Erifion (2)

From Simon Online
Jump to: navigation, search

Erifion etiam liber antiquus de simplici medicina. Itali inquit rutam dicunt nascitur in gallia in monte siractis figuram habet apii florem purpureum similem nasturtio septem radicibus totidemque ramulis asperis minutisque omni florens tempore ipsa aut patula humo semen habet tanquam faba.


In ms. j unrubricated because the text of this entry is treated as a continuation of Erifion (1).
antiquus AC efjp | antiqus B
Itali AC | ytali B f | ytalij ep | irali j {‘t’ misread as ‘r’}
inquit om. ef | inquid p | ĩ quam j
rutam dicunt | dt rutã f
gallia | galia B
siractis ABC p | syractis e | siractys f | functis j | probably Mons Soracte, modern: Monte Soratte
nasturtio A j | nastrutio C | -tru- or –tur- ms. p | nasturcio B ef
asperis | albis f
{minutis}que om. ef
autem | aut j
patula | patulo p
et cetera adds B jp


Erifion: an old book entitled De simplici medicina {"On simples medicine"} states: the Italians call it {i.e. erifion} ruta {"rue"}. It grows in Gaul on Mount Siractis; it has the shape of apium {"celery"} and a purple flower similar to nasturcium {"cress"}, with seven roots and as many tiny rough branches. It flowers at all times spreading over the soil, and it has the seed like faba {"bean"}.


The liber antiquus is the Herbarius of Ps. Apuleius, and Simon's near verbatim quote is from 126, ed. Howald (1927: 214), HERBA ERIFION [[1]].
In the Ps. Apuleian Herbarius version of the Codex Vindobonensis 93, Medicina antiqua, of the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, the chapter on Erfion is introduced by a pagan, i.e. pre-Christian, prayer to the plant, p. 188: CXXVII. Nomen herbe Erifion... Precatio eiusdem herbe. Herba Erifion, ut adsis me rogante et cum gaudio virtus tua praesto sit et ea omnia persanes, quo Scolapius aut Chiron centaurus, magister medicine, de te advenit - "The name of the plant: Erifion. A prayer to this plant. Herb erifion, assist me who is pleading and let your healing power gladly be at hand and make everything whole, with what Aesculapius and Chiron the Centaur, the teacher of medicine, have found out about you.

The word erifion, from Greek ἐρίφιον /eríphion/ is the diminutive form of ἔριφος /ériphos/ meaning "a young goat, kid". Carnoy (1959: 122), thinks that "goat" here hints at the plant being an uncultivated vegetable only good for or usually eaten by goats or other animals.

Botanical identification:

Apart from some glossaries, the name erifion only occurs in the Ps.-Apuleian Herbarius, where it is clearly defined as ruta {"rue"}, see op.cit. above, and it occurs for the second time in chapter 90 HERBA RUTA HORTENSIS, where it is mentioned on (1927: 163) as a synonym to ruta hortensis: Nomina herbae. A Graecis dicitur peganon, erifion - "garden rue, in Greek it is called peganon and erifion".

In chapter 127 erifion is defined as ruta agrestis "wild rue" but in chapter 90 as ruta hortensis "garden rue". The relevant plants are usually identified as being Ruta graveolens L. "common rue", although its flower and those of the other species of Ruta mentioned are yellow and not purpureum, and ruta agrestis is identified as Ruta montana (L.) L.

N.B. peganon: Greek πήγανον /pḗganon/ is identified by LSJ as R. graveolens, and πήγανον ὀρεινόν /pḗganon oreinón/ or πήγανον ἄγριον /pḗganon ágrion/ are glossed Ruta halepensis {sic!}, misleadingly called "mountain rue".
Ruta chalepensis L. is generally referred to as "fringed rue" in the vernacular, while the name "mountain rue" is often applied to R. montana.

WilfGunther 02/10/2012

See also: Ruta

Next entry