A collaborative blog among students from Spain, Italy, France and Germany

Friday, April 30, 2010

Dioscorides (Collaboration)

Francisco Cortés Gabaudán is Professor of Greek at the University of Salamanca. His main research interests are: Greek Rhetoric, Oratory, Historiography, Medicine, Etymology of scientific vocabulary. It is responsible for institutional page of the Department of Classical and Indo-Europea Philology, at the University of Salamanca. He is also known for his medical-biological Dictionary (historical and etymological) from helenismus. With this post we can understand the relationship between the world of plants with the classical world.

The treatise on medicinal remedies who wrote the greek Dioscorides in the s. I a.C. is one of the most influential works in scientific culture from ancient times to the development of modern science from s. XVI. The current reader's attention is caught by its strictly scientific writting.

It is a single drug product inventory, listing its therapeutic properties without mixing each other. Most of them are of plant origin, but there are also animal or mineral. It is of great interest the botanical description which is made for easier recognition of these plants, supported with images, so this is an antecedent of printed herbarium necessary to the development of modern botany since s. XVI.

On the left, image of the opium poppy in the manuscript of Dioscorides (Salamanca, s. XV). The image of the same plant in a modern treatise.

A sample chapter of the 957 that make up the work: Honeysuckle.

The leaves are similar to ivy, but smaller, the stems are fat, knotty, they are curled up in the adjacent trees in a spiral way, white, sweet-smelling flowers. Its fruit is like the berry of clusters, similar to the ivy, soft, mildly pungent taste, viscous. They grow in steep areas.

If you drink their fruit in the amount of one drachma (4.3 gr.) with two ciatus (90 cc.) of white wine for 40 daysand your spleen is reduced. You can drink also for orthopnea (difficulty breathing in a different position than up); If you drink it, you remove waste of labor.

Images of honeysuckle (left the manuscript of Salamanca, right in a current treatise).

Francisco Cortés Gabaudán
Professor of Greek. University of Salamanca

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