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Melofos grece secundum Ysidorum vocatur arbor in affrica a qua manat amoniacum.


africa B e | affrica AC f

manat ABC e | mãet f


Melofos is the Greek name of a tree that grows in Africa according to Ysidorus. This tree exudes amoniacum {"gum ammoniac"}.


Simon is referring to Isidore's Etymologiae, 17, 7, 13, Oxford edition (1911) [[1]], where it says: Melopos arbor in Africa punica lingua vocata, ex qua profluit lentus sucus qui a loco ammoniacus nominatur – "There is a tree called Melopos, the name it has in the Punic language, and from this tree flows a sticky sap which is named ammoniacum after its place of origin".

Isidore's entry is itself taken from Solinus: Collectanea rerum mirabilium, 27, 47, Oxford edition (1911: 125. 20-2): et arbor est melopos nomine, ex qua profluit lentus humor, quem a loco hammoniacum nominamus [[2]] - "And there is a tree, melopos by name, from which flows a slow-running sap, which we name after the place hammoniacum". N.b. that Solinus does not mention that the word is of Punic origin, it seems that Isidore was simply guessing. (Cf. André: Isidorus Hispalensis, 1981: 93, annotation 203).

The word melopos / Simon melofos, occurs only in Solinus and consequently in Isidore's quote of Solinus.

Botanical identification:

André, op.cit. ibid., thinks the word is related to μετώπιον /metṓpion/, cf. Meropium, name of an Egyptian perfume and μέτωπον /métōpon/, the name of a plant, probably Ferula galbaniflua Boiss. [[3]], from which the famous galbanum is produced.

But for melōpos André (1985) suggests Ferula marmarica L. [[4]], which grows in North Africa,

Wilf Gunther 01/05/2014

See also: Amoniacum (2), Meropium, Galbanum

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