Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 392: 46-47

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Pliny: Natural History


XXXII. Seris et ipsa lactucae simillima duorum generum est: silvestris melior, nigra ista et aestiva, deterior hiberna et candidior. utraque amara, stomacho utilissima, praecipue quem umor vexet. cum aceto in cibo refrigerant vel inlitae, discutiuntque 77et alios quam stomachi. cum polenta silvestrium radices stomachi causa sorbentur, et cardiacis inlinuntur super sinistram mammam; et ex aceto omnes hae et podagricis utiles et sanguinem reicientibus, item quibus genitura effluat, alterno dierum potu. Petronius Diodotus, qui anthologumena scripsit, in totum damnavit serim multis modis arguens, sed aliorum omnium opinio resistit.


XXXIII. Brassicae laudes longum est exsequi, cum et Chrysippus medicus privatim volumen ei dicaverit per singula membra hominis digestum, et Dieuches, ante omnes autem Pythagoras, et Cato non parcius celebraverit, cuius sententiam vel eo diligentius persequi par est, ut noscatur qua medicina 79usus sit annis dc Romanus populus. In tres species divisere eam Graeci antiquissimi: crispam, quam selinada vocaverunt a similitudine apii foliorum, stomacho utilem, alvum modice mollientem, alteram heliam, latis foliis e caule exeuntibus, unde caulodem quidam vocavere, nullius in medicina momenti. tertia est proprie appellata crambe, tenuioribus foliis et


Book XX

XXXII. Seris also, itself very similar to lettuce,“Seris” endive is of two kinds. The wild is the better; it is dark and grows in summer, while the winter variety, which is whiter, is not so good. Each is bitter, and very beneficial to the stomach, especially to one troubled by a humour. They are cooling when taken with vinegar in food, and when applied as liniment; they disperse other humours besides those in the stomach. With pearl-barley the roots of the wild variety are taken in a draught to benefit the stomach; for heartburna they are applied above the left breast; prepared with vinegar all these are useful for gout, for spitting of blood, and likewise for fluxes of sperm, a dose to be taken on alternate days. Petronius Diodotus, who wrote a medical Herbal, gives many arguments condemning seris altogether, but the opinion of all others is against him.

XXXIII. It would be a long task to make a listCabbage. of all the praises of the cabbage, since not only did Chrysippus the physician devote to it a special volume, divided according to its effects on the various parts of the body, but Dieuches also, and Pythagoras above all, and Catob no less lavishly, have celebrated its virtues; the views of the latter it is meet to set forth all the more carefully for the sake of learning what medicine the Roman people used for six hundred years. The earliest Greeks divided cabbage into three varieties; (a) the curly, which they called selinas from the resemblance of its leaves to those of parsley, useful for the stomach and moderately laxative; (b) the helia, with broad leaves growing out of the stem, from which some have called it caulodes, of no importance in medicine; (c) the third, crambe properly so-called, with thinner leaves of

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938