Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 418: 484-485

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Pliny: Natural History

marinae, lutariae et quae in dulci aqua vivunt. has 33quidam e Graecis emydas appellant. Terrestrium carnes suffitionibus propriae magicisque artibus refutandis et contra venena salutares produntur. plurimae in Africa. hae ibi amputato capite pedibusque pro antidoto dari dicuntur et e iure in cibo sumptae strumas discutere, lienes tollere, item comitiales morbos. sanguis earum claritatem visus facit, sistit1 suffusiones oculorum. et contra serpentium omnium et araneorum ac similium et ranarum venena auxiliatur servato sanguine in farina pilulis factis et, cum opus sit, in vino datis. felle testudinum cum Attico melle glaucomata inungui prodest, 34scorpionum plagae instillari.2 tegimenti cinis vino et oleo subactus pedum rimas ulceraque sanat. squamae e summa parte derasae et in potu datae venerem cohibent. eo magis hoc mirum, quoniam totius tegimenti farina accendere traditur libidinem. urinam aliter earum quam in vesica dissectarum inveniri posse non arbitror et inter ea3 esse hoc quoque, quae portentose Magi demonstrant, adversus aspidum ictus singularem, efficaciorem tamen, ut aiunt, cimicibus admixtis. ova durata inlinuntur strumis et ulceribus frigore aut adustione factis. sorbentur in 35stomachi doloribus. marinarum carnes admixtae ranarum carnibus contra salamandras praeclare auxiliantur, neque est testudine aliud salamandrae



on land, in the sea, in muddy water, and in fresh water. The last are called by some Greeks emydes.

The flesh of the land tortoise is reported to be especially useful for fumigations, to keep off magical tricks, and to counteract poisons. It is most common in Africa. There the flesh of this tortoise, with its head and feet cut off, is said to be given as an antidote, and taken in its broth as food to disperse scrofulous sores, to reduce the spleen, and to cure epilepsy. The blood clarifies the vision and arrestsa cataract. For the poisons of all serpents, spiders and similar creatures, and of frogs,b it is of service; the blood is preserved in flour, made up into pills, and given in wine when necessary. It is beneficial to use the gall of tortoises with Attic honey as an eye-wash for opaqueness of the lens, and to drop itc into the wounds made by scorpions. The shell, reduced to ash and kneaded with wine and oil, heals chaps and sores on the feet. Shavings from the top of the shell and given in drink are antaphrodisiac. This is all the more surprising because the whole shell, reduced to powder, is said to incite to lust. The urine of this tortoise, I believe, is found only in the bladder of dissected animals, and this is one of the substances to which the Magi give supernatural virtues as being specific for the bites of asps; a more efficacious one, however, they say, if bugs are added. The eggs are applied hard boiled to scrofulous sores, frost bites and burns. They are swallowed for pains in the stomach.

The flesh of sea tortoises mixed with that of frogs is an excellent remedy for salamander bites, and nothing is more opposed to the salamander than the

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938