Bublote

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Bublote apud Dyascoridem marubium nigrum.


Apparatus:

Bublote B ef | Bublotem (-tẽ A) AC

marubium (-biũ A f) AC f | est marubiũ ms. e | prassiũ ul’ marubriũ B


Translation:

Bublote is the name used in Dyascorides for marubium nigrum {"black horehound"}.


Commentary and botanical identification:

Simon's form bublote, in witnesses A and C in the accusative form bublotem, is quoted ultimately from Dioscorides Longobardus where its sole occurrence is in the chapter title of book 3, chapter 113, ed. Stadler (1899: 424) De bublote. It is nothing other than a corruption of Greek βαλλωτή /ballōtḗ/ "black horehound", a plant whose distribution is near pan-European. Its botanical identification is relatively undisputed Ballota nigra L. [[1]], [[2]].

Ballote was previously seen as related to marrubium, which explains the ancient synonym marrubium nigrum "the black marrubium"; cf. Dioscorides loc.cit. De bublote … id est Marrubium. Multi dicunt ballote, quem multi marrubium nigrum dicunt, "About the plant bublote … which means a marrubium. Many people call it ballote, but many people also call it marrubium nigrum {'black marrubium'}."

Ballote/marrubium nigrum is different from marrubium album or simply marrubium, the "white or common horehound; Marrubium vulgare L.". This latter plant is treated by Simon under marubium.

As was common practice, the Greek name was adopted by the Romans as ballote and is used in this form by Pliny, who in 27, 54, ed. Rackham (1938-63: VII.54) also mentions another ancient synonym for it: porrum nigrum, "black leek", which is itself a translation of the Greek ballōtḗ synonym: μελαμπράσιον /melamprásion/; cf. 3, 103, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: II.114-5).

The etymology of Greek βαλλωτή /ballōtḗ/ is uncertain.

The name survived into botanical Latin as Ballota.

See also: Balliotem, Marubium


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