previous next


Those persons, according to Musæus and Hesiod, who are desirous of gaining honour and glory, should rub the body all over with polium,1 and handle and cultivate it as much as possible. They say, too, that it should be kept about the person as an antidote to poison, and that to keep serpents away it should be strewed beneath the bed, burnt, or else carried on the person; decoctions of it in wine, either fresh-gathered or dried, should be used too as a liniment for the body. Medical men prescribe it in vinegar for affections of the spleen, and in wine for the jaundice; a decoction of it in wine is recommended also for incipient dropsy; and in this way too, it is employed as a liniment for wounds. This plant has the effect of bringing away the after-birth and the dead fœtus, and of dispelling pains in various parts of the body: it empties the bladder also, and is employed in liniments for defluxions of the eyes. In- deed, there is no plant known that better deserves to form an ingredient in the medicament known to us as the "alexipharmacon:"2 though there are some who say that it is injurious to the stomach and is apt to stuff the head, and that it produces abortion—assertions which3 others, again, totally deny.

There is a superstitious observance also, to the effect that, for cataract, it ought to be attached to the neck the moment it is found, every precaution being taken not to let it touch the ground. The same persons state too that the leaves of it are similar to those of thyme, except that they are softer and more white and downy. Beaten up with wild rue in rain water, it is said to assuage the pain of the sting of the asp; it is quite as astringent too as the flower4 of the pomegranate, and as efficacious for closing wounds and preventing them from spreading.

1 See c. 21 of this Book. Fée remarks, that in reality it possesses none of the qualities that are attributed to it.

2 The "protection against poisons."

3 We have adopted Sillig's emendation of this passage; the words "aiunt, quod alii" being evidently required by the context.

4 "Cytinus" appears to be a preferable reading here to "cyanus," the "blue-bell."

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (9 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: