Fasianos

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Fasianos grece fasianus.


Apparatus:

Whole entry missing in f.


Translation:

Fasianos is Greek for Latin fasianus {"pheasant"}.


Commentary:

Φασιανός /Phasianós/ "from the River Phasis" > Latin Phasianus id.

Phasianus colchicus L. the "common pheasant" [[1]], originally a native to Georgia, the ancient Colchis, was introduced to Greece in the middle of the first millennium BC. Unsurprisingly the Greeks named it φασιανὸς (sc. όρνις) /phasianòs {órnis}/ "bird from the river Phasis" in Colchis, Latinised as Phasianus. The Romans continued the breeding of the bird, considering it a culinary luxury. It is generally assumed that they introduced reared pheasant populations to wherever the Empire extended. Thus in the Kyranides [[2]], a magico-medical compilation from the 4th c. AD, a book Simon mentions in his preface and which he consulted for the Clavis, on p.153 it says: Φασιανὸς est avis omnibus nota - "the pheasant is a bird known to all", and it goes on to describe its use in medicine, its excrement, grease, blood and gall being used for various ailments. Since the survival rate of released birds is very low, domestic rearing for rewilding has been common throughout the ages. Charlemagne in his Capitulare De Villis § 40 [[3]], [[4]], ordered the rearing of pheasant and other fowl on his estates pro dignitatis causa - "for ornamental reasons; for grandeur's sake".

In the Middle Ages the pheasant was seen as the epitome of culinary sumptuousness, but it also played a part in the medicine of the time.

The pheasants Simon knew were descendants of the original Caucasian stock but the birds used in more recent hunting are hybrids between Phasianus colchicus torquatus - the Chinese "ringneck pheasant" and Phasianus versicolor Vieillot - the "Japanese green pheasant".

WilfGunther 14/11/13


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