Semon

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Semonem herbam tratia invenit serpit e terra milio similis foliis asperis et lanuginosis quam ferunt sanguinem, non modo aperta vena sed etiam scissa sistere farcitur naribus et cetera Plinius.


Apparatus:

{Semonen} .ã. {= arabice} add. p
tratia ABC pj | tracia ef | Thracia Pliny
ferunt | fuerunt f
non modo aperta B efpj | sed modo aperta AC | non aperta modo Pliny
etiam om. B
scissa AC p | scisa B f | sista j | fissa ms. e
farcitur AC fp | fartitur B | fertit~ ms. e | satit~ j
et cetera om. e


Translation:

Thracia found out about the herb Semon which creeps along the ground; it is similar to milium {"millet"} with rough and downy leaves, which are said to staunch blood, not only of an opened vein but also of one that has been severed; plugged into the nostrils it staunches {blood}, etc.


Commentary:

Semon:
< Greek ἴσχαιμος,ον, /ískhaimos,on/ is an adjectival compound of ἴσχω /ískhō/ "to keep back, restrain" + αἷμα /haîma/ "blood", it means "staunching blood; styptic". It is found in Theophrastus and the Greek Dioscorides. As a plant name it only occurs in the masculine form in Greek: ἴσχαιμος /ískhaimos/. In Pliny the name occurs twice with an apparent change in gender from its Greek original, once in the nominative ischaemon 16, 82, 131, ed. Rackham (1938-63: VII.364) and in the accusative ischaemonem, see below.
A possible path of corruption is: ischaemonem > ischemonem > *schemonem > *scemonem > *semonem > semonẽ > semonen {'ẽ' misinterpreted as 'en'}.

For more information on the etymology see Scemon.

Simon is referring to Pliny, 25, 45, 83, ed. Rackham (1938-63: VII.196), a short chapter that in this entry is more corrupted than usual compared to modern text versions of Pliny. However the Plinian original is itself at times corrupted. Unusual is Simon's different arrangement of chunks of text compared to Pliny: Ischaemonem Thracia invenit, qua ferunt sanguinem sisti non aperta modo vena sed etiam praecisa. serpit in {e in some codd.} terra milio similis, foliis asperis et lanuginosis. farcita {farcitur in some codd.} in nares quae in Italia nascitur, et eadem adalligata sanguinem sistit. Jones (1938-63: VII.197) translates: "Thrace found out about ischaemon, which is said to stanch bleeding when a vein has not merely been cut but even severed. It creeps along the ground as does millet; the leaves are rough and downy. The kind that grows in Italy, stuffed into nostrils, and also when used as an amulet, stanches bleeding…"

Pliny could have drawn his information at least in part from Theophrastus, Historia plantarum, 9, 15, 3, ed. Hort (1916: II.290, 292), of which the editor A. Hort's translation reads: "In Thrace it is said there are fairly numerous other kinds {sc. of plants from which drugs are made}, but that about the most powerful is 'blood-stancher', … which stops and prevents the flow {1916: II.293} of blood, some say if the vein is merely pricked, others even if it is deeply cut into…" [[1]].


Botanical identification:

The fore-mentioned Arthur Hort, the editor of Theophrastus, ed. Hort (1916: II.453), s.v. ἴσχαιμος /ískhaimos/ and André (1985: 133), s.v. ischaemōn identify the plant "sans doute" (André) as Andropogon ischaemum L., syn. of Bothriochloa ischaemum (L.) [[2]], [[3]]. [[4]].


WilfGunther 17:53, 22 February 2015 (UTC)


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