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Amilum est succus frumenti in aqua diu macerati colatus et desicatus Dyascorides dicitur sic ab a. quod est sine et milos mola eo quod sine mola fiat, nam greci milos molam dicunt.


sucus C ejp | succus (-us f) AB f
colatus | collatus f
desiccatus efj | disiccatus B | desicatus AC | siccatus p
dicitur om. j
milos mola | milos molla B
milos mola eo quod sine mola fiat, nam greci om. p but added in margin by different hand: mola eo quod sine mola fiat, nã greci milos
{sine} mola | molla B
milos molam efj | millos mollã B | milos mola AC | mulos molam p


Amilum {"starch"} is {produced from} the broth of corn grains macerated for a long time in water, strained and then dried. According to Dyascorides it is so called from the Greek prefix a- {"non-, not, un-"}, which is in Latin sine {"without"} and Greek milos, in Latin mola {"mill"}, because it is produced 'without milling', for the Greeks say milos for Latin mola {"mill"}.


Simon gives a very brief account of the processes used to make starch, but see below. For the etymology of the word he alludes to Dyascorides alphabeticus, Bodmer 7v [[1]], which is taken from Dioscorides Longobardus, 2, 84, ed. Stadler (1899: 212) De amilu [[2]]: Amilu appellatum est ab eo, quod mylos mola greci dicunt, id est sine mola fit – "Starch is called amilu for this reason: because the Greeks call a mill milos, so amilum means it is made 'without milling'". For the Greek original cf. 2, 101, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: I.175-6): ἄμυλον /ámylon/ [[3]]. This etymological explanation is also found in Pliny, Natural History,18, 17, ed. Rackham (1938-63: V.238).

Greek ἄμυλον /ámylon/, in itacist pronunciation /ámilon/ and Latinised amylum or in medieval Latin amilum, means "starch". As shown above, its etymology was explained in antiquity as having been derived from α- {α privativum meaning "non-, not, un-"} + μύλος /mýlos/ or μυλή /mylḗ/ "a mill", meaning "{using wheat} without milling", but modern etymologists seem to be somewhat more sceptical, cf. Frisk (1960-72: I.97), s.v. ἄμυλος /ámylos/ who says: "Eine Deutung als 'ungemahlen', … die sich formal aufdrängt, bleibt noch begrifflich zu rechtfertigen" {"an explanation as 'unmilled', … which strongly suggests itself from the form of the word, still awaits justification concerning the motive for its name"}.


Dioscorides and Pliny give a more detailed report of the process of starch production. Wheat starch can be recovered by a relatively easy process because of the high starch content in the carbohydrate fraction of wheat. It basically involves a process to soften the grains in water and draining repeatedly; the whole process can take several weeks and when the desired softness is achieved the remaining mass is strained and put in the sun to dry.

WilfGunther 23:42, 26 May 2015 (BST)

See Nixe, Nesse

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