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Mahamode arabice scamonea ut in libro de doctrina arabica verum in libris medicinalibus scribitur apud eos scamonea ut greci.


Mahamode ABC f | machomode ms. e

verum om. B

{eos} scamonea AC ef | scamẽea B


Mahamode is Arabic for Latin scamonea as stated in the liber de doctrina arabica, but in the medical books the Arabs write scamonea like the Greeks.


Simon rightly says that in the Arabic writing medical books the plant, which Siggel (1950: 42) identifies as Convolvulus scammonium L. "scammony" [[1]], is called ﺳﻘﻤﻮﻧﻴﺎ /saqmūniyā/, a word obvbiously ultimately derived from Greek σκαμ(μ)ωνία /skam(m)onía/, and indeed e.g. Avicenna in his Canon does use ﺳﻘﻤﻮﻧﻴﺎ /saqmūniyā/ [[2]].

Simon states that in the liber de doctrina arabica the plant is named ﻣﺤﻤﻮﺩﺓ /maḥmūda/, a name Siggel (1950: 67) confirms: ﻣﺤﻮﺩﺓ /maḥmūda/ Purgierrinde v. Convolvulus scammonium, der Skammoniawinde {i.e. "scammony"}.

The Vocabulista published by Schiapparelli is not the glossary/dictionary Simon had before him, but it seems to be from a similar original as the Liber de doctrina arabica. Unfortunately in Schiapparelli's ms. a copying error must have occurred because in the Arabic-Latin section on (1871: 179) it lists: ﻣﺤﻤﻮﺩﺓ /maḥmūda/ but without translation [[3]]. Schiapparelli refers to the Latin-Arabic section (1871: 301) under COMENDARE, where a form ﻣﺤﻤﻮﺩ /maḥmūd/ is mentioned [[4]]. Comendare means "to commit, intrust, commend" etc. and the Arabic root √ḥmd can mean all that. Grammatically ﻣﺤﻤﻮﺩﺓ /maḥmūda/ {sc. ﻧﺒﺘﺔ /nabta/ "plant"} is the fem. sg. passive participle of the root √ḥmd and it translates: the "praised or recommended one".

Dozy (1877-81: I.321), glosses ﻣﺤﻤﻮﺩﺓ /maḥmūda/ scammonée, quoting Pedro de Alcalá - s.v. Escamonea medicina … mahmǔda - as one of his sources.

Corriente (1997: 87), under *ḤMD mentions >maḥmūdah< and translates it as escamonea, i.e. "scammony", and in a footnote, (1997: 88), he says that this is how it must be translated although it appears in the Latin-Arabic section under "comendare".

ﻣﺤﻤﻮﺩﺓ /maḥmūda/ was still in use as late as in the early 17th c. by the Spanish Morisco community, cf. Karbstein (2002: 263): ﺳﻘﻤﻮﻧﻴﺎ ﻭﻣﺤﻤﻮﺩﺓ ﺣﺎﺭ ﺑﺲ ﺏ ﻋﺠﻤﻴﺔ ﺍﺷﻘﻤﻮﻧﻴﺔ /saqmūniyā wa-maḥmūda ḥārr yābis bāʔ ʕağamiyya ašqmūniyya/ - “/saqmūniyā/ and /maḥmūda/ hot, dry, 2nd degree {items in italics are unvocalised in the original}, in Romance: /ašqmūniyya/”.

/ašqmūniyya/ represents a Romance word similar to Spanish escamonea.

Cf. Siggel (1950: 67): ﻣﺤﻮﺩﺓ /maḥmūda/ Purgierrinde v. Convolvulus scammonium, der Skammoniawinde {i.e. scammony}.

WilfGunther 14:24, 24 August 2014 (BST)

See also: Scamonea, Sacamonie, Diagridium

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