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Anchovy (Sardine)

(242 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] The small, cheap, edible fish found in large shoals in the Mediterranean, Engraulis encrasicholus L., ἡ ἀφύη/ aphýē (ἀφύα/ aphýa), the ‘foam fish’, Lat. apua (Apicius) and sardina (Colum. 8,17,12 as fish-food), but not sarda (since according to Plin. HN 23,46 and 151 the sarda is identical with pelamys,  tuna, [1. 193]; Isid. Orig. 12.6.38 on the other hand equates sarda with sardina). Aristot. Hist. an. 6,15,569a 30-b 28 (= Plin. HN 9,160 and 31,95) claims that the aphýe is generated asexually from sandy soil or from the foam of rain on the surface of the…

Chondros

(101 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (χόνδρος; chóndros, alica). Groats of grain or spelt. The exact species cannot be established. Galen (Facult. nat. 1,6) relates it to wheat and describes the production of gruel (ῥόφημα) for people with stomach and gall bladder diseases (cf. Dioscorides 2,96 [1. I.73] = 2,118 [2.203f.] and Plin. HN. 18,112-113). Ps.-Hippoc. περὶ παθῶν ( perì pathôn, 6,250 Littré) mentions it together with πτισάνη ( ptisánē), κέγχρος ( kénchros) and ἄλητον ( álēton).  Special diet Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography 1 M. Wellmann (ed.), Pedanii Dioscuridis de mater…

Apogei

(86 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (sc. venti), Greek ἀπόγειοι ἀνέμοι ( apógeioi ánemoi), e.g. Aristot. Mund. 4,394 b13-15, are the winds that blow offshore after sunset, i.e. out to sea, that make it easier for the fishermen to leave the harbour by sunrise. Their counterparts often mentioned simultaneously with them are the τροπαῖαι ( tropaîai) blowing in from the sea with which it is possible to return easily during the day. The calm between them is unpleasant [1]. Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography 1 R. Böker, s. v. Winds, RE VIII A, 2245,43 ff.

Mulberry tree

(452 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἡ or ὁ συκάμινος/ sykáminos with the fruit συκάμινον/ sykáminon; σ. Αἰγυπτία/ s. Aigyptía = sycamore (fig): Theophr. Hist. pl. 4,2,1-2 = Plin. HN 13,56, from Hebrew šiqmah, cf. Dioscorides 1,27 Wellmann = 1,181 Berendes; or μορέα/ moréa, μόρον/ móron; acc. to Ath. 2,51b, the Alexandrians called it μῶρον/ môron; Lat. morus, morum, the same name they used for the blackberry bush). The tree of the Moraceae family has white catkins and came to Greece from the Near East; according to the quotes at Ath. 2,51c-d, it was first mentioned …

Bittersweet

(110 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] One of the few members of the Solanacea family indigenous to Europe, this plant, Solanum dulcamara L. (γλυκύπικρον, dulcamara or amaradulcis), is so called because of the taste of its red, slightly toxic berries. It is not so much the berries, whose bitter-sweet qualities have a mildly narcotic effect, as the twigs that are used: their decoction induces sweating; in Dioscorides 4,72 (1. 230f.) = 4,73 [2. 406f.], though called στρύχνον ὑπνωτικόν ( strýchnon hypnōtikón), used for pain relief.  Solanacea Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography 1 M. Wellmann (…

Bat

(402 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] Because of its appearance in the evening it was called νυκτερίς ( nykterís) or vespertilio. From the Orient, the flying fox ( Pteropus medius Tem.) apparently was also known under the name of ἀλώπηξ ( alṓpēx, Aristot. Hist. an. 1,5,490a 7) or νυκταλώπηξ ( nyktalṓpēx, Ps.-Callisthenes 3,17,21; Str. 16,1,7 = p.739; cf. Hdt. 3,110, accordingly Plin. HN 12,85). The order of Chiropterais described as ‘skin-winged’ (δερμόπτερα, cf. Plin. HN 11,228: siccis membranis volat) by Aristot. Hist. an. 1.1.487b 22f. and 490a 7f., and thus seen as being close to that…

Vertragus

(188 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (οὐέρτραγος/ o uértragos). Greyhound, which is particularly prized for hare coursing because of its speed; the Latin name vertragus is derived from a Celtic word. The accurate description in Arr. Cyn. 3-6 of a powerful but slim dog with pointed muzzle and long ears enabled [1] to identify ancient depictions of vertragi. When hunting, the dogs which were kept in large compounds were led on leashes by slaves and released only when the prey had been flushed out and was in view. Hunters used to accompany them on horseback. Usually two vertragi were set on each hare, which t…

Myrtle

(549 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ὁ μύρτος/ mýrtos, ἡ μυρσίνη/ myrsínē, μυρρίνη/ myrrhínē and ὁ μύρρινος/ ho mýrrhinos, the berry τὸ μύρτον/ mýrton or ἡ μυρτίς/ myrtís, probably of Semitic origin, but unlikely to be related to μύρρα/ mýrrha (Myrrh); Latin murtus, myrtus, myrta, murta (all feminine), the berry murtum) is the thermophile evergreen tree with white blossoms that is common throughout the Mediterranean region, particularly in the maquis as well as in the Middle East. It was cultivated in gardens from the Hellenistic period. The plant itself …

Antimony

(197 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] Since the 11th cent. in Constantinus Africanus, de gradibus simplicium 4,4 [1. 381 f., cf. 2.138], the name given to this metallic element, said to be warm and dry at four degrees, that was the same as the ancient στίβι ( stíbi) or στίμμι ( stímmi; stibium, from orig. Eg. ṣtim [2.138]), supposedly a type of lead extracted from the silver mines.Use of black antimony trisulphate as eye make-up as well as for an astringent and cooling remedy, the extraction of which was described precisely (Dioscorides 5,85 [3.55 f.] = 5,99 [4.516…

Gadfly

(197 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (οἶστρος; oîstros, tabanus bovinus, substituted in Verg. G. 3,147 by asilus, later considered antiquated by Seneca in Epist. 58,2). Earlier authors generally equated it with the horsefly μύωψ ( mýōps) (cf. Aesch. Suppl. 511 and 308; Prom. 567 and 675), but Aristotle distinguishes between the two (Hist. an. 1,5,490a20 and 8,11,596b14, without description). As the μύωψ in Aristot. Hist. an. 5,19,552a30, are described in the tabanus and the cossus (Pliny HN 11,113) as originating from wood. Apparently, the gadfly was only properly identified in Augus…

Pike

(166 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] This Central European predatory fish ( Esox lucius L.), wide-mouthed with many teeth, was unknown to the Greeks. Auson. Mos. 120-124 by contrast mentions the pike ( lucius) as an enemy of frogs that lurks in ponds in the algae and is not valued in the kitchen. The Greek physician Anthimus [1] (De Observatione Ciborum 40; [1. 18]), on the other hand, gives a Germanic recipe. Thomas of Cantimpré 7,48 [2. 264f.], following a contemporary 13th-cent. source ( Liber Rerum, cf. Alexander Neckam 2,32 [3. 147]), identifies the pike with lupus marinus and describes it as a pa…

Aparctias

(100 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (Latin Septentrio). Later name for the north wind on the wind rose, in Vitr. De arch. 1,6 etc. formed according to the northern constellation, the Great Bear (ἀπὸ τῶν τῆς ἄρκτου τόπων; apò tôn tês árktou tópōn). It was characterized as cold, strong, driving away clouds and so brightening, dry, healthy but also as bringing thunderstorms and hail. In Aristot. Mete. 2,6,364a 13-15 it is regarded as one of the north winds (Βόρεια; Bóreia) along with the Thrascias and Meses. Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography K. Nielsen, Les noms grecs et latins des vents, i…

Polygonon

(83 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (πολύγωνον/ polýgōnon), literally 'multi-fruit', knot-grass ( Polygonaceae family), according to Plin. HN 27,113 Lat. sanguinaria, in four species (cf. Plin. HN 27,113-117); provides a blood-staunching sap because of this plant's astringent and cooling power (Plin. HN 27,114, similarly  Dioscorides 4,4-5 Wellmann and Berendes). The seeds allegedly have i.a. purgative and diuretic effects. According to Columella 6,12,5 polýgōnon also heals cuts; sheep that consume it become seriously ill (ibidem 7,5,19). Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography H. G…

Keiris

(187 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (κεῖρις; keîris, Latin ciris) was the name of a water bird [1; 2], nowadays indeterminable, to which the poem Ciris (Ps.-Verg., v. 205 and 501ff.) attributes a white body, blueish wings, a red head and skinny red legs. Scaliger identifies it with a heron who fights the white-tailed eagle ( haliáetos?), according to Aristot. Hist. an. 8(9),1,609b 26; but in Hyg. Fab. 198, in analogy thereto, ciris is a fish pursued by the eagle [3. 144]. In mythology, the legend tells the story of Nisus (transformed into a white-tailed eagle) and his daughter S…

Fucus

(202 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (φῦκος; phŷkos, φυκίον; phykíon, φῦκος θαλάσσιος; phŷkos thalássios) originally denoted red algae used for dyeing clothes red and as a cosmetic (Lat. verb fucare): e.g. Rytiphloea tinctoria ( Clem.) Ag., but not the species Fucus L. The loan-word phycos (as bush frutex, Plin. HN 13,135) denotes not only the herb-like algae, but is extended to green algae like the sea lettuce ( Ulva lactuca). Pliny distinguishes (HN 13,136) three species: 1. the orseille or litmus lichen ( Roccella tinctoria L.), 2. perhaps some red algae (= Dioscorides 4,99 p. 2,255 Wellmann…

Anemo­ne

(127 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἀνεμώνη; anemṓnē). In Theophr. Hist. pl. 6,8,1 and passim, Dioscorides 2,176 [1.1.244 f.] = 2,207 [2.252 f.] with medicinal significance e.g. for cleaning ulcers. Plin. HN 21,164-166 names the early blossoming ranunculaceae Anemone coronaria L. [3.76 and fig. 121] and hortensis L. cultivated in many types of garden forms as well as their wild varieties. According to Plin. HN 21,165, the name is derived, like the German Windröschen (wind rose), from the flowers opening in the spring wind. The genuses pasque flowers ( Pulsatilla) and liverworts ( Hepatica) are rela…

Radish

(213 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ῥαφανίς/ rhaphanís, ῥάφανος/ rháphanos, etymologically related to ῥάπυς/ rhápys, ῥάφυς/ rháphys, 'beet'; Lat. rhaphanus, radix), the species of crucifer probably bred in Asia Minor from the wild, jointed charlock ( Raphanus raphanistrum L., Rhaphanus sativus L., with the edible, thickened storage root; cultivated in Egypt from the 2nd millennium. The Greeks (from Aristoph. Plut. 544 and other comic writers, cited in Ath. 2,56d-57b) valued the salted root as an appetite-stimulating food and extracted oil from it. T…

Tiger

(447 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] ( Felis tigris L., Greek ὁ/ἡ τίγρις/ tígris, Latin tigris), a large striped (cf. Plin. HN 8,62) cat, widespread in Asia originally from Hyrcania to India (incorrectly in Ptol. 4,8,4: Ethiopia). According to Varro Ling. 5,100 and Str. 11,14,8 (term τόξευμα/ tóxeuma; cf. Isid. Orig. 12,2,7: sagitta for the Medes and Persians) the name is derived from Iranian tigra = 'pointed', 'sharp'. The Greeks first learned of the animal through Alexander's campaign (Curt. 9,30,1; Ps.-Callisthenes 3,17,32; Arr. Ind. 15,1 f.). Based on Indian sources Cte…

Aconitum

(171 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἀκόνιτον; akóniton). It is not known for certain which poisonous plants are meant by ἀκόνιτον λυκοκτόνον ( akóniton lykoktónon) and κυνοκτόνον ( kynoktónon) in Dioscorides 4,77 [1. 2,238 f.] = 4,78 [2. 412 f.], Nic. Alex. 13,41 and aconitum, scorpion and myoctonon, Plin. HN 27,4-7. The ‘Wolfesgelegena’ of Hildegard of Bingen [3. 1,156 = 4. 47], used as a hazardous aphrodisiac, is probably not the arnica but rather like the ‘alexandria’ of Konrad of Megenberg V. 36 (in ch. Eleborus = veratrum) [5. 399] a species of the poisonous ranunculaceae genus Aconitum (monk…

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 …
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