Search

Your search for 'dc_creator:( "Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)" ) OR dc_contributor:( "Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)" )' returned 785 results. Modify search

Sort Results by Relevance | Newest titles first | Oldest titles first

Cuttle­fish

(622 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
The class of cuttlefish called Cephalopoda (‘Cephalopod’) belongs to the μαλάκια/ malákia that live in the sea (cf. Plin. HN 32,149), Lat. mollia, modern molluscs, and to the subphylum Conchifera. Today's system differentiates the two orders of the ten-armed cuttlefish ( Decabrachia) and eight-armed cuttlefish ( Octobrachia). [German version] I. Decabrachia Of the Decabrachia that have, in addition to the eight tentacles on the head (πλεκτάναι/ plektánai: Aristot. Hist. an. 4,1,524a 3 f.), two longer, retractable tentacles (προβοσκίδες/ proboskídes: ibid. 523b 29-33), Ar…

Cockroach

(253 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] English name for the representatives of the Blattaria order of insects which can be found throughout the world in c. 3,000 types since the Carboniferous, one of them the German cockroach Blatella germanica. The Latin name is usually blatta; in Isid. Orig. 12,8,7, however, this name is used for a type of butterfly ─ actually a moth whose name was derived from its colour: when touched, its wings leave a blackish-blue spot on the hand ( blatteum colorem, ‘crimson’). In this text, the only zoological piece of information about the animal is its aversion to lig…

Elder

(217 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] Two shrubs of the genus Sambucus in the family Caprifoliaceae occur in Europe, the common elder ( Sambucus nigra L., sa(m)bucus, ἀκτῆ; aktê) and the red-berried elder ( Sambucus racemosa L.; Verg. Ecl. 10,27: Pan was said to be red because of the berries of the ebulum, according to Serv. ad loc. a comparable plant). A third type is the herbaceous, black-fruited dwarf elder ( Sambucus ebulus L., ebulus/um, χαμαιάκτη; chamaiáktē in Dioscorides 4,173,2 Wellmann = 4,172 Berendes; Plin. HN 24,51: chamaeactis or helion acte). A good description of the specie…

Ereike

(137 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἐρείκη; ereíkē is first mentioned in Aesch. Ag. 295 and Theophr. Hist. pl. 1,14,2). The genus Erica comprises c. 500 species, most of all African shrubs and trees. In the maquis of Greece, however, only three species of the Ericaceae family are represented, amongst them the brier Erica arborea l. which grows like a tree and flo…

Tuna

(670 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] The fairly large Common Tuna ( Thynnus thynnus L., Greek ὁ θύννος/ thýnnos, Attic also ἡ θυννίς/ thynnís - primarily the female: Aristot. Hist. an. 5,9,543a 9; Ath. 7,303c-304b - or ἡ θύννη/ thýnnē: e.g. Opp. Hal. 1,756; Latin thynnus or thynnis) and the smaller Albacore ( Albacora thynnus L., perhaps αὐλωπίας/ aul…

Broom

(206 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] ( ginestra) includes several mostly yellow-flowering genera of bushes of Tribus Genistae of the leguminosae. These are Genista L., the two kinds of prickly broom, Ulex and Calycotome ( Aspalathos), and especially the Spanish broom Spartium junceum L. (σπάρτον/ spárton: Hom. Il. 2,135; σπαρτίον/ spartíon and σπάρτη/ spártē: Dioscorides, 4,154 p. 2,300 Wellmann = 4,155 p. 454 Berendes; on its cultivation: Columella 4,31,…

Far

(373 words)

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.

Bear

(419 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] The brown bear ( Ursus arctos; ἄρκτος/ árktos, Lat. ursus) occurred widely in southern and central Europe into the Roman imperial period. Aristotle [6] is …

Nasturtium

(154 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (Latin) corresponds to κάρδαμον/ kárdamon according to Cic. Tusc. 5,99 and describes a type of cress, probably garden cress ( Lepidium sativum), which is mentioned in Xen. Cyr. 1,1,8 as something the ordinary Persian ate with bread. Here it probably means the seeds and not the leaves, which are eaten as salad in present-day Greece and Italy. Both Theophr. Hist. pl. 1,12,1 and Plin. HN. 19,186 mention the mustard-like, sharp taste of

Pomegranate

(275 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ῥόα/ rhóa, σίδη/ sídē, malum punicum or granatum; its flower, called κύτινος/ kýtinos and given as a loan word in Plin. HN 23,110ff., has strange medicinal benefits) The species Punica granatum L. grows wild in the Near East from Kurdistan to Afghanistan. It had probably been naturalized since the 16th dynasty in Egypt (around 1600 BC) and in southern Europe since the Neolithic Period, probably by the Phoenicians. The pomegranate as an attribute of Astarte and symbol of fertility because of the many seeds in i…

Libs

(192 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (Λίψ/ Líps). The west-south-west wind that on the twelve-point compass card of Aristotle blew from the setting point of the sun to the winter solstice (Aristot. Mete. 2,6,363b 19f.; [1. 2347, fig. 11]) and that Aristotle (De ventis 973b 11f.) and the Romans associated etymologically with Libya and therefore called Africus (Plin. HN 2,119f. and 18,336). It was considered damp and…

Mosquito

(424 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἡ ἐμπίς/ empís, ὁ κώνωψ/ kṓnōps, Diminutive κωνώπιον/ kōnṓpion, Lat. culex, culicellus, culiculus; conops: Dioscorides Longobardus 3,23) is the general name for these buzzing insects which cause irritation by sucking blood. Aristotle gives a clear account at Hist. an. 5,19,551b 27-552a 8 and 1,1,487b 3-5 (so [1]) of the development of a midge of the genus Chironomus including the metamorphosis of the empís. The culices ficarii which help to pollinate figs are wasps of the type Blastophaga psenes (Plin. HN 11,118; 15,80 and 17,255). The common mosquito is t…

Domestication

(610 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] By this is meant the gradual and purposeful transformation of wild animal species into domesticated animals by human agency. Because of their biological characteristics, only a few of the wild mammals living during and immediately after the Ice Age were suitable for domestication. Only 5 of 19 orders of mammals provide domesticated species; these are the Lagomorpha (rabbits), Rodentia (guinea-pigs), Carnivora (dog, cat, ferret), Perissodactyla (horse, donkey) and the Artiodactyla (pig, sheep, goat, cattle, camel, llama). Domesticated animals howeve…

Frog

(773 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
(βάτραχος/ bátrachos, Ionian βάθρακος/ bátrakos, βρόταχος/ brótachos, Lat. rana) is the collective name for frog amphibians (βατράχων γένος; batráchōn génos, Aristot. Hist. an. 7(8),2,589a 28f.) comprising the genuine frog species and the toad species. [German version] A. The genuine frog species The genuine frog species include the green water frog (Rana esculenta), the brown grass frog (Rana temporaria L.; the first two distinguished by Theophr. fr. 174,1; cf. dioptes Plin. HN 32,70 and 139) and the tree frog (Hyla arborea), which Pliny (HN 32,75; 92; 122) app…

Buffalo

(143 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (βοῦς ἄγριος; boûs ágrios, bubalus; βούβαλος; boúbalos on the other hand is the gazelle!). Native to southern Asia and therefore originally foreign to the Mediterranean countries. Job 39,9ff. presumably uses this name to refer to the Assyrian wild ox that is also depicted on reliefs from that area (Luther translates it wrongly as ‘unicorn’). The short description of Aristot. Hist. an. 2,1,499a4ff. (cf. Plin. HN 8,38: Africa vituli potius cervique quadam similitudine, ‘as Africa brings forth this animal rather with a certain similarity to calf and deer’) refers to observations on the Alexander campaign in Arachosia (Afghanistan). The buffalo was first introduced to Italy under Agilulf in AD 596 (Paulus Diaconus, hist. Langobardorum 4,11). The

Camomile

(81 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἀνθεμίς; anthemís, Latin anthemis, Plin., later chamomilla, from which the English name is derived) probably is today's composite genus, Matricaria L. Dioscorides 3,137 Wellmann = 3,144 Berendes (cf. Plin. HN 22,53f.) knew of three species with differently coloured flowers that had warming as well as thinning powers. In antiquity the camomile, as a flower infusion, was already used externally and internally as an anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic medicine.  Anthemis Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography …

Reindeer

(228 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] ( Rangifer tarandus, ὁ τάρανδος/ ho tárandos, Lat. tarand(r)us; parandrus: Solin. 30,25, there [?] shifted to Ethiopia!). The deer-like animal, dispersed as far as northern Italy and southern France during the Ice Age, was known to the Greeks only from the land of the Scythians on the basis of plausible reports in Theophr. fr. 172,2-3; Ps.-Aristot. Mir. 30,832b 7-16 and Aristot. fr. 317 (Antigonus Carystius 25), as well as Plin. HN 8,123-124. A fantastic motif recurring in these sources, such as in Solin. 30,25 (whose report on the pirander was adopted in the Middle …

Wren

(84 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] The smallest European passerine ( Troglodytes troglodytes) is presumably meant by τροχίλος/ trochílos in Aristot. Hist. an. 7(8),3,593b 11 f.; 8(9),6,612a 20-24 (= Plin.  HN 8,90; but there by trochilos = rex avium the so-called crocodile bird, Pluvianus aegyptius, is meant [1. 241]). The alleged enmity between the wren and the eagle (Aristot. Hist. an. 8(9),11,615a 17-20 = Plin.  HN 10,203) refers to the attribute 'king'. Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography 1 Leitner. Keller 2,82-84  D'Arcy W. Thompson, A Glossary of Greek Birds, 1936, repr. …

Hellebore

(180 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἑλλέβορος; helléboros, helleborus). The name refers to poisonous plants of various families: 1) the Ranunculacea Helleborus L. (ἑλλέβορος μέλας in Theophr. Hist. pl. 9,14,4, etc., = H. cyclophyllus Boissier, not H. niger L. (the Christmas rose); Dioscorides 4,162 Wellmann = 4,149 Berendes; Paus. 10,36,7). The root, in particular,…

Sturgeons

(339 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] In Antiquity - as it still is - the ancient Chondrostei family was represented by the Common Sturgeon ( Acipenser sturio L.) and the smaller Sterlet ( Acipenser ruthenus L.). The latter is described by Apion and Archestratus [2] (in Ath. 7,294e-f) as an ἀκκιπήσιος/ akkipḗsios (Latin acupenser/ accipenser) and identified with the ἔλ(λ)οψ/ él(l)ops (etymology still unclear: [1. 1,500], cf. schol. Theoc. Syrinx 18; Plut. Mor. 728e; Ath. 7,308c) and the γαλεός/ galeós (cf. Varro Rust. …

Pumice

(101 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (κίσ(σ)ηρις/ kís(s)ēris, pumex). The relatively soft eruptive rock from volcanic eruptions or porous dripstone. It was used as a building material. In cosmetics it served as an exfoliant agent to smooth the skin (cf. Plin. HN 36, 154-156). A powder made of thrice-burnt pumice helped with eye ulcers and was used for dental care and as a stopper for fermenting wine (cf. Dioscorides 5,108 [1. 78f.] = 5,124 [2. 534f.]). Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography 1 M. Wellmann (ed.), Pedanii Dioscurides de materia medica, vol. 3, 1914, repr. 1958 2 …

Beet

(284 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (γογγυλίς/ gongylís, ῥάπυς/ rhápys, ῥάφυς/ rháphys, βουνιάς/ bouniás, Latin rapum, napus). Fodder beet (var. rapa) was cultivated from wild beet, Beta vulgaris. Probably the white beet of ancient times is related to turnip rape, Brassica rapa L., of the Cruciferae family. Theophrastus mentions in Hist. pl. 1,6, 6-7 the fleshy root of the gongylís and in the 7th book details of sowing. Columella 2,10,22-24 (= Pall. Agric. 8,2,1-3) seems to understand by

Leguminous plants (pulses)

(237 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] ( ervum, Columella 2,10,34 et passim, Plin. HN 18,57; 18, 139 et passim; ervilia, Plin. HN 18,58 et passim; Columella 2,13,1; ὄροβος/ órobos, related to ἐρέβινθος/ erébinthos ‘peas’). Collective name for small-seed legumes. These belong to the following genera: a) Vicia with the subgenus Ervum L. (among these V. ervilia (L.) Willd., the bitter vetch, cf. Columella 8,8,6); b) lens, lentil ( lens, Cato Agr. 35,1; 116; 132,2; 158,1; Columella 2,10,15 et passim; Plin. HN 18,57 et passim; lenticu…

Wryneck

(306 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] A grey-brown bird, related to the woodpecker, which can turn its neck 180 degrees around like a snake and has two forward pointing and two backward pointing claws on each foot (Aristot. Hist. an. 2,12,504a 11-19; Aristot. Part. an. 4,12,695a 23 f.; Plin. HN 11,256), and was called ἴυγξ/ íynx or κίναιδος/ kínaidos (literally 'lewd person') or κιναίδιον/ kinaídion (Hesych. s.v.), with the Latin loanwords iunx (Laevius fr. 27,3) or iynx. Ael. NA 6,19 has a flute imitate its unique call. With its long tongue and thin beak it catches insects. According…

Menestor

(136 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (Μενέστωρ; Menéstōr). A Pythagorean from Sybaris, contemporary of Empedocles (5th cent. BC) and according to Iambl. VP 267 the earliest Greek botanist. Three citations in Theophr. Hist. pl., and the four in C. plant. [1. 375f.] show that he distinguished warm plants, i.e. evergreen ones such as ivy and laurel and water plants such as rushes and reeds ( Kalamos [2]) from the other cold ones. He even took into account ecological factors such as different habitats, climate (see esp. Theophr. Caus. pl. 1,21,6) and maturation times. Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) …

Guineafowl

(284 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] The ancient names (μελεαγρίς/ meleagrís, Latin meleagris, synonym: gallinae Africanae or Numididae) actually only meant the common guineafowl ( Numida meleagris L.) ─ in spite of Columella 8,2,2 (cf. [1. 19]) ─ among the total of 23 species spread over southern Asia and the Middle East as well as North and West Africa. The guineafowl was probably introduced to Greece in the 4th cent. BC and only in the 1st cent. BC to Italy (Varro, Rust. 3,9,18, cf. Plin. HN 10,74: ‘the last of the southern birds brou…

Chamaeleon

(272 words)

Author(s): Gottschalk, Hans (Leeds) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
(χαμαιλέων; chamailéōn) [German version] [1] Peripatetic, 2nd half of the 4th cent. BC From Heraclea Pontica. Peripatetic of the 2nd half of the 4th cent. BC. He wrote works of a popular/ethical nature and a long series of anecdotal monographs on poets from Homer to  Anaxandrides. His ethical views were conventional, and his entire body of work conditioned by the popularizing tradition of his school.  Aristotelianism Gottschalk, Hans (Leeds) Bibliography Wehrli, Schule 21969, 49-88 F. Wehrli, in: GGPh 3, 555-7. [German version] [2] A reptile found in India and Egypt A reptile found …

Quail

(524 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (Greek ὁ, ἡ ὄρτυξ/ ho, hē órtyx, Lat. coturnix). The quail ( Coturnix coturnix) is a very small poultry bird which flies poorly against the wind, seeming to murmur in complaint (cf. Aristot. Hist. an. 8(9),12,597b 14; Plin. HN 10,33). It was believed, on its spring and autumn migrations in the northern Mediterranean region (Aristot. ibid. 597a 22-27), to follow the lead of the landrail ( Crex crex), the 'mother of the quails' (ὀρτυγομήτρα/ ortygomḗtra; Plin. HN 10,33). While migrating, it was caught with nets (Diod. Sic. 1,60) into which it was driven w…

Alaternus

(103 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] Latin a. (Plin. HN 16,108: with leaves between holly oak, Ilex, and olive tree, oliva) means evergreen trees and shrubs of the Mediterranean Sea area with stone fruit (Pliny: without fruit!) from the families of the rhamnaceae (especially Rhamnus alaternus L., buckthorn) and the oleaceae ( Phillyrea media L. and angustifolia L.). In Theophr. Hist. pl. 1,9,3 κήλαστρος ( kḗlastros; celastrus) seems to belong to Phillyrea because the celastreae genus Celastrus L. is not found by the Mediterranean Sea. Hort [1] translates the φιλύκη ( philýkē) that follows there as a. Hünem…

Lizard

(498 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (σαύρα/ saura or σαῦρος/ sauros, Latin lacerta and lacertus, possibly connected with ‘upper arm’, cf. [1. 1,743]). Genus name for various species of reptiles native to the Mediterranean: 1. the common wall lizard ( Lacerta muralis), 2. the green lizard ( L. viridis, χλοροσαύρα/ chlorosaúra), 3. the ocellated lizard that occurs especially in south-western Europe and North Africa ( Lacerta lepida; perhaps mentioned for the first time by Hdt. 4,183), 4. probably the monitor lizard ( Varanus

Glykyrrhiza

(148 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (γλυκύρριζα; glykýrriza, liquorice). This thirst-quenching asthma, throat and cold medication was produced from the rootstock of certain representatives of the 12-species liquorice genus (Leguminosae), especially G. glabra L. and echinata L. As Σκυθική ( Skythikḗ) or γλυκεῖα ( glykeīa) (sc. ῥίζα; ríza) it supposedly came from Scythia (Theophr. Hist. pl. 9,13,2). Dioscurides 3,5 p. 2,8-10 Wellmann = p. 265 Berendes also recommended it for chest and liver ailments. According to Plin. HN 22,24-26, who knew several prescriptions (cf. 25,82 Scythice = Theophr. ib…

Owls

(1,020 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
Along with the eagles and falcons, the family of night predator birds is given five main varieties in Aristotle. These were also known to the Romans. [German version] A. Eagle-owls 1. Eagle-owl ( Bubo bubo, βύας/ býas or βρύας/ brýas…

Rose

(386 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (Greek τὸ ῥόδον/ rhódon, Latin rosa). The first references to the plant, famed for its blossoms and, according to Hehn [1. 253 f.], introduced from Media, are in the Homeric hymn to Demeter (Hom. h. 2,6) and - citing its purple colour - Pind. Isthm. 3/4,36b. According to Hdt. 8,138 (cf. Nic. in Ath. 15,683a-b), the celebrated sixty-petalled scented roses in the so-called 'Garden of Midas' in Macedonia grew in the reign of King Perdiccas [1]. Theophrastus (Hist. pl. 6,6,4) knew a full double rose, allegedly hundred-petalled (cf. Rosa centifolia), from Philippi in th…

Maple

(136 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] ( acer). Depending on how one classifies them, there are 100-200 species of the hardwood genus Acer L., the names for which in most European languages, including Greek ἄκαστος (ákastos) and Latin acer and ornus, are derived from an Indo-European tree name beginning with an a - not from the adjective acer (with an ā). Apart from the Central European A cer pseudoplatanus L. (sycamore maple), platanoides L. (Norway maple) and campestre L. (field or common maple), in southern Europe one finds, among other species, Acer opalus Mill., monspessulanum L. and orientale L. As deci…

Salamander

(362 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (σαλαμάνδρα/ salamándra from Persian, Lat. salamandra, identified at an early stage with the gecko, Lat. stellio), presumably the nocturnal fire salamander, Salamandra salamandra, an amphibian of the order Caudata ( Urodela), which is black with large yellow spots. The yellow spots led to the superstition that because of its coldness it could not only live in fire (e.g., Aug. Civ. 21,4) but even extinguish it (Aristot. Hist. an. 5,19,552b 15-17; Plin. HN 10,188; Gp. 15,1,34; cf. Theophr. fr. 3,60 and Ael. NA 2…

Lepidoptera

(816 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἡ ψυχή/ psychḗ, literally ‘soul’ e.g. in Aristot. Hist. an. 5,19,551a 14; νύμφη/ nýmphē, literally ‘young girl’ in Aristot. Gen. an. 3,9,758b 33; Lat. papilio and papiliunculus in Tert. De anima 32). Butterflies and moths is the collective term for the insect order of the Lepidoptera. Despite their certainly large spread in the Mediterranean region, they were not often recorded in scientific treatises in antiquity. Aristot. Hist. an. 5,551a 13-27 (cf. Aristot. Gen. an. 1,18,723b 5f. and 2,1,733b 13-16) correctly assigns them to the insects (ἔντομα/ éntoma, cf. In…

Agrostis

(149 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἄγρωστις; ágrōstis, Latin gramen). Already substantiated in Homer for fodder grasses but not the same as the genus of paniculate grasses of the same name that includes more than 100 species. According to the botanical descriptions (Dioscorides 4,29 [1. 2,192] = 4,30 [2. 381], Apuleius among others), the term refers to cereal plants like couch grass ( Agropyron = Triticum repens L. according to Sprengel [in 2. 381]) or luxuriantly growing cinquefoil ( Cynodon Dactylon, Panicum Dactylum L.), according to Fraas [2. 381] the hippagrostis of the herbal books of t…

Wolf

(1,451 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
(ὁ λύκος/ lýkos, ἡ λύκαινα/ lýkaina, diminutive λυκιδεύς/ lykideús, occasionally σκύλαξ/ skýlax, 'young animal'; Latin lupus, lupa and lupus femina, e.g. Enn. Ann. 1,68; Etym.: leo + pes, 'lion-foot', in Isid. Orig. 12,3,23). Large and feared land predators, wolves were known by first-hand experience to all peoples in Antiquity. Only Opp. Cyn. recognizes five species. Plin. HN 8,84 and 11,202 mentions a Gaulish lupus cervarius and distinguishes it from the Aethiopian wolf, in reality a jackal (cf. θῶες/ thôes in Aristot. Hist. an. 6,35,580a 26-31). The lycaones (Plin. HN 8,123; M…

Shrew

(449 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (Greek μυγαλῆ/ mygal, Lat. sorex or Old Latin saurex and mus araneus, 'spider mouse'). Due to its secretive habit, this insectivore family of mammals with various species was hardly known in Antiquity. It was often confused with the ordinary mouse. Pliny describes the ears of the sorex as hairy (HN 11,136) and the tip of the tail as similar to that of the cow or lion (ibid. 11,265). Their hibernation is correctly mentioned by Plin. HN 8,223 (referring only to the garden shrew [1. 175]). Much superstition and magic was reported: supposedly, egrets ( ardeola) and shrews pre…

Fig

(523 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] The fig has been indigenous to southern Europe since at least the Neolithic period, as documented by fruit discoveries from Lerna, the Argolid and the Bronze Age at the Mincio. The first literary references are in the Odyssey (e.g. Hom. Od. 11,588; 12,103). The fig is represented by two deciduous species of the genus Ficus of the Moraceae: (a) Ficus carica L. as ἐρινεός ( erineós), the goat fig as a wild form besides to the συκῆ ( sykê), the cultivated eating fig that was pollinated by a male plant ( caprificus) of (a). (b) the sycamore or mulberry fig, Ficus sycomorus L. (συκόμορ…

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…

Plantago

(123 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] The names ἀρνόγλωσσον/ arnóglōsson, κυνόγλωσσον/ kynóglōsson, ἑπτάπλευρον/ heptápleuron, πολύπλευρον/ polýpleuron, προβάτειον/ probáteion, ψύλλιον/ psýllion and Lat. plantago, all descriptive of appearance, indicate various species of the plantain ( plantago). Pliny, by virtue of its familiarity, compares it in habit with many other plants. Plin. HN 25,80, citing his contemporary  Themison, praises two species as excellent in desiccating and solidifying the body. Dioscorides (2,126 Wellmann = 2,152 Berendes)…

Gentiana

(165 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (gentian). Greece boasts seven, Italy more than 20 species of this family with about 200 species in total. According to Dioscorides (3,3 p.2,4 Wellmann = p.262f. Berendes), the medicinal properties of these species, generally identified as γεντιανή/ gentianḗ ( gentiana: Pliny), were allegedly discovered by an Illyrian king called Gentis (= Gentius: Plin. HN 25,71). In medicine, gentiana found a multitude of applications (Plin. HN 26,29 and passim): Even in antiquity, juice was extracted from the root of the yellow Gentiana lutea L. and related species ─ ascribe…

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…

Chalk

(178 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] This dyeing, fine-textured earthy limestone was formed in the sea in the Cretaceous period from foraminifera and coccolites. Greek: γύψος, λευκὴ γή ( gýpsos, leukḗ gḗ. The Latin name creta is derived perhaps from cerno ‘sieved (earth)’[1]. In antiquity, chalk was needed to make paints and coloured pencils. Plin. HN 35,44 knew of both silver chalk ( creta argentaria) and chalk mixed with  purple paint ( purpurissimum) as a by-product of the dyeing of cloth. Seven colours, including white lead ( cerussa), bond, according to Plin. HN 35,49, with dry, but not with…

Poplar

(292 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] Both the black poplar (αἴγειρος/ aígeiros, Hom. Il. 4,482-87; Od. 7,106; 10,510 and 17,208, Lat. populus nigra) and the silver poplar (ἀχερωίς/ acherōḯs in Hom. Il. 13,389 and 16,482, then λευκή/ leukḗ, Lat. populus alba) are frequently encountered in ancient literature. Theophrastus (Hist. pl. 3,14,2) and Pliny (HN 16,85f.) provide good descriptions, the latter even including the woolly seeds. Medicinal use is to be found for the bark, the resin and the leaves. Dioscorides (1,83 Wellmann = 1,110 Berendes) mention…

Nepualius

(82 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (Νεπουάλιος/ Nepouálios). The work of this otherwise unknown author, Perì tôn katà antipátheian kaì sympátheian, perhaps from the 2nd cent. AD, belongs,  with its medical-magical conception of nature, to the field of ‘Physika ’literature around Ps.-Democritus (= Bolus of Mendes). Only an edition could clarify whether sympathy and antipathy are here to be understood magically or rationally. The MSS are listed in [1. 68]. Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography 1 H. Diels, Die Handschriften der antiken Ärzte, vol. 2 (ADAW), 1906 (repr. 1970).

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 …

Boxwood

(158 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] Several evergreen bushes make up the genus Buxus (πύξος; pýxos), among them Buxus sempervirens (cf. Theophr. Hist. pl. 1,5,4 and passim), widespread in the macchia of southern Europe (on Mount Olympus up to heights 2,200 m). Like the  cypress ( Cupressus sempervirens) and the yew ( Taxus), it is a cemetery plant that has been popular since antiquity. The hard wood was used for carvings: from it were made, for example, the boxes (πυξίς; pyxís) named after it for medicines (used e.g. in Dioscorides praef. 9 [1. I.5; = 2. 21], also the Apollo image of Olympia, cheese moulds ( buxe…

Cham­ois

(122 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] ( rubicapra). Like the  mountain goat ( ibex) the chamois, which belongs to the bovine family, lives in the Alps (Plin. HN 8,214). Its horns are bent backwards ( cornua in dorsum adunca) in contrast to those of the dammae ( Gazelles) that are directed forwards; Plin. HN 11,124, perhaps from his own experience. For the supposed healing of consumption through chamois fat mixed in equal proportions with milk, Plin. HN 28,231 refers, however, to an author who possibly confused chamois with wild goats. This confusion is to …

Ebony

(199 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] As ébenos (ἔβενος) or ebénē (ἐβένη; since Hdt. 3,97: 200 logs of ebony as tribute of the Ethiopians to the Persian Great King) and hebenus (since Verg. G. 2,115f.), the precious and very long lasting (Plin. HN 16,213) heartwood imported from India (cf. Str. 15,1,37) and black Africa (cf. Str. 17,2,2) was famous in antiquity; it was derived from various deciduous trees of the genus Diospyros ( D. ebenum in India, hirsutum and haplostylis in Africa) belonging to the family of the Ebenaceae. In his report on Indian trees, Pliny (HN 12,20), like his source…

Haematite

(206 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] Haematite (αἱματίτης; haimatítēs, haematites) is seen today as a form of red iron ore. Theophrastus (De lapidibus 37, [1. 70]) derives its name from the appearance of dried blood ( haîma). In the ancient kingdoms of the Orient it was highly valued as a precious stone. Pliny recommends it among other things for treating blood-shot eyes (HN 36,144-148), and for staunching blood flow in consumptives and women. Following Sotacus, a Greek lithologist of the 4th cent. BC, he distinguishes five kinds, and referring …

Pelican

(235 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (πελεκάν/ pelekán, gen. -ᾶνος/ -ânos, not to be confused with πελεκᾶς, -ᾶντος/ pelekâs, -ántos = 'woodpecker' in Aristoph. Av. 884 and 1155; also πελεκῖνος/ pelekînos). Many take the name to refer not to the pelican, but to the spoonbill ( Platalea leucorodia). The Latin loan-word pelicanus is used first in Vulg. Ps 101,7. Unlike the Romans, the Greeks knew the bird as a breeding bird in the Danube delta (as it still is today) (e.g. Aristot. Hist. an. 7(8),12,597a 9-13) and a predator of mussels (Aristot. Hist. an. 8(9),10,6…

Squirrel

(166 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] The name sciurus of the rodent Sciurus vulgaris, an excellent climber, derives from its long bushy tail, which is allegedly supposed to provide shade in summer (σκίουρος/ skíouros, from σκιά/ skiá, 'shade' and οὐρά/ ourá, 'tail',  cf. Plin.  HN 8,138 and Opp.  Cyn. 2,586-588). According to Pliny, it is sensitive to the weather and blocks up the entrance to its hole against storms [1. 218]. In winter squirrels live on the provisions they have collected. Pliny (HN 11,245) is familiar with its sitting up and using it…

Glanis

(166 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) | Scherf, Johannes (Tübingen)
[German version] [1] The silurid The silurid ( silurus glanis), an (up to 3 metres long) freshwater fish. Aristot. Hist. an. 8(9),37,691 a20-b2 describes the care of the brood of the glánis, whose name was passed on to Thomas of Cantimpré ( glamanez monstrum [1] 6,26) and Albertus Magnus ( garcanez, animal. 24,35 [2]) via the Arabian-Latin translation of Michael Scotus as glanieuz without real knowledge of the animal. A connection to evil demons was ascribed to it, perhaps due to its supposed attacks on fishing nets [3. 1 § 458]. Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography 1 H. Boese (…

Aracus

(195 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
(Ἄρακος; Árakos). Spartan, eponymic ephor 409/408 BC; 406 elected to nauarch, he actually ceded this office 405 to  Lysander (Xen. Hell. 2,1,7; Plut. Lys. 7,3), who now functioned as epistoleus, as it was not permitted to repeat the nauarchy [1. 76,80]. Early in 398 he was sent with two Spartans by the ephors to join  Dercylidas at Lampsacus, in order to become acquainted with the situation and to admonish discipline amongst the troops there (Xen. Hell. 3,2,6-9). In the winter of 370/369 A., together with other Spartan envo…

Peas

(200 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] The seeds of several legumes of the Vicieae group of genera of the order Leguminosae are called peas (Old High German arawiz, related to ὄροβος, órobos, and ἐρέβινθος, erébinthos). They have been cultivated for food in the Near East since the Mesolithic and in southern and central Europe since the Neolithic. Primarily they are Pisum sativum L. (also elatius and arvense, πίσ(σ)ον/ pís(s)on or πίσος/ písos, from which proper names such as Pisa and Piso derive), and also several varieties of chickpea, Cicer arietinum L., common in the East, named after the similarit…

Abrus

(130 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] Arabic (orig. Indian) name for the coral-red, poisonous seeds of the legume Abrus precatorius L. that have been used in India since antiquity in medicine, criminal science and as weights as ‘rati’ like those of Ceratonia (karat; seed of the carob tree), but which were probably not brought to Europe until after 1550 (according to Prosper Alpinus, 1553-1617, in 1592), in [1] pisa rubra, in [2. 343] pisum indicum minus coccineum, called ‘semen Jequiritii’ or ‘rosary peas’ by other botanists, especially common for rosaries like the stones of the oleaster.  Weights Hünemörd…

Gi­raffe

(280 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] The ancient sources give varying accounts of the place of origin of the giraffe ( Camelopardalis girafa): Agatharchides (De mare rubro = Phot. bibl. 250,455b 4 B.) considers that it was among the Troglodytae in Nubia, Plin. HN 8,69 under the name nabun it had there in Ethiopia, Artemidorus of Ephesus (Str. 16,775) locates it in Arabia, whilst Paus. 9,21,2 places it in India. The name καμηλοπάρδαλις, camelopardalis ( -parda, -pardala) comes from similarities with the camel and panther: ‘it has the figure of a camel but the spots of a panther’ (Varro,…

Beetle

(759 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] Of the beetle order, whose name κολεόπτερα/ koleóptera Aristotle (Hist. an. 1,5,490a 13-15 and 4,7,552a 22f.) derives from the fact that their wings were under a cover (ἔλυτρον, élytron; crusta: Plin. HN 11,97), only a few species were distinguished. The popular name for them was κάνθαροι, kántharoi, Latin scarabaei. They form from larvae (κάμπαι, Aristot. Hist. an. 5,19,551b 24) or worms (σκώληκες, 5,19,552b 3, Latin vermes). The most important of the 112 species probably identified through more detailed information on them are the following: A. Ground beetle: 1. …

Ivy

(506 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) | Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH)
[German version] I. Botanical Ivy (κισσός/ kissós, ἕλιξ/ hélix, Latin hedera) represents the only European genus of Araliaceae. English ‘ivy’ as well as German Efeu and Eppich (another word for ivy;  Celery) are derived from Old High German ebihouui or eboue. Because of confusion with the rock-rose mentioned in Theophrastus (κίσθος/ kísthos, Hist. pl. 6,2,1), Pliny (HN 16,145) distinguishes between a male ( hedera mas) and a somewhat smaller female form ( h. femina). In his further statements on ivy, he also follows Theophrastus who in turn regards the ivy as being r…

Mouse

(1,145 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ὁ μῦς/ ho mŷs, in dialects σμῦς/ smŷs, σμίς/ smís, σμίνθος/ smínthos, σμίνθα/ smíntha; Latin mus, dimin. musculus; in this regard [4. 2,132]), representative of the family Muridae of rodents (Rodentia), rich in species, with constantly regrowing incisor teeth. The terms mentioned mostly refer to the long-tailed mice, the house mouse ( Mus musculus L.), wood mouse ( Apodemus sylvaticus L.), the harvest mouse that builds a nest of grass above the ground ( Micromys minutus Pallas) as well as the field mouse ( Microtus arvalis Pallas) that belongs to the vole family ( Arvico…

Reed

(86 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (Greek κάλαμος/ kálamos (Calamus [2]), Lat. (h)arundo). Phragmites communis and other species of grass are often mentioned in Theophrastus and Plinius (cf. the indexes of the Naturalis Historia s.v. harundo) as plants by and in lakes and rivers. The various applications of this 'extremely useful water plant' (Plin. HN 16,173: qua nulla aquatilium utilior) and related species - e.g., for thatched roofs and as arrows (see also Pen; Musical instruments [V B]) - are compiled in Plin. HN 16,156-173. Graminea Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)

Partridge

(54 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] The central European partridge ( Perdix perdix) can be found in Greece in the form of the rock-loving Rock partridge ( Alectoris graeca, πέρδιξ/ pérdix). The smaller partridge, which is found in Italy (which, unlike the rock partridge, does not have a red beak) is described only by Ath. 9,390b. Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)

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…

Peacock

(414 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (the easily tameable gallinaceous bird Pavo cristatus, indigenous to India). According to unresolved etymology [1.vol. 2, 862; 2.vol. 2, 267] it was called ὁ ταώς/ taṓs, ταῶς/ taôs and Latin pavo or pava. Its introduction occurred probably in the 7th/6th cents. BC via Babylon (peacock throne) to Palestine and via Iran (hence Μηδικὸς ὄρνις/ Mēdikòs órnis, 'Median/Persian bird'; Diod. Sic 2,53 et passim) and the Middle East to Samos. There the peacock was the sacred animal in the temple of Hera (Antiphanes in Athens 14,655b; but on S…

Mussels

(881 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] A. Anatomy The popular collective term τὰ ὄστρεα/ óstrea was replaced by Aristot. Hist. an. 4,4,527b 35-528a 1 with ὀστρακόδερμα/ ostrakóderma. The corresponding Latin terms are ostreum and ostrea (Isid. Orig. 12,6,52), but this often means oyster, or concha (Plin. HN 9,40) in particular. In contrast to  Pliny, Aristot. Hist. an. 4,4,528a 12f. distinguishes bivalves (δίθυρα/ díthyra, modern: Bivalvia) from univalve gastropods (μονόθυρα/ monóthyra). Aristot., unlike Plin. HN 11,129, erroneously mentions a head in gastropods and bivalves (Pa…

Emerald

(95 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (σμάραγδος/ smáragdos, Lat. smaragdus or zmaragdus). Greenish gemstone, variety of beryl, in the famous ring of  Polycrates [1] (in Hdt. 3,41) among others, one of the 12 stones of  Aaron (Ex 39,10). Theophr. De lapidibus 25 [1. 66] mentions the copper mines of  Cyprus and an island near Chalcedon as the main places where the stone is found. Plin. HN 37,62-75 distinguishes 12 types depending on their origin. Particularly transparent and shiny mirroring specimens were highly regarded. Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography 1 D. E. Eichholz (ed.), Theophr…

Snake

(2,561 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) | Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
Ὁ ὄφις/ ho óphis, as early as Hom. Il. 12,208; Latin anguis or, from its creeping way of moving, serpens; sometimes also generally ὁ δράκων/ ho drákōn (v.i. B. 3.; = óphis in Hom. Il. 12,202; Hes. Theog. 322 and 825), ἡ ἔχιδνα/ échidna (Hdt. 3,108; also as the snake-like monster Echidna and in a metaphorical sense for 'traitor/traitress', e.g. Aesch. Cho.  249), ἡ χέρσυδρος/ hē chérsydros (e.g. Nic. Ther. 359); Latin vipera (first at Cic. Har. resp. 50), coluber, colubra (from Plautus to Petronius only poetic). I. Zoology [German version] A. General The absence of snakes on certain i…

Trout

(184 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] These predatorily living fresh-water fish (Salmo trutta L.) were first mentioned by Ambr. Exam. 5,3,7 as ' quite large variegated fish, called trout' ( varii maiores, quos vocant troctas; v.l. tructas), that commit their eggs to the water to develop by themselves ( ova generant ... et aquis fovenda committunt). This view is adopted by Isidore (Orig. 12,6,6) when deriving their name from their variegation ( varii et varietate) and by Hrabanus Maurus (De universo 8,5, PL 111,237) from him. In accordance with a proverb, Alexander Neckam (De naturis r…

Chestnut

(309 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] The sweet chestnut ( Castanea sativa Mill.) already grew in southern Europe in early historic times. Theophrastus calls the fruit εὐβοική ( euboikḗ sc. karýa) and describes it in Hist. pl. 1,11,3 as enveloped in a leather-like skin. According to Hist. pl. 4,5,4, the tree was very common on Euboea and in the area around Magnesia. Its wood, that was by nature resistant to rotting (5,4,2, according to 5,4,4 even in water), is recommended as especially suitable for carpentry work exposed to the weather and t…

Sardonyx

(67 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (σαρδόνυξ/ sardónyx, Latin sardonyx). Today a brown-and-white-banded variety of chalcedony, but in Antiquity a metal from the S. Mountains in India. Whether ancient gems allegedly made from sardonyx [1. e.g. pls.üü 15,52 and 18,42] in fact consist of this stone would be a matter for study. Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography 1 F. Imhoof-Blumer, O. Keller, Tier- und Pflanzenbilder auf Münzen und Gemmen des klassischen Altertuns, 1889 (repr. 1972).

Bee-eater

(131 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] Named μέροψ, mérops by the Boeotians (Aristot. Hist. an. 6,1,559a3ff.); a colourful, warmth-loving bird of the Coraciiformes species, Merops apiaster L., said to feed its parents shortly after hatching (Plin. HN 10,99; drawing on Ps.-Aristot. Hist. an.9,13,615b24-32 and Ael. NA 11,30 [2]). It is said to brood in holes six feet deep in the ground. It was hunted because it fed on bees (Ps.-Aristot. Hist. an. 9,40,626a13). Servius derives the Latin name apiastra from this feeding pattern (Serv. Georg. 4,14). In Ger. glosses of the Middle Ages it is often…

Leucrocota

(181 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] This composite creature ( Monsters) (size of a donkey, legs of a deer, badger head with a gaping snout up to the ears and a single bone in place of teeth, similarity to a lion in the neck, chest and tail, cloven hooves, ability to imitate the human voice) in Ethiopia in Plin. HN 8,72f. and Solin. 52,34 should possibly be interpreted as the brown hyaena ( Hyaena brunnea) [1. 154]. However, it is probably a mythical animal that was passed on through the sources mentioned and Honorius Augustodunensis 1,12 ( Ceucocrota) [2. 54] and Jacob of Vitry, Historia orientalis c. 88 …

Plaice

(518 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
ψῆτται/ psȇttai (etym. ψήχειν/ psḗchein, 'rub off'; Lat. pisces plani, e.g. Plin. HN 9,72) is the name mostly used to designate the family of flatfish ( Pleuronectidae). It was difficult to differentiate between the numerous species (cf. Ath. 7,329e-330b). According to schol. Pl. Symp. 191d, ψῆττα/ psȇtta is the Attic word for βούγλωσσος/ boúglōssos, 'ox- tongue'. [German version] Main species 1. Plaice, Pleuronectes, a) the ψῆττα in the strictest sense. Aristot Mot. an. 17,714a 6-8 refers to its characteristic asymmetry, Plat. Symp. 191d points out how ea…

Circius

(69 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] This name corresponds to the north-north-westerly wind Κιρίας blowing from Cape Circe to Cumae and interfering with the Phocians' navigation from Sicily to Massalia. As an originally local wind of Gallia narbonensis (Plin. HN 2,121) that reached all the way to Ostia, it was later included in the wind rose (not yet in Vitruvius).  Winds Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography W. Böker, s.v. Winde, RE 8 A, 2306ff.

Pumpkin

(180 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (Κολοκύνθη/-τη/ kolokýnt(h)ē, Lat. cucurbita) denoted in Antiquity the bottle gourd ( Lagenaria vulgaris Ser.), shown in pictures as early as in Ancient Egypt, rather than the pumpkin ( Cucurbita pepo L.), which was not introduced from America until the 16th cent. Considerable attestations can be found in Ath. 2,58f-60b, primarily from comedians from Epicharmus onwards. The denotation sikýa Indikḗ ('Indian pumpkin') refers to its alleged introduction from India. The shells were fashioned into bottles (cf. Pall. Agric. 4,10,33; Columella 11,3,49: Alexandrinae c…

Parrots

(500 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (ψιττακός/ psittakós or -η/ ē, or σιττακός/ sittakós or -η/ ē, Latin psittacus or sittacus, siptace, Plin. HN 10,117), the lavishly colourful birds introduced from India. They were highly prized in their homeland as denizens of royal aviaries, as showpieces and gifts (Ps. Callisthenes 3,18; Cleitarchus in Str. 15,1,69; Callixeinus in Ath. 5,201b; Megasthenes in Arr. Ind. 1,15,8). Ctesias was the first to show knowledge of them (Indika 3 = fr. 57,3 βιττακός/ bittakós; similarly Nearchus FGrH 113 F 9). Besides their origin, Aristotle (Hist. an. 7(8),12,5…

Castor bean

(278 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] (σιλλικύπριον/ sillikýprion, κίκι/ kíki, κρότων/ krótōn, Lat. ricinus, the latter however also the name of a species of louse, e.g. in Columella 6,2,6 and 7,13,1), i.e. Ricinus communis ( Euphorbiacea arbor mirabilis or Palma Christi), originating from Africa. It grew wild in Greece, but in Egypt, several species were cultivated along the shores of lakes and rivers (cf. Diod. Sic. 1,34,11). Hdt. 2,94 provides information on the extraction of the oil, suitable for lamps but of unpleasant smell, either by cold pressing the cracked fruits of the kíki or by roasting and…
▲   Back to top   ▲