tenera tenuioribus, et non nisi in maritimis nascens. sunt qui in mediterraneis eodem nomine appellent, simplici caule, minimis foliis, floris copiosi erumpentis cum uva maturescit, odore non iniucundo. quam1 quidam botryn, alii ambrosiam vocant, talis in Cappadocia nascitur.75
XXXVII. Nymphaea nata traditur nympha zelotypia erga Herculem mortua—quare heracleon vocant aliqui, alii rhopalon a radice clavae simili—ideoque eos qui biberint eam xii diebus coitu genituraque privari. laudatissima in Orchomenia 76et Marathone. Boeoti mallon vocant et semen edunt. nascitur in aquosis, foliis magnis in summa aqua et aliis ex radice, flore lilio simili et, cum defloruit, capite papaveris, levi2 caule. secatur autumno radix nigra, in sole siccatur. adversatur lieni.3 est et alia nymphaea in Thessalia, amne Penio, radice alba, capite luteo, rosae magnitudine.
slender leaves, growing only near the sea-side. There are some who in inland districts call by the same name a plant with a single stem, very small leaves, abundant blossom bursting out when the grapes are ripening, and with a not unpleasant smell. The sort that some call botrys, and others ambrosia, grows in Cappadocia.a
XXXVII. According to tradition nymphaea wasNymphaea. born of a nymph who died of jealousy about Hercules—for this reason some call it heracleon, others rhopalon because its root is like a club—and therefore those who have taken it in drink for twelve days are incapable of intercourse and procreation.b The most valued kind grows in the district of Orchomenos and at Marathon. The Boeotians call it mallon,c and eat the seed. It grows in watery places, with large leaves on the top of the water and others growing out of the root; the flowers are like the lily, and when the blossom is finished a head forms like that of the poppy; the stem is smooth.d In autumn is cut the root, which is dark, and is dried in the sun. It reduces the spleen. There is another kind of nymphaea growing in the River Peniuse in Thessaly. It has a white root, and a yellow head of the size of a rose.
- aDioscorides III. 114: ἀμβροσία, ἣν ἔνιοι βότρυν, οἱ δὲ ἀρτεμισίαν καλοῦσι . . . καταπλέκεται δὲ ἐν Καππαδοκίᾳ στεφάνοις.
- bDioscorides (III. 132 Wellmann) has: ἀτονίαν τε ἐργάζεται αἰδοίου πρὸς ὀλίγας ἡμέρας, εἴ τις ἐνδελεχῶς πίνοι. If this is the kind of Greek that Pliny was translating, his words should mean, not what I have written in the translation, but “are incapable of intercourse and procreation for twelve days.” But a passage in XXVI. § 94 shows that Pliny thought that permanent impotence followed several doses, for he adds that a single dose produces it for forty days.
- cHermolaus Barbarus conjectured madon from Theophrastus IX. 13, 1.
- dIf we read in caule the translation will be “a head like a poppy’s forms on the stem.” Hardouin adopted an old conjecture tenui: “the stem is slender.”
- eThe Penius is a river of Colchis: the Thessalian river is the Peneus. Probably the mistake is Pliny’s, but one MS. (d) reads Peneo.