1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Serenus, Sammonicus

22311241911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 24 — Serenus, Sammonicus

SERENUS, SAMMONICUS, Roman Savant, author of a didactic medical poem, De medicina praecepta (probably incomplete). The work (1115 hexameters) contains a number of popular remedies, borrowed from Pliny and Dioscorides, and various magic formulae, amongst others the famous Abracadabra (q.v.), as a cure for fever and ague. It concludes with a description of the famous antidote of Mithradates VI. of Pontus. It was much used in the middle ages, but is of little value except for the ancient history of popular medicine. The syntax and metre are remarkably correct. It is uncertain whether the author was the famous physician and polymath, who was put to death in A.D. 212 at a banquet to which he had been invited by Caracalla, or his son, the tutor of the younger Gordian. The father, who was one of the most learned men of his age, wrote upon a variety of subjects, and possessed a library of 60,000 volumes, bequeathed to his son and handed on by the latter to Gordian.

The editio princeps (ed. Sulpitius Verulanus, before 1484) is Very rare; later ed. by J. G. Ackermann (Leipzig, 1786) and E. Bährens, Poetae Latini minores, iii.; see also A. Baur, Quaestiones Sammoniceae (Giessen, 1886); M. Schanz, Geschichte der römischen Literatur, iii. (1896); Teuffel, Hist. of Roman Literature (Eng. trans., 1900), 374, 4. and 383.