Pliny: Natural History
Plinii Naturalis Historiae
I. Ne silvae quidem horridiorque naturae facies medicinis carent, sacra illa parente rerum omnium nusquam non remedia disponente homini, ut medicina1 fieret etiam solitudo ipsa, ad2 singula3 illius discordiae atque concordiae miraculis occursantibus. quercus et olea tam pertinaci odio dissident ut altera in alterius scrobe depacta emoriantur, quercus vero et iuxta nucem iuglandem. pernicialia et brassicae cum vite odia, ipsum olus quo vitis fugatur adversum 2cyclamino et origano arescit. quin et annosas iam et quae sternantur arbores difficilius caedi, celerius marcescere tradunt, si prius manu quam ferro attingantur. pomorum onera iumenta statim sentire4
- 1medicina Vdx, Mayhoff: medicinae Detlefsen.
- 2ipsa, ad ego: ipsa, et ad Mayhoff: ipsa, sed ad multi codd. Fortasse sed per dittographiam est ortum.
- 3singula Detlefsen, Mayhoff: singulas, cod. a: stgula V1: est gula V2. Num latet singulariis vel singularibus sine ad?
- 4iumenta statim sentire cod. a, Detlefsen: a iumentis statim sentiri Vdx, Mayhoff.
Pliny: Natural History
I. Not even the woods and the wilder face ofThe sympathies and antipathies in Nature Nature are without medicines, for there is no place where that holy Mother of all things dida not distribute remedies for the healing of mankind, so that even the very desert was made a drug store,b at every point occurring wonderful examples of that well-known antipathy and sympathy. The oak and the olive are parted by such inveterate hatred that, if the one be planted in the hole from which the other has been dug out, they die, the oak indeed also dying if planted near the walnut. Deadly too is the hatred between the cabbage and the vine; the very vegetable that keeps the vine at a distance itself withers away when planted opposite cyclamen or wild marjoram. Moreover, trees, it is said, that are now old and being felled are more difficult to cut down, and decay more quickly, if man’s hand touch them before the axe. There is a belief that beasts of
- aThe tense of fieret shows that the participle disponente is imperfect, referring to the time of the actual creation. The ut might be final: “for the very desert to become a drug store.”
- bI think that medicina here means the shop or booth (officina) where the physician prescribed and sold his medicines. Cf. Pliny XXIX. § 12: Cassius Hemina . . . auctor est primum e medicis venisse Romam . . . Archagathum . . . eique . . . tabernam in compito Acilio emptam. This sense occurs in Plautus, and Pliny, in a rather poetic passage, may well have so used it metaphorically.