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Ierabotanum Dyascorides quam multi peristerion vocant virgas habet cubiti longitudine et amplius angulosas in quibus folia sunt in circuitu similia dri sed angusta et paucas incisuras habens in giro sunt alba radices oblongas et tenues.


Whole entry om. f

Ierabotanum AC | Ierobotani e | Ierouotã B

peristerion AC | peristeriona B | perysteriona e {B and e reflect the Greek accusative of the word}

longitudine (-nẽ e) AC e | lõgitudĩs B

dri AC | dris B | om. e

habens A | habens C e | habentia B

{giro} & add. B

oblongas AC e | oblũgas hēt {= habet} B

& cet. add. B


Dyascorides: Ierabotanum {"holy vervain"}, which many people call peristerion, has shoots of a cubit's length or more, angular, and around them are leaves similar to dri {"oak"}, but narrow and with fewer indentations around the margins, and the leaves are light-coloured. It {i.e. the plant has} oblong and tender roots.


Simon's entry is a near verbatim excerpt from Dioscorides Longobardus, 3, 66, ed. Stadler (1899: 30). De gera votane. For the Greek original see 4, 60, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: II.213-4): ἱερὰ βοτάνη, οἱ δὲ περιστερεῶνα ἐκάλεσαν• /hierà botánē, hoi dè peristereôna ekálesan/ - "hiera botane, some people call it peristereon".

Hierobotane < Greek ἱερὰ βοτάνη /hierà botánē/, and as a compound form: ἱεροβοτάνη /hierobotánē/, means literally "sacred herb". It is the Greek name for Latin verbena {"vervain"}. Contrary to Latin speakers Greek speakers pronounced the first element of the word as /i-e-ro-/, i.e. trisyllabic; also the loss of /h/ had occurred in Greek many years before Simon.

The word is often latinised as hierobotanon and hierobotanum. Since the /h/ sound had also long ago ceased to be pronounced in Latin, Late Latin speakers pronounced the word beginning with the sound represented by 'y' in English "yes", i.e "yerobotanum", i.e. bisyllabic.

For more information and botanical identification see Ierabotani.

Wilf Gunther 28/02/14

See also: Berbena, Verbena, Peristeron, Sagmen, Dris

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