Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 393: 156-157

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Pliny: Natural History

saxeas radicis xxx pedes longae ac ne sic quidem solidae, sed abruptae.

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IX. Ab ea maxima auctoritas herbae est quam dodecatheon vocant omnium deorum maiestatem commendantes. in aqua potam omnibus morbis mederi tradunt. folia eius septem lactucis simillima exeunt a lutea radice.

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X. Vetustissima inventu paeonia est, nomenque auctoris retinet, quam quidam pentorobon appellant, alii glycysidem. nam haec quoque difficultas est quod eadem aliter alibi nuncupatur. nascitur opacis montibus caule inter folia digitorum quattuor ferente in cacumine veluti Graecas nuces quattuor aut quinque. inest his semen copiosum, rubrum nigrumque. haec medetur et Faunorum in quiete ludibriis. praecipiunt eruere noctu, quoniam si picus Martius videat tuendo1 in oculos impetum faciat.

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XI. Panaces ipso nomine omnium morborum remedia promittit, numerosum et dis inventoribus adscriptum. unum quippe asclepion cognominatur, a quo is filiam Panaciam appellavit. sucus est coactus ferulae qualem diximus, radice multi corticis et salsi. hac evolsa scrobem repleri vario genere 31frugum religio est ac terrae piamentum. ubi et quonam fieret modo ac quale maxime probaretur

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Book XXV

thirty feet long, and even that not entire, but broken off short.

IX. After moly the plant with the highest reputationThe dodecatheon. they call the dodecatheon, as a compliment to the grandeura of all the twelve gods. It is said that taken in water it cures all diseases. Its leaves are seven, very like those of lettuce and sprouting from a yellow root.

X. The first plant to be discovered was the peony,The peony. which still retains the name of the discoverer; it is called by some pentorobon, by others glycyside, for an added difficulty in botany is the variety of names given to the same plant in different districts. It grows on shaded mountains, having a stem among the leaves about four fingers high, which bears on its top four or five growths like almonds, in them being a large amount of seed, red and black. This plant also prevents the mocking delusions that the Fauns bring on us in our sleep. They recommend us to uproot it at night-time, because the woodpecker of Mars, should he see the act, will attack the eyes in its defence.b

XI. The plant panaces by its very name promisesPanaces. to be a cure for every disease; it has many varieties, and to the gods have been ascribed the discovery of its properties. One variety in fact has the additional name of asclepion, after which Asclepius called his daughter Panacia. The juice of this plant when curdled is like that, already described,c of fennel-giant, coming from a root with a thick and salty skin. When it has been pulled up it is a pious duty to fill in the hole with various cereals as an atonement to the earth. Where the juice is prepared, and how, and the most esteemed kind, I have already

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938