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Ranunculus

(157 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (βατράχιον/ batráchion = σέλινον ἄγριον/ sélinon ágrion in Dioscorides), buttercup, crowfoot. The widespread family of the Ranunculaceae has more than 100 species in Greece and Italy. The Greek and Latin names for the plant seem to be derived from' frog' (βάτραχος/ bátrachos, Lat. rana), owing to its preference for damp locations. Dioscorides (2,175 Wellmann = 2,206 Berendes) and Pliny (HN 25,172 f.) describe the appearance of four species; it is impossible today to determine exactly which. The leaves and stems in poultice…

Cornus

(535 words)

Author(s): Mastino, Attilio (Sassari) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] [1] Carthaginian settlement on the west coast of Sardinia This item can be found on the following maps: Sardinia et Corsica | Coloniae (It. Ant. 84,1; Corni: Anonymous of Ravenna 5,26; Guido 64; at Ptol. 3,3,7). Carthaginian settlement on the west coast of Sardinia, eighteen miles from each Tharros and Bosa, today S'Archittu (Cuglieri). Founded at the end of the 6th cent. BC, C. was extended to become a city protected by strong walls, which Liv. 23,40f. calls the caput eius regionis, capital city of that thickly wooded region (the Montiferru). In the summer of…

Cynamolgus

(215 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] Pliny (HN 10,97 = Sol. 33,15) reports -- taking up the work of Ps.-Aristotle (Hist. an. 9,13 p. 616a 6-13 = 8,5 of the Arabic-Latin translation of Michael Scotus) -- about the cinnamon bird cinnamolgus (κιννάμωμον ὄρνεον; kinnámōmon órneon) in Arabia that builds its nest in high trees of twigs from the  cinnamon and which the inhabitants shot down with lead arrows for profit. Through Isid. Orig. 12,7,23 this fairytale went into the extended Latin  Physiologus of Ps.-Hugo of St. Victor (3,30 [1. 95], cf. [2. 103f.]) an…

Channe

(93 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (χάννη, χάννα; chánnē, chánna). A fish of the perch family, perhaps the comber ( Serranus cabrilla), according to Aristot. Hist. an. 8,13,598a 13 a saltwater fish that, according to 8,2,591a 10, was carnivorous. Ath. 7,327f emphasizes its large mouth, the black and red stripes as well as, in 8,355c, its tender flesh. As no males were known -- the channe indeed is a hermaphrodite -- it was thought that the female fertilized itself (Aristot. Hist. an. 4,11,538a 19; Plin. HN 9,56 and 32,153, according to Ov. Halieutica 108). Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography L…

Wormwood

(229 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἀψίνθιον/ apsínthion or ἡ ἄψινθος/ ápsinthos or ἀψινθία/ apsinthía, Latin absinthium since Plaut. Trin. 935) describes popular spices and medicinal plants in several of the roughly 200 species of the Artemisia [3] genus in the Compositae family. Predominant was Artemisia absinthum L., which appears on the Greek mainland as Artemisia arborescens L. The yellow-flowered herbaceous plant reaches a height of about 1.20 m and has lancet-shaped leaves with silvery hair, which contain aromatic and bitter substances. Cappadocia and Pontus…

Flycatcher

(222 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] This songbird family is represented in the Mediterranean by only two varieties: (a) the grey ( Muscicapa striata Pall.) and (b) the collared flycatcher ( M. albicollis Temminck). The two were not distinguished in antiquity, thus it is impossible to identify them either in zoological records or in ancient illustrations (for instance on mosaics [1. vol. 2, 119]). The ancient name συκαλλίς/ sykallís, ficedula is based on the assumption, already indirectly refuted by Aristotle (Hist. an. 8(9),3,592b 21f. and 28f.) that it eats figs. Aristotle's c…

Lapis lazuli

(419 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) | Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin)
[German version] (Sumerian iagin > Akkadian uqnû > Greek κύανος/ kýanos > Lat. cyanus; Egyptian ḫsbḏ). The blue rock is a complicated silicate related to the artificial ultramarine. It is characterized by its more or less deep blue colour, often with golden specks of iron pyrite. Lapis lazuli (LL) was extracted in what is present-day Afghanistan/province of Badaḫšān and in the Afghan-Pakistani borderland (Quetta), brought from there to the Near East and to Egypt via the Sinai. It was traded raw, separated from…

Magnets

(329 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (Μαγνῆτις/ magnêtis or Ἡρακλεία λίθος/ Hērakleía líthos; Lat. magnes). The name magnes supposedly comes from the homonymous discoverer, a shepherd on the mountain of Ida in the Troad (according to Nicander in Plin. HN 36,127) whom Isid. Orig. 16,4,1 holds to be a person from the Indus. The magnet is the well-known stone of iron oxide (Fe3O4) that attracts normal iron and, as ferrum vivum, ‘magnetizes’ the iron in its turn (Plin. HN 34,147; Isid. ibid.; Lucr. 6,910-914). Plin. HN 36,128 differentiates, with the Greek stone expert Sotacus, five …

Ichneumon

(275 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] Egyptian mongoose ( Herpestes ichneumon, first mentioned under the name ἰχνεύμων by Aristot. Hist. an. 6,35,580a 25, but also ἰχνευτής/-ήρ; ichneutḗs/-ḗr), viverrid with dog-like feeding habits, in Egypt and, according to Vitr. De arch. 8,2,7, also in Morocco. The ichneumon stays mostly in the reeds and likes to raid poultry farms. In Egypt, it was known as the ferocious enemy of the crocodile, into whose open jaws it was said to creep and kill by consumption of its entrails (Str. 17,812; Diod. Sic. …

Crustaceans

(1,290 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] A. General The class Crustacea of the arthropod family, to be found, in many varieties, mainly in the sea but also in freshwater. The Greeks called them 'soft-shelled' (μαλακόστρακα/ malakóstraka, Aristot. Hist. an. 1,6,490b 10-12 and passim; Speusippus in Ath. 3,105b; erroneously as ὀστρακόδερμα/ ostrakóderma, Ael. NA 9,6 following Aristot. Hist. an. 7(8),17,601a 17f., where these names are meant, however to distinguish different types of crab). The Romans used contecta crustis tenuibus (Plin. HN 9,83) or crustis intecta (Plin. HN 9,43) or crustata (Plin. HN 1…

Seleucus

(2,908 words)

Author(s): von Bredow, Iris (Bietigheim-Bissingen) | Mehl, Andreas (Halle/Saale) | Ameling, Walter (Jena) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) | Hübner, Wolfgang (Münster) | Et al.
(Σέλευκος/ Séleukos, Lat. Seleucus). [German version] [1] Co-regent in the Regnum Bosporanum, c.400 BC Co-regent with Satyrus [2] I in the Regnum Bosporanum, 433/2-393/2 BC (according to Diod. Sic. 12,36,1). As Satyrus is elsewhere (Diod. Sic, 14,93,1) described as a sole ruler, and other sources do not mention his name, his existence is not certain. von Bredow, Iris (Bietigheim-Bissingen) Bibliography V. F. Gajdukevič, Das Bosporanische Reich, 1971, 231  E. H. Minns, Scythians and Greeks, 1913, 571  R. Werner, Die Dynastie der Spartokiden, in: Historia 4, 1955, 419-421. …

Milvus

(89 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] This flying fish, mentioned by Pliny in HN 9,82 together with the flying gurnard ( hirundo, Dactylopterus volitans, Aristot. Hist. an. 4,9,535b 27-29; cf. Opp. Hal. 2,459 and Ael. NA 2,50) and often confused with it, is identical, it seems, with the hiérax (two-winged flying fish, Exocoetus volitans Cuv., Opp. Hal. 1,427f.; Ael. NA 9,52) [1. 140 and 145f.]. Further information is lacking, apart from the fish's wariness of hidden hooks (Hor. Epist. 1,16,50f.: cautus ... metuit ... opertum milvus hamum). Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography 1 Leitner.

Aspalathos

(162 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἀσπάλαθος, aspálathos) was the name given in particular to the common gorse Calycotome villosa (modern Greek σπάλαθος, σπαλαθιά) and to C. spinosa (Italian sparzio spinoso) that were widespread in the Mediterranean macchia, as well as thorny species of broom (e.g. Genetha acanthoclados, modern Greek ἀφάνα) and aspalathoides and even  acacia or the rosewoods belonging to other families ( Lignum rosae, L. thuris). In Pl. Resp. 10,616a the Erinyes whip tyrants with it in the Tartarus, in Theoc. 24,89 snakes killed by Hercules are burned with …

Barba Jovis

(152 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] Type of houseleek Sempervivum tectorum (ἀείζωον; aeízōon) with yellow blooms and fleshy, evergreen and moist leaves (Theophr. Hist. pl. 1,10,4 and 7,15,2); derives its name from its heavy covering of hairs. According to Dioscorides 4,87-88 [1. 247ff.] = 4,88-89 [2. 418f.], the leaves of both types (Lat. sedum in Plin. HN 25,160-163) i.a. served externally as cooling and astringent medicines for sores and wounds. Democritus is supposed to have recommended the juice to treat seeds (Plin. HN 18,159). In HN 16,76 Plin. means, however, the bushy silverbush Anthyllis Ba…

Urtica

(267 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
(from Latin urere, 'burn'; equivalent of cnide in Plin.  HN 32,146, [1. 91],  Greek ἀκαλήφη/ akalḗphē, κνίδη/ knídē). [German version] [1] Stinging nettle The stinging nettle, with its two differently sized species Urtica dioica and Urtica urens in the Urticaceae family, can be identified with the names urtica silvestris and urtica canina (Plin. HN. 21,92), but not with the herculanea. The species silvestris in particular was used as a drug, its leaves, seeds and roots e.g. for women's illnesses (Hippocr. De morbis mulierum 1,31; 1,51; 1,74 and 2,175), fo…

Euphorbion

(161 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (εὐφόρβιον; euphórbion, euphorbea). Name given to the gum resin (Plin. HN 25,77f.) of the cactus-like species of spurge ( Euphorbia resinifera, beaumeriana and antiquorum) which King Juba II of Mauretania found in the Atlas Mountains and is said to have named after his personal physician Euphorbius. Dioscorides 3,82 [1. 98f.] and 3,86 [2. 320f.] however mentions a king of the Libyans of the same name as the person who coined the name. According to Isidorus (Orig. 17,9,26), the name euphorbium is derived from the sharpening of the eye-sight through its sap…

Alausa

(79 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] From Celtic tree names alausa, aliza or alisa the Roman and Germanic names for two genuses of rosaceae are probably derived, namely the whitebeam and the serviceberry ( Sorbus aria and torminalis) and the bird cherry or racemosa ( Prunus padus = Padus racemosa). It is uncertain whether ἄλιζα ( áliza; Hesychius) that is said to also mean alnus (alder) and populus (poplar) also belongs to this. Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography Bertoldi, in: Zschr. für Celtische Philol. 17, 1927.

Calamus

(523 words)

Author(s): Vogeler, Joachim (Baton Rouge, LA) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] [1] Son of Maeander (Κάλαμος; Kálamos). Son of the river god  Maeander. When his lover Carpus drowns, C. begs Zeus for a premature death. In response, Zeus turns him into a reed, Carpus into a field fruit (Serv. Ecl. 5,48; Nonn. Dion. 11,370ff.; [2. 279]). In a different myth, C. is the lover of  Cissus [3. 168 n. 2]. Vogeler, Joachim (Baton Rouge, LA) Bibliography 1 H. Meyer, s.v. K., RE 10, 1538 2 J. Murr, Die Pflanzenwelt in der griech. Myth., 1880 3 E. Rohde, Der griech. Roman, 31914. [German version] [2] All types of reeds κάλαμος, Lat. calamus, harundo, canna, the n…

Woodpecker

(284 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (Greek δρυ(ο)κολάπτης/ dry(o)koláptēs, 'wood-pecker' at Aristoph. Av. 480 and 979, πιπώ/ pipṓ at Aristot. Hist. an. 7(8),3,593a 4, πελεκᾶς/ pelekâs at Aristoph. Av. 884 and 1155; Latin picus at Plaut. Asin. 260, cf. Ov. Met. 14,314). Aristotle (Hist. an. 7(8),3,593a 3-12) is familiar with two spotted woodpeckers of different sizes (probably Dendrocopos major and minor) and the green woodpecker (κελεός/ keleós, Picus viridis), which is about the size of a turtle dove and is widespread, particularly in the Peloponnesus. Aristot. Hist. an. 8(9)…

Leek

(608 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
and other Alliaceae [German version] I. Mesopotamia, Egypt, Asia Minor The numerous Sumerian and Akkadian expressions for Alliaceae, not all of which can be definitely botanically identified, partly refer only to the subspecies leek, shallot, onion or garlic [1. 301]. Leek in its various forms - Sumerian *karaš, Akkadian kar( a) šu, Hebrew kārēš, Aramaic karrāttā, Arabic kurrāṯu - is a word of Oriental culture. Garlic is in Sumerian, sum, Akkadian šūmū, otherwise in Semitic languages ṯūm; the onion is in Akkadian šamaškillū, in Aramaic šmšgl (also as an ideogram in Pahlavi); the…
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