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Acalife urtica apud Dyascoridem proprio capitulo et est grecum verum communi sermone vocatur apud eos knidi, quidam tamen corruptum ignidam dicunt, dicitur autem a knismos quod est pruritus. Stephanus in synonimis acalife euagna est corrisum, non est arabicum nam aniure est urtica arabice.


Acalife AC | Acalifex B efjp {See Commentary below}
proprio capitulo B ep | capo proprio f | primo (pri- A) capi. AC | po cao j
{et} est | e. (enim?} AC
knidi AC | kindi {kĩdi p) B p | l rindi ms. e {‘k' misread as ‘l r'} | knidikiỹon f | keindi keirrõ j
corruptũ AC | corrupte B ejf | corrũpte p
ignidam (-daʒ e; -dã B p) B ejp | igridam (-dã A; ig'daʒ f ) AC f {‘n' misread as ‘r'}
knismos AC efp | kĩsmos B | keìusmos j
{quod} est om. p
{pruritus} l' g' add. j | after pruritus p attempts to write ΚΝΗΣΜΌΣ /knēsmós/ in Greek letters
synonimis AC e | sinonimis B p | synois fj
{synonimis} acalife | calife j
enagria ms. e | enag'a f | euagrìa j | euagna (-g'a p) AC p {‘n' misread as ‘u'; ‘ri' misread as ‘n'} | anagria B | engera Stephanus
corisum (-suʒ j; -sũ B p Stephanus) B fjp Stephanus | corrisuʒ ms. e | drisuʒ AC {‘co' misread as ‘d'}
aniure (-ni- illegible j) B j | anjure ms. e | auinre f {‘n' misread as ‘u'; 'u' misread as 'n'} | anure p | amure AC {‘ni' misread as ‘m'}


Acalife is the true Greek word for Latin urtica {"stinging nettle"}, as mentioned in the appropriate chapter in Dyascorides, but in popular speech the Greeks call it knidi, but some say it in a corrupted way: ignida. It is so named from knismos, which means "itching". Stephanus in his Synonyms lists acalife enagria corisum; but the latter is not Arabic, because in Arabic aniure is the word for urtica.


Simon is alluding to Dyascorides alphabeticus f 18v [[1]]. Relevant excerpts of this text can also be found in Simon's entry Urtica. The text of the Longobardic translation is considerably different from that of the alphabetic Dyascorides, cf. 4, 89, ed. Stadler (1901: 49-50) De agalife [[2]]. The Greek original, De materia medica, 4, 93, is in Wellmann (1906-14: II.251-2) ἀκαλήφη /akalḗphē/, where the synonym κνίδη /knídē/ is also mentioned.

In witnesses B efjp the word-ending -fe is misinterpreted as –fex as in pontifex, carnifex resulting in Acalifex. In Greek two variant forms of this word occur: ἀκαλήφη /akalḗphē/ and e.g. in Theophrastus ἀκαλύφη /akalýphē/, both pronounced in later Greek /akalífi/. In late Antiquity Latinised forms acalephe, acalyphe gained some currency, often written in Medieval Latin acalife, but never really replacing Latin urtica. The etymology of the Greek word is unclear.

Greek κνίδη /knídē/, itacist /knídi/ is related to κνίζω /knízō/ "to scratch, grate"; cf. Strömberg (1940: 76). For the explanation of the change from /knídē/ to ignida, see Knidi and [Ignida]]. Simon's statement that the word has to do with knismos, the itacist pronunciation of classical κνησμός /knēsmós/ "itching", is correct in the sense that the roots √kni- and √knē- are phonetically similar and have roughly the same meaning, but their exact relationship to each other is difficult to establish.

Simon also refers to Stephanus who in his Breviarium writes: acalifi … engera & est corisũ [[3]]

This is Arabic ﺍﻧﺠﺮﺓ /anğura/, /anğara/, /unğura/ with varied vocalisation. Simon's witnesses show corrupted forms, due to the scribes' lack of knowledge of Arabic, but the path of corruption can easily be imagined: engera > *engara > *enagra > enagria/ anagria > euagria > euagna
For Arabic engera see Engere.

Simon mentions another word quoted by Stephanus: corisum/ corrisum, misread as "drisum" in witnesses A and C, which Simon thinks is not Arabic. However, it is ﻗﺮﻳﺺ /qurraiṣ/ or ﻗﺮﺍﺹ /qurrāṣ/ meaning "nettle" from the root ﻗﺮﺹ /qrṣ/ "to pinch; sting", a word listed in Dozy (1877-81: II.328) and Wehr (1976).

WilfGunther (talk) 15:59, 14 August 2015 (BST)

See also: Urtica, Knidi, Ignida, Engere

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