Hager alyeudi

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Hager alyeudi lapis iudaicus.


Hager alyeudi B | Hager ... alirudi e {'ie' misread as 'ir'} | Hager … alnendi f {'ie' misread as 'n', 'u' misread as 'n'} | Halliendi ACD {'eu' misread as 'en'}


Hager alyeudi is Arabic for Latin lapis iudaicus {"Jews' stone"}.


Cf. Liber Fundamentorum Pharmacologiae. Auctore Abu Mansur Mowafik ben Ali al herui {i.e. abū manṣūr muwaffaq ʕaliy al-harawiy}. ed. Seligmann (1830: I.66): ﺣﺠﺮ ﺍﻟﻴﻬﻮﺩ hadschr el-jehud - {i.e. /ḥağar al-yahūd/} Lapis judaicus.

Halliendi in witnesses ACD is most likely an abbreviated Hager that was misunderstood as the first letter of the word, i.e. H. alliendi > Halliendi; also 'u' was misread as 'n'. See General remark in Hager.

Zoological identification:

Lapis judaicus is the name given to the fossilised spines of Cretaceous primitive sea urchins, or echinoids, especially those of one group: the cidaroids. Cidaridae can still be found today in the Antarctic waters. Their prominent feature is a lack of skin on their spines. This allows all kinds of creatures to attach themselves to the spine in a symbiotic relationship.

The fossilised spines, especially of Balanocidaris, were seen as a potent remedy for all kinds of ailments. It is disputed whether they were known in antiquity, but Pliny’s, 27, 184, spongitae lapides, lit. "sponge-stones", or in Greek tecolithoi {"stone-dissolvers"}, "which look like an olive", are seen by some to be echinoidal fossils.

Medicinal use:

Through contact with the Muslim world medieval Europe got to know these objects, where they were called, calqued from Arabic, lapis Judaicus "Jews' stone". Resembling as it were a bladder they were used (powdered in water) for the treatment of gall, bladder and kidney ailments. This indication is based on the "Doctrine of signatures" - signature in the old meaning of "sign, feature" – whereby God indicates through some sign, i.e. shape, colour, spots on leaves, etc. – what the animal or plant part or mineral object was medicinally good for.

Wilf Gunther 23/11/13

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