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Karmezich exponit Avicenna quod est fructus tamarisci.


Karmeʒith AC | Karmeʒich fjp | Kamezich B | Kermeʒich ms. e
tamarisci (-ris- e) ABC ejp | tamariscis f


Karmezich, explains Avicenna, is the fruit of tamariscus {"tamarisk"}.


Siggel (1950: 63): ﻛﺰﻣﺎﺯﻙ /kazmāzak/ = ﺣﺐ ﺍﻻﺛﻝ /ḥabb al-aṯl/ Galle auf Tamarix {i.e. "the gall on the tamarisk tree"} and Siggel (1950: 50): ﻃﺮﻓﺎﺀ /ṭarfāʔ/,ﻃﺮﻓﺔ /ṭarfa/; Tamarix gallica, Tamariske {i.e. "tamarisk"}.

The word ﻛﺰﻣﺎﺯﻙ /kazmāzak/ is of Persian origin, ﮔﺰﻣﺎﺯﻙ /gazmāzak/, ﮔﺰﻣﺎﺯﻭ /gazmāzū/, which Steingass (1892: 1088), glosses "the fruit of the tamarisk-tree". The word consists of the elements گز /gaz/ "tamarisk" (1892: 1087) +ﻣﺎﺯﻭ /māzū "gall or oak-apple" (1892: 1140).

Simon's forms with "r", e.g. Karmezich, etc. can be explained by the similarity in shape of the Arabic letters for the sounds /r/ and /z/: ﺭ and ﺯ, i.e. they are only distinguished by a dot, a diacritic that was easily lost or sometimes ignored in manuscripts. Obviously this misreading must already have occurred when dealing with the Arabic original text.

Simon is alluding to these chapters in Avicenna:

[Goehl] Canon book II, Capitulum 375 (374). De karmezik (annotation: karmazech) or in the online Lyon edition (1522: 100): De karmezilt Ca. ccclxxv [[1]]: Karmezik quid est? Est fructus tamarasci, de quo iam locuti fuimus in Capitulo de tamarisco - "What is karmezik? It is the fruit of tamariscus {the 'tamarisk'}, about which we have already spoken in the chapter De tamarisco {'On tamarisk'}".

The Arabic original, p. 191, introduces the word [[2]] saying: ﻛﺰﻣﺎﺯﻙ ۞ ﺍﻟﻤﺎﻫﻴﺔ ۞ ﻫﻮ ﺛﻤﺮﺓ ﺍﻟﻄﺮﻔﺎ /kazmāzak; al-māhīya; huwa ṯamarat al-ṭarfāʔ/ "kazmāzak: what is it? It is the fruit of the tamarisk".

The chapter Avicenna is referring to describes the properties of tamariscus: Capitulum 693 De tamarisco {followed by id est myrica (with tamarisco annotation: tharfe)} or online in the Lyon edition (1522: 125): De tamarisco Ca. dcxciii.

The Arabic original is entitled: ﻃﺮﻓﺎﺀ /ṭarfāʔ/, p. 182, [[3]].

But in another chapter Avicenna calls it nux tamarisci {the "tamarisk nut"}: Capitulum 511 (507). De nuce tamarisci {(annotation: giauzi altharse)} or online in the Lyon edition (1522: 110): De nuce tamarisci dxi, where he says: Nux tamarisci quid est? Est alcharme zith {alcharme zith] alkarmezech seu alchezmezech}.

Similarly the Arabic original says: [[4]] ﺟﻮﺯ ﺍﻟﻄﺮﻔﺎ ۞ ﺍﻟﻤﺎﻫﻴﺔ ۞ ﺍﻠﻜﺰﻣﺎﺯﻙ /ğauz al-ṭarfāʔ; al-māhīya; al-kazmāzak/ "the tamarisk nut, what is it? It is /kazmāzak/".

Botanical identification:

Following Siggel's identification /kazmāzak/ is Tamarix gallica L. the "French tamarisk" [[5]].

The tamarisk gall is not the fruit of the tree but an abnormal growth caused by a gall-wasp that lays its eggs on the branches. The tree's defence consists of forming a nut-like structure that envelops the eggs. Once these have matured the wasps bore through the gall's shell and escape.

Tamarisk galls are renowned for their high tannin content, which is why they are used for tanning leather, but they have also been used for medicinal purposes.

WilfGunther (talk) 11/06/2014

See also: Tamariscus, Tarfa, Tarafa

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