previous next


In the country of the Sanni, in the same part of Pontus, there is another kind of honey, which, from the madness it produces, has received the name of "mænomenon."1 This evil effect is generally attributed to the flowers of the rhododendron,2 with which the woods there abound; and that people, though it pays a tribute to the Romans in wax, derives no profit whatever from its honey, in consequence of these dangerous properties. In Persis, too, and in Gætulia, a district of Mauritania Cœsariensis, bordering on the country of the Massæsyli, there are poisonous honeycombs found; and some, too, only partly so,3 one of the most insidious things that possibly could happen, were it not that the livid colour of the honey gives timely notice of its noxious qualities. What can we suppose to have possibly been the intention of Nature in thus laying these traps in our way, giving us honey that is poisonous in some years and good in others, poisonous in some parts of the combs and not in others, and that, too, the produce in all cases of the self-same bees? It was not enough, forsooth, to have produced a substance in which poison might be administered without the slightest difficulty, but must she herself administer it as well in the honey, to fall in the way of so many animated beings? What, in fact, can have been her motive, except to render mankind a little more cautious and somewhat less greedy?

And has she not provided the very bees, too, with pointed weapons, and those weapons poisoned to boot? So it is, and I shall, therefore, without delay, set forth the remedies to counteract the effects of their stings. It will be found a very excellent plan to foment the part stung with the juice of mallows4 or of ivy leaves, or else for the person who has been stung to take these juices in drink. It is a very astonishing thing, however, that the insects which thus carry these poisons in their mouths and secrete them, should never die themselves in consequence; unless it is that Nature, that mistress of all things, has given to bees the same immunity from the effects of poison which she has granted against the attacks of serpents to the Psylli5 and the Marsi among men.

1 μαινόμενον, "maddening."

2 The ægolethron of the preceding Chapter, Fée thinks. If so, the word rhododendron, he says, would apply to two plants, the Nerion oleander or rose laurel (see B. xvi. c. 33), and the Rhododendron Ponticum.

3 Fée refuses to credit this: but still such a thing might accidentally happen.

4 These asserted remedies would be of no use whatever, Fée says.

5 See B. vii. c. 2.

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 (5 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PONTUS
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (4):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: