Achilea

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Complete text of entry:

Achilea liber antiquus de simplici medicina est mile folium quod greci mirofylon vocant, sic dicta eo quod Achilles ipsam invenisse dicitur et ea telefon sanasse et cetera. Plinius vero eadem dicit et ultra hoc, hanc inquit aliqui panacem eracleam vocant, alii sideritem, sed falso, hanc apud nos millefolium vocant, cubitali scapo ramosam minutioribus foliis quam feniculi vestitam ab imo, aliqui veram achileam esse scapo ceruleo pedali sine ramis ex omni parte singulis foliis rotundis eleganter vestitam, alii quadrato caule capitibus marubii folio quercus et cetera.


Simon's text sectioned: Ps.-Apuleius

Achilea liber antiquus de simplici medicina est mile folium quod greci mirofylon vocant, sic dicta eo quod Achilles ipsam invenisse dicitur et ea telefon sanasse et cetera.


Apparatus:

Achilea ABC efp | Achillea (-llea j) H j
liber antiquus | libris antiquis j
mille folium H efjp | mile folium ABC
mirofylon (-lõ C) AC | mirifolõ B p | mirifilon efj | miriphyllõ H greci mirofylon vocant | greci appellant mirifilon j
Achilles (ach- ejp) AC ejp | Achiles (ach- fj) B fj | Acchilles H
{ipsam} nõ add. j; p
ea | ex ea B f
telefon (-fõ C) AC efj | thelefõ B | telafon p | Telephũ H
et cetera om. H f


Translation:

Achilea, in an ancient book on simples medicine it states that it is the name for millefolium, which the Greeks call mirofylon, and it is so named because Achilles found out about it and with it he cured Telephus, etc.


Commentary:

In the first section Simon is probably referring to the Herbarius of Ps.-Apuleius, 89, ed. Howald (1927: 159-60). HERBA MILLEFOLIUM [[1]], where it says p. 160: Nomina herbae: A Graecis dicitur miriofillon, … Itali millefolium, … alii Achillion … - "By the Greeks it is called miriofillon, …..Italics millefolium and Achilion"
And it goes on to describe why the plant was named after Achilles: Hanc herbam Achilles invenit, unde vulnera ferro percussus sanabat, quae ob id Achillea vocatur, de hac sanasse Telephum dicitur - "Achilles found out about the healing qualities of this herb, with which he used to heal battle wounds {lit. 'inflicted by iron'}, which is why the herb is named Achillea, and by it they say Telephos was healed."

Although Simon chose not to include in his entry Pliny's report of the naming motive for Achilea, 25, 19, 42, ed. W.H.S. Jones (1938-63: VII.168), Pliny's account is more detailed and useful for comparison; also in the original Plinian text this passage immediately precedes Pliny's account which is in fact quoted by Simon in the next section below:
Invenisse et Achilles discipulus Chironis qua volneribus mederetur — quae ob id Achilleos vocatur — ac sanasse Telephum dicitur. alii primum aeruginem invenisse utilissimam emplastris — ideoque pingitur ex cuspide decutiens eam gladio in volnus Telephi —, alii utroque usum medicamento volunt - "Achilles, a disciple of {the Centaur} Chiron, is said to have discovered a plant that heals wounds, and which because of this is named Achilleos, and which is said to have cured Telephus. According to some Achilles was the first to have found that rust was particularly effective in plasters – and this is why he is depicted scraping with his sword the rust from his spear into Telephus's wound. And according to others again it was both remedies that were applied".

Achillea:
The name achillea is from the adjectival form Ἀχίλλειος,α,ον /Akhílleios,a,on/, Latinised Achillēus,ēa,ēum referring to the Greek hero Ἀχιλλεύς /Akhilleús/, Achilles in Latin, in medieval Latin often written Achiles. There are basically two versions – both recorded by Pliny, see above, concerning Τήλεφος /Tḗlephos/ who was wounded by Achilles and whose wound would not heal.

In the ancient literature the word appears in these variants – reflecting the three genders - Achilleos, Achillea, Achillion. Cf. André (1985: 3), s.v. Achillēos..

millefolium:
This name is perhaps calqued on Greek μυριόφυλλον /myrióphyllon/, see below, millefolium, also millefolia, meaning "thousand leaves", from Latin mille "one thousand" and folium "leaf". The name is describing the feather-like or multi-divided leaf of the plant, see [[2]].

mirofylon:
Greek μυριόφυλλον /myrióphyllon/ is a compound noun consisting of μυριό- /myrió-/ {"numberless"} + φυλλον /phyllon/ {"leaf"}, itacist: /miriófilon/, the pronunciation Simon is trying to represent.


Simon's text sectioned: Plinius

Plinius vero eadem dicit et ultra hoc, hanc inquit aliqui panacem eracleam vocant alii sideritem, sed falso, hanc apud nos millefolium vocant cubitali scapo ramosam minutioribus foliis quam feniculi vestitam ab imo, aliqui veram achileam esse scapo ceruleo pedali sine ramis ex omni parte singulis foliis rotundis {f; Plinius} eleganter vestitam alii quadrato caule capitibus marubii folio quercus et cetera.

Apparatus:

eadem | eandem j
et ultra | & uult H
inquit | ĩquid p
{inquit} achileam add. f
panacem (-cẽ ABCH) ABCH ef | pauacem (-cẽ p) jp {'n' misread as 'u'}
eracleam (-eã BH) BH e | eiracleaʒ f | eracheã jp {'cl' misread as 'ch'} | eradeã AC {'cl' misread as 'd')}
sideriteʒ (-tẽ AC p) AC fp | sideriten ej | syderitem B | fideriteʒ H {"long ‘s’" misread as ‘f’}
millefolium | milefoliũ B f
minutioribus | minuc͞ioribus (-c͞o- ej) ejf
quam feniculi vestitam ab imo, aliqui veram achileam esse scapo ceruleo pedali sine ramis ex omni parte singulis foliis om. but written in right margin by different hand ms. p
imo AC e | ymo p | uno BH fj
achileam | achilleam (-eã H j) H ej
ceruleo | cerulo j | cerubeo H
sine | sic͞ f
{singulis} foliis om. e
(singulis foliis} rotundis add. f; also in Pliny
eleganter (-er H) ABCH p | elleganter ms. e | elongantur j | deganter f
vestitam | uescitam f
marubii BH ejf | marubi AC | marrubii p
et cetera om. ef


Translation:

Pliny says the same and adds: this plant they call panaces Heraclia, others call it siderites, but that is wrong, and we call it millefolia, it has a stalk of 1 cubit, it is full of branches with leaves smaller than feniculum {"fennel"} that cover the stem from the bottom upwards. Others say that the true Achilleon has a blue stem of one foot in length and is without branches and covered everywhere elegantly with single round leaves; others say that the stem is square with little flowerheads like marubium {"horehound"} and with the leaf of quercus {"oak"}.


Commentary:

This part of Simon's entry is a near verbatim excerpt from Pliny, op. cit., §§ 42/43:

panax/ panaces Heraclia:
The words panax < Greek πάναξ /pánax/, panaces < πανακής /panakḗs/ and panacea < πανάκεια /panákeia/ denote an all healing herb, a universal remedy. All are compound forms derived from παν- /pan-/ {"all, universal"} + ἄκος {"remedy, cure"}.
Heraclia < Ἡρακλεία /Hērakleía/ alludes to Herakles/ Hercules in some form; see also Eraclea. A number of names for a series of plants are associated with the divine hero, but in this Plinian passage Heraclia is clearly a synonym for Achilea.

There are several similar plant names, usually associated with plants different from Achilea: Panaces Heracleum (in Pliny, Dioscorides}, Panaces Heracleoticum {Caelius Aurelianus}.

siderites:
σιδηρίτης /sidērítēs/, σιδηρĩτις /sidērîtis/, Latinised siderites, sideritis, is derived from σίδηρος /sídēros/ "iron", its name is often seen as indicating healing properties for battle wounds. The name is used - apart from some precious stones - for a large number of different plants, cf. André (1985: 238), s.v. sidēritis, who suggests 10 different identifications. The form siderites is more commonly used for the precious stones and sideritis for plants, however the difference is too subtle to be much observed in medieval Latin and both forms are more or less interchangeable. But here siderites is obviously seen as a synonym for Achilea. The Greek Dioscorides, 4, 36, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: II.195) [[3]], confirms the synonymy between Ἀχίλλειος /Akhílleios/ and σιδηρĩτις /sidērîtis/ as does Dioscorides Longobardus, 4, 33, ed. Stadler (1901: 22): De acilio [[4]], i.e. sideriten (acc.) is a synonym of Acilios.

milifolia:
see millefolium above.

Achilea see above.


Botanical identification:

André (1985) thinks that Achillea in this Plinian passage is identifiable as Achillea millefolium L., "yarrow" [[5]]. Fennel leaves [[6]] can be seen as being similar to yarrow leaves [[7]].
However Pliny clearly goes on to describe two further plants.
The plant with a blue stem and without branches and covered with single round leaves André (1985) calls "indéterminée", but whatever it is he says it is no Achillea.

The next plant, with a square stem and little flowerheads like marubium and with the leaf of the quercus {"oak"}, André (1985) sees as Sideritis romana L. [[8]], [[9]]


WilfGunther (talk) 20:46, 24 September 2015 (BST)


See also: Millefolium, Mirifilon, Sideritis, Eraclea, Panax (1)


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