; and for a stiff neck, with beef suet, a 
substance which, in combination with oil, is very useful for 
the cure of scrofula. For the painful cramp, attended with 
inflexibility, to which people give the name of " opisthotony," 
the urine of a she-goat, injected into the ears, is found very 
useful ; as also a liniment made of the dung of that animal, 
mixed with bulbs. 

In cases where the nails have been crushed, it is an excel- 
lent plan to attach to them the gall of any kind of animal. 
Whitlows upon the fingers should be treated with dried 
bull's gall, dissolved in warm water. Some persons are in the 
habit of adding sulphur and alum, of each an equal weight. 


A wolf's liver, administered in mulled wine, is a cure for 
cough ; a bear's gall also, mixed with honey ; the ashes of the 
tips of a cow's horn ; or else the saliva of a horse, taken in the 
drink for three consecutive days in which last case the horse 
will be sure to die, they say. 66 A deer's lights are useful for 
the same purpose, dried with the gullet of the animal in the 
smoke, and then beaten up with honey, and taken daily as an 
electuary : the spitter 67 deer, be it remarked, is the kind that 
is the most efficacious for the purpose. 

Spitting of blood is cured by taking ashes of burnt deer's 
horns, or else a hare's rennet in drink, in doses of one-third 
of a denarius, with Samian earth and myrtle- wine. The dung 
of this last animal, reduced to ashes and taken in the evening, 
with wine, is good for coughs that are recurrent at night. 
The smoke, too, of a hare's fur, inhaled, has the effect of bring- 
ing off from the lungs such humours as are difficiflt to be dis- 
charged by expectoration. Purulent ulcerations of the chest 
and lungs, and bad breath proceeding from a morbid state of 
the lungs, are successfully treated with butter boiled with an 
equal quantity of Attic honey till it assumes a reddish hue, a 
spoonful of the mixture being taken by the patient every 
morning : some persons, however, instead of honey prefer 
using larch-resin for the purpose. In cases where there are 

56 " Earn mori tradimt." The reading here is very doubtful. 
* "Subulo." 


discharges of blood, cow's blood, they say, is good, taken in 
small quantities with vinegar ; but as to bull's blood, it would 
be a rash thing to believe in any such recommendation. For 
inveterate spitting of blood, bull-glue is taken, in doses of three 
oboli, in warm water. 


Ulcerations of the stomach are effectually treated with 
asses' milk 58 or cows' milk. For gnawing pains in that region, 
beef is stewed, with vinegar and wine. Fluxes are healed by 
taking the ashes of burnt deer's horns ; and discharges of blood 
by drinking the blood of a kid just killed, made hot, in doses 
of three cyathi, with equal proportions of vinegar and tart 
wine ; or else by taking kid's rennet, with twice the quantity 
of vinegar. 


Liver complaints are cured by taking a wolf's liver dried, in 
honied wine ; or by using the dried liver of an ass, with twice 
the quantity of rock-parsley and three nuts, the whole beaten 
up with honey and taken with the food. The blood, too, of a 
he-goat is prepared and taken with the food. For persons suf- 
fering from asthma, the most efficient remedy of all is the blood 
of wild horses 59 taken in drink ; and next to that, asses' milk 
boiled with bulbs, the whey being the part used, with the 
addition of nasturtium steeped in water and tempered with 
honey, in the proportion of one cyathus of nasturtium to three 
semi-sextarii of whey. The liver or lights of a fox, taken in 
red wine, or bear's gall in water, facilitate the respiration. 


For pains in the loins and all other affections which require 
emollients, frictions with bears' grease should be used ; or else 
ashes of stale boars' dung or swine's dung should be mixed 
with wine and given to the patients. The magicians, too, 
have added to this branch of medicine their own fanciful 
devices. In the first place of all, madness in he-goats, they 
say, may be effectually calmed by stroking the beard ; and if 
the beard is cut off, the goat will never stray to another flock. 

58 Asses' milk is still recommended for pulmonary phthisis. 
w See B. viii. c. 16. 


To the above composition they add goats' dung, and recom- 
mend it to be held in the hollow of the hand, as hot as possible, 
a greased linen cloth being placed beneath, and care being 
taken to hold it in the right hand if the pain is on the left 
side, and in the left hand if the pain is on the right. They 
recommend also that the dung employed for this purpose should 
be taken up on the point of a needle made of copper. The 
mode of treatment is, for the patient to hold the mixture in 
his hand till the heat is felt to have penetrated to the loins, 
after which the hand is rubbed with a pounded leek, and the 
loins with the same dung annealed with honey. They prescribe 
also for the same malady the testes of a hare, to be eaten by the 
patient. In cases of sciatica they are for applying cow-dung 
warmed upon hot ashes in leaves : and for pains in the kidneys 
they recommend a hare's kidneys to be swallowed raw, or 
perhaps boiled, but without letting them be touched by the 
teeth. If a person carries about him the pastern-bone of a 
hare, he wifl never be troubled with puins in the bowels, 
they say. 


Affections of the spleen are alleviated by taking the gall of 
a wild boar or hog in drink ; ashes of burnt deer's horns in 
vinegar ; or, what is best of all, the dried spleen of an ass, the 
good effects being sure to be felt in the course of three days. 
The first dung voided by an ass's foal a substance known as 
"polea" 60 by the people of Syria is administered in oxymel 
for these complaints ; a dried horse tongue, too, is taken in 
wine, a sovereign remedy which, Caecilius Bion tells us, he first 
heard of when living among the barbarous nations. The milt 
of a cow or ox is used in a similar manner.; but when it is 
quite fresh, the practice is to roast or boil it and take it with 
the food. For pains in the liver a topical application is made 
by bruising twenty heads of garlick in one sextarius of vinegar, 
and applying them in a piece of ox bladder. For the same 
malady the magicians recommend a calf's milt, bought at the 
price set upon it and without any haggling, that being an 
important point, and one that should be religiously observed. 
This done, the milt must be cut in two lengthwise, and attached 

80 This would appear to be a Greek word in reality. 


to the patient's shirt, 61 on either side ; after which, the patient 
must put it on and let the pieces fall at his feet, and must 
then pick them up, and dry them in the shade. While this 
last is doing, the diseased liver of the patient will gradually 
contract, they say, and he will eventually be cured. The 
lights, too, of a fox are very useful for this purpose, dried on 
hot ashes and taken in water ; the same, too, with a kid's 
milt, applied to the part affected. 


To arrest looseness of the howels, deer's blood is used ; the 
ashes also of deer's horns ; the liver of a wild boar, taken fresh 
and without salt, in wine ; a swine's liver roasted, or that of a 
he-goat, boiled in five semisextarii of wine ; a hare's rennet 
boiled, in quantities the size of a chick-pea, in wine, or, if 
there are symptoms of fever, in water. To this last some 
persons add nut-galls, while others, again, content themselves 
with hare's blood boiled by itself in milk. Ashes, too, of 
burnt horse-dung are taken in water for this purpose ; or else 
ashes of the part of an old bull's horn which lies nearest the 
root, sprinkled in water ; the blood, too, of a he-goat boiled 
upon charcoal ; or a decoction made from a goat's hide boiled 
with the hair on. 

For relaxing the bowels a horse's rennet is used, or else the 
blood, marrow, or liver of a she-goat. A similar effect is pro- 
duced by applying a wolf's gall to the navel, with elaterium; 62 
by taking mares' milk, goats' milk with salt and honey, or a 
she-goat's gall with juice of cyclaminos, 63 and a little alum in 
which last case some prefer adding nitre and water to the 
mixture. Bull's gall, too, is used for a similar purpose, beaten 
up with wormwood and applied in the form of a suppository ; or 
butter is taken, in considerable doses. 

Cceliac affections and dysentery are cured by taking cow's 
liver ; ashes of deer's horns, a pinch in three fingers swallowed 
in water ; hare's rennet, kneaded up in bread, or, if there is 
any discharge of blood, taken with polenta ; 64 or else boar's 

61 " Tunica." 62 See B. xx. c. 2. 

63 See B. xxv. c. 67. Mares' milk is not a purgative ; and goats' milk, 
as Ajasson remarks, is somewhat astringent. Juice of Cyclamen, on the 
other hand, or sow-bread, is highly purgative. 

64 See B. xviii. c. 14. 


dung, swine's dung, or hare's dung, reduced to ashes and 
mixed with mulled wine. Among the remedies, also, for the 
coeliac flux and dysentery, veal broth is reckoned, a remedy very 
commonly used. If the patient takes asses' milk for these 
complaints, it will be all the better if honey is added ; and no 
less efficacious for either complaint are the ashes of asses* dung 
taken in wine ; or else polea, the substance above 65 -mentioned. 
In such cases, even when attended with a discharge of blood, 
we find a horse's rennet recommended, by some persons known 
as " hippace ;" ashes of burnt horse-dung ; horses' teeth 
pounded ; and boiled cows' milk. In cases of dysentery, it is 
recommended to add a little honey ; and, for the cure of grip- 
ing pains, ashes of deer's horns, bull's gall mixed with cum- 
min, or the flesh of a gourd, should be applied to the navel. 
For both complaints new cheese made of cows' milk is used, 
as an injection ; butter also, in the proportion of four semi- 
sextarii to two ounces of turpentine, or else employed with a de- 
coction of mallows or with oil of roses. Veal-suet or beef-suet 
is also given, and the marrow of those animals is boiled with 
meal, a little wax, and some oil, so as to form a sort of pottage. 
This marrow, too, is kneaded up with bread for a similar pur- 
pose ; or else goats' milk is used, boiled down to one half. In 
cases, too, where there are gripings in the bowels, wine of the 
first running 66 is administered. . For the last-named pains, some 
persons are of opinion that it is a sufficient remedy to take 
a single dose of hare's rennet in mulled wine ; though others 
again, who are more distrustful, are in the habit of applying a 
liniment to the abdomen, made of goats' blood, barley -meal, 
and resin. 

For all defluxions of the bowels it is recommended to apply 
soft cheese, and for cceliac affections and dysentery old cheese, 
powdered, one cyathus of cheese being taken in three cyathi of 
ordinary wine. Goats' blood is boiled down with the marrow 
of those animals for the cure of dysentery ; and the cceliac flux 
is effectually treated with the roasted liver of a she- goat, or, 
what is still better, the liver of a he-goat boiled in astringent 
wine, and administered in the drink, or else applied to the navel 
with oil of myrtle. Some persons boil down the liver in three 
sextarii of water to half a sextarius, and then add rue to it. 

65 In Chap. 57 of this Book. 

66 " Protropum." See B. xiv. cc. 9. 11. 


The milt of a he or she-goat is sometimes roasted for this pur- 
pose, or the suet of a he-goat is incorporated in bread baked 
upon the ashes ; the fat, too, of a she-goat, taken from the kidneys 
more particularly, is used. This last, however, must be taken 
by itself and swallowed immediately, being generally recom- 
mended to be taken in water moderately cool. Some persons, 
too, boil goats' suet in water, with a mixture of polenta, cum- 
min, anise, and vinegar ; and for the cure of cceliac affections, 
they rub the abdomen with a decoction of goats' dung and 

For both the coaliac flux and dysentery, kid's rennet is 
employed, taken in myrtle wine in pieces the size of a bean, 
or else kid's blood, prepared in the form of a dish known by 
the name of "sanguiculus." 67 For dysentery an injection is 
employed, made of bull glue dissolved in warm water. Flatu- 
lency is dispelled by a decoction of calf's dung in wine. For 
intestinal affections deer's rennet is highly recommended, 
boiled with beef and lentils, and taken with the food ; hare's 
fur, also reduced to ashes and boiled with honey; or boiled 
goat's milk, taken with a small quantity of mallows and some 
salt ; if rennet is added, the remedy will be all the more effec- 
tual. Goat suet, taken in any kind of broth, is possessed of 
similar virtues, care being taken to swallow cold water imme- 
diately after. The ashes of a kid's thighs are said to be mar- 
vellously efficacious for intestinal hernia ; as also hare's dung, 
boiled with honey, and taken daily in pieces the size of a bean ; 
indeed, these remedies are said to have proved effectual in cases 
where a cure has been quite despaired of. The broth too, 
made from a goat's head, boiled with the hair on, is highly 



The disease called " tenesmus," or in other words, a frequent 
and ineffectual desire to go to stool, is removed by drinking 
asses' milk or cows' milk. The various kinds of tapeworm 68 are 
expelled by taking the ashes of deer's horns in drink. The bones 

67 A kind of black pudding. Dupinet, the old French translator, says 
that in his time the people of the Alpine regions still called this dish sancfot. 

68 He uses " taenia" probably, as a general name for intestinal worms. 


which we have spoken 69 of as being found in the excrements 
of the wolf, worn attached to the arm, are curative of diseases 
of the colon, provided they have not been allowed to touch the 
ground. Polea, too, a substance already mentioned, 70 is re- 
markably useful for this purpose, boiled in grape juice : 71 the 
same too with swine's dung, powdered and mixed with cum- 
min, in a decoction of rue. The antler of a young stag, 
reduced to ashes and taken in wine, mixed with African snails, 
crushed with the shells on, is considered a very useful remedy. 



Diseases of the bladder, and the torments attendant upon 
calculi, are treated with the urine of a wild boar, or the 
bladder of that animal taken as food ; both of them being still 
more efficacious if they have been thoroughly soaked first. 
The bladder, when eaten, should be boiled first, and if the 
patient is a female, it should be a sow's bladder. There are 
found in the liver of the wild boar certain small stones, 72 or 
what in hardness resemble small stones, of a white hue, and 
resembling those found in the liver of the common swine : if 
these stones are pounded and taken in wine, they will expel 
calculi, it is said. So oppressed is the wild boar by the bur- 
den of his urine, 73 that if he has not first voided it, he is 
unable to take to flight, and suffers himself to be taken as 
though he were enchained to the spot. This urine, they say, 
has a consuming effect upon urinary calculi. The kidneys of 
a hare, dried and taken in wine, act as an expellent upon 
calculi. We have already 74 mentioned that in the gammon of 
the hog there are certain joint-bones ; a decoction made from 
them is remarkably useful for urinary affections. The kidneys 
of an ass, dried and pounded, and administered in undiluted 
wine, are a cure for diseases of the bladder. The excrescences 
that grow on horses' legs, taken for forty days in ordinary 
wine or honied wine, expel urinary calculi. The ashes, too, of 

69 In c. 49 of this Book. 70 In c. 57 of this Book. 

71 " Sapa." Grape-juice boiled down to two-thirds : see B. xiv. c. 11. 

72 In reality, these are biliary calculi, found in the gall-bladder of the 
animal. They are called " bezoar " stones, from a Persian word signifying 
" destructive to poison." 

73 See B. viii. c. 77. 74 In c. 49 of this Book. 


a horse's hoof, taken in wine or water, are considered highly 
useful for this purpose ; and the same with the dung of a she- 
goat if a wild goat, all the better taken in honied wine : 
goats' hair, too, is used, reduced to ashes. 

For carbuncles upon the generative organs, the brains and 
blood of a wild boar or swine are highly recommended : and 
for serpiginous affections of those parts, the liver of those 
animals is used, burnt upon juniper wood more particularly, 
and mixed with papyrus and arsenic ; 75 the ashes, also, of their 
dung; ox-gall, kneaded to the consistency of honey, with 
Egyptian alum and myrrh, beet-root boiled in wine being laid 
upon it; or else beef. Kunning ulcers of those parts are 
treated with veal-suet and marrow, boiled in wine, or with the 
gall of a she- goat, mixed with honey and the extracted juice 
of the bramble. 76 In cases where these ulcers are serpiginous, 
it is recommended to use goats' dung with honey or vinegar, 
or else butter by itself. Swellings of the testes are reduced by 
using veal-suet with nitre, or the dung of the animal boiled in 
vinegar. The bladder of a wild boar, eaten roasted, acts as a 
check upon incontinence of urine ; a similar effect being pro- 
duced by the ashes of the feet of a wild boar or swine sprinkled 
in the drink ; the ashes of a sow's bladder taken in drink ; the 
bladder or lights of a kid ; a hare's brains taken in wine ; the 
testes of a male hare grilled ; the rennet of that animal taken 
with goose-grease and polenta ; 77 or the kidneys of an ass, beaten 
up and taken in undiluted wine. 

The magicians tell us, that after taking the ashes of a boar's 
genitals in sweet wine, the patient must make water in a dog 
kennel, and repeat the following formula " This I do that I 
may not wet my bed as a dog does." On the other hand, a 
swine's bladder, attached to the groin, facilitates the discharge 
of the urine, provided it has not already touched the ground. 


Eor diseases of the fundament, a sovereign remedy is bear's 
gall, mixed with the grease ; to which some persons are in the 

75 Aj assort remarks that arsenic should be used with the greatest care in 
such a case. 

76 u Rubi." Ho probably means the bramble-berry. 

77 See B. xviii. c. 14. 


liabit of addiug litharge and frankincense. Butter, too, is very 
good, employed with goose-grease and oil of roses. The pro- 
portions in which they are mixed will be regulated by the 
circumstances of the case, care being taken to see that they are 
of a consistency which admits of their being easily applied. 
Bull's gall upon lint is a remarkably useful remedy, and has 
the effect of making chaps of the fundament cicatrize with 
great rapidity. Swellings of those parts are treated with veal 
suet that from the loins in particular mixed with rue. For 
other affections, goats' blood is used, with polenta. Goats' 
gall, too, is employed by itself, for the cure of condylomata, and 
sometimes, wolf's gall, mixed with wine. 

Bears' blood is curative of inflamed tumours and apost- 
emes upon these parts in general ; as also bulls' blood, dried 
and powdered. The best remedy, however, is considered to 
be the stone which the wild ass 78 voids with his urine, it is 
said, at the moment he is killed. This stone, which is in a 
somewhat liquefied state at first, becomes solid when it reaches 
the ground : attached to the thigh, it disperses all collections 
of humours and all kinds of suppurations : it is but rarely 
found, however, and it is not every wild ass that produces it, 
but as a remedy it is held in high esteem. Asses' urine too, 
used in combination with gith, is highly, recommended ; the 
ashes of a horse's hoof, applied with oil and water; a horse's 
blood, that of a stone-horse in particular ; the blood, also, of an 
ox or cow, or the gall of those animals. Their flesh too, applied 
warm, is productive of similar results ; the hoofs reduced to 
ashes, and taken in water or honey ; the urine of a she-goat ; 
the flesh of a he-goat, boiled in water; the dung of these 
animals, boiled with honey ; or else a boar's gall, or swine's 
urine, applied in wool. 

Biding on horseback, we well know, galls and chafes the 
inside of the thighs : the best remedy for accidents of this 
nature is to rub the parts with the foam which collects at a 
horse's mouth. Where there are swellings in the groin, arising 79 
from ulcers, a cure is effected by inserting in the sores three 
horse-hairs, tied with as many knots. 

78 "Onager." 

w Arising, by sympathy, from sores in other parts of the body. 




For the cure of gout, bears' grease is employed, mixed in 
equal proportions with, bull-suet and wax ; some persons add 
to the composition, hypocisthis 80 and nut-galls. Others, again, 
prefer he-goat suet, mixed with the dung of a she-goat and 
saffron, or else with mustard, or sprigs of ivy pounded and 
used with perdicium, 81 or with flowers of wild cucumber. Cow- 
dung is also used, with lees of vinegar. Some persons speak 
highly in praise of the dung of a calf which has not begun to 
graze, or else a bull's blood, without any other addition ; a 
fox, also, boiled alive till only the bones are left ; a wolf boiled 
alive in oil to the consistency of a cerate ; he- goat suet, with 
an equal proportion of helxine, 82 and one- third part of mus- 
tard ; or ashes of goats' dung, mixed with axle-grease. They 
say, too, that for sciatica, it is an excellent plan to apply this 
dung boiling 83 hot beneath the great toes ; and that, for diseases 
of the joints, it is highly efficacious to attach bears' gall or 
hares' feet to the part affected. Gout, they say, may be allayed 
by the patient always carrying about with him a hare's foot, 
cut off from the animal alive. 

Bears' grease is a cure for chilblains and all kinds of chaps 
upon the feet ; with the addition of alum, it is still more effi- 
cacious. The same results are produced by using goat-suet ; 
a horse's teeth powdered ; the gall of a wild boar or hog ; or 
else the lights of those animals, applied with their grease ; and 
this, too, where the soles are blistered, or the feet have been 
crushed by a substance striking against them. In cases where 
the feet have been frozen, ashes of burnt hare's fur are used ; 
and for contusions of the feet, the lights of that animal are 
applied, sliced or reduced to ashes. Blisters occasioned by the 
sun are most effectually treated by using asses' fat, or else 
beef- suet, with oil of roses. Corns, chaps, and callosities of 
the feet are cured by the application of wild boars' dung or 
swine's dung, used fresh, and removed at the end of a couple 

80 See B. xxvi. c. 31. Bears' grease is of no use whatever for the cure 
of gout. 

81 See B. xix. c. 31, B. xxi. cc. 62, 104, and B. xxii. cc. 19, 20. 

82 See B. xxi. c. 56. 

83 This mode of cure. Ajasson says, is still employed in the East, where 
the preparation is known by the name of mow. 


of days. The pastern-bones of these animals are also used, re- 
duced to ashes ; or else the lights of a wild boar, swine, or deer. 
When the feet have been galled by the shoes, they are rubbed 
with the urine of an ass, applied with the mud formed by it 
upon the ground. Corns are treated with beef-suet and pow- 
dered frankincense ; chilblains with burnt leather, that of an 
old shoe, in particular ; and injuries produced by tight shoes 
with ashes of goat- skin, tempered with oil. 

The pains attendant upon varicose veins are mitigated by 
using ashes of burnt calves' dung, boiled with lily roots and a 
little honey : a composition which is equally good for all kinds 
of inflammations and sores that tend to suppurate. It is very 
useful, also, for gout and diseases of the joints, when it is the 
dung of a bull-calf that is used more particularly. For exco- 
riations of the joints, the gall of a wild boar or swine is applied, 
in a warm linen cloth : the dung, also, of a calf that has not 
begun to graze ; or else goat-dung, boiled in vinegar with honey. 
Yeal-suet rectifies malformed nails, as also goat-suet, mixed with 
sandarach. Warts are removed by applying ashes of burnt 
calves' dung in vinegar, or else the mud formed upon the ground 
by the urine of an ass. 


In cases of epilepsy, it is a good plan to eat a bear's testes, or 
those of a wild boar, with mares' milk or water ; or else to drink 
a wild boar's urine with honey and vinegar, that being the 
best which has been left to dry in the bladder. The testes, 
also, of swine are prescribed, dried and beaten up in sows' 
milk, the patient abstaining from wine some days before and 
after taking the mixture. The lights of a hare, too, are recom- 
mended, salted, and taken with one third of frankincense, for 
thirty consecutive days, in white wine : hare's rennet also ; 
and asses' brains, smoked with burning leaves, and adminis- 
tered in hydromel, in doses of half an ounce per day. An 
ass's hoofs are reduced to ashes, and taken for a month toge- 
ther, in doses of two spoonfuls ; the testes, also, of an ass, 
salted and mixed with the drink, asses' milk or water in par- 
ticular. The secundines, also, of a she-ass are recommended, 
more particularly when it is a male that has been foaled : placed 
beneath the nostrils of the patient, when the fits are likely to 
come on, this substance will effectually repel them. 

VOL. v. A A 


There are some persons who recommend the patient to eat 
the heart of a black he-ass in the open air with bread, upon 
the first or second day of the moon : others, again, prescribe 
the flesh of that animal, and others the blood, diluted with 
vinegar, and taken for forty days together. Some mix horse- 
stale for this purpose, with smithy water fresh from the forge, 
employing the same mixture for the cure of delirium. Epilepsy 
is also treated with mares' milk, or the excrescences from a 
horse's legs, taken in honey and vinegar. The magicians 
highly recommend goats' flesh, grilled upon a funeral pile ; as 
also the suet of that animal, boiled with an equal quantity of 
bull's gall, and kept in the gall-bladder; care being taken not 
to let it touch the ground, and the patient swallowing it in 
water, standing aloft. 8i The smell arising from a goat's horns 
or deer's antlers, burnt, efficiently detects the presence of 

In cases where persons are suddenly paralyzed, the urine of 
an ass's foal, applied to the body with nard, is very useful, it is 


For the cure of jaundice, the ashes of a stag's antlers are 
employed ; or the blood of an ass's foal, taken in wine. The 
first dung, 85 too, that has been voided by the foal after its 
birth, taken in wine, in pieces the size of a bean, will effect a 
cure by the end of three days. The dung of a new-born colt 
is possessed of a similar efficacy. 


For broken bones, a sovereign remedy is the ashes of the 
jaw-bone of a wild boar or swine : boiled bacon, too, tied round 
the broken bone, unites it with marvellous rapidity. For 
fractures of the ribs, goats' dung, applied in old wine, is extolled 
as the grand remedy, being possessed in a high degree of 
aperient, extractive, and healing properties. 


Deer's flesh, as already 86 stated, is a febrifuge. Periodical 
84 "Potum vero ex aqua sublime." The true reading and the meaning 

are equally doubtful. 85 Spoken of as " polea" in c. 57. 

86 In B. viii. c. 50. Because the animal itself was supposed to be free 

from fever. 


and recurrent fevers are cured, if we are to believe what the 
magicians tell us, by wearing the right eye of a wolf, salted, 
and attached as an amulet. There is one kind of fever gene- 
rally known as " amphemerine ;" 87 it is to be cured, they say, 
by the patient taking three drops of blood from an ass's ear, and 
swallowing them in two semi-sextarii of water. For quartan 
fever, the magicians recommend cats' dung to be attached to 
the bod} r , with the toe of a horned owl, and, that the fever 
may not be recurrent, not to be removed until the seventh 
paroxysm is past. Who, 88 pray, could have ever made such a 
discovery as this ? And what, too, can be the meaning of this 
combination ? Why, of all things in the world, was the toe 
of a horned owl made choice of? 

Other adepts in this art, who are more moderate in their 
suggestions, recommend for quartan fever, the salted liver of a 
cat that has been killed while the moon was on the wane, to be 
taken in wine just before the paroxysms come on. The ma- 
gicians recommend, too, that the toes of the patient should be 
rubbed with the ashes of burnt cow-dung, diluted with a boy's 
urine, and that a hare's heart should be attached to the hands; 
they prescribe, also, hare's rennet, to be taken in drink just 
before the paroxysms come on. New goats' milk cheese is 
also given with honey, the whey being carefully extracted 



For patients affected with melancholy, 89 calves' dung, boiled 
in wine, is a very useful remedy. Persons are aroused from 
lethargy by applying to the nostrils the callosities from an 
ass's legs stepped in vinegar, or the fumes of burnt goats' 
horns or hair, or by the application of a wild boar's liver ; a 
remedy which is also used for confirmed 90 drowsiness. 

The cure of phthisis is effected by taking a wolfs liver 
boiled in thin wine ; the bacon of a sow that has been fed 
upon herbs ; or the flesh of a she-ass, eaten with the broth : 
this last mode in particular, being the one that is employed by 

87 Or " quotidian," daily fever. 

88 A rather singular episode in his narrative. It looks like a gloss. 

89 Under this name, as Ajasson remarks, the affections now called " hys- 
teria" are included. 9 ' Ye termini." 

A A 2 


the people of Achaia. They say too, that the smoke of dried 
cow-dung that of the animal when grazing, I mean is re- 
markably good for phthisis, inhaled through a reed ; 91 and we 
find it stated that the tips of cows' horns are burnt, and ad- 
ministered with honey, in doses of two spoonfuls, in the form 
of pills. Goat suet, many persons say, taken in a pottage of 
alica, 92 or melted fresh with honied wine, in the proportion of 
one ounce of suet to one cyathus of wine, is good for cough 
and phthisis, care being taken to stir the mixture with a sprig 
of rue. One author of credit assures us that before now, a 
patient whose recovery has been despaired of, has been restored 
to health by taking one cyathus of wild goat 93 suet and an 
equal quantity of milk. Some writers, too, have stated that 
ashes of burnt swine's dung are very useful, mixed with raisin 
wine ; as also the lights of a deer, a spitter 94 deer in particular, 
smoke-dried and beaten up in wine. 


!For dropsy, a wild boar's urine is good, taken in small doses 
in the patient's drink ; it is of much greater efficacy, however, 
when it has been left to dry in the bladder of the animal. The 
ashes, too, of burnt cow- dung, and of bulls' dung in particular 
animals that are reared in herds, I mean are highly esteemed. 
This dung, the name given to which is " bolbiton," 95 is re- 
duced to ashes, and taken in doses of three spoonfuls to one 
semisextarius of honied wine ; that of the female animal being 
used where the patient is a woman-, and that of the other sex 
in the case of males ; a distinction about which the magicians 
have made a sort of grand mystery. The dung of a bull-calf is 
also applied topically for this disease, and ashes of burnt calves' 
dung are taken with seed of staphy linos, 96 in equal proportions, 
in wine. Goats' blood also is used, with the marrow ; but it 
is generally thought that the blood of the he-goat is the most 
efficacious, when the animal has fed upon lentisk, more par- 

91 Another instance of smoking, though not a very tempting one. 

92 See B. xviii. c. 29. 9:i " Bupicapra." 

94 "Stibulo." 95 From the Greek. 

86 See B. xix. c. 27, B. xx. c. 15, and B. xxv. c. 64. 

Chap. 71.] KEMEDIES FOR BTJKNS. 35 7 


For erysipelas a liniment of bears' grease is used, that from 
the kidneys in particular ; fresh calves' dung also, or cow-dung ; 
dried goats' milk cheese, with leeks ; or else the fine scrapings of 
a deer's skin, brought off with pumice-stone and beaten up in 
vinegar. Where there is redness of the skin attended with 
itching, the foam from a horse's mouth is used, or the hoof, 
reduced to ashes. 

For the cure of purulent 97 eruptions ashes of burnt asses' 
dung are applied, with butter ; and for the removal of swarthy 
pimples, dried goats' milk cheese, steeped in honey and vinegar, 
is applied in the bath, no oil being used. Pustules are treated 
with ashes of swine's dung, applied with water, or else ashes 
of deer's antlers. 


For the cure of sprains the following applications are used ; 
wild boars' dung or swine's dung; calves' dung; wild boars' 
foam, used fresh with vinegar; goats' dung, applied with 
honey; and raw beef, used as a plaster. For swellings, swine's 
dung is used, warmed in an earthen pot, and beaten up with 
oil. The best emollient for all kinds of indurations upon the 
body is wolf's fat, applied topically. In the case of sores 
which are wanted to break, the most effectual plan is to apply 
cow-dung warmed in hot ashes, or else goats' dung boiled in 
vinegar or wine. For the cure of boils, beef-suet is applied 
with salt ; but if they are attended with pain, it is melted with 
oil, and no salt is used. Goat- suet is employed in a similar 



For the treatment of burns, bears' grease is used, with lily 
roots; dried wild boars' dung also, or swine's dung; the ashes 
of burnt bristles, extracted from plasterers' brushes, beaten up 
with grease ; the pastern-bone of an ox, reduced to ashes, and 
mixed with wax and bull's marrow or deer's marrow ; or the 
dung of a hare. The dung, too, of a she-goat, they say, will 
effect a cure without leaving any scars. 

91 " Eruptionibus pituitse," 


The best glue is that prepared from the ears and genitals of 
the bull, and there is no better cure in existence for burns. 
There is nothing, however, that is more extensively adulterated; 
which is done by boiling up all kinds of old skins, and shoes 
even, for the purpose. The Bhodian glue is the purest of all, 
and it is this that painters and physicians mostly use. The 
whiter it is, the more highly glue is esteemed : that, on the 
other hand, which is black and brittle like wood, is looked upon 
as good for nothing. 


For pains in the sinews, goats' dung, boiled in vinegar with 
honey, is considered one of the most useful remedies, and this 
even where the sinew 98 is threatened with putrefaction. Strains 
and contusions are healed with wild boars' dung, that has been 
gathered in spring and dried. A similar method is employed 
where persons have been dragged by a chariot or lacerated by 
the wheels, or have received contusions in any other way, the 
application being quite as effectual, should the dung happen 
to be fresh. Some think it a better plan, however, to boil it 
in vinegar ; and if only powdered and taken in vinegar, they 
vouch for its good effects where persons are ruptured, wounded 
internally, or suffering from the effects of a fall. 

Others again, who are of a more scrupulous tendency," take 
the ashes of it in water ; and the Emperor Nero, it is said, was 
in the habit of refreshing himself with this drink, when he at- 
tempted to gain the public applause at the three-horse chariot 
races. 1 Swine's dung, it is generally thought, is the next 
best to that of the goat. 


Haemorrhage is arrested by applying deer's rennet with 
vinegar, hare's rennet, hare's fur reduced to ashes, or ashes of 
burnt asses' dung. The dung, however, of male animals is the 
most efficacious for this purpose, being mixed with vinegar, and 
applied with wool, in all cases of haemorrhage. In the same way, 
too, the ashes of a horse's head or thigh, or of burnt calves' dung, 
are used with vinegar ; the ashes also of a goat's horns or dung, 

98 Where the sinew has been wounded and exposed, either vinegar or 
honey, Ajasson remarks, would be u highly dangerous application. 

99 " Reverentiores." J " Trigario." 

Chap. 74.] REMEDIES FOR ULCERS. 359 

with vinegar. But it is the thick blood that issues from the 
liver of a he-goat when cut asunder, that is looked upon as the 
most efficacious ; or else the ashes of the burnt liver of a goat 
of either sex, taken in wine or applied to the nostrils with 
vinegar. The ashes, too, of a leather wine-bottle but only 
when made of he-goat skin are used very efficiently with 
an equal quantity of resin, for the purpose of stanching blood, 
and knitting together the lips of the wound. A kid's rennet 
in vinegar, or the thighs of that animal, reduced to ashes, are 
said to be productive of a similar result. 


Ulcers upon the legs and thighs are cured by an application 
of bears' grease, mixed with red earth : and those of a serpigi- 
nous nature by using wild boar's gall, with resin and white 
lead ; the jaw-bone of a wild boar or swine, reduced to ashes ; 
swine's dung in a dry state ; or goats' dung, made hike- warm 
in vinegar. For other kinds of ulcers butter is used, as a 
detergent, and as tending to make new flesh ; ashes of deer's 
antlers, or deer's marrow ; or else bull's gall, mixed with 
oil of Cyprus 2 or oil of iris. Wounds inflicted with edged 
weapons are rubbed with fresh swine's dung, or with dried 
swine's dung, powdered. When ulcers are phagedsenic or 
flstulous, bull's gall is injected, with leek-juice or woman's 
milk ; or else bull's blood, dried and powdered, with the plant 
cotyledon. 3 

Carcinomatous sores are treated with hare's rennet, sprin- 
kled upon them with an equal proportion of capers in wine ; 
gangrenes, with bears' grease, applied with a feather ; and 
ulcers of a serpiginous nature with the ashes of an ass's hoofs, 
powdered upon them. The blood of the horse corrodes the 
flesh by virtue of certain septic powers which it possesses ; 
dried horse-dung, too, reduced to ashes, has a similar effect. 
Those kinds of ulcers which are commonly known as "phage- 
dsenic," are treated with the ashes of a cow's hide, mixed with 
honey. Calves' flesh, as also cow-dung mixed with honey, pre- 
vents recent wounds from swelling. The ashes of a leg of veal, 
applied with woman's milk, are a cure for sordid ulcers, and the 
malignant sore known as " cacoethes :" 4 bull-glue, melted, is 

2 See B. xii. c. 51. 8 See B. xxv. c. 101. 

4 " Bad habit." A sort of cancer, or malignant ulcer. 


applied to recent wounds inflicted with edged weapons, the 
application being removed before the end of three days. Dried 
goats' milk cheese, applied with vinegar and honey, acts as a 
detergent upon ulcers ; and goat suet, used in combination 
with wax, arrests the spread of serpiginous sores : if employed 
with pitch and sulphur, it will effect a thorough cure. The 
ashes of a kid's leg, applied with woman's milk, have a similar 
effect upon malignant ulcers ; for the cure, too, of carbuncles, a 
sow's brains are roasted and applied. 


The itch in man is cured very effectually by using the 
marrow of an ass, or the urine of that animal, applied with 
the mud it has formed upon the ground. Butter, too, is very 
good ; as also in the case of beasts of burden, if applied with 
warmed resin : bull glue is also used, melted in vinegar, and 
incorporated with lime ; or goat's gall, mixed with calcined 
alum. The eruption called " boa," 5 is treated with cow-dung, 
a fact to which it is indebted for its name. The itch in dogs 
is cured by an application of fresh cows' blood, which, when 
quite dry, is renewed a second time, and is rubbed off the next 
day with strong lie- ashes. 



Thorns and similar foreign substances are extracted from the 
body by using cats' dung, or that of she-goats, with wine ; the 
rennet also of any kind of animal, that of the hare more parti- 
cularly, with powdered frankincense and oil, or an equal quan- 
tity of mistletoe, or else with bee-glue. 6 

Ass suet restores scars of a swarthy hue to their natural 
colour; and they are equally effaced by using calf's gall made 
warm. Medical men add myrrh, honey, and saffron, and keep 
the mixture in a copper box ; some, too, incorporate with it 
flower of copper. 


Menstruation is promoted by using bull's gall, in unwashed 
v/ool, as a pessary : Olympias of Thebes adds hyssop and nitre. 
5 See B. xxiv. c. 35. 6 " Propolis." Sec B. xi. c. 6. 


Ashes,- too, of deer's horns are taken in drink for the same pur- 
pose, and for derangements of the uterus they are applied topi- 
cally, as also bull's gall, used as a pessary with opium, in the 
proportion of two oboli. It is a good plan, too, to use fumigations 
for the uterus, made with deer's hair, burnt. Hinds, the} r say, 
when they find themselves pregnant, are in the habit of swal- 
lowing a small stone. This stone, when found in their excre- 
ments, or in the uterus for it is to be found there as well 
attached to the body as an amulet, is a preventive of abortion. 
There are also certain small stones, found in the heart and uterus 
of these animals, which are very useful for women during preg- 
nancy and in travail. As to the kind of pumice-stone which 
is similarly found in the uterus of the cow, we have already 7 
mentioned it when treating of the formation of that animal. 

A wolf's fat, applied externally, acts emolliently upon the 
uterus, and the liver of a wolf is very soothing for pains in 
that organ. It is found advantageous for women, when near 
delivery, to eat wolf's flesh, or, if they are in travail, to have 
a person near them who has eaten it ; so much so, indeed, that 
it will act as a countercharm even to any noxious spells which 
may have been laid upon them. In case, however, a person 
who has eaten wolf's flesh should happen to enter the room 
at the moment of parturition, dangerous effects will be sure to 
follow. The hare, too, is remarkably useful for the complaints 
of females : the lights of that animal, dried and taken in drink, 
are beneficial to the uterus; the liver, taken in water with Samian 
earth, acts as an emmenagogue ; and the rennet brings away 
the after-birth, due care being taken by the patient not to bathe 
the day before. Applied in wool as a pessary, with saffron and 
leek-juice, this last acts as an expellent upon the dead foetus. It 
is a general opinion that the uterus of a hare, taken with the 
food, promotes the conception of male offspring, and that a 
similar effect is produced by using the testes and rennet of that 
animal. It is thought, too, that a leveret, taken from the uterus 
of its dam, is a restorative of fruitfulness to women who are 
otherwise past child-bearing. But it is the blood of a hare's 
foetus that the magicians recommend males to drink : while for 
young girls they prescribe nine pellets of hare's dung, to ensure 
a durable firmness to the breasts. For a similar purpose, also, 

7 In B. xi. c, 79. 


they apply hare's rennet with honey ; and to prevent hairs 
from growing again when once removed, they use a liniment 
of hare's blood. 

For inflations of the uterus, it is found a good plan to apply 
wild boars' dung or swine's dung topically with oil : but a 
still more effectual remedy is to dry the dung, and sprinkle it, 
powdered, in the patient's drink, even though she should be 
in a state of pregnancy or suffering the pains of child-birth. 
By administering sow's milk with honied wine, parturition is 
facilitated ; and if taken by itself it will promote the secre- 
tion of the milk when deficient in nursing women. By rub- 
bing the breasts of famales with sow's blood they are pre- 
vented from becoming too large. If pains are felt in the 
breasts, they will be alleviated by drinking asses' milk ; and the 
same milk, taken with honey, has considerable efficacy as an 
emmenagogue. Stale fat, too, from the same animal, heals 
ulcerations of the uterus : applied as a pessary, in wool, it acts 
emolliently upon indurations of that organ ; and, applied fresh 
by itself, or in water when stale, it has all the virtues of a 

An ass's milt, dried and applied in water to the breasts, 
promotes the secretion of the milk ; and used in the form of a 
fumigation, it acts as a corrective upon the uterus. A fumi- 
gation made with a burnt ass's hoof, placed beneath a woman, 
accelerates parturition, so much so, indeed, as to expel the dead 
foetus even : hence it is that it should only be employed in cases 
of miscarriage, it having a fatal effect upon the living foetus. 
Asses' dung, applied fresh, has a wonderful effect, they say, in 
arresting discharges of blood in females : the same, too, with 
the ashes of this dung, which, used as a pessary, are very good 
for the uterus. If the skin is rubbed with the foam from a 
horse's mouth for forty days together, before the first hair has 
made its appearance, it will effectually prevent the growth 
thereof : a decoction, too, made from deer's antlers is productive 
of a similar effect, being all the better if they are used quite 
fresh. Mares' milk, used as an injection, is highly beneficial 
to the uterus. 

Where the foetus is felt to be dead in the uterus, the 
lichens or excrescences from a horse's legs, taken in fresh 
water, will act as an expellent : an effect produced also by a 
fumigation made with the hoofs or dry dung of that animal. 


Procidence of the uterus is arrested by using butter, in the 
form of an injection ; and indurations of that organ are removed 
by similarly employing ox-gall, with oil of roses, turpentine 
being applied externally in wool. They say, too, that a fumi- 
gation, made from ox- dung, acts as a corrective upon procidence 
of the uterus, and facilitates parturition ; and that conception 
is promoted by the use of cows' milk. It is a well-known 
fact that sterility is often entailed by suffering in child-birth ; 
an evil which may be averted, Olympias of Thebes assures us, 
by rubbing the parts, before sexual intercourse, with bull's 
gall, serpents' fat, verdigrease, and honey. In cases, too, where 
menstruation is too abundant, the external parts should be 
sprinkled with a solution of calf's gall, the moment, before the 
sexual congress ; a method which acts emolliently also upon 
indurations of the abdomen. Applied to the navel as a lini- 
ment, it arrests excessive discharges, and is generally beneficial 
to the uterus. The proportions generally adopted are one 
denarius of gall, one-third of a denarius of opium, and as much 
oil of almonds as may appear to be requisite ; the whole being 
applied in sheep's wool. The gall, too, of a bull-calf is beaten 
up with half the quantity of honey, and kept in readiness for 
the treatment of uterine diseases. If a woman about the time 
of conception eats roasted veal with the plant aristolochia, 8 she 
will bring forth a male child, we are assured. Calf's marrow, 
boiled in wine and water with the suet, and applied as a pes- 
sary, is good for ulcerations of the uterus ; the same, too, with 
foxes' fat and cats' dung, the last being applied with resin and 
oil of roses. 

It is considered a remarkably good plan to subject the uterus 
to fumigations made with burnt goats' horns. The blood of 
the wild goat, mixed with sea-palm, 9 acts as a depilatory. The 
gall of the other kinds of goat, used as an injection, acts 
emolliently upon callosities of the uterus, and ensures concep- 
tion immediately after menstruation: it possesses also the 
virtues of a depilatory, the application being left for three days 
upon the flesh after the hair has been removed. The midwives 
assure us that she-goats' urine, taken in drink, and the dung, 
applied topically, will arrest uterine discharges, however 
much in excess. The membrane in which the kid is en- 
closed in the uterus, dried and taken in wine, acts as an expei- 
8 See B. xxv. cc. 79, 84, 91. 9 See B. xiii. c. 49. 


lent upon the after-birth. For affections of the uterus, it is 
thought a desirable plan to fumigate it with burnt kids' hair ; 
and for discharges of blood, kids' rennet is administered in 
drink, or seed of henbane is applied. According to Osthanes, 
if a woman's loins are rubbed with blood taken from the ticks 
upon a black wild bull, she will be inspired with an aversion to 
sexual intercourse : she will forget, too, her former love, by 
taking a he-goat's urine in drink, some nard being mixed with 
it to disguise the loathsome taste. 


For infants there is nothing more useful than butter, 10 either 
by itself oy in combination with honey ; for dentition more 
particularly, for soreness of the gums, and for ulcerations of 
the mouth. A wolf's tooth, attached to the body, prevents 
infants from being startled, and acts as a preservative against 
the maladies attendant upon dentition; an effect equally 
produced by making use of a wolf's skin. The larger teeth, 
also, of a wolf, attached to a horse's neck, will render him 
proof against all weariness, it is said. A hare's rennet, applied 
to the breasts of the nurse, effectually prevents diarrhoea in 
the infant suckled by her. An ass's liver, mixed with a little 
panax, and dropped into the mouth of an infant, will preserve 
it from epilepsy and other diseases to which infants are liable ; 
this, however, must be done for forty days, they say. An ass's 
skin, too, thrown over infants, renders them insensible to fear. 
The first teeth shed by a horse, attached as an amulet to infants, 
facilitate dentition, and are better still, when not allowed to 
touch the ground. For pains in the spleen, an ox's milt is ad- 
ministered in honey, and applied topically ; and for running 
ulcers it is used as an application, with honey. A calf's milt, 
boiled in wine, is beaten up, and applied to incipient ulcers 
of the mouth. 

The magicians take the brains of a she-goat, and, after passing 
them through a gold ring, drop them into the mouth of the in- 
fant before it takes the breast, as a preservative against epilepsy 
and other infantile diseases. Goats' dung, attached to in- 
fants in a piece of cloth, prevents them from being rest- 
less, female infants in particular. By rubbing the gums of 

10 There is probably some truth in these statements as to the utility of 
butter and honey for infants. 


infants with goats' milk or Lare's brains, dentition is greatly 


Cato was of opinion that hare's flesh, 11 taken as a diet, is 
provocative of sleep. It is a vulgar notion, too, that this diet 
confers heauty for nine days on those who use it ; a silly play 12 
upon words, no doubt, but a notion which has gained far too 
extensively not to have had some real foundation. According 
to the magicians, the gall of a she-goat, but only of one that 
has been sacrificed, applied to the eyes or placed beneath the 
pillow, has a narcotic effect. Too profuse perspiration is 
checked by rubbing the body with ashes of burnt goats' horns 
mixed with oil of myrtle. 


Among the aphrodisiacs, we find mentioned, a wild boar's 
gall, applied externally; swine's marrow, taken inwardly; 
asses' fat, mixed with the grease of a gander and applied as a 
liniment ; the virulent substance described by Virgil 13 as dis- 
tilling from mares when covered ; and the dried testes of a 
horse, pulverized and mixed with the drink. The right testicle, 
also, of an ass, is taken in a proportionate quantity of wine, or worn 
attached to the arm in a bracelet ; or else the froth discharged 
by that animal after covering, collected in a piece of red cloth 
and enclosed in silver, as Osthanes informs us. Salpe recom- 
mends the genitals of this animal to be plunged seven times in 
boiling oil, and the corresponding parts to be well rubbed 
therewith. Bialcon 14 says that these genitals should be reduced 
to ashes and taken in drink ; or else the uriiie that has been 
voided by a bull immediately after covering : he recommends, 
also, that the groin should be well rubbed with earth moistened 
with this urine. 

11 Ajasson explains this by saying that the hare being eaten by the people 
of ancient Latiiim on festival days^ with plenteous potations, they erro- 
neously supposed the narcotic eifects of the wine to be produced by the 
flesh of the hare. 

12 The resemblance of "lepos," "grace," to " lepus," " a hare." See 
Martial, B. v. Ep. 29. 

13 Georg. iii. 280. He alludes to the " hippomanes." 

14 Hardouin is probably right in his suggestion, that " Dalion " is the 
correct reading here. 


Mouse-dung, on the other hand, applied in the form, of a 
liniment, acts as an antaphrodisiac. The lights of a wild boar or 
swine, roasted, are an effectual preservative against drunken- 
ness ; they must, however, be eaten fasting, and upon the 
same day. The lights of a kid, too, are productive of the 
same effect. 


In addition to those already mentioned, there are various 
other marvellous facts related, with reference to these animals. 
"When a horse-shoe becomes detached from the hoof, as often 
is the case, if a person takes it up and puts it by, it will act as 
a remedy for hiccup the moment he calls to mind the spot 
where he has placed it. A wolf's liver, they say, is similar to 
a horse's hoof in appearance ; and a horse, they tell us, if 
it follows in the track of a wolf, will burst 15 asunder beneath 
its rider. The pastern-bones of swine have a certain tendency 
to promote discord, it is said. In cases of fire, if some of the 
dung can be brought away from the stalls, both sheep and 
oxen may be got out all the more easily, and will make no at- 
tempt to return. The flesh of a he-goat will lose its rank 
smell, if the animal has eaten barley-bread, or drunk an in- 
fusion of laser 16 the day on which i't was killed. Meat that 
lias been salted while the moon was on the wane, will never 
be attacked by worms. In fact, so great has been the care 
taken to omit no possible researches, that a deaf hare, we find, 
will grow fat 17 sooner than one that can hear ! 

As to the remedies for the diseases of animals If a beast of 
burden voids blood, an injection must be used of swine's dung 
mixed with wine. For the maladies of oxen, a mixture of suet 
is used with quicksilver, and wild garlic boiled ; the whole 
beaten up and administered in wine. The fat, too, of a fox 
is employed. The liquor of boiled horse-flesh, administered in 
their drink, is recommended for the cure of diseased swine : 
and, indeed, the maladies of all four-footed beasts may be effec- 

15 He has already stated, in c. 44, that a horse will become torpid if it 
follows in the track of a wolf; for which statement, according to Ajasson, 
there appears to be some foundation. 

16 See B. xix. c. 15. 

17 This is not unlikely ; for it has no alarms to make it grow thin. 

Chap. 81.] SUMMATIY. 367 

tually treated by boiling a she-goat whole, in her skin, along 
with a bramble- frog. Poultry, they say, will never be touched 
by a fox, if they have eaten the dried liver of that animal, or 
if the cock, when treading the hen, has had a piece of fox's 
skin about his neck. The same property, too, is attributed to 
a weazePs gall. The oxen in the Isle of Cyprus cure them- 
selves of gripings in the abdomen, it is said, by swallowing 18 
human excrements : the feet, too, of oxen will never be worn 
to the quick, if their hoofs are well rubbed with tar before 
they begin work. Wolves will never approach a field, if, after 
one has been caught and its legs broken and throat cut, the 
blood is dropped little by little along the boundaries of the 
field, and the body buried on the spot from which it was 
first dragged. The share, too, with which the first furrow 
in the field has been traced in the current year, should be taken 
from the plough, and placed upon the hearth of the Lares, 
where the family is in the habit of meeting, and left there till 
it is consumed : so long as this is in doing, no wolf will attack 
any animal in the field. 

We will now turn to an examination of those animals which, 
being neither tame nor wild, are of a nature peculiar to them- 

SUMMARY. Remedies, narratives, and observations, one 
thousand six hundred and eighty-two. 

ROMAN ATJTHOBS QUOTED. M.Varro, 19 L.Piso, 20 Eabianus, 21 Va- 
lerius Antias, 22 Verrius Flaccus, 23 Cato the Censor, 24 Servius Sul- 
picius, 25 Licinius Macer, 26 Celsus, 27 Massurius/ 8 Sextius Niger 29 

18 See B, viii. c. 41, as to a similar practice on the part of the panther. 

19 See end of B. ii. '- See end of B. ii. 

21 F or Fabianus Papirius, see end of B. ii. For Fabianus Sabimis, 
see end of B. xviii. 22 See end of B. ii. 

23 See end of B. iii. - 4 See end of B. iii. 

25 Servius Sulpicms Lemonia Rufus, a contemporary and friend of Cicero, 
lie was Consul with M. Claudius Marcellus, B.C. 51, and died B.C. 43, at 
tbe siege of Mutina. . He left about 180 treatises on various subjects; but 
beyond the fact that he is often quoted by the writers whose works form 
part of the Digest, none of his writings (with the exception of two letters 
to Cicero) have come down to us. 

26 See end of B. xix. 27 See end of B. vii. 
28 See end of B. vii. 2y See end of B. xii. 


who wrote in Greek> Bithus 30 of Dyrrhachium, Opilius 31 the 
physician, Granius 32 the physician. 

FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED. Dernocritus, 33 Apollonius 34 who 
wrote the " Myrosis," Miletus, 35 Artemon, 36 Sextilius, 37 An- 
taeus, 38 Homer, Theophrastus, 39 Lysimachus, 40 Attalus, 41 Xeno- 
crates, 42 Orpheus 43 who wrote the "Idiophya," Archelaiis 44 
who wrote a similar work, Demetrius, 45 Sotira, 48 Lais, 47 Ele- 

30 From the mention made of him in Chap. 23, he was probably a 
physician. Nothing further is known of him. 

31 Aurelius Opilius, the freedman of an Epicurean. He taught philosophy, 
rhetoric, and grammar at Rome, but finally withdrew to Smyrna. One of 
his works, mentioned by A. Gellius, was entitled " Musse," and the name 
of another was " JPinax." 

32 From the mention made of his profound speculations in Chap. 9, 
Fabricius has reckoned him among the medical writers of Rome. It has 
also been suggested that he may have been the Granius Flaccus mentioned 
by Censorinus as the author of the " Indigitamenta," or Register of the 
Pontiffs. 33 gee end of B. ii. 

34 Probably Apollonius Mus, or Myronides, a physician who flourished 
in the first century B.C., who is mostly identified with Apollonius Hero- 
pbileius. His " Myrosis " here mentioned is probably the work " On 
Unguents " mentione'd by Athenseus, B. xv. 

35 Nothing whatever is known of him. It has been suggested that the 
name may have been " Melitus." A contemporary of Socrates, an orator 
and tragic writer, was so named. 

56 Beyond the mention of him in c. 2 of this Book, nothing is known 
relative to this medical writer : no great loss, perhaps, if we may judge from 
the extract there given. 

37 Though mentioned among the foreign writers, the name is evidently 
Roman. Nothing relative to him is known. 

38 See end of B. xii. 39 See end of B. iii. 

40 Probably the writer mentioned at the end of B. viii. 

41 See end* of B. viii. 42 See end of B. xx. 

43 See end of B. xx. The " Idiophya " was probably a work " On the 
Peculiar Animals," which passed as the composition of the mythic Or.pheus. 

44 A Greek post, said to have been born at Chersonesus, a town in Egypt. 
Some of his Epigrams are still extant in the Anthology, and it has been 
suggested that he flourished either in the time of Ptolemy Soter, of Ptolemy 
Euergetes II., or of Ptolemy Philadelphus. His work " On Peculiar 
Animals," here mentioned, was probably written in "verse. 

45 See end of B. viii. 

46 A female writer on medical subjects. In addition to her work men- 
tioned in Chap. 23 of this Book, Labbe speaks of a work of hers in MS. 
" On Menstruation," preserved in the Library at Florence. 

47 The female who is mentioned in Chap. 23 of this Book as having 
written on Abortion, or the Diseases peculiar to Females, was probably a 


phantis, 48 Salpe, 49 Olympias 50 of Thebes, Diotinms 51 of Thebes, 
lollas, 52 Andreas, 53 Marcion 54 of Smyrna, ^Eschines 55 the 
physician, Hippocrates, 56 Aristotle, 57 Metrodorus 68 of Scepsos, 
Icetidas* 9 the physician, Apelles 60 the physician, Hesiod, 61 
Dalion, 62 Caecilius, 63 Eion 64 who wrote " On Po wers, ' >64 * Anaxi- 
laiis, 65 King Juba. 6 

different person from either of the two famous courtesans of that name. 
Nothing whatever is known of her. 

48 The writer of certain amatory poems, much admired by the Emperor 
Tiberius, generally supposed, from the grammatical form of the name, to 
have been a female. Galen quotes a work u On Cosmetics," as written by 
a person of this name. 

49 A native of Lemnos, who wrote on the Diseases of Women. Nym- 
ph odorus, as quoted by Athenaeus, states that she also wrote verses on 
Sportive subjects. ^ See end of B. xx. 

51 Beyond the mention made of him in c. 23, nothing further is known 
relative to this writer. Theophrastus, in his work on Sudorifics, speaks of 
a. person of this name as having written on Perspiration. 

32 See end of B. xii. M See end of B. xx. 

54 Beyond the mention made of him in c. 7 of this Book, nothing is 
known of this writer. Hardouin suggests that he may have been identical 
with the Micton mentioned at the end of B. xx. 

55 He is spoken of as a native of Athens, in c. 10 of this Book. Be- 
yond this, nothing is known of him. 

56 See end of B. vii. 67 See end of B. ii. 58 See end of B. iii. 

59 Or more probably, Hicetidas. Nothing is known. of this writer. 

60 A native of Thasos. He is also mentioned by Galen. 

61 See end of B. vii. 62 See end of B. vi. 

63 Probably a physician, of whom Athenseus speaks as being a native of 
Anros, and writer of a treatise on Fish. 

^ 4 Probably a different writer from the one of that name mentioned at 
the end of B. vi. 64 * Htpi dvvdptwv. 

65 See end of B. xxi. 66 See end of B. v. 

VOL. V. B B 





THE nature and multiplicity of the various remedies already 
described or which still remain to be enlarged upon, compel 
me to enter upon some further details with reference to the 
art of medicine itself : aware as I am, that no one 1 has hitherto 
treated of this subject in the Latin tongue, and that if all new 
enterprises are difficult or of doubtful success, it must be one in 
particular which is so barren of all charms to recommend it, 
and accompanied with such difficulties of illustration. It will 
not improbably suggest itself, however, to those who are fami- 
liar with this subject, to make enquiry how it is that in the 
practice of medicine the use of simples has been abandoned, 
so convenient as they are and so ready prepared to our hand : 
and they will be inclined to feel equal surprise and indignation 
when they are informed that no known art, lucrative as this is 
beyond all the rest, has been more fluctuating, or subjected to 
more frequent variations. 

Commencing by ranking its inventors in the number of the 
gods, 2 and consecrating for them a place in heaven, the art of me- 
dicine, at the present day even, teaches us in numerous instances 
to have recourse to the oracles for aid. In more recent times 
again, the same art has augmented its celebrity, at the cost perhaps 
of being charged with criminality, by devising the fable that 
^Esculapius was struck by lightning for presuming to raise Tyn- 
dareus 3 to life. And this example notwithstanding, it has not 
hesitated to relate how that others, through its agency, have 
since been restored to life. Already enjoying celebrity in the days 

1 He must surely have forgotten Celsus ; unless, indeed, Pliny was un- 
acquainted with his treatise " De Medicina." 

2 Apollo and JEsculapius, Agenor, Hercules, Chiron, and others. 

3 The husband of Leda, and the father of Castor, Timandra, Clyteem- 
nestra, and Philonoe. Hippolytus also was fabled to have been raised from 
the dead by JEsculapius. 

Chap. 3.] CHRYSIPPUS. 371 

of the Trojan War, its traditions from that period have ac- 
quired an additional degree of certainty; although in those 
times, we may remark, the healing art confined itself solely to 
the treatment of wounds. 


Its succeeding history, a fact that is truly marvellous, re- 
mains enveloped in the densest night, down to the time of 
the Peloponnesian War ; 4 at which period it was restored to 
light by the agency of Hippocrates, a native of Cos, an island 
flourishing and powerful in the highest degree, and consecrated 
to ^Esculapius. It being the practice for persons who had re- 
covered from a disease to describe in the temple of that god the 
remedies to which they had owed their restoration to health, 
that others might derive benefit therefrom in a similar emer- 
gency ; Hippocrates, it is said, copied out these prescriptions, 
arid, as our fellow-countryman Varro will have it, after burn- 
ing the temple to the ground, 4 * instituted that branch of medi- 
cal practice which is known as " Clinics." 5 There was no 
limit after this to the profits derived from the practice of medi- 
cine ; for Prodicus, 6 a native of Selymbria, one of his disciples, 
founded the branch of it known as " latraliptics," 7 and so dis- 
covered a means of enriching the very anointers even and the 
commonest drudges 8 employed by the physicians. 


In the rules laid down by these professors, changes were 
effected by Chrysippus with a vast parade of words, and, after 

4 Hippocrates is generally supposed to have been born B.C. 460. 

4 * In order to destroy the medical books and prescriptions there. The 
same story is told, with little variation, (ff Avicenna. Cnidos is also men- 
tioned as the scene of this act of philosophical incendiarism. 

5 "Clinice" Chamber-physic, so called because the physician visited 
his patients tv K\ivy, "in bed." 

6 It is supposed by most commentators that Pliny commits a mistake 
here, and that in reality he is alluding to Herodicus of Selymbria in Thrace, 
who was the tutor, and not the disciple, of Hippocrates. Prodicus of Se- 
lymbria does not appear to be known. 

7 "Healing by ointments," or, as we should call it at the present day, 
"The Friction cure." 8 " Mediastinis." 


Chrysippus, by Erasistratus, son 9 of the daughter of Aristotle. 
For the cure of King Antic-chus to give our first illustration 
of the profits realized by the medical art Erasistratus re- 
ceived from his son, King Ptolemseus, the sum of one hundred 


Another sect again, known as that of the Empirics 10 be- 
cause it based its rules upon the results of experiment 
took its rise in Sicily, having for its founder Acron of Agri- 
gentum, a man recommended by the high authority of Empe- 
docles 11 the physician. 



These several schools of medicine, long at variance among 
themselves, were all of them condemned by Herophilus, 12 who 
regulated the arterial pulsation according to the musical 13 
scale, correspondingly with the age of the patient. In suc- 
ceeding years again, the theories of this sect were abandoned, 
it being found that to belong to it necessitated an acquaintance 
with literature. Changes, too, were effected in the school, of 
which, as already 13 * stated, Asclepiades had become the founder. 
His disciple, Themison, 14 who at first in his writings implicitly 
followed him, soon afterwards, in compliance with the growing 
degeneracy of the age, went so far as to modify his own me- 
thods of treatment ; which, in their turn, were entirely dis- 
placed, with the authorization of the late Emperor Augustus, 
by Antonius Musa, 15 a physician who had rescued that prince 

9 Pythias, the daughter of Aristotle, was his stepmother, and adopted 
him. His mother's name was Cretoxena. 

10 Or " Sect of Experimentalists." They based their practice upon ex- 
perience derived from the observation of facts. The word " Empiric " is 
used only in a bad sense at the present day. For an account of Hippo- 
crates, see end of B. vii. ; of Chrysippus, see end of B. xx. ; and of Erasis- 
tratus, see end of B. xi. 

11 See end of B. xi. 12 See end of B. xi. 

13 See B. xi. c. 88^ The Chinese, Ajasson remarks, apply the musical 
scale to the pulsation ; it being a belief of the Mandarins that the body is 
a musical instrument, and that to be in health it must be kept in tune. 

13 * In B. xxvL cc. 7, 8. 

14 See end of B. xi. 15 See B. xix. c. 38. 


from a most dangerous malady, by following a mode of treat- 
ment diametrically opposite. 

I pass over in silence many physicians of the very highest- 
celebrity, the Cassii, for instance, the Calpetani, the Arruntii, 
and the Rubrii, men who received fees yearly from the great, 
amounting to no less than two hundred and fifty thousand 
sesterces. As for Q. Stertinius, he thought that he conferred 
an obligation upon the emperors in being content with five 
hundred thousand 16 sesterces per annum ; and indeed he proved, 
by an enumeration of the several houses, that a city practice 
would bring him in a yearly income of not less than six hun- 
dred thousand sesterces. 

Fully equal to this was the sum lavished upon his brother 
by Claudius Caesar ; and the two brothers, although they had 
drawn largely upon their fortunes in beautifying the public 
buildings at Neapolis, left to their heirs no less than thirty 
millions of sesterces ! 17 such an estate as no physician but Ar- 
runtius had till then possessed. 

Next in succession arose Yettius Valens, rendered so noto- 
rious by his adulterous connection 18 with Messalina, the wife 
of Claudius Caesar, and equally celebrated as a professor of 
eloquence. When established in public favour, he became the 
founder of a new sect. 

It was in the same age, too, during the reign of the Emperor 
Nero, that the destinies of the medical art passed into the 
hands of Thessalus, 19 a man who swept away all the precepts 
of his predecessors, and declaimed with a sort of frenzy against 
the physicians of every age ; but with what discretion and 
in what spirit, we may abundantly conclude from a single trait 
presented by his character upon his tomb, which is still 
to be seen on the Appian Way, he had his name inscribed as 
the " latronices " the " Conqueror of the Physicians." No 
stage-player, no driver of a three-horse chariot, had a greater 
throng attending him when he appeared in public : but he 
was at last eclipsed in credit by Crinas, a native of Massilia, 
who, to wear an appearance of greater discreetness and more 
devoutness, united in himself the pursuit of two sciences, and 

16 Rattier more than 4400. 17 More than 265,000. 

16 For which he was put to death A.D. 48. 

19 A native of Tralles in Lydia, and the son of a weaver there. Galen 
mentions him in terms of contempt and ridicule. 


prescribed diets to his patients in accordance with the move- 
ments of the heavenly bodies, as indicated by the almanacks 
of the mathematicians, taking observations himself of the 
various times and seasons. It was but recently that he died, 
leaving ten millions of sesterces, after having expended hardly 
a less sum upon building the walls of his native place and 
of other towns. 

It was while these men were ruling our destinies, that 
all at once, Charmis, a native also of Massilia, took 20 the 
City by 'surprise. Not content with condemning the practice 
of preceding physicians, he proscribed the use of warm baths 
as well, and persuaded people, in the very depth of winter 
even, to immerse themselves in cold water. His patients 
he used to plunge into large vessels filled with cold water, 
and it was a common thing to see aged men of consular 
rank make it a matter of parade to freeze themselves ; a 
method of treatment, in favour of which Annseus 21 Seneca gives 
his personal testimony, in writings still extant. 

There can be no doubt whatever, that all these men, in the 
pursuit of celebrity by the introduction of some novelty or other, 
made purchase of it at the downright expense of human life. 
Hence those woeful discussions, those consultations at the bed- 
side of the patient, where no one thinks fit to be of the same 
opinion as another, lest he may have the appearance of being 
subordinate to another ; hence, too, that ominous inscription 
to be read upon a tomb, "It was the multitude of physicians 
that killed me." 22 

The medical art, so often modified and renewed as it has 
been, is still on the change from day to day, and still are we 
impelled onwards by the puifs 23 which emanate from the in- 
genuity of the Greeks. It is quite evident too, that every 
one among them that finds himself skilled in the art of speech, 
may forthwith create himself the arbiter of our life and death : 
as though, forsooth, there were not thousands 24 of nations who 

* "Invasit." 

21 Ep. 53 and 83. His " adstipulatio " is of a very equivocal character, 

22 " Turba raedicorum peril." This is supposed to be borrowed from a 
line of Menander 

rioXAwv larpoiv siooo u.' awiitXtvev. 
2 * "Flatu." 
34 Herodotus states this with reference to the Babylonians ; Strabo, the 


live without any physicians at all, though not, for all that, 
without the aid of medicine. Such, for instance, was the llo- 
man 25 people, for a period of more than six hundred years ; a 
people, too, which has never shown itself slow to adopt all 
useful arts, and which even welcomed the medical art with 
avidity, until, after a fair experience of it, there was found 
good reason to condemn it. 



And, indeed, it appears to me not amiss to take the present 
opportunity of reviewing some remarkable facts in the days of 
our forefathers connected with this subject. Cassius Hemina, 26 
one of our most ancient writers, says that the first physician 
that visited Rome was Archagathus, the son of Lysanias, who 
came over from Peloponnesus, in the year of the City 535, L. 
.^Emilius and M. Livius being consuls. He states also, that the 
right of free citizenship 27 was- gran ted him, and that he had a 
shop 28 provided for his practice at the public expense in the 
Acilian Cross- way ; 29 that from his practice he received the 
name of " Yulnerarius ;" 80 that on his arrival he was greatly 
welcomed at first, but that soon afterwards, from the cruelty 
displayed by him in cutting and searing his patients, he ac- 
quired the new name of " Carnifex," 31 and brought his art and 
physicians in general into considerable disrepute. 

That such was the fact, we may readily understand from the 
words of M. Cato, a man whose authority stands so high of 
itself, that but little weight is added to it by the triumph 32 
which he gained, and the Censorship which he held. I shall, 
therefore, give his own words in reference to this subject. 



" Concerning those Greeks, son Marcus, I will speak to you 

Bastitani, a people of Spain ; and Eusebius, the more ancient inhabitants 
of Spain. 25 See B. xx. c. 33. 

26 See end of B. xii. 27 " Jus Quiritium." 

28 "Tabernam." A surgery, in fact, the same as the '* iatreion" of the 

29 Or " carrefour " " compitum." The Acilian Gens pretended to be 
under the especial tutelage of the gods of medicine. 

30 The " Wound-curer," from u vulnus," a wound. 

31 " Executioner," or " hangman." 33 For his conquests in Spain. 


more at length on the befitting occasion. I will show you the 
results of my own experience at Athens, and that, while it is a 
good plan to dip into their literature, 33 it is not worth while to 
make a thorough acquaintance with it. They are a most iniqui- 
tous and intractable race, and you may take my word as the word 
of a prophet, when I tell you, that whenever that nation shall 
bestow itsliterature upon Rome it will mar everything; and that 
all the sooner, if it sends its physicians among us. They have 
conspired among themselves to murder all barbarians with their 
medicine ; a profession which they exercise for lucre, in order 
that they may win our confidence, 34 and dispatch us all the 
more easily. They are in the common habit, too, of calling us 
barbarians, and stigmatize us beyond all other nations, by 
giving us the abominable appellation of Opici. 35 I forbid you 
to have anything to do with physicians." 


Cato, who wrote to this effect, died in his eighty-fifth year, 
in the year of the City 605 ; so that no one is to suppose that 
he had not sufficient time to form his experience, either with 
reference to the duration of the republic, or the length of his 
own life. Well then are we to conclude that he has stamped 
' with condemnation a thing that in itself is most useful ? Far 
from it, by Hercules ! for he subjoins an account of the medical 
prescriptions, by the aid of which he had ensured to himself 
and to his wife a ripe old age; prescriptions 36 upon which we are 
now about to enlarge. He asserts also that he has a book of 
recipes in his possession, by the aid of which he treats the 
maladies of his son, his servants, and his friends ; a book from 
which we have extracted the various prescriptions according to 
the several maladies for which they are employed. 

It was not the thing itself that the ancients condemned, but 
it was the art as then practised, and they were shocked, more 
particularly, that man should pay so dear for the enjoyment of 
life. For this reason it was, they say, that the Temple of 

" Illorum literas inspicere." 

34 On the principle that that which costs money must be worth having. 
15 The Opici or Osci were an ancient tribe of Italy, settled in Campania, 
Latium, and Samnium. From their uncivilized habits the name was long 

36 Marked by their supereminent absurdity, as Fee remarks. 

used as a reproachful epithet, equivalent to our words " bumpkin," " clo 
hopper," or " chawbacon." 


^Esculapius, even after he was received as a divinity, was built 
without the City, and afterwards on an island ; 37 for this rea- 
son, too, it was, that when, long after the time of Cato, the 
Greeks were expelled from Italy, the physicians were not 38 
exempted from the decree. And here I will 39 improve upon 
the foresight displayed by them. Medicine is the only one of 
the arts of Greece, that, lucrative as it is, the Roman gravity 
has hitherto refused to cultivate. It is but very few of our 
fellow-citizens that have even attempted it, and so soon as ever 
they have done so, they have become deserters to the Greeks 
forthwith. 40 Nay, even more than this, if they attempt to treat 
of it in any other language than Greek, they are sure to lose 
all credit, with the most ignorant even, and those who do not 
understand a word of Greek ; there being all the less confidence 
felt by our people in that which so nearly concerns their wel- 
fare, if it happens to be intelligible to them. In fact, this is 
the only one of all the arts, by Hercules ! in which the moment 
a man declares 41 himself to be an adept, he is at once believed, 
there being at the same time no imposture, the results of which 
are more fraught with peril. To all this, however, we give 
no attention, so seductive is the sweet influence of the hope 
entertained of his ultimate recovery by each. 

And then besides, there is no law in existence whereby 
to punish the ignorance of physicians, no instance before us 
of capital punishment inflicted. It is at the expense of our 
perils that they learn, and they experimentalize by putting us 
to death, a physician being the only person that can kill an- 
other with sovereign impunity. Nay, even more than this, all 
the blame is thrown upon the sick man only ; he is accused of 
disobedience forthwith, and it is the person who is dead and 
gone that is put upon his trial. It is the usage at Home for 
the decuries 42 to pass examination under the censorship of the 

37 Formed by the river Tiber. See the Quaest. Rom. of Plutarch, on 
this subject. 

38 We have adopted Sillig's suggestion, and read "nee " for "et" here. 
The meaning, however, is very doubtful. 

39 Augebo providentiam illorum." The meaning of this passage also 
is doubtful. 

40 By adopting that language instead of the Latin ; Sextius Niger, for in- 

41 Diplomas seem to have been less cared for in those times than at the 
present day even, when quackery lias so free a range. 

42 See B. iii. c. 26, and B. xxxiii. cc. 7, 8. 


emperor, and for inquisitions to be made at our party- walls 43 
even : persons who are to sit in judgment on our monetary 
matters are sent for to Gades 44 and the very Pillars of Hercules; 
while a question of exile is never entertained without a panel 
of forty- five men selected for the purpose. 45 But when it is 
the judge's own life that is at stake, who are the persons that 
are to hold council upon it, but those who the very next moment 
are about to take it ! 

And yet so it is, that we only meet with our deserts, no 
one of us feeling the least anxiety to know what is necessary 
for his own welfare. We walk 46 with the feet of other people, 
we see with the eyes of other people, trusting to the memory of 
others we salute one another, and it is by the aid of others that 
we live. The most precious objects of existence, and the chief 
supports 47 of life, are entirely lost to us, and we have nothing 
left but our pleasures to call our own. I will not leave Cato 
exposed to the hatred of a profession so ambitious as this, nor 
yet that senate which judged as he did, but at the same time 
I will pursue my object without wresting to my purpose the 
crimes practised by its adepts, as some might naturally expect. 
For what profession has there been more fruitful in poisonings, 
or from which there have emanated more frauds upon wills ? 
And then, too, what adulteries have been committed, in the 
very houses of our princes even ! the intrigue of Eudemus, 48 
for example, with Livia, the wife of Drusus Caesar, and that of 
Valens with the royal lady previously mentioned. 49 Let us 
not impute these evils, I say, to the art, but to the men who 
practise it ; for Cato, I verily believe, as little apprehended 

43 " Inquisitio per parietes." The reading is doubtful, but he not im- 
probably alludes to the employment of spies. 

44 Hardouin thinks that he alludes to Cornelius Balbus here, a native of 
Gades. See 13. v. c. 5, and B. vii. 44. 

45 " Electis viris datur tabula." He alludes to the three tablets de- 
livered to the Judices, one of which had inscribed on it " Acquitted," an- 
other " Not proven," and a third " Guilty " Absolvatur, Non liquet y and 

46 " In this place he casteth in the Romans' teeth, their Lecticarii, Anag- 
nosta, and Nomenclatures." Holland. Letter-bearers, readers, and promp- 
ters as to the names of the persons addressed. 

47 He alludes to the resources of medicine. 

48 A physician at Rome, who was afterwards put to the torture for this 
crime. Livia was the daughter of Drusus Nero, the brother of Tiberius. 

49 Messalina, mentioned in c. 5 of this Book. 


such practices as these in the City, as he did the presence of 
royal ladies 50 there. 

I will not accuse the medical art of the avarice even of its 
professors, the rapacious bargains made with their patients while 
their fate is trembling in the balance, the tariffs framed upon 
their agonies, the monies taken as earnest for the dispatching 
of patients, or the mysterious secrets of the craft. I will not 
mention how that cataract must be couched 51 only, in the eye, 
in preference to extracting it at once practices, all of them, 
which have resulted in one very great advantage, by alluring 
hither such a multitude of adventurers; it being no mo- 
deration on their part, but the rivalry existing between such 
numbers of practitioners, that keeps their charges within mo- 
deration. It is a well-known fact that Charmis, the phy- 
sician 52 already mentioned, made a bargain with a patient of 
his in the provinces, that he should have two hundred thousand 
sesterces for the cure ; that the Emperor Claudius extorted 
from Alcon, the surgeon, 63 ten millions of sesterces by way of 
fine ; and that the same man, after being recalled from his 
exile in Gaul, acquired a sum equally large in the course of a 
few years. 

These are faults, however, which must be imputed to in- 
dividuals only ; and it is not my intention to waste reproof 
upon the dregs of the medical profession, or to c#ll attention to 
the ignorance displayed by that crew, 54 the violation of all 
regimen in their treatment of disease, the evasions practised in 
the use of warm baths, the strict diet they imperiously pre- 
scribe, the food that is crammed into these same patients, 
exhausted as they are, several times a day ; together with a 
thousand other methods of showing how quick they are to 
change their mind, their precepts for the regulation of the 
kitchen, and their recipes for the composition of unguents, 
it being one grand object with them to lose sight of none 
of the usual incitements to sensuality. The importation of 
foreign merchandize, and the introduction of tariffs settled by 
foreigners, 55 would have been highly displeasing to our ances- 

50 Nothing could possibly be more remote from his republican notions, 
than " reginae " at Rome. 

51 "Emovendam." In order that a future job may be ensured. 
62 In c. 5 of this Book. 53 " Vulnerum medico." 
44 " Ejus turba3." 55 See B. xxiv. c. 1. 


tors, I can readily imagine ; but it was not these inconveni- 
ences that Cato had in view, when he spoke thus strongly in 
condemnation of the medical art. 

"Theriaee" 56 is the name given to a preparation devised by 
luxury ; a composition formed of six hundred 57 different in- 
gredients ; and this while Nature has bestowed upon us such 
numbers of remedies, each of which would have fully answered 
the purpose employed by itself! The Mithridatic 58 antidote 
is composed of four and fifty ingredients, none of which are 
used in exactly the same proportion, and the quantity pre- 
scribed is in some cases so small as the sixtieth part of one 
denarius ! Which of the gods, pray, can have instructed man 
in such trickery as this, a height to which the mere subtlety 
of human invention could surely never have reached? It 
clearly must emanate from a vain ostentation of scientific skill, 
and must be set down as a monstrous system of puffing off the 
medical art. 

And yet, after all, the physicians themselves do not under- 
stand this branch of their profession ; and I have ascertained 
that it is a common thing for them to put mineral vermilion 59 
in their medicines, a rank poison, as I shall have occasion 60 to 
show when I come to speak of the pigments, in place of Indian 
cinnabar, and all because they mistake the name of the one 
drug for that of the other ! These, however, are errors which 
only concern the health of individuals, while it is the practices 
which Cato foresaw and dreaded, less dangerous in themselves 
and little regarded, practices, in fact, which the leading men 
in the art do not hesitate to avow, that have wrought 61 the 
corruption of the manners of our empire. 

The practices I allude to are those to which, while enjoying 
robust health, we submit: such, for instance, as rubbing the body 
with wax and oil, 63 a preparation for a wrestling match, by 
rights, but which, these men pretend, was invented as a preser- 
vative of health ; the use of hot baths, which are necessary, 

56 The origin of our word " treacle." See B. xx. c. 100, and Note 97. 

57 Used as a round number, like our expression " ten thousand." 

58 See B. xxiii. c. 77, and B. xxv. c. 26. 

59 " Minium." This red lead had the name of " cinnabaris nativa," 
whence the error. 60 In B. xxxiii. c. 38. 

61 As tending to effeminacy, or undermining the constitution. 

62 See B. xxviii. c. 13. 


they have persuaded us, for the proper digestion of the food, 
baths which no one ever leaves without being all the weaker 
for it, and from which the more submissive of their patients 
are only carried to the tomb; potions taken fasting ; vomits to 
clear the stomach, and then a series of fresh drenchings with 
drink ; emasculation, self-inflicted by the use of pitch-plasters 
as depilatories ; the public exposure, too, of even the most de- 
licate parts of the female body for the prosecution of these 
practices. Most assuredly so it is, the contagion which has 
seized upon the public morals, has had no more fertile source 
than the medical art, and it continues, day by day even, to 
justify the claims of Cato to be considered a prophet and an 
oracle of wisdom, in that assertion of his, that it is quite suffi- 
cient to dip into the records of Greek genius, without becoming 
thoroughly acquainted with them. 

Such then is what may be said in justification of the senate 
and of the Iloinan people, during that period of. six hundred 
years in which they manifested such repugnance to an art, by 
the most insidious terms of which, good men are made to lend 
their credit and authority to the very worst, and so strongly 
entered their protest against the silly persuasions entertained by 
those, who fancy that nothing can benefit them but what is 
coupled with high price. 

I entertain no doubt, too, that there will be found some to ex- 
press their disgust at the particulars which I am about to give, in 
relation to animals : and yet Yirgil himself has not disdained 
when, too, there was no necessity for his doing so to speak 
of ants and weevils, 

" And nests by beetles made that shun the light." 63 

Homer,* 4 too, amid his description of the battles of the gods, 
has not disdained to remark upon the voracity of the common 
fly; nor has Nature, she who engendered man, thought it beneath 
her to engender these insects as well. Let each then make it 
his care, not so much to regard the thing itself, as to rightly 
appreciate in each case the cause and its effects. 


I shall begin then with some remedies that are well known, 

l " Lucifugis congesta cubilia blattis." Georg. I. 184, IV. 243. 
w 11. xvii. 570, et seq. 


those namely, which are derived from wool and from the eggs of 
birds, thus giving due honour to those substances which hold 
the principal place in the estimation of mankind ; though at 
the same time I shall be necessitated to speak of some others out 
of their proper place, according as occasion may offer. I should 
not have been at a loss for high-flown language wi'th which to 
grace my narrative, had I made it my design to regard any- 
thing else than what, as being strictly trustworthy, 65 becomes 
my work : for among the very first remedies mentioned, we 
find those said to be derived from the ashes and nest of the 
phoenix, 66 as though, forsooth, its existence were a well ascer- 
tained fact, and not altogether a fable. And then besides, it 
would be a mere mockery to describe remedies that can only 
return to us once in a thousand years. 

(2.) The ancient Romans attributed to wool a degree of reli- 
gious importance even, and it was in this spirit that they enjoined 
that the bride should touch the door-posts of her husband's 
house with wool. In addition to dress and protection from the 
cold, wool, in an unwashed state, used in combination with oil, 
and wine or vinegar, supplies us with numerous remedies, accord- 
ing as we stand in need of an emollient or an excitant, an astrin- 
gent or a laxative. "Wetted from time to time with these liquids, 
greasy w ool is applied to sprained limbs, and to sinews that are 
suffering from pain. In the case of sprains, some persons are 
in the habit of adding salt, while others, again, apply pounded 
rue and grease, in wool : the same, too, in the case of con- 
tusions or tumours. Wool will improve the breath, it is said, 
if the teeth and gums are rubbed with it, mixed with honey ; 
it is very good, too, for phrenitis, 67 used as a fumigation. To 
arrest bleeding at the nose, wool is introduced into the nostrils 
with oil of roses ; or it is used in another manner, the ears 
being well plugged with it. In the case of inveterate ulcers it is 
applied topically with honey : soaked in wine or vinegar, or 
in cold water and oil, and then squeezed out, it is used for 
the cure of wounds. 

Rams' wool, washed in cold water, and steeped in oil, is 
used for female complaints, and to allay inflammations of the 
uterus. Procidence of the uterus is reduced by using this wool 

55 He certainly does not always keep this object in view. 

66 See B. x. c. 2, and B. xii. c. 42. 

67 A form of fever, Littre remarks, that is known by the moderns 
" pseudo-continuous. " 



in the form of a fumigation. Greasy wool, used as a plaster 
and as a pessary, brings away the dead foetus, and arrests 
uterine discharges. Bites inflicted by a mad dog are plugged 
with unwashed wool, the application being removed at the end 
of seven days. Applied with cold water, it is a cure for 
agnails : steeped in a mixture of boiling nitre, sulphur, oil, 
vinegar, and tar, and applied twice a day, as warm as possible, 
it allays pains in the loins. By making ligatures with un- 
washed rams' wool about the extremities of the limbs, bleed- 
ing is effectually stopped. 

In all cases, the wool most esteemed is that from the neck of 
the animal ; the best kinds of wool being those of Galatia, 
Tarentum, Attica, and Miletus. For excoriations, blows, 
bruises, contusions, crushes, galls, falls, pains in the head and 
other parts, and for inflammation of the stomach, unwashed 
wool is applied, with a mixture of vinegar and oil of roses. 
Reduced to ashes, it is applied to contusions, wounds, and 
burns, and forms an ingredient in ophthalmic compositions. It 
is employed, also, for fistulas and suppurations of the ears. 
For this last purpose, some persons take the wool as it is shorn, 
while others pluck it from the fleece ; they then cut off the 
ends of it, and after drying and carding it, lay it in pots of 
unbaked earth, steep it well in honey, and burn it. Others, 
again, arrange it in layers alternately with chips of torch- 
pine, 68 and, after sprinkling it with oil, set fire to it : they 
then rub the ashes into small vessels with the hands, and let 
them settle in water there. This operation is repeated and the 
water changed several times, until at last the ashes are found 
to be slightly astringent, without the slightest pungency ; upon 
which, they are put by for use, being possessed of certain 
caustic properties, 69 and extremely useful as a detergent for 
the eyelids. 


And not only this, but the filthy excretions even of sheep, 
the sweat adhering to the wool of the flanks and of the 
axillary concavities a substance known as " cesypum" 70 - are 

6 8 See B. xvi. c. 19. 

69 " Smectica" is suggested by Gesner, Hist. Anim., as a better reading 
than " septica." 

70 " (Esypum " is often mentioned by Ovid as a favourite cosmetic with 
the Roman ladies. 


applied to purposes almost innumerable ; the grease produced 
by the sheep of Attica being the most highly esteemed. There 
are numerous ways of obtaining it, but the most approved 
method is to take the wool, fresh clipped from those parts of 
the body, or else the sweat and grease collected from any part of 
the fleece, and boil it gently in a copper vessel upon a slow fire : 
this done, it is left to cool, and the fat which floats upon the 
surface collected into an earthen vessel. The material originally 
used is then subjected to another boiling, and the two results 
are washed in cold water; after which, they are strained 
through a linen cloth and exposed to the sun till they become 
bleached and quite transparent, and are then put by in a pew- 
ter box for keeping. 

The best proof of its genuineness is its retention of the 
strong smell of the original grease, and its not melting when 
rubbed with water upon the hand, but turning wh*ite, like 
white-lead in appearance. This substance is extremely use- 
ful for inflammations of the eyes and indurations of the eye- 
lids. Some persons bake the wool in an earthen pot, until it 
has lost all its grease, and are of opinion that, prepared this 
way, it is a more useful remedy for excoriations and indurations 
of the eyelids, for eruptions at the corners of the eyes, and for 
watery eyes. And not only does this grease heal ulcerations 
of the eyes, but, mixed with goose-grease, of the ears and 
generative organs as well ; in combination also with melilote 
and butter, it is a cure for inflammations of the uterus, and for 
excoriations of the rectum and condylomata. The other uses 
to which it is applied, we shall detail on a more appropriate 

The grease, too, of the wool about the tail is made up into 
pills, unmixed with any substance : these pills are dried and 
pulverized, being an excellent application for the teeth, when 
loose even, and for the gums, when attacked by spreading ulcers 
of a cancerous nature. Sheep's wool, too, cleaned, is applied 
by itself, or with the addition of sulphur, for dull, heavy pains, 
and the ashes of it, burnt, are used for diseases of the genera- 
tive organs : indeed, this wool is possessed of such sovereign 
virtues, that it is used as a covering for medicinal applications 
even. It is also an especial remedy for the sheep itself, when 
it has lost its stomach, and refuses to feed ; for, upon plucking 
some wool from the tail, and then tying the tail therewith, us 


tight as possible, the sheep will fall to feeding immediately. It 
is said, however, that the part of the tail which lies beyond 
the knot so made will quickly mortify and die. 


There is a considerable affinity also between wool and eggs, 
which are applied together as a frontal to the forehead by way 
of cure for defluxions of the eyes. Wool, however, is not 
required for this purpose to haTe been dressed with radicula, 71 
the only thing requisite to be combined with it being the 
white of an egg and powdered frankincense. The white of an 
egg, also applied by itself, arrests defluxions of the eyes, and has 
a cooling effect upon inflammations of those organs : some, how- 
ever, prefer mixing saffron with it, and employ it as an ingre- 
dient in eye-salves, in place of water. For ophthalmia in infants 
there is hardly any remedy to be found, except white of egg 
mixed with fresh butter. Eggs beaten up with oil, are very 
soothing for erysipelas, beet leaves being laid on the liniment. 

White of egg, mixed with pounded gum ammoniac, is used 
as a bandoline for arranging the hairs of the eyelids ; and, in 
combination with pine-nuts and a little honey, it forms a 
liniment for the removal of pimples on the face. If the face 
is well rubbed with it, it will never be sun-burnt. If, the 
moment the flesh has been scalded, an egg is applied, no blis- 
ters will form : some persons, howeTer, mix with it barley- 
meal and a little salt. In cases of ulceration formed by burns, 
there is nothing better than parched barley and hogs' lard, 
mixed with the white of an egg. The same mixture js also 
used as an application for diseases of the rectum, in infants 
eTen, and in cases, too, when there is procidence of those parts. 
For the cure of chaps upon the feet, white of eggs is boiled, 
with two denarii of white lead, an equal quantity of litharge, 
a little myrrh, and some wine. For the cure of erysipelas they 
use the whites of three eggs with amylum : 72 it is said, too, 
that white of egg has the effect of knitting wounds and of 
expelling urinary calculi. The yolk of eggs boiled hard, 
applied in woman's milk with a little saffron and honey, has 
a soothing effect upon pains in the eyes. The yolk is applied 
also to the eyes in wool, mixed with honied wine and oil of 

71 See B. xix, c. 1, B. xxiv. c 58, and B. xxv. c. 21. 

72 See B. xviii. c. 17. 

TOL. v. C C 


roses ; or else mixed with ground parsley-seed and polenta, and 
applied with honied wine. The yolk of a single egg, swallowed 
raw by itself without being allowed to touch the teeth, is 
remarkably good for cough, defluxions of the chest, and irrita- 
tions of the fauces. It is used, too, both internally and ex- 
ternally, in a raw state, as a sovereign cure for the sting of the 
haemorrhois ; 73 and it is highly beneficial for the kidneys, for 
irritations and ulcerations of the bladder, and for bloody expec- 
torations. For dysentery, the yolks of five eggs are taken raw 
in one semi-sextarius of wine, mixed with the ashes of the shells, 
poppy-juice, and wine. 

For cceliac fluxes, it is recommended to take the yolks of 
eggs, with like proportions of pulpy raisins and pomegranate 
rind, in equal quantities, for three consecutive days; or else 
to follow another method, and take the yolks of three eggs, 
with three ounces of old bacon and honey, and three cyathi of 
old wine ; the whole being beaten up to the consistency of 
honey, and taken in water, when needed, in pieces the size of 
a hazel nut. In some cases, too, the yolks of three eggs are 
fried in oil, the whole of the egg having been steeped a day 
previously in vinegar. It is in this way that eggs are used for 
the treatment of spleen diseases ; but for spitting of blood, they 
should be taken with three cyathi of must. Yolk of egg is used, 
too, for the cure of bruises of long standing, in combination 
with bulbs and honey. Boiled and taken in wine, yolks of 
eggs arrest menstruation : applied raw with oil or wine, they 
dispel inflations of the uterus. Mixed with goose-grease and 
oil of roses, they are useful for crick in the neck ; and they 
are hardened over the fire, and applied warm, for the cure of 
maladies of the rectum. For cond) 7 lomata, eggs are used in 
combination with oil of roses ; and for the treatment of bums, 
they are hardened in water, and set upon hot coals till the 
shells are burnt, the yellow being used as a liniment with oil 
of roses. 

Eggs become entirely transformed into yolk, on being re- 
moved after the hen has sat upon them for three days ; in 
which state they are known by the name of " sitista." 74 The 
chicks that are found within the shell are used for strengthen- 

? 3 See B. xx. c. 23. 

74 Hermolaiis suggests "schista," "divided," and Dalechamps proposes 
" synchyta," " mixed." The reading is very doubtful. 


ing a disordered stomach, being eaten with half a nut-gall, 
and no other food taken for the next two hours. They are 
given also for dysentery, boiled in the egg with one semi-sexta- 
rius of astringent wine, and an equal quantity of olive oil and 
polenta. The pellicle that lines the shell is used, either raw 
or boiled, for the cure of cracked lips ; and the shell itself, 
reduced to ashes, is taken in wine for discharges of blood : care 
nmst be taken, however, to burn it without the pellicle. In 
the same way, too, a dentifrice is prepared. The ashes of the 
shell, applied topically with myrrh, arrest menstruation when 
in excess. So remarkably strong is the shell of an egg, that 
if it is set upright, no force or weight can break it, unless a 
slight inclination be made to one side or other of the circum- 
ference. Eggs taken whole in wine, with rue, dill, and cum- 
min, facilitate parturition. Used with oil and cedar-resin, 
they remove itch and prurigo, and, applied in combination with 
cyclaminos, 75 they are remedial for running ulcers of the head. 
For purulent expectorations and spitting of blood, a raw egg 
is taken, warmed with juice of cut-leek and an equal quantity 
of Greek honey. For coughs, eggs are administered, boiled 
and beaten up with honey, or else raw, with raisin wine and an 
equal quantity of olive oil. For diseases of the male organs, 
an injection is made, of an egg, three cyathi of raisin wine, 
and half an ounce of amylum, 76 the mixture being used imme- 
diately after the bath. Where injuries have been inflicted by 
serpents, boiled eggs are used as a liniment, beaten up with 

In what various ways eggs are used as food is well known 
to all, passing downwards, however swollen the throat may 
be, and warming the parts as they pass. Eggs, too, are the 
only diet which, while it affords nutriment in sickness, does 
not load the stomach, possessing at the same moment all the 
advantages both of food and drink. We have already 77 stated, 
that the shell of an egg becomes soft when steeped in vinegar : 
it is by the aid of eggs thus prepared, and kneaded up with 
meal into bread, that patients suffering from the cceliac flux 
are often restored to strength. Some, however, think it a better 
plan to roast the eggs, when thus softened, in a shallow pan ; 
a method, by the aid of which, they arrest not only looseness of 

75 Or Sowbread. See B. xxv. c, 67. 

76 See B. xviii. c. 17. " In B. x. c. 80. 

C C 2. 


the bowels, but excessive menstruation as well. In eases, 
again, where the discharges are greatly in excess, eggs are 
taken raw, with meal, in water. The yolks, too, are employed 
alone, boiled hard in vinegar and roasted with ground pepper, 
when wanted to arrest diarrhoea. 

For dysentery, there is a sovereign remedy, prepared in the 
following manner : an egg is emptied into a new earthen vessel, 
which done, in order that all the proportions may be equal, 
fill the shell, first with honey, then with oil, and then with 
vinegar ; beat them up together, and thoroughly incorporate 
them : the better the quality of the several ingredients, the 
more efficacious the mixture will be. Others, again, instead 
of oil and vinegar, use the same proportions of red resin and 
wine. There is also another way of making up this prepara- 
tion : the proportion of oil, and of that only, remains the same, 
and to it they add two sixtieth parts of a denarius of the 
vegetable which we have spoken of under the name of "rhus," 78 
and five oboli of honey. All these ingredients are boiled down 
together, and no food is eaten by the patient till the end of 
four hours after taking the mixture. Many persons, too, have 
a cure for griping pains in the bowels, by beating up two eggs 
with four cloves of garlick, and administering them, warmed 
in one semi-sextarius of wine. 

Not to omit anything in commendation of eggs, I would 
here add that glair of egg, mixed with quicklime, unites 
broken 79 glass. Indeed, so great is the efficacy of the substance 
of an egg, that wood dipped in it will not take fire, and cloth 
with which it has come in contact will not ignite. 80 On this 
occasion, however, it is only of the eggs of poultry that I have 
been speaking, though those of the various other birds as well 
are possessed of many useful properties, as I shall have to 
mention on the appropriate occasions. 


In addition to the above, there is another kind of egg, 81 held 

7S See B. xxiv. c. 54. 

79 This is the fact, and it is similarly used for mending china. White 
of egg, mixed with whiskey or spirits of wine, will answer the purpose 
equally well. 

80 Ajasson remarks that there is some slight truth in this assertion. 

81 Pliny alludes here to the beads or rings of glass which were used by 
the Druids as charms to impose on the credulity of their devotees, under 

Chap. 12.] SEKPENTS' EGGS. 389 

in high renown by the people of the Gallic provinces, but 
totally omitted by the Greek writers. In summer 82 time, num- 
berless snakes become artificially entwined together, and form 
rings around their bodies with the viscous slime which exudes 
from their mouths, and with the foam secreted by them : the 
name given to this substance is " anguinum." 83 The Druids 
tell us, that the serpents eject these eggs into the air by their 
hissing, 84 and that a person must be ready to catch them in a 
cloak, so as not to let them touch the ground ; they say also that he 
must instantly take to flight on horseback, as the serpents will 
be sure to pursue him, until some intervening river has placed 
a barrier between them. The test of its genuineness, they say, 
is its floating against the current of a stream, even though it 
be set in gold. But, as it is the way with magicians to be 
dexterous and cunning in casting a veil about their frauds, they 
pretend that these eggs can only be taken on a certain day of 
the moon ; as though, forsooth, it depended entirely upon the 
human will to make the moon and the serpents accord as to 
the moment of this operation. 

I myself, however, have seen one of these eggs: it was 
round, and about as large as an apple of moderate size ; the 
shell 85 of it was formed of a cartilaginous substance, and it was 
surrounded with numerous cupules, as it were, resembling 
those upon the arms of the polypus : it is held in high estimation 

the name of Glainnatdr, or " the Adder gem." Mr. Luyd (in Rowland's 
Mona Antiqua, p. 342) says that the genuine Ovum anguinum can be no 
other than a shell of the kind called echinus marinus, and that Dr. Borlase 
observes that, instead of the natural anguinum, artificial rings of stone, 
glass, and sometimes baked clay, were substituted as of equal validity. 
The belief in these charms very recently existed in Cornwall and Wales, if 
indeed it does not at the present day. The subject is very fully discussed in 
Brand's Popular Antiquities, Vol. III. p. 286, et seg., and p. 369, et seq. y 
JSohn's Edition. These gems and beads are not uncommonly found in tumuli 
of the early British period. 

82 A similar belief in its origin was prevalent in Cornwall and "Wales, 
and whoever found it was supposed to ensure success in all his undertakings. 

83 " The snake's egg" ovum being understood. 

84 " The vulgar opinion in Cornwall and most parts of Wales is that these 
are produced through all Cornwall by snakes joining their heads together 
and hissing, which forms a kind of bubble like a ring about the head of 
one of them, which the rest, by continual hissing, blow on till it comes oft 
at the tail, when it immediately hardens and resembles a glass ring." 
Govgh's Camden,Vol. II. p. 571, Ed. 1789. 

85 The shell of a sea urchin most probably. See Note 81 above. 


among the Druids. The possession of it is marvellously vaunted 
as ensuring success 86 in law-suits, and a favourable reception 
with princes ; a notion which has been so far belied, that a 
Koman of equestrian rank, a native of the territory of the 
Yocontii, 87 who, during a trial, had one of these eggs in his 
bosom, was slain by the late Emperor Tiberius, and for no 
other reason, that I know of, but because he was in possession 
of it. It is this entwining of serpents with one another, and 
the fruitful results of this unison, that seem to me to have 
given rise to the usage among foreign nations, of surrounding 
the caduceus 88 with representations of serpents, as so many 
symbols of peace it must be remembered, too, that on the 
caduceus, serpents are never 89 represented as having crests. 


Having to make mention, in the present Book, of the eggs 
of the goose and the numerous uses to which they are applied, 
as also of the bird itself, it is our duty to award the honour to 
Commagene 90 of a most celebrated preparation there made. 
This composition is prepared from goose-grease, a substance 
applied to many other well-known uses as well ; but in the 
case of that which comes from Commagene, a part of Syria, the 
grease is first incorporated with cinnamon, cassia, 91 white pep- 
per, and the plant called " commagene," 92 and then placed in 
vessels and buried in the snow. The mixture has an agree- 
able smell, and is found extremely useful for cold shiverings, 
convulsions, heavy or sudden pains, and all those affections, in 
fact, which are treated with the class of remedies known as 
" acopa ;" 93 being equally an unguent and a medicament. 

There is another method, also, of preparing it in Syria : the 
fat of the bird is preserved in manner already 94 described, and 

86 See Note 82 above. 

87 A nation of Ganl. See B. iii. cc. 5, 21. 

88 The wand held by heralds, and generally represented as being carried 
by Mercury in his character of messenger of the gods. 

89 And therefore not portentous of war. 

9 See B. v. cc. 13, 20. 9 * See B. xii. c. 43. 

92 See B. x. c. 28. Generally supposed to be Syrian nard ; though some 
identify it with the Comacum of Theophrastus. 

93 See B. xxiii. cc. 45, 80. " In B. xxviii. c. 38. 


there is added to it erysisceptrum, 95 xylobalsamum, 96 palm 
elate, 97 and calamus, each in the same proportion as the grease ; 
the whole being gently boiled some two or three times in wine. 
This preparation is made in winter, as in summer it will never 
thicken, except with the addition of wax. There are nume- 
rous other remedies, also, derived from the goose, as well as 
from the ravun ; 98 a thing I am much surprised at, seeing that 
both the goose and the raven " are generally said to be in a 
diseased state at the end of summer and the beginning of 


We have already 1 spoken of the honours earned by the 
geese, when the Gauls were detected in their attempt to scale 
the Capitol. It is for a corresponding reason, also, that punish- 
ment is yearly inflicted upon the dogs, by crucifying them alive 
upon a gibbet of elder, between the Temple of Juventas 2 and 
that of Summanus. 3 

In reference to this last-mentioned animal, the usages of our 
forefathers compel us to enter into some further details. They 
considered the flesh of sucking whelps to be so pure a meat, 
that they were in the habit of using them as victims even in 
their expiatory sacrifices. A young whelp, too, is sacrificed to 
Genita Mana ; 4 and, at the repasts celebrated in honour of the 
gods, it is still the usage to set whelps' flesh on table ; at the 
inaugural feasts, too, of the pontiffs, this dish was in com- 
mon use, as we learn from the Comedies 5 of Plautus. It is 
generally thought that for narcotic 6 poisons there is nothing 
better than dogs' blood ; and it would appear that it was this 
animal that first taught man the use of emetics. Other me- 

95 See B. xxiv. c. 69. 96 See B. xii. c. 54. 97 See B. xii. c. 62. 

98 No MS., it would appear, gives "oorvis" here, the reading being 
"capris," " goats." Ajasson, however, is most probably right in his sug- 
gestion that "corvis" is the correct reading. 

9a See B. x. c. 15. l In B. x. c. 26. 

2 Or Youth, in the Eighth Region of the City. 

3 See B. ii. c. 53. 

4 An ancient divinity, who is supposed to have presided over childbirth. 
See Plutarch, Queest. Rom. 52. 

5 In the Saturio probably, quoted by Festus, and now lost. The 
aborigines of Canada, and the people of China and Tartary, hold whelpa* 
flesh in esteem as a great delicacy, 

6 "Toxica," 


dicinal uses of the dog which are marvellously commended, I 
shall have occasion to refer to on the appropriate occasions. 



We will now resume the order originally proposed. 7 For 
stings inflicted by serpents fresh sheeps'-dung, boiled in wine, 
is considered a very useful application : as also mice split 
asunder and applied to the wound. Indeed, these last animals 
are possessed of certain properties by no means to be despised, 
at the ascension of the plane.ts more particularly, as already 8 
stated ; the lobes increasing or decreasing in number, with the 
age of the moon, as the case may be. The magicians have a 
story that swine will follow any person who gives them a 
mouse's liver to eat, enclosed in a fig : they say, too, that it 
has a similar effect upon man, but that the spell may be de- 
stroyed by swallowing a cyathus of oil. 


There are two varieties of the weasel ; the one, wild, 9 larger 
than the other, and known to the Greeks as the " ictis :" its 
gall is said to be very efficacious as an antidote to the sting of 
the asp, but of a venomous nature in other respects. 9 * The 
other kind, 10 which prowls about our houses, and is in the 
habit, Cicero tells us, u of removing its young ones, and 
changing every day from place to place, is an enemy to ser- 
pents. The flesh of this last, preserved in salt, is given, in 
doses of one denarius, in three cyathi of drink to persons who 
have been stung by serpents : or else the maw of the animal is 
stuffed with coriander seed and dried, to be taken for the same 
purpose in wine. The young one of the weasel is still more 
efficacious for these purposes. 


There are some things, of a most revolting nature, but which 

7 Of remedies classified according to the different maladies. 

8 In B. xi. c. 76. 9 The ferret, most probably. 
fl * See c. 33 of this Book. 10 The common weasel. 

11 Probably in his work entitled " Admiranda," now lost. Holland says 
"eome take these for our cats," 


are recommended by authors with such a degree of assurance, 
that it would be improper to omit them, the more particularly 
as it is to the sympathy or antipathy of objects that remedies 
owe their existence. Thus the bug, for instance, a most filthy 
insect, and one the very name of which inspires us with loath- 
ing, is said to be a neutralizer of the venom of serpents, asps in 
particular, and to be a preservative against all kinds of poisons. 
As a proof of this, they tell us that the sting of an asp is never 
fatal to poultry, if they have eaten bugs that day; and that, 
if such is the case, their flesh is remarkably beneficial to persons 
who have been stung by serpents. Of the various recipes 12 
given in reference to these insects, the least revolting are the 
application of them externally to the wound, with the blood of 
a tortoise ; the employment of them as a fumigation to make 
leeches loose their hold ; and the administering of them to ani- 
mals in drink when a leech has been accidentally swallowed. 
Some persons, however, go so far as to crush bugs with salt 
and woman's milk, and anoint the eyes with the mixture ; in 
combination,' too, with honey and oil of roses, they use them 
as an injection for the ears. Field-bugs, again, and those found 
upon the mallow, 13 are burnt, and the ashes mixed with oil 
of roses as an injection for the ears. 

As to the other remedial virtues attributed to bugs, for the 
cure of vomiting, quartan fevers, and other diseases, although 
we find recommendations given to swallow them in an egg, 
some wax, or in a bean, I look upon them as utterly unfounded, 
and not worthy of further notice. They are employed, how- 
ever, for the treatment of lethargy, and with some fair reason, 
as they successfully neutralize the narcotic eifects of the poison 
of the asp : for this purpose seven of them are administered 
in a cyathus of water, but in the case of children only four. 
In cases, too, of strangury, they have been injected into the 
urinary channel : 14 so true it is that Nature, that universal 
parent, has engendered nothing without some powerful reason 
or other. In addition to these particulars, a couple of bugs, 

12 Guettard, a French commentator on Pliny, recommends bugs to he 
taken internally for hysteria ! 

13 Perhaps the Cimex pratensis is meant here. Neither this nor the 
Cimex juniperiims, the Cimex hrassicae, or the Lygseus hyoscami has the 
offensive smell of the house bug. 

14 An excellent method, Ajasson remarks, of adding to the tortures of 
the patient. 


it is said, attached to the left arm in some wool that has been 
stolen from the shepherds, will effectually cure nocturnal fevers ; 
while those recurrent in the daytime may he treated with 
equal success by enclosing the bugs in a piece of russet- coloured 
cloth. The scolopendra, on the other hand, is a great enemy 
to these insects ; used in the form of a fumigation, it kills 


The sting of the asp takes deadly effect by causing torpor 
and drowsiness. Of