Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 393: 240-241

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Pliny: Natural History

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XCIV. Aliqui1 et mandragora utebantur; postea abdicatus est in hac curatione. epiphoris, quod certum est, medetur et oculorum dolori radix tusa cum rosaceo et vino. nam sucus multis oculorum medicamentis miscetur. mandragoran alii circaeon vocant. duo eius genera; candidus qui et mas, niger qui femina existimatur, angustioribus quam lactucae foliis, hirsutis et caulibus, radicibus binis ternisve rufulis,2 intus albis, carnosis tenerisque, paene 148cubitalibus. ferunt mala abellanarum nucum magnitudine et in his semen ceu pirorum. hoc albo alii arsena, alii morion, alii hippophlomon vocant. huius folia alba, alterius3 latiora ut lapathi sativae. effossuri cavent contrarium ventum et tribus circulis ante gladio circumscribunt, postea fodiunt ad occasum spectantes. sucus fit et e malis et caule deciso cacumine et e radice punctis aperta aut decocta. utilis haec vel surculo. concisa quoque in 149orbiculos servatur in vino. sucus non ubique invenitur

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Book XXV

XCIV. Somea physicians used to employ theMandrake for the eyes, etc. mandrake also; afterwards it was discarded as a medicine for the eyes. What is certain is that the pounded root, with rose oil and wine, cures fluxes and pain in the eyes. Butb the juice is used as an ingredient in many eye remedies. Some give the name circaeon to the mandrake. There are two kinds of it: the white, which is also considered male, and the black, considered female. The leaves are narrower than those of lettuce, the stems hairy, and the roots, two or three in number, reddish,c white inside, fleshy and tender, and almost a cubit in length. They bear fruit of the size of filberts, and in these are seeds like the pips of pears. When the seed is white the plant is called by some arsen,d by others morion, and by others hippophlomos. The leaves of this mandrake are whitish, broader than those of the other,e and like those of cultivated lapathum. The diggers avoid facing the wind, first trace round the plant three circles with a sword, and then do their digging while facing the west. The juice can also be obtained from the fruit, from the stem, after cutting off the top, and from the root, which is opened by pricks or boiled down to a decoction. Even the shoot of its root can be used, and the root is also cut into round slices and kept in wine. The juice is not found

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938