Monday, 1 May 2017

Trinity College MS O.2.48 - Herba Romeys

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. 

Herba Romeys (f210v) is obviously similar to Herba Lucia or Lucea de nouem una, #34 in Segre Rutz' list of alchemical plants (“Il Giardino Magico degli Alchimisti”). The text seems to confirm the existence of a relation. The idea of a magical stone (lapis) inside the dragon-like root could also sound alchemical.

Link to larger image

Transcription: Nomen herbe Romeys greci athar Ebrayci | ygyros. Nascitur in montibus indie maioris | et sunt stirpes huius virides rectas. et in qualem | vi folia similia herbe lucie | quem borixea sed quedam non tantum | flores iocundos [?] volis. | et tota herba est amirabilis | pulcritudinis ut fere hec vis | non posset satirari eam videns. | ex sua pulcritudine. semen | grossum in modus fabe album lucidum | Radix […] similis draconis. | In medio huius radice est quamdam lapis | viridis in magnitudine avellae minoris. | Virtus eius est tanta ut si quis gestas numquam in | itinere fatigabitur. non ab aliqu poterit decipi. | non morbum cauducum numquam sentiet. nec mulier pregnans | non fatigabitur in partu nec sanguis ab eo poterit exire. | smiliter contra omnes hostes [?] eris victor in omnibus | similiter in bello non poteris capi nec mori | Et si quod furtus factus fuit | in domo tua. et sub capite in nocte | tenuiris videberis furem in sompnis. | herba non cumstipabitis sumpta in cibis | [...] dolorem renum tollit et cum | drachma i spice nardi cum vino et mellis sumpta per dies v omnes febres | de quamvis origine sint sanat. Nemo posset dire virtutem huius herbe quem cumparit | fere herbe lucie in omnibus. Lege eam omni tempore quia numquam moruit. Herba redelons ut muscus.

Translation: The name of the plant is Romeys, Athar in Greek, Ygyros | in Hebraic. It grows on the mountains of Greater India | and its stems are green and straight. Its leaves | are somehow similar to those of the Lucia plant | or Borixea, but not much. | The flowers are of a beautiful [?] purple. | The whole plant is of a wonderful | beauty, so much so that one almost can | never be satisfied of looking at it because of its beauty. | The seed [fruit?] | is big like a broad bean, white and shiny. | The root […] is like a dragon. | In the middle of this root there is a green | stone as big as a hazelnut. | Its virtue is such that if one takes it with himself he | will not get tired when traveling; he will not be deceived by anybody; | he will not be affected by epilepsy; a pregnant woman | will not be troubled in childbirth and she will not loose blood during it. | Similarly, [when fighting?] against all enemies you will win them all. | Similarly, in war you will be taken prisoner nor killed. | If there was a theft in your house, and you keep it under your head | at night, you will see the thief in your dreams. | If you eat of the plant with food, you will not be congested. | […] it removes renal pain. | Taking it for five days with a drachma of Lavandula Dentata [Spigum Nardi] and honey heals | all fever whatever its origin. Nobody can tell all the virtues of this plant which is almost identical to | the Lucia plant in all respects. Pick it any time, because it never dies.
[At the right of the illustration:] It smells like musk.

More details about the “Borixea” plant mentioned in the text are provided in this web page by Silvana Ciuonzo of the Naples University: “Capitulum de arbore borissa is a short treatise containing the magical, alchemical and medical explanation of borissa, a plant that belongs to the genre of Lunariae. Although its description seems to correspond to the pictures n. 79 and n. 86 in the manuscript 211 of the Pavia Library, it is probably a mythical herb. Some of its virtues are listed in the De bello iudaico (VII, 180), in Historia animalium, and in the astrological herbarium of Solomon. The borissa is also described in the Hermetic treatises Liber de septem herbis and Liber de virtutibus herbarum decem et novem, attributed to Alexander the Great and Thessalus. The sixteenth-century herbariums of Pietro Antonio Michiel and Conrad Gessner attest the use of this plant in alchemical operations, to fix mercury in silver, the symbol of the Moon.”
The same page provides a list of manuscript containing the essay about Borissa. The alchemical plants 79 and 86 mentioned by Ciuonzo are two types of Lunaria.

1 comment: