Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Vicenza ms 362 Liber herbarius: Herba Dittimo

Vicenza, Bertoliana ms 362, XV Century, is one of the most interesting copies of the Alchemical Herbal. The text is the Latin version. The manuscript is also interesting for its German color annotations, that (according to Segre Rutz - “Il Giardino Magico degli Alchimisti”) could suggest that some parts of the manuscript were not written in Italy. The text appears with the Latin title “Liber herbarius una cum rationibus conficiendi medicamenta, et exemplaribus herbarum manu pictis” - A herbal with an explanation of how to prepare remedies and hand-drawn illustrations of the plants. 

Edit: Rene Zandbergen pointed out in his comments that the Vicenza ms could be a copy of BNF Lat 17848 (see Dictamnus in the Paris ms, f52r). Also compare with BNF Lat.17844 f89r. Many thanks to Rene for pointing out these parallels.

Transcription: [Ad?] plagam de ferro succum herbe dittami infundas | in plagam si quis biberit mox sanabitur Item ad mor | sum serpentum herbam dittami cum vino da bibere | mox destruit venenum Item siquis venenum acceperit succus | dittami cum vino potui datus mirifice facit Item ad dolorem | inguinum radix ditami cum vino dolorem in guinum mirificit | et tollit Item ad febrem que est in corpore R[ecipe] radicem dita | mi et pista et da bibere cum aqua et sanabitur Item qui habet | brugorem nigram bibat de supra scripta radice cu bono vino | Item qui habet tussim aut seramentum bibat de dicta radice | cum aqua Item si qua mulier haberet puerum mortuum in corpore | bibat de radice predicta cum aqua expiciet eum deventre

Translation: For wounds by iron, pour the juice of dictamnus | on the wound; if one drinks of it, he will be immediately healed. For snake | bite, give dictamnus to drink with wine: | the poison will be immediately destroyed. If one had taken poison, the juice | of dictamnus given to drink with wine makes wonders. For inguinal | pain, the root of dictamnus with wine makes wonders and removes | pain. If one has fever in his body, take dictamnus root and crush it | and give it to drink with water and he will be healed. If one had | a black burn, let him drink of the above said root with good wine. | If one had a cough or an occlusion, let him drink of this root | with water. If a woman had a dead child in her body, | let her drink of the said root with water and she will expel it from her womb.


  1. Hello Marco,

    the Vicenza MS is described as a copy of Paris MS BN Lat 17848. That MS has the same herb on fol.52r, which is between the drawings for alchemical herbs #90 and #91.

    In fact, it is an illustration of one of the 'standard' herbs in the Tractatus de Herbis tradition, named 'Diptamus' and found in many manuscripts, both 'regular' Tractatus MSS and alchemical herbals.
    The snake is typically added only in the alchemical herbals.

    1. Thank you, Rene! I was not aware of the Vicenza ms being a copy of BNF 17848. I don't remember reading this in Segre-Rutz. Is she the source of this information?

  2. Hello Marco,

    Philip Neal mentions here:
    that the Vicenza MS is a copy of Paris BNF 17844. I don't know his source and also cannot find it back in Segre-Rutz.
    Having looked at the images of all three manuscripts I remember concluding that it is much more similar to BNF 17848.
    In BNF 17844 you may find the same herb on f89r.