LVII. Agaricum ut fungus nascitur arboribus circa Bosporum colore candido. dantur oboli quattuor contriti cum binis cyathis aceti mulsi. id quod in Gallia1 nascitur infirmius habetur, praeterea mas spissior amariorque2—hic et capitis dolores facit—femina solutior, initio gustus dulcis mox in amaritudinem transit.104
LVIII. Echios utriusque generis3 puleio similis, foliis coronat4; datur drachmis duabus ex vini cyathis quattuor.5 item altera, quae lanugine distinguitur spinosa, cui et capitula viperae similia sunt, haec ex vino et aceto. quidam echion personatam vocant cuius folio nullum est latius, grandes lappas ferentem. huius radicem decoctam ex aceto dant potui. hyoscyamum
- 1Gallia Detlefsen, Mayhoff, codd.: Galatia ex Dioscoride Sillig.
- 2spissior amariorque Detlefsen, Mayhoff, d.: spissiora maiorque V: maiorque spissiorque E.
- 3Post generis lacunam statuit Ianus, nescio an recte.
- 4coronat; datur coni. Mayhoff, qui XXI. 52, 54 confert: coronaria Detlefsen: coronata (corinata V) codd.
- 5quattuor codd. et editores recentes: quattuor datur vulg.
LVII. An agaric grows as a white fungus on treesAgaric around the Bosporus. A dose is four oboli crushed and two cyathi of oxymel. The kind that grows in Gaula is considered of inferior strength; further,b the male is firmer and more bitter—this kind causes headaches—but the female is softer, and at first its taste is sweet, but afterwards turns bitter.c
LVIII. Echios of either kind is like pennyroyald;Echios. its foliage is used for chaplets. The dose is two drachmae in four cyathi of wine; likewisee with the second kind, which is marked by a prickly down, and also has little heads like a viper’s; this is taken in wine and vinegar. Some give the name echios to personata (“masked plant”) whose leaf is broader than that of any kind,f and which bears large burs. A decoction of the root of this is given with vinegar as a
- aDioscorides has Galatia, the Greek for Gaul.
- bPraeterea is unexpected, and no emendation suggests itself. Dioscorides does not help, because he and Pliny differ here so widely. The propterea of V seems a mere error.
- cDioscorides says this of both “sexes”: γεύσει δὲ ἀμφότερα ὅμοια, κατ᾿ ἀρχὰς μὲν γλυκάζοντα, εἶτα ἐξ ἀναδόσεως ἔμπικρα (III. 1). The two authorities might be made to agree by putting a full stop at solutior, but then amarior conflicts with dulcis. This difficulty might be avoided by reading maiorque spissiorque with E, but these words seem a scribe’s correction of spissiora maiorque (V.), which however is surely a wrong division of spissior amariorque, the reading in the text.
- dThe MSS. give no variant, and only Jan among the editors thinks that something is wrong, or missing, here. So I have done my best to make sense of Mayhoff’s text, but I suspect, with Jan, that there is a lacuna after generis. The missing words would be something giving the sense of: contra serpentes (aspidas?) utilis. altera, “is good for the poison of snakes (asps?). The first kind is like etc.” Perhaps a sleepy scribe was led astray by the like endings of utilis and similis. An altera to correspond to the item altera of the next sentence is required, and some versions, including Littré’s, assume its presence.
- eThe translators, so far as I have seen, omit item. I think that it refers to the dosage, and means that the dose of the second kind is two drachmae of the herb to four cyathi of liquid; only the latter, as we see from the end of the sentence, is wine and vinegar, not wine only.
- fApparently “of any other kind of echios”. The Latin, however, in any other context, would surely mean, “than any other leaf (of any plant),” which is absurd. Perhaps there is another lacuna here. The text of this whole chapter is odd, and the last sentence, about henbane, seems out of place.