Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Trinity College MS O.2.48 - Dabelion

Cambridge, Trinity College MS O.2.48 is a late XIV Century herbal which is thought to have been written in Germany. Rene Zandbergen has linked the digital scans on the forum. The manuscript is in part an ordinary copy of the collection of texts usually referred to as Pseudo-Apuleius, but a large part of the herbal (from f107r to 250v) presents plants whose names and appearance seem unknown.

A possible exception is the plant illustrated at the bottom of f185v. Unluckily, the right margin of the page is missing and a few words of the text have been lost. As in the case of Herba Romeys, a large part of the text is devoted to describe the properties of a magical stone that can be found inside the root of the plant.

Larger image of the text

Transcription: Nomen herbe Dabelion Greci farney. | [Eb]rayci Surop. Nascitur montibus | […] stipitem huius rubeam rectam. cum Xii. | […] foliis similibus cameleonte agresti. | […] stipitem crocesas rotundis | […] flore facit | […] unum fere smile fragiure sed longiora | […] radice nigram grossam rotundam. in qua radice | invenitur […] lapidem albam grossa fere avellana | [186r] Ille [?] lapidem gestant peryuvat hominem abomni macula oculorum | et abomni veneno et malocibo et ab omnibus face [?] malis | et si quis erit exterminatus. habet hanc lapidem super se | [?] cum uxore poterit nubere. | Simile prestat concordiam inter vir et mulier. | Et si quis portas non sentiet dolorem | renum nec splenis. nec morbum caducus | pacietur. Fructus uno vel herba mixta [?] et cum ysopo […] sumptam | in potu vel cibo et epatem et pulmo | nem yllico sanat. cum aqua | cicorie et boraginis floris et tamarindi bullitur usque ad | tercias et per dies vii sumitur | omnes […] paraliticos sanat. | Lege eam mense augusti.

Translation [with tentative interpolations]: The name of the plant is Dabelion, Farney in Greek, | Surop in Hebraic. It grows on the mountains. | […] Its stem [is] red and straight with twelve [?] | […] with leaves similar to Dipsacus [Cameleonta Agrestis]. | [At the end of the] stem [there are] round yellow [flowers?]. | By [this] flower, it makes | a [fruit] almost similar to a strawberry, but longer. | […] The root is black, large and round. Inside this root, | one finds a […?] big white stone almost as big as a hazelnut. | [186r] Wearing this stone protects a man from eyes spots | and from venom and from bad food and from all kinds [?] of evil. | And if one had been dismissed, if he has this stone upon himself | he will be able to marry the woman. | Similarly, it brings harmony between man and woman. | If one brings it, he will not suffer from pain | at his kidneys or at his spleen. He will not suffer | of epilepsy. A fruit or the plant, mixed [?] with hyssop […] and drunk | or eaten, immediately heals the liver and the lungs. Boiled with an infuse of | chicory and flowers of borage and tamarind until | the third [hour] and taken for seven days, | it heals all […] paralytics. | Pick it in August.

It is tempting to think that the name “Dabelion” might derive, like the English “Dandelion”, from the French “dent de lion”. Apparently, the name didn't apply only to Taraxacum (represented in the two examples below), but also to species with a bulbous root, e.g. Leontodon Bulbosus. But the strawberry-like fruits are really hard to explain.

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