Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 393: 154-155

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Pliny: Natural History

sensu omni aeque quam dolore in ea parte corporis. 25sed quae fuit venia monstrandi qua mentes solverentur, partus eliderentur, multaque similia? ego nec abortiva dico ac ne amatoria quidem, memor Lucullum imperatorem clarissimum amatorio perisse, nec alia magica portenta, nisi ubi cavenda sunt aut coarguenda, in primis fide eorum damnata. satis operae fuerit abundeque praestatum, vitae salutares dixisse1 ac pro ea inventas.

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VIII. Clarissima herbarum est Homero teste quam vocari a dis putat moly et inventionem eius Mercurio adsignat contraque summa veneficia demonstrationem. nasci eam hodie circa Pheneum et in Cyllene Arcadiae tradunt specie illa Homerica, radice rotunda nigraque, magnitudine cepae, folio scillae, 27effodi autem haud2 difficulter. Graeci auctores florem eius luteum pinxere, cum Homerus candidum scripserit. inveni e peritis herbarum medicis qui et in Italia nasci eam diceret, adferrique e Campania mihi3 aliquot diebus <posse4> effossam inter difficultates

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Book XXV

from sensation as it was from pain. But what excuse was there to point out the means of deranging the mind, of causing abortion, and of many similar crimes? I personally do not mention abortives, nor even love-philtres, remembering as I do that the famous general Lucullus was killed by a love-philtre, nor yet any other unholy magic, unless it be by way of warning or denunciation, especially as I have utterly condemned all faith in such practices. Enough pains, and more than enough, will have been taken if I point out plants healthful to life and discovered in order to preserve it.

VIII. The most renowned of plants is, according to Homer, the one that he thinks is called by the gods moly, assigning to Mercury its discovery and theMoly. teaching of its power over the most potent sorceries. Report says it grows today in Arcadia round Pheneus and on Cyllene; it is said to be like the description in Homer, with a round, dark root, of the size of an onion and with the leaves of a squill, and nota difficult to dig up. Greek authorities have painted its blossom yellow, though Homer describes it as white. I have met a herbalist physician who said that the plant was also to be found in Italy, and that one couldb be brought for me from Campania within a few days, as it had been dug out there in spite of the difficulties of rocky ground, with a root

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938