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Zaharat est apud Avicennam id quod apud Dyascoridem antillos dicitur ut supra in .a.


antilios (ãtilios p) B jp | antillos AC e {'i' misread as 'l'} | annalos f
ut supra in .a. om. B efp | vide supra ĩ Antilios written by different hand ms. j:


Zaharat is the same plant in Avicenna as is antillos in Dyascorides. See the entry Antilios above.


The Arabic root √zhr means "to shine, blossom". In its basic meaning ﺯﻫﺮ /zahr/ is a collective noun meaning "flowers, blossoms" (Wehr). Its nomen unitatis ﺯﻫﺮﺓ /zah(a)ra/ is "a flower/ blossom" but widens its meaning as Lane (1984: 1261-2) explains: ﺯﻫﺮ /zahr/, nomen unitatis: ﺯﻫﺮﺓ /zahra/ "which latter signifies, as also ﺯﻫﺮﺓ /zahara/, A flower or blossom of a plant … or a yellow flower or blossom … or a flower or blossom that has become yellow".

Simon's form Zaharat, i.e. plural, is attested in Vocabulista, cf. ed. Schiaparelli (1871: 113): ﺯﻫﺮﺓ /zahra/ Flos {i.e. "flower, blossom"}[[1]]; (1871: 394): FLOS ﺯﻫﺮﺓﻭﺯﻬﺮﻭﺯﻫﺮﺍﺕ /zahra wa-zahr wa zaharāt/. [[2]]

The Arabic name is probably calqued on Greek: ἀνθυλλίς /anthyllís/, ἀνθύλλιον /anthýllion/ or ἄνθυλλον /ánthyllon/, all derivatives of ἄνθος /ánthos/ "flower, blossom".

is a misreading of Antilios and it represents Greek ἀνθύλλιον /anthýllion/, itacist [anthílion] here with a change to the masculine gender. For further information see Antilios.

Simon refers to Avicenna's Canon [Goehl], book II, Capitulum 755. De zaharat {zahara {zhere} id est antylli}. Zaharat quid est? Est planta, cuius una species folia habet ut lenticula et tyrsos {thyrsos} erectos et levia folia, parvas radices, et nascitur in terra salita, exposita soli; et in ipsius sapore est salsedo; et altera est similis camepitheos {chamaepithyos}, et est melioris coloris et purpureitatis {added: foetidi odoris}.
"On zaharat... What is Zaharat? It is a plant, of which one kind has leaves like lentilcula {"lentil"} and upright stems and light foliage; small roots, and it grows in salty ground exposed to the sun; and in its taste it is salty; and there is a second kind similar to camepiteos, and it is of a better colour and purpleness {added: and of foul smell}".
This Latin text also can be found online in the Lyon edition (1522: 129) De zaharat Ca. dcclv [[3]].
The Arabic original is also online, p. 172 ﺍﻟﺰﻫﺮﺓ /al-zahra/: [[4]]

Simon states that Avicenna's chapter is similar to Diascorides' chapter De antilios, which is indeed the case. The text from Diascorides alphabeticus or Dioscorides Longobardus is reproduced by Simon in the entry Antilios q.v.

Botanical identification:

Zaharat, apart from its general meaning "flower, blossom", has been identified differently with certain plants by virtually every author.
- Siggel (1950: 40) sees ﺯﻫﺮﺓ /zahra/ as Gnaphalium sanguineum L. (Comp.) synonym of Helichrysum sanguineum (L.) Kostel [[5]].
- Dozy (1877-81: I.608): ﺯﻫﺮﺓ /zahra/ has Anthyllis, Iris pseudoacorus, Baccharis. For Anthyllis see Antilios;
for Iris pseudoacorus L. "yellow flag" cf.[[6]];
- and concerning Baccharis he must mean the βάκχαρις /bákkharis/ found in Dioscorides, see Bacharis; beware that in modern taxonomy this is the name of a large genus whose species straddle the American continent.
- Corriente (1997: 235) s.v. *(ZHR(N)) suggests Acorus calamus L. "sweet flag" for zahrah occurring in one of his listed sources

Finally to complicate matters it must be said that if Avicenna took his description from Dioscorides then astonishingly all the identification attempts concerning the plant of the Greek text ἀνθυλλίς /anthyllís/ are different from those concerning Arabic ﺍﻟﺰﻫﺮﺓ /al-zahra. The first kind of ἀνθυλλίς /anthyllís/ is often identified with Cressa cretica L., "Cretan alkaliweed" and the second with Ajuga iva (L.) Schreb. "herb Ivy", see Antilios.

WilfGunther (talk) 21:06, 11 March 2016 (GMT)

See also: Antilios

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