uti hac herba prodest tusa cum foliis et inlita cum suco suo.45
XXVIII. Absinthii genera plura sunt: Santonicum appellatur e Galliae civitate, Ponticum e Ponto, ubi pecora pinguescunt illo et ob id sine felle reperiuntur, neque aliud praestantius,multoque Italicum1 amarius, sed medulla Pontici dulcis. de usu eius convenit, herbae facillimae atque inter paucas utilissimae, praeterea sacris populi Romani celebratae peculiariter, siquidem Latinarum feriis quadrigae certant in Capitolio victorque absinthium bibit, credo, sanitatem praemio dari honorifice arbitratis maioribus. stomachum 46corroborat, et ob hoc sapor eius in vina transfertur, ut diximus. bibitur et decoctum aqua ac postea nocte et die refrigeratum sub divo,2 †decoctis sex drachmis foliorum cum ramis suis in caelestis aquae sextarii tribus, oportet et salem addi. vetustissimum usu est†.3 bibitur et madefacti dilutum, ita enim appelletur hoc genus. diluti ratio ut, quisquis fuerit modus aquae, tegatur per triduum.
- 1Italicum d Hard., Mayhoff: Italico VRE Detlefsen.
- 2divo E vulg., Detlefsen: diu V1Rd Ianus, Mayhoff.
- 3†decoctis . . . usu est†] Sic Detlefsen post Urlichs: decoci VI drachmis foliorum cum ramis suis in caelestis aquae sextariis III oportet, nec non salem addi vetustissimi usus est Mayhoff: in codd. decocti aut decoctis, nec (pro et) vetustissime aut vetus sine usu est.
relieved by this plant ground up with the leaves and applied with its own juice.
XXVIII. There are several kinds of wormwood.Absinthium. The Santonic comes from the state of the Santoni in Gaul, the Pontic from Pontus, where cattle fatten on it, and so are found to be without gall; there is no finer wormwood than this, the Italian being far more bitter, but the pith of Pontic wormwood is sweet. About its use there is general agreement, for it is a plant very easily found, and one of the most useful, being moreover especially honoured at the religious rites of the Roman people, seeing that at the Latin festival there is a race for four-horse chariots on the Capitoline Hill, the winner of which takes a draught of wormwood, our ancestors thinking, I believe, that health was a very grand prize to give. It strengthens the stomach and for this reason it is used, as I have said,a to give a flavour to wines. A decoction in water, which is afterwards cooled in the open for a day and a night, is also taken; six drachmae of the leaves with their branches are boiled down in three sextarii of rain water; salt too should be added. When very old it can still be used.b There is also administered an infusion of wormwood in water; for this preparation should be styled “infusion,” and an essential of the infusion is that, whatever quantityc of water is used, for three days the preparation should be wholly enclosed. Pounded wormwood is rarely
- aSee XIV § 109.
- bI have kept Detlefsen’s text within daggers because no proposed emendation is quite satisfactory. The negative nec is probably genuine, but seems to require sine usu afterwards, leaving vetus without grammatical connection unless a full stop is put at addi. It is just possible to make sense of the MSS. reading if we do this and also accept the attractive decoci of Mayhoff: “six drachmae . . . ought to be boiled down without the addition of salt. When old the decoction cannot be used.” Perhaps the nec looks to the occasions (§ 48) when we are told that salt is added. Mayhoff’s emendations give us: “six drachmae . . . should be boiled down, and to add salt is a very old usage.”
- cPerhaps “kind.”