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Bithath exponit Avicenna quod est virga pastoris quam scies infra in vi.


Bithath AC | Bithat B e | Bitat f

quã AC ef | quẽ B


Avicenna describes bithath, which is in Latin virga pastoris {(lit.) "shepherd's crook"}, a plant on which you will find more information below in the entry: virga pastoris.


Siggel (1950: 20) has: ﺑﻈﺑﺎﻅ /baṭbāṭ/ … Polygonum aviculare etc. The form bithat(h) is the result of an early misreading, where in bitbath 'b' was misread as 'h'.

The chapter in Avicenna to which Simon alludes is Canon, Liber secundus, in the Lyon edition (1522: 128), chapter dccxxxvj and [Goehl], cap. 736, De virga pastoris (followed by id est polygono, seu sanguinaria (after virga pastoris annotation: hassa alrhai). Virga pastoris quid est? Est albathat (albatbat), et est masculus et femina, sed masculus est fortior - "On virga pastoris {'shepherd's crook'}. This plant is also called polygonos or sanguinaria, in Arabic hassa alrhai. What is 'shepherd's crook'? {in Arabic: ﻋﻀﺎ ﺍﻟﺮﺍﻋﻰ... /ʕaṣā ar-rāʕī/, cf. Hasialrahy} It is also called in Arabic albathat (albatbat), and there is a male and a female plant, but the male form is medicinally stronger". {Avicenna then proceedes to describe the medicinal virtues of the plant.} Cf. the Arabic original p. 229 [[1]].

There is also a chapter 111 (or 110) in the Canon [Goehl] - and also Lyon edition (1522: 80), chapter cxj - named: De bithar (annotation: bethbath, et est species virgae pastoris) - "On bithar {also an early misreading of bitbat} followed by annotation: bethbath, it is a kind of virga pastoris". {Then the reader is directed to chapter 736 for further information on the plant.} Cf. the Arabic original [[2]].

PS: In the Latin translation Arabic ﺑﻬﺎﺭ /bahār/ or /buhār/, a different plant altogether, is confusingly transcribed in chapter 101 as Bithar as well, cf. Goehl but also Lyon edition (1522: 79). See the Arabic original: ﺑﻬﺎﺭ / bahār/ or / buhār/ p. 145 [[3]]. However in several of his entries , e.g. Bihar, Cotula q.v., Simon uses the more correct form bihar.

For further information see Poligonia, Virga pastoris, Hasialrahy.

Wilf Gunther 26/02/14

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