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Onotrisis apud kiranidam exponitur asini cauda et asini malva et est althea.


Onotrisis AC ef | Onotirsis p | Onot'sis j Onotiesis B
kiranidam (-dã AB p) ABC fp | kyrãnidã e | om. j
asini cauda ABC fp | asinica͠da j | cauda aʒini ms. e
asini malua AC fjp | asini cauda malua B | malua aʒini ms. e
{malva} et om. f
althea AC fj | althia ms. e | altea B p


Onotrisis - in the Kyranides text - is said to be called asini cauda {lit. "donkey's tail"} and asini malva {lit. "donkey's mallow"}, which is the same as althea.


Simon's entry is alluding to the Kyranides, 15, Frankfurt edition (1681: 58) [[1]]: Mysteria physico-medica:
Ὀνοθύρσις {/Onothýrsis/} herba est...
Onothyris vel onothyrsis, herba est quidam Ὀνομαλάχην {/Onomalákhēn/} .i. asini malvam, haec est rosa, de qua plectunt coronas: folia habet similia malvae domesticae. Haec à Graecis dicitur ἀλθαῖα {/althaea/} .i. malvaviscus - "Onothyris or onothyrsis: this is a herb which some people call Ὀνομαλάχην /Onomalákhēn/, i.e. asini malva {'donkey's mallow'}; this is a rosa {"rose"} from which garlands are woven; it has leaves similar to the garden malva {"mallow"}. The Greeks call this plant ἀλθαῖα {/althaîa/, which is in Latin malvaviscus".

Ὀνοθύρσις {/Onothýrsis/}, cf. Trapp: ὀνόθυρσις /onóthyrsis/ [[2]], itacist /onothírsis/ or /onóthirsis/, in Simon's version *onot(h)irsis > onotrisis, is a compound noun consisting of ὀνο- /ono-/ the compound form of ὄνος /ónos/ {"donkey, ass"} + a derivative of θύρσος /thýrsos/ "wand used in Dionysian rituals; branch, shoot; rod, wand", resulting in a meaning: "donkey's wand". The naming motive is unclear. The word in this form is only attested in the Kyranides. However it seems likely that there is a connection with the plant name: ὀνοθοῦρις /onothoûris/ (Wellmann), ὀνόθουρις /onóthouris/ LSJ or ὀνοθουρίς /onothourís/ (Galen). Naturally ὀνοθύρσις /onothýrsis/ could simply be the result of an early misreading. See also Commentary to Onotosum in entry Onagron.

N.b. ὀνομαλάχη /onomalákhē/, as mentioned in the Kyranides text, is a compound of ὀνο- /ono-/ + μαλάχη /malákhē/ {"mallow"}. Again this name is only attested here, cf. Trapp [[3]]. The literal Latin translation is asini malva, which Simon mentions.
Furthermore the Kyranides text says that the leaves are similar to malva domestica, identified by André (1985: 152) s.v. malua as Malva silvestris L. [[4]], its foliage: [[5]].

asini cauda:
Simon adds a further Latin synonym not found in the Kyranides text: asini cauda, which corresponds to Greek ὀνοῦρις /onoûris/ (Wellmann) or ὄνουρις /ónouris/ (LSJ, Sprengel/Kühn), a compound of ὄν- /ón-/ {"donkey"} + ὀυρά /ourá/ {"tail}", i.e. "donkey's tail", in Latin: asini cauda. In different codices one of either ὀνοῦρις /onoûris/ or ὀνοθοῦρις /onothoûris/ is used. Again the naming motive is opaque.

Botanical identification:

The text describes ὀνοθύρσις /onothýrsis/as having leaves like ἀλθαῖα /althaîa/ .i. malvaviscus; althaea is usually identified with Althaea officinalis L., the "common marshmallow" [[6]]. If ὀνοθύρσις /onothýrsis/ is related to the ὀνοθοῦρις /onothoûris/ group of names, which are often identified as Epilobium angustifolium L. syn. Chamerion angustifolium L. Holub "rosebay willowherb" [[7]] the leaves of the two plants should be comparable – cf. rosebay willowherb: [[8]] and common marshmallow [[9]], which is certainly not the case, just as the malva domestica mentioned in the Kyranides text, identified by André (1985: 152) s.v. malua as Malva silvestris L., [[10]] has dissimilar foliage [[11]].

However in the botanical literature ὀνοθοῦρις /onothoûris/ is sometimes identified with Nerium oleander L, "oleander" [[12]], whose leaves [[13]] are in fact very similar to rosebay willowherb.

The identification with oleander would also give some support to the statement that it is a "rose" and garlands are made of it, see e.g. Oleander.
Therefore it is likely that in this passage of the Kyranides ὀνοθύρσις /onothýrsis/ describes N. oleander.

WilfGunther (talk) 11:38, 26 September 2015 (BST)

See also: Onagron, Malvaviscus, Althea

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