Glis (2)

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Glis Dyascorides aut quitis folia habet lenticule similia cuius folia infima alba sunt et superiora viridia, haste ipsius sunt quinque aut sex tenues duobus palmis longe et terre porrecte, flores habet aureos vel purpureos locis maritimis nascens.


Glis ABC efjp | Glys Diosc.Longob. (Munich ms.), Glis (Paris ms.)

Dyascorides om. f

quitis (quitis B; quitis f) ABC efj Diosc.Longob | quiris p {'t' misread as 'r'}

habet | h͞nt ms. e

lenticule similia | s. l. B efjp

infima AC | insana (ĩ sana B) B fjp | insa? ms. e | jossana Diosc.Longob.

et superiora viridia haste ipsius sunt om. p

viridia | viridiora fj

haste AC | aste B efp

porrecte | porecte ms. e

aureos C | anreos A {printer's error} | aurosos B efp | aurosas j | {flore ...} aurosu Diosc.Longob. This adjective is absent from the original Greek text.

{aurosos} vel om. f | vel purpureos om. p

locis om. f


Glys or quitis - according to Dyascorides - has leaves similar to lenticula {"lentil"}, of which the low ones are white and the upper ones green. It has five or six branches, which are thin and two palmi {one palmus only according to the Greek original} long and stretched over the ground. It has golden {absent in the Greek original} and purple flowers and grows by the sea.


Simon's entry is a near-verbatim quote from Dioscorides Longobardus, 4, 133, ed. Stadler (1901: 61-62), De glys (Munich ms.) and Glis (Paris ms.). The text is almost identical with Pliny's text, see Glaus, and obviously both authors excerpted from the same (unknown) source. Since there are no cross references between Glaus and Glis (2), it is reasonable to assume that Simon or any of the later transmitters – due to the difference in the vowels of Glaus and Glis - were unaware of the two entries being derived from the same source and describing an identical plant.

However the derivation of Simon's deviant form Glys/Glis rather than Glaux/Glaus, is puzzling. The original Greek γλαύξ /glaúx/, Attic γλαῦξ /glaûx/ results in *γλύξ */glýx/, *γλῦξ */glŷx/ if the letter "α" is dropped, but this change is difficult to explain unless it is the outcome of a very early scribal omission error.

The Greek original can be found in Dioscorides, 4, 138, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: II.328-9): γλαύξ /glaúx/.

For quitis see Glaux Commentary. The Longobardic text sees quitis as a synonym of Glis, but the Greek original mentions κύτισος /kýtisos/ only for leaf comparison, Wellmann op.cit.: γλαύξ• κυτίσῳ ἤ φακῷ τὰ φυλλάρια ἔοικεν /glaúx: kytísō ḕ phakô tà phyllária éoiken/ - "glaux: its little leaves resemble κύτισος /kýtisos/ {'tree-medick'} and φακός /phakós/ {'lentil'}".

Botanical identification:

The identification of glaux is disputed. Sprengel e.g. saw in it Astragalus glaux L. [[1]], but the plant's habitat is dry mountainous pastures and is no longer found in Greece. It occurs in Western Europe and the Mediterranean countries.
Fraas on the other hand, like others before him, preferred Sennebiera coronopus Poir. [[2]] or in today's accepted name: Lepidium coronopus (L.) Al-Shehbaz, but many other synonyms exist, e.g. Coronopus squamatus (Forssk.) Asch. = Coronopus procumbens Gilib. "greater swine-cress" or "creeping wartcress" [[3]]. Again this is no plant of the seaside and its flower is white.

For a short taxonomic discussion see Berendes (1902: 441), also cf. André's (1985: 112) doubts about this identification.

On the whole the identification of glaux remains problematic.

Glaux has survived into modern botanical terminology as a genus name containing only a single species Glaux maritima L., "sea milkwort", a plant which is not considered to be a candidate for the glaux of antiquity.

WilfGunther 10:50, 19 May 2015 (BST)

See also: Glaus

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