Hiera

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Hiera liber de simplici medicina antiquitus berbena.


Apparatus:

Whole entry missing in f
Hiera AC | Hicta ul' hieia B ('er' misread as 'ct' and as 'ei') | Hibera ms. e {contamination with Hiberia or Hiberis?} | Hyra p
liber de simplici medicina antiquitus | lib’ antiquus de sĩci mea j
antiquitus AC j | antiquus B ejp
berbena (ber- p) ABC p | barbena ms. e | v’bena j


Translation:

Hiera is the name for berbena {"vervain"} in a book on simples medicines written in antiquity.


Commentary:

Hiera:
is Greek ἱερά /hierá/ "holy, sacred", short for ἱερὰ βοτάνη (hierà botánē/ "sacred plant".
There is also a compound version of this name: ἱεροβοτάνη [/hierobotánē/, see Ierabotani, Ierabotanum.

Simon's book on simples medicine from antiquity is Ps.-Dioscorides, De herbis femininis [[1]], 54, ed. Kästner (1896: 629), where the short form of the name is used: Hiera. Quam latini verbenam vocant. – "Hiera, which Latin speakers call verbena". And it goes on to explain the motivation for the name: Ideo a Graecis nomen accepit, quod sacerdotes eam purificationibus adhibere consueverunt – "For this reason it takes its name from the Greeks, because the priests used to employ it in purifications".

The fuller name ἱερὰ βοτάνη /hierà botánē/ occurs in a chapter of that same name in the Greek Dioscorides, 4, 60, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: II.213 ff) [[2]], and in the Longobardic translation, 4, 66, ed. Stadler (1901: 30). De gera votane [[3]]. It is also mentioned in Pliny, 25, 59, 105, ed. W.H.S. Jones (1938-63: VII. 214, 216), who emphasises the importance Roman culture affords this plant, which he also calls verbenaca.


Botanical identification:

Most authors agree that it is Verbena officinalis L., "common vervain" [[4]], [[5]].


WilfGunther (talk) 28/11/2013


For further information see Berbena.


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