Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 393: 338-339


Pliny: Natural History

earum cum polenta inlita sedat vel per se trita. superioris radix in lacte ovis colonicae data nervos intendit, eadem ex aqua remittit.


LXIII. Graeci satyrion foliis lilii rubris, minoribus et tribus non amplius e terra exeuntibus tradunt, caule levi, cubitali, nudo, radice gemina, cuius inferior pars et maior mares gignat, superior ac minor feminas. et aliud genus satyrii erythraicon appellant, semine viticis maiore, levi, duro, radicis cortice rufo; intus album includi sapore subdulce. fere1 in 98montuosis inveniri. venerem, etiam si omnino manu teneatur radix, stimulari, adeo2 si bibatur in vino austero, arietibus quoque et hircis segnioribus in potu dari, et a Sarmatia3 equis ob adsiduum laborem pigrioribus in coitu, quod vitium prosedamum vocant. restinguit vim eius aqua mulsa aut lactuca sumpta. 99in totum quidem Graeci, cum concitationem hanc volunt significare, satyrion appellant, sic et crataegin cognominantes et thelygonon et arrenogonon, quarum semen testium simile est. tithymalli quoque ramorum medullam habentes ad



This latter kind, if applied with pearl barley or by itself after being pounded, relieves swellings and affections of the privy parts. The root of the former kind, taken in the milk of a farm-yard sheep, causes erections; taken in water, however, it makes them subside.

LXIII. The Greeks speak of a satyrion that has leaves like those of the lily, but red, smaller, and springing from the ground not more than three in number, a smooth, bare stem a cubit high, and a double root, the lower, and larger, part favouring the conception of males, the upper, and smaller, the conception of females. Yet another kind of satyrion they call erythraicon, saying that its seed is like that of the vitex, but larger, smooth and hard; that the root is covered with a red rind, and containsa a white substance with a sweetish taste, and that the plant is generally found in hilly country. They tell us that sexual desire is aroused if the root is merely held in the hand, a stronger passion, however, if it is taken in a dry wine, that rams also and he-goats are given it in drink when they are too sluggish, and that it is given to stallions from Sarmatiab when they are too fatigued in copulation because of prolonged labour; this condition is called prosedamum. The effects of the plant can be neutralized by doses of hydromel or lettuce. The Greeks indeed always, when they wish to indicate this aphrodisiac nature of a plant, use the name satyrion, so applying it to crataegis, thelygonon, and arrenogonon, the seeds of which resemble testicles. Again, those carrying on their persons the pith of tithymallus branches are

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938