Natural History (Rackham, Jones, & Eichholz)/Book 30
I. IN the previous part of my work I have often indeed refuted the fraudulent lies of the Magi, whenever the subject and the occasion required it, and I shall continue to expose them. In a few respects, however, the theme deserves to be enlarged upon, were it only because the most fraudulent of arts has held complete sway throughout the world for many ages. Nobody should be surprised at the greatness of its influence, since alone of the arts it has embraced three others that hold supreme dominion over the human mind, and made them subject to itself alone. Nobody will doubt that it first arose from medicine, and that professing to promote health it insidiously advanced under the disguise of a higher and holier system; that to the most seductive and welcome promises it added the powers of religion, about which even today the human race is quite in the dark; that again meeting with success it made a further addition of astrology, because there is nobody who is not eager to learn his destiny, or who does not believe that the truest account of it is that gained by watching the skies. Accordingly, holding men's emotions in a threefold bond, magic rose to such a height that even today it has sway over a great part of mankind, and in the East commands the Kings of Kings.
II. Without doubt magic arose in Persia with Zoroaster. On this our authorities are agreed, but whether he was the only one of that name, or whether there was also another afterwards, is not clear. Eudoxus, who wished magic to be acknowledged as the noblest and most useful of the schools of philosophy, declared that this Zoroaster lived six thousand years before Plato's death, and Aristotle agrees with him. Hermippus, a most studious writer about every aspect of magic, and an exponent of two million verses composed by Zoroaster, added summaries too to his rolls, and gave Agonaces as the teacher by whom he said that he had been instructed, assigning to the man himself a date five thousand years before the Trojan War. What especially is surprising is the survival, through so long a period, of the craft and its tradition; treatises are wanting, and besides there is no line of distinguished or continuous successors to keep alive their memory. For how few know anything, even by hearsay, of those who alone have left their names but without other memorialApusorus and Zaratus of Media, Marmarus and Arabantiphocus of Babylon, or Tarmoendas of Assyria? The most surprising thing, however, is the complete silence of Homer about magic in his poem on the Trojan War, and yet so much of his work in the wanderings of Ulysses is so occupied with it that it alone forms the backbone of the whole work, if indeed they put a magical interpretation upon the Proteus episode in Homer and the songs of the Sirens, and especially upon the episode of Circe and of the calling up of the dead from Hades, of which magic is the sole theme. And in later times nobody has explained how ever it reached Telmesus, a city given up to superstition, or when it passed over to the Thessalian matrons, whose surname a was long proverbial in our part of the world, although magic was a craft repugnant to the Thessalian people, who were content, at any rate in the Trojan period, with the medicines of Chiron, and with the War God as the only wielder of the thunderbolt? I am indeed surprised that the people over whom Achilles once ruled had a reputation for magic so lasting that actually Menander, a man with an unrivalled gift for sound literary taste, gave the name 'Thessala' to his comedy, which deals fully with the tricks of the women for calling down the moon. I would believe that Orpheus was the first to carry the craft to his near neighbours, and that his superstition grew from medicine, if the whole of Thrace, the home of Orpheus, had not been untainted by magic. The first man, so far as I can discover, to write a still-extant treatise on magic was Osthanes, who accompanied the Persian King Xerxes in his invasion of Greece, and sowed what I may call the seeds of this monstrous craft, infecting the whole world by the way at every stage of their travels. A little before Osthanes, the more careful inquirers place another Zoroaster, a native of Proconnesus. One thing is certain; it was this Osthanes who chiefly roused among the Greek peoples not so much an eager appetite for his science as a sheer mania. And yet I notice that of old, in fact almost always, the highest literary distinction and renown have been sought from that science. Certainly Pythagoras, Empedocles, Democritus and Plato went overseas to learn it, going into exile rather than on a journey, taught it openly on their return, and considered it one of their most treasured secrets. Democritus expounded Apollobex the Copt and Dardanus the Phoenician, entering the latter's tomb to obtain his works and basing his own on their doctrines. That these were accepted by any human beings and transmitted by memory is the most extraordinary phenomenon in history; so utterly are they lacking in credibility and decency that those who like the other works of Democritus deny that the magical books are his. But it is all to no purpose, for it is certain that Democritus especially instilled into men's minds the sweets of magic. Another extraordinary thing is that both these arts, medicine I mean and magic, flourished together, Democritus expounding magic in the same age as Hippocrates expounded medicine, about the time of the Peloponnesian War, which was waged in Greece from the three-hundredth year of our city. There is yet another branch of magic, derived from Moses, Jannes [an Egyptian magician], Lotapes [Iotape = Yahweh], and the Jews, but living many thousand years after Zoroaster. So much more recent is the branch in Cyprus. In the time too of Alexander the Great, no slight addition was made to the influence of the profession by a second Osthanes, who, honoured by his attendance on Alexander, travelled certainly without the slightest doubt all over the world.
III. Among Italian tribes also there still certainly exist traces of magic in the Twelve Tables, as is proved by my own and the other evidence set forth in an earlier Book? It was not until the 657th year of the City [97BC] that in the consulship of Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus and Publius Licinius Crassus there was passed a resolution of the Senate forbidding human sacrifice; so that down to that date it is manifest that such abominable rites were practised.
IV. Magic certainly found a home in the two Gallic provinces, and that down to living memory. For the principate of Tiberius Caesar did away with their Druids and this tribe of seers and medicine men. But why should I speak of these things when the craft has even crossed the Ocean and reached the empty voids of Nature? Even today Britain practises magic in awe, with such grand ritual that it might seem that she gave it to the Persians. So universal is the cult of magic throughout the world. although its nations disagree or are unknown to each other. It is beyond calculation how great is the debt owed to the Romans, who swept away the monstrous rites, in which to kill a man was the highest religious duty and for him to be eaten a passport to health.
V. As Osthanes said, there are several forms of magic; he professes to divine from water, globes, air, stars, lamps, basins and axes, and by many other methods, and besides to converse with ghosts and those in the underworld. All of these in our generation the Emperor Nero discovered to be lies and frauds. In fact his passion for the lyre and tragic song was no greater than his passion for magic; his elevation to the greatest height of human fortune aroused desire in the vicious depths of his mind; his greatest wish was to issue commands to the gods, and he could rise to no nobler ambition. No other of the arts ever had a more enthusiastic patron. Every means were his to gratify his desirewealth, strength, aptitude for learningand what else did the world not allow! That the craft is a fraud there could be no greater or more indisputable proof than that Nero abandoned it; but would that he had consulted about his suspicions the powers of Hell and any other gods whatsoever, instead of entrusting these researches to pimps and harlots. Of a surety no ceremony, outlandish and savage though the rites may be, would not have been gentler than Nero's thoughts; more cruelly behaving than any did Nero thus fill our Rome with ghosts.
VI. The Magi have certain means of evasion; for example that the gods neither obey those with freckles nor are seen by them. Was this perhaps their objection to Nero? But his body was without blemish; he was free to choose the fixed days, could easily obtain perfectly black sheep, and as for human sacrifice, he took the greatest delight in it. Mithridates the Magus had come to him bringing a retinue for the Annenian triumph over himself, thereby laying a heavy burden on the provinces. He had refused to travel by sea, for the Magi hold it sin to spit into the sea or wrong that element by other necessary functions of mortal creatures. He had brought Magi with him, had initiated Nero into their banquets; yet the man giving him a kingdom was unable to acquire from him the magic art. Therefore let us be convinced by this that magic is detestable, vain, and idle; and though it has what I might call shadows of truth, their power comes from the art of the poisoner, not of the Magi. One might well ask what were the lies of the old Magi, when as a youth I saw Apion the grammarian, who told me that the herb cynocephalia, called in Egypt osiritis, was an instrument of divination and a protection from all kinds of sorcery, but if it were uprooted altogether the digger would die at once, and that he had called up ghosts to inquire from Homer his native country and the name of his parents, but did not dare to repeat the answers which he said were given.
VII. It should be unique evidence of fraud that they look upon the mole of all living creatures with the greatest awe, although it is cursed by Nature with so many defects, being permanently blind, sunk in other darkness also, and resembling the buried dead. In no entrails is placed such faith; to no creature do they attribute more supernatural properties; so that if anyone eats its heart, fresh and still beating, they promise powers of divination and of foretelling the issue of matters in hand. They declare that a tooth, extracted from a living mole and attached as an amulet, cures toothache. The rest of their beliefs about this animal I will relate in the appropriate places. But of all they say nothing will be found more likely than that the mole is an antidote for the bite of the shrewmouse, seeing that an antidote for it, as I have said, is even earth that has been depressed by cart wheels.
VIII. Toothache is also cured, the Magi tell us, by the ash of the burnt heads without any flesh of dogs that have died of madness, which must be dropped in cyprus oil through the ear on the side where the pain is; also by the left eye-tooth of a dog, the aching tooth being scraped round with it; by one of the vertebrae of the draco or of the enhydris, the serpent being a white male. With this eye-tooth they serape all round the painful one, or they make an amulet of two upper teeth, when the pain is in the upper jaw, using lower teeth for the lower jaw. With its fat they rub hunters of the crocodile. They also scrape teeth with bones extracted from the forehead of a lizard at a full moon, without their touching the earth. They rinse the mouth with a decoction of dogs' teeth in wine, boiled down to one-half. The ash of these teeth with honey helps children who are slow in teething. A dentifrice also is made with the same ingredients. Hollow teeth are stuffed with the ash of mouse dung or with dried lizards' liver. A snake's heart, eaten or worn as an amulet, is considered efficacious. There are among them some who recommend a mouse to be chewed up twice a month to prevent aches. Earthworms, boiled down in oil and poured into the ear on the side where there is pain, afford relief. These also, reduced to ash and plugged into decayed teeth, force them to fall out easily, and applied to sound teeth relieve any pain in them. They should be burnt, however, in an earthen pot. They also benefit if boiled down in squill vinegar with the root of a mulberry tree, so as to make a wash for the teeth. The maggot also, which is found on the plant called Venus' Bath, plugged into hollow teeth, is wonderfully good. But they fall out at the touch of the cabbage caterpillar, and the bugs from the mallow are poured into the ears with rose oil. The little grains of sand, that are found in the horns of snails, if put into hollow teeth, free them at once from pain. Empty snail shells, reduced to ash and myrrh added, are good for the gums, as is the ash of a serpent burnt with salt in an earthen pot, poured with rose oil into the opposite ear, or the slough of a snake with oil and pitch-pine resin warmed and poured into either earsome add frankincense and rose oiland if put into hollow teeth it also makes them fall out without trouble. I think it an idle talc that white snakes cast their slough about the rising of the Dog-star, since the casting has been seen in Italy before the rising, and in warm regions it is much less probable for sloughing to be so late. But they say that this slough, even when dry, combined with wax forces out teeth very quickly. A snake's tooth also, worn as an amulet, relieves toothache. There are some who think that a spider also is beneficial, the animal itself, caught with the left hand, beaten up in rose oil, and poured into the ear on the side of the pain. The little bones of hens have been kept hanging on the wall of a room with the gullet intact; if a tooth is touched, or the gum scraped, and the bone thrown away, they assure us that the pain at once disappears, as it does if a raven's dung, wrapped in wool, is worn as an amulet, or if sparrows' dung is warmed with oil and poured into the ear nearer the pain. This however causes unbearable itching, and so it is better to rub the part with vinegar and the ash of a sparrow's nestlings burnt on twigs.
IX. They assert that the taste in the mouth is made agreeable if the teeth are rubbed with the ash of burnt mice mixed with honey; some add fennel root. If the teeth are picked with a vulture's feather, they make the breath sour. To pick them with a porcupine's quill conduces to their firmness. Sores on the tongue or lips are healed by a decoction of swallows in honey wine; chaps on them by goose grease or hen's grease, by oesypum with gall nut, by white webs of spiders, or by the small webs spun on rafters. If the mouth has been scalded by over-hot things, bitch's milk will give an immediate cure.
X. Spots on the face are removed by oesypum with Gorsican honey, which is considered the most acrid; scurf on the skin of the face by the same with rose oil on a piece of fleece; some add also butter. If however there is psoriasis, dog's gall is applied to the spots, which are first pricked with a needle; to livid spots and bruises rams' or sheep's lungs are applied hot and cut into thin slices, or else pigeon's dung. The skin of the face is preserved by goose grease or hen's. To lichen is also applied mouse dung in vinegar, or ash of the hedgehog in oil; for this treatment they prescribe that the face should first be fomented with soda and vinegar. Facial troubles are also removed by the ash with honey of the broad but small snails that are found everywhere. The ash indeed of all snails, such is its detergent property, thickens and warms; for that reason it is an ingredient of caustic preparations and used as a liniment for itch, leprous sores, and freckles. I find also that there are ants called Herculanean, which beaten up and with the addition of a little salt cure facial troubles. The buprestis is a creature rarely found in Italy, and very similar to a long-legged beetle. Oxen at pasture are very apt not to see ithence too its nameand should it be swallowed it causes such inflammation on reaching the gall that it bursts the animal. This insect applied with he-goat suet removes lichen from the face by its corrosive property, as I have already said. Vulture's blood, beaten up with cedar resin and the root of the white chamaeleon, a plant I have already mentioned, and covered with a cabbage leaf, heals leprous sores, as do the legs of locusts beaten up with he-goat suet. Pimples are cured by poultry fat kneaded with onion. Very useful too for the face is honey in which bees have died, but the best thing for clearing the complexion and removing wrinkles is swan's fat. Branded marks are removed by pigeon's dung in vinegar.
XI. I find that a heavy cold clears up if the sufferer kisses a mule's muzzle. Pain in the uvula and in the throat is relieved by the dung, dried in shade, of lambs that have not yet eaten grass, uvula pain by applying the juice of a snail transfixed by a needle, so that the snail itself may be hung up in the smoke, and by the ash of swallows with honey. This also gives relief to affections of the tonsils. Gargling with ewe's milk is a help to tonsils and throat, as is a multipede beaten up, gargling with pigeon's dung and raisin wine, and also an external application of it with dried fig and soda. Sore throat and a running cold are relieved by snailsthey should be boiled unwashed and with only the earth taken off crushed and given to drink in raisin wine; some hold that the snails of Astypalaea are the most efficaciousby their ash, and also by rubbing with a cricket or if anybody touches the tonsils with hands that have crushed a cricket.
XII. In quinsy very speedy relief is afforded by goose gall with elaterium and honey, by the brain of an owl, and by the ash of a swallow taken in hot water. The last prescription is on the authority of the poet Ovid. But more efficacious for all ailments for which swallows are prescribed are the young of wild swallows, which are recognised by the shape of their nests, but by far the most efficacious are the young of sand martins, for so are called the swallows that build their nests in holes on river banks. Many hold that a young swallow of any kind should be eaten to banish the fear of quinsy for a whole year. They wring their necks, burn them blood and all in a vessel, and give the ash with bread or in drink. Some add also to the prescription an equal quantity of weasel ash. These preparations are given daily in drink for scrofula and for epilepsy. Preserved in salt also swallows are taken for quinsy in drachma doses, for which complaint their nest also, taken in drink, is said to be a cure. It is thought that an application of millipedes is very efficacious for quinsy; some think that twenty, beaten up in a hemina of hydromel, should be given through a reed, because if the teeth are touched the draught is thought to be useless. They also tell us that a mouse, well boiled with vervain, makes a broth that is a remedy, as does a thong of dog leather wrapped three times round the neck, or dove's dung thoroughly mixed with wine and oil. For neck-sinews and opisthotonus a twig of agnus castus taken from the nest of a kite and worn as an amulet, is said to help, for ulcerated scrofula a weasel's blood, or the weasel itself boiled down in wine, but it is not applied to sores that have been lanced. They say also that eating weasel in food has the same effect, or the animal burned over twigs and the ash mixed with axle grease. A green lizard is attached as an amulet; after thirty days the weasel should be changed for another. Some keep a weasel's heart in a small silver vessel for scrofula in woman or man. An ointment is made of snails pounded with their shells, especially those that cling to shrubs, or there is applied the ash of asps with bull suet, snake's fat mixed with oil, or an ointment of snake's ash in oil or with wax. To eat also the middle part of a snake after cutting off either end is good for scrofula, as is to take in drink the ash of this middle burnt in new earthenware, with much greater benefit if the snakes have been killed between two wheel-ruts. They recommend also the application of a cricket dug up with its earth, also the application of dove's dung by itself, or with barley meal or oatmeal in vinegar, or of mole ash with honey. Some make an ointment of a mole's liver crushed between the hands, and do not wash it off for three days. They also assure us that the right foot of the animal is a remedy for scrofula. Others cut off the head, pound it with the earth of a mole-hill, work into lozenges in a pewter box, and use for all swellings, for what are called apostemata, and for affections of the neck; during the treatment the eating of pork is forbidden. There are earth beetles like ticks that are called 'bulls'a name given because of their little hornsand by some 'earth lice.' These too throw up earth that is applied to scrofulous and similar sores, and also to gouty parts, not being washed off for three days. The efficacy of this treatment lasts for a year. To these creatures are assigned all the properties I have mentioned when speaking of crickets. Some also use for this purpose the earth thrown up by ants, others tie as an amulet as many earth worms as there are sores, which dry up as the worms shrivel. Others about the time of the Dog-star cut off, as I have said, the ends of a viper, then burn the middle part and give a three-finger pinch of the ash to be taken in drink for thrice seven days, treating scrofulous sores in this way; some however do so by tying round them a linen thread by which a viper has been suspended by the neck until it died. They also use millipedes with a fourth part of terebinth resin, a medicament which they recommend for the treatment of all apostemata.
XIII. Good treatment for pains in the shoulder is weasel ash and wax. Rubbing with ants' eggs prevents hair in the armpits of children, and dealers, to delay growth of downy hair on adolescents, use blood that comes from the testicles of lambs when they are castrated. Applications of this blood after the hair has been pulled out also do away with the rank smell of the armpits.
XIV. Praecordia is a comprehensive name we use for the vital organs of the human body. When any one of them is in pain, the application of a sucking puppy pressed close to that part is said to transfer the malady to it; they add that, if the organs of the puppy are taken out and washed with wine, by the diseased aspect of those organs can be detected the source of the patient's pain; but the burial of an animal so used is an essential part of the ritual. Those puppies too that we call Melitaean relieve stomachache if laid frequently across the abdomen. That the disease is transferred to the puppy is seen by its sickening, usually even by its death. Lung complaints are also cured by mice, especially African; they are skinned, boiled down in oil and salt, and taken in food. The same preparation is also a cure for expectoration of pus or blood.
XV. The best medicine, however, for the stomach is a diet of snails. They should be gently boiled in water, African snails by preference, with their bodies whole, then with nothing added grilled over a coal fire, and so taken in wine and garum. Recently this treatment has been found to benefit very many sufferers, who are also careful that the number of the snails taken is odd. Their rank juice, however, makes the breath foul. Pounded without their shells and taken in water they are also good for the spitting of blood. The most prized snails are the African, especially those of Iol, those of Astypalaea, moderate sized Sicilian (for the large are hard, and without juice), and those of the Baliaric islands, called cavaticae because they breed in caverns. Those from the islands and of Capreae are prized, but none whether preserved or fresh make pleasant eating. River snails and white snails have a rank taste; wood snails are not good for the stomach, relaxing the bowels, and so with all small snails. On the other hand sea snails are rather beneficial for the stomach, but of the prized snails the most efficacious for stomach-ache are said to be all that are swallowed alive in vinegar. Moreover, there are some snails called άκέρατοι, which are broad, and breed in many places; of these I shall speak in the appropriate places. The skin of the crop of poultry, sprinkled into the drink when dried, or roasted if fresh, relieves chest catarrhs and moist coughs. A cough is relieved by pounded raw snails swallowed in three cyathi of tepid water, running colds also by a piece of dog skin put round any finger. Partridge broth acts as a tonic on the stomach.
XVI. Pains in the liver are treated by the wild weasel, or its liver, taken in food, also by a ferret roasted as is a sucking pig; asthma by thrice seven multipedes, soaked in Attic honey and sucked through a reed, for every vessel they touch they turn black. Some roast a sextarius of them in a pan until they turn white, then they mix them with honey and recommend giving them in warm water. Snails in food have been given to those subject to fainting, aberration of the mind, or vertigo, a dose being one snail in three cyathi of raisin wine, pounded with the shell, warmed, and taken in drink for nine days at most; some have given one on the first day, two on the next, three on the third, two on the fourth, and one on the fifth. This treatment is also good for asthma and abscesses. Some hold that there is a creature like a locust, but without wings, called trixallis in Greek but without a name in Latin; some, and not a few authorities, maintain that it is what is called in Latin gryllus (cricket); twenty of these they recommend to be roasted and taken in honey wine for orthopnoea. A cure for spitting of blood are snails, if the patient pours protropum on them unwashed, or if he boils them down in seawater, and takes them in food, or if pounded with their shells they are taken with protropum; these preparations also cure a cough. Specific for abscesses is honey in which bees have died. For coughing up blood a vulture's lung burnt over vine wood, with half as much pomegranate blossom and the same quantity of quince blossom and of lilies, taken morning and evening in wine, if there is no fever, otherwise in water in which quinces have been boiled.
XVII. The fresh spleen of a sheep is placed, by a Magian prescription, over the painful spleen of a patient, the attendant saying that he is providing a remedy for the spleen. After this the Magi prescribe that it should be plastered into the wall of the patient's bedroom, sealed with a ring thrice nine times and the same words repeated. If a dog's spleen is cut out of the living animal and taken in food it cures splenic complaints; some bind it when fresh over the affected part. Others without the patient's knowledge give in squill vinegar the spleen of a two-days-old puppy, or that of a hedgehog, also the ash of snails with linseed, nettle seed, and honey, until there is a complete cure. Another remedy is a live green-lizard, hung up in a pot before the door of the bedroom of the patient, that he may touch it with his hand on going out and coming in, the ash of a horned owl's head with an unguent, honey in which bees have died, or a spider, especially that called 'wolf.'
XVIII. The heart of a hoopoe is a prized remedy for pains in the side, as is the ash of snails boiled down in barley water; these are also used by themselves as a liniment. The skull of a mad dog is reduced to ash and sprinkled in drink. For lumbago an overseas spotted lizard, with head and intestines removed, is boiled down in wine with half an ounce by weight of black poppy, and this broth is drunk. Green lizards, with feet and head cut off, are taken in food, or three snails, beaten up with their shells and boiled down in wine with fifteen peppercorns. They break off, in the opposite way to the joint, the feet of an eagle, so that the right foot is attached as an amulet for pains in the right side, the left foot for those in the left side. The multipede too, that I have called oniscos, is another remedy, the dose being a denarius by weight taken in two cyathi of wine. The Magi prescribe that an earthworm should be placed upon a wooden plate that has been split beforehand and mended with a piece of iron, soaked in water that has been taken up in the dish, and buried in the place from which it was dug out. Then the water in the plate is to be drunk, which they say is a wonderful remedy for sciatica.
XIX. Dysentery is relieved by a leg of mutton boiled down with linseed, the broth of which is drunk, by old cheese made with ewe's milk, and by mutton suet boiled down in a dry wine. By this are also benefited ileos and chronic cough, and dysentery by a spotted lizard from overseas, boiled down with its intestines, head, feet, and skin removedit is as efficacious in food also as decoctedby two snails with egg, each beaten up with its shell, allowed to simmer in a new vessel with salt, two cyathi of raisin wine or date juice, and three cyathi of water; this preparation is taken in drink. Snails are also beneficial when burnt, and their ash taken in wine with a small piece of resin. Snails without shells, about which I have spoken they are found chiefly in Africaare very useful in dysentery; five are burnt and taken with half a denarius by weight of gum acacia; of this ash two spoonfuls are given in myrtle wine or any dry wine with an equal quantity of hot water. Some, using all African snails, administer according to this recipe; others prefer to inject the same number of African snails or broad snails, adding if the flux is severe gum acacia of the size of a bean. The cast slough of snakes is boiled down with rose oil for dysentery and tenesmus in a pewter vessel; if in any other kind of vessel, the application must be made with the help of pewter. Chicken broth is good for these two complaints, but broth made with an old cock, thoroughly salted, is purgative. A hen's crop, roasted and given in oil and salt, soothes the pains of coeliac troublesbut previously hen and patient must both abstain from cereals as does dove's dung roasted and taken in drink. The flesh of a wood-pigeon boiled in vinegar is good for dysentery and for coeliac troubles; for dysentery too a thrush roasted with myrtle berries, so are blackbirds and honey in which bees have died.
XX. The most serious disease of the abdomen is ileos. It may be combated, they say, by tearing a bat apart and drinking its blood; it is also a help to rub the belly with it. Looseness of the bowels is checked by a snail prepared according to my prescription for asthma, and also by the ash, taken in a dry wine, of snails that have been burnt alive. Other remedies are: the roasted liver of cocks or the skin of their crop, usually thrown away, mixed with poppy juice if dried, while some roast it fresh to be given in wine, partridge broth and its crop pounded by itself in dark wine, also wild wood-pigeon boiled down in vinegar and water, spleen of a sheep roasted and beaten up in wine, pigeon's dung applied with honey, the gizzard of an osprey dried and taken in drink, very beneficial to those who cannot digest their food, even if they only hold it in their hand while eating. Some use it as an amulet for this purpose, but it must not be so used continuously, for it makes the body thin. Looseness is also checked by the blood of drakes. Flatulence is dispersed by a diet of snails, griping by the spleen of sheep, roasted and taken in wine, wild wood-pigeon boiled down in vinegar and water, the fat of a bustard in wine, the ash of an ibis burnt without the feathers and taken in drink. Another prescription for griping is of a marvellous character: it is said that if a duck is laid on the belly, the disease is transferred to the duck, which dies. Good for griping is also boiled honey in which bees have died. Colic is effectively cured by a crested lark, roasted and taken in food. Some recommend that it should be burnt with the feathers in a new vessel, ground to dust and taken in water, three spoonfuls daily for four days, others that a lark's heart should be tied as an amulet to the patient's thigh, and others that it should be swallowed while fresh and still warm. The Asprenates are a consular family in which one of two brothers was cured of colic by this bird taken in food and its heart worn in a golden bracelet, the other by performing a certain sacrifice in a shrine of unbaked bricks built in the shape of an oven, and when a certain rite was over blocking it up. The osprey has only one gut, which through its wonderful character digests everything that the bird eats; the end of it attached as an amulet is well known to be excellent for colic. There are some obscure diseases of the intestines, for which is prescribed a wonderful cure. If, before they can see, puppies are applied for three days especially to the stomach and chest of a patient, and suck milk from his mouth, the power of the disease is transferred to them; finally they die and dissection makes clear the patient's trouble; the puppies must be buried in the earth. The Magi indeed tell us that if the belly is touched with a bat's blood there is protection from colic for a whole year; should there be pain, it is sufficient if the patient can bring himself to drink the water in which he washes his feet.
XXI. Mouse dung rubbed on the belly is good for stone in the bladder. The flesh of a hedgehog is said to be pleasant to eat if it is killed by one blow on the head before it can void its urine on itself. The flesh of hedgehogs killed in this manner is a remedy for obstruction to the urine; another is fumigation with the same animal. Should however it have voided its urine on itself those who have eaten the flesh are said to be attacked by strangury. It is also recommended, in order to break up stone, to take earthworms in wine or raisin wine, or snails boiled down as for asthma; three snails taken from their shells, pounded, and given in a cyathus of wine, on the next day two, and on the third day one, for removing difficulty of urination; but the ash of the empty shells for expelling stone; the liver of a water snake or the ash of scorpions to be taken in drink or in bread, the grits to be found in the gizzard of poultry or in the crop of wood-pigeons to be crushed and sprinkled on drink, also the skin of the crop of poultry. When dried, or roasted when fresh, the dung too of wood-pigeons to be taken in beans for stone and other bladder trouble; the ash too of wild wood-pigeon's feathers in oxymel, three spoonful-doses of their intestines reduced to ash, a bit of earth from a swallow's nest diluted with warm water, the crop of an osprey dried, dung of a turtle-dove boiled down in honey wine, or the broth of the bird itself. To eat thrushes also with myrtle berries is good for the urine, cicadas roasted in a shallow pan, to take in drink the millipede oniscos, and for pains in the bladder the broth of lambs' trotters. Chicken broth too is laxative and softens acridities, laxative too is the dung of swallows with honey used as a suppository.
XXII. For complaints of the anus very efficacious are wool greasesome add pompholyx and rose oildog's head reduced to ash, a serpent's slough in vinegar, if there are chaps, the ash of white dog's-dung with rose oilit is said to have been a discovery of Aesculapius, removing warts also very efficaciouslyash of mouse dung, fat of a swan, fat of a boa. Prolapsus there is reduced by an application of snail juice extracted by pricks. Chafings are relieved by the ash of a field mouse with honey, the gall of a hedgehog with the brain of a bat and bitch's milk, by goose grease with goose brain, alum and wool grease, and by pigeon dung with honey; specific for condylomata is a spider rubbed on the place when the head and feet have been removed; to prevent the smart from acrid juices, apply goose grease with Punic wax, white lead, rose oil, and swan fat. This fat is said also to cure haemorrhoids. They say that beneficial for sciatica are raw snails, pounded with Aminnean wine and pepper and taken in drink, a green lizard taken in food, but with feet, bowels and head removed, also so treated a spotted lizard with the addition of three oboli of black poppy for ruptures and sprains, sheep's gall with woman's milk. Itching eruptions and warts on the privates are treated with the gravy from the roasted lung of a ram, other genital affections by the ash, applied with water, of raw, even unwashed, ram's wool, by the suet from the cad of a sheep, especially that of the kidneys, mixed with salt and the ash of pumice, by greasy wool in cold water, by the burnt flesh of sheep in water, by the ash of a she-mule's hoofs, by the tooth of a horse, ground to powder and dusted on the parts, and complaints of the testicles by the bones of a horse's head ground to powder without the flesh. If either testicle hangs down, we are told that a remedy is found in applying the slime of snails. Foul and running ulcers on these parts are relieved by the fresh ashes of a dog's head, by the small broad kind of snail beaten up in vinegar, by the slough of a snake or its ash in vinegar, by honey in which bees have died mixed with resin, by the shell-less kind of snail, which I have said a breeds in Africa, beaten up with powdered frankincense and white of eggs; the application is removed on the thirtieth day, and some add a bulb instead of frankincense. Hydrocele, they tell us, is wonderfully benefited by the spotted lizard: head, feet, and bowels are removed, and the rest of the body is roastedfrequent doses are given in foodin food too for incontinence of urine they prescribe dog fat with split alum in doses the size of a bean, African snails burnt with their flesh and shell, the ash being taken in drink, three roasted geese tongues taken in food. Sponsor for this treatment is Anaxilaus. But superficial abscesses are opened by mutton suet and roasted salt; they are dispersed by mouse dung mixed with powdered frankincense and sandarach, by ash of a lizard or the lizard itself, split and applied, also by multipedes pounded and mixed with one third part of terebinth resinsome add also red ochre of Sinopeby crushed snails by themselves, or by the ash of empty snail-shells mixed with wax. Power to disperse is possessed by pigeon's dung, applied by itself or with barley meal or with oatmeal. Cantharides mixed with lime remove superficial abscesses as well as the lancet; swelling of the groin is relieved by an application of small snails with honey.
XXIII. To prevent varicose veins the legs of children are rubbed with lizard's blood, but both gout patient and rubber must be fasting. Gouty pains are soothed by ocsypum with woman's milk and white lead, by the dung of sheep that they pass liquid, by lungs of sheep, by ram's gall with ram's suet, by mice split and laid on the parts, by blood of a weasel applied with plantain and the ash of a weasel burnt alive with vinegar and rose oilthe remedy should be applied with a feather even a if wax and oil are made ingredientsby dog's gall, which must not be touched by hand but applied with a feather, by dung of hens, by ash of earthworms with honey, taken off on the third day. Some prefer to apply the worms in water, others prefer to rub the feet first with rose oil and then to apply without water an acctabulum of worms with three cyathi of honey. Snails of the broad kind taken in drink are said to banish pains of the feet and joints; the dose is two pounded in wine. They are also applied with juice of the plant helxine; some are content to beat them up in vinegar. Salt, burnt with a viper in a new jar and taken frequently, frees they say from gout, adding that it is also beneficial to rub the feet with viper fat. They assure us also that the kite is a remedy; it is dried, pounded, and a three-finger pinch taken in water, or the feet are rubbed with its blood. To the feet is also applied the blood of pigeons a with nettles, or their feathers may be used when they are just sprouting, beaten up with nettles. Moreover their dung is applied to painful joints, also the ash of a weasel or of snails, and with starch or tragacanth. Bruised joints are treated very effectively with spider's web; some prefer to use the ash of it, or else that of pigeon's dung with pearl barley and white wine. For dislocations a sovereign remedy is mutton suet with ash of woman's hair. For chilblains too is applied mutton suet with alum, or the ash of a dog's head or of mouse dung. But if they are clean, ulcers are brought to cicatrize by these with the addition of wax, or by the warm ash in oil of burnt dormice, also by that of field mice with honey, and by that of earthworms also with old oil and the snails that are found without shells. All sores of the feet are healed by the ash of those snails that have been burnt alive, by the ash of hens' dung, and ulcerations by the ash of pigeon's dung in oil. Chafings caused by foot-wear are healed by the ash of an old shoe, by the lung of a lamb and of a ram; for whitlows is specific a horse's tooth ground to powder; chafings under the feet of man or beast are healed by applying a green lizard's blood, corns on the feet by applying the urine of a mule, male or female, with the mud made by it, by the dung of sheep, by the liver or blood of a green lizard laid on a piece of wool, by earthworms in oil, by the head of a spotted lizard with an equal quantity of agnus castus beaten up in oil, by pigeon's dung boiled down in vinegar; all kinds of warts are cured by fresh dog's urine applied with its mud, by the ash of dog's dung with wax, by the dung of sheep, by the application of fresh mouse-blood, or of a mouse itself torn asunder, by the gall of a hedgehog, by the head or blood of a lizard or the ash of the whole creature, by the slough of snakes, or by the dung of a hen with oil and soda. Cantharides beaten up with Taminian grapes eat away warts, but when corroded in this way they must be treated by the other remedies I have prescribed for the complete healing of ulcers.
XXII. Now I will turn to those ills that threaten the whole body. The Magi say that the gall of a black male dog, if a house is fumigated or purified with it, acts as a talisman protecting all of it from sorcerers' potions; it is the same if the inner walls are sprinkled with the dog's blood or his genital organ is buried under the threshold of the front door. Those would wonder less at this who know how highly the Magi extol that very loathsome animal the tick, on the ground that it is the only creature that has no vent for its gorging, nor yet any end save at death, living longer if it starves; they tell us that so it lasts for seven days, but if they eat to satiety they burst in a shorter time. They add that a tick from the left ear of a dog, worn as an amulet, relieves all pains. They also consider the tick a prognostication of life or death, for if tile patient at the beginning of his illness makes reply when he who has brought in with him a tick, standing at his feet inquires about the illness, there is sure hope of recovery; should no reply be made the patient will die. They add that the tick must be taken from the left ear of a dog that is completely black all over. Nigidius has left it in writing that dogs run away for a whole day from the sight of one who has caught a tick on a pig. Again, the Magi tell us that sprinkling with mole's blood restores to their senses the delirious, while those who are haunted by night ghosts and goblins are freed from their terrors if tongue, eyes, gall, and intestines of a python are boiled down in wine and oil, cooled by night in the open air, and used as embrocation night and morning.
XXV. For feverish chills Nicander gives as a remedy a dead serpent, the amphisbaena, worn as an amulet, or even its skin; nay, he says that, if it is fastened to a tree that is being felled, the fellers feel no cold and do their business more easily. So much does this, alone of serpents, stand up to the cold, being the first of all serpents to make its appearance, even before the cry of the cuckoo. One wonderful thing about the cuckoo is, that if, on the spot where that bird is heard for the first time, the print of the right foot is marked round aud the earth dug out, no fleas breed wherever it is sprinkled.
XXVI. For those warding off paralysis the fats of decocted dormice and shrew mice are said to be very beneficial, as also millipedes taken in drink as I have prescribed for quinsy; for consumptives a green lizard boiled down in three sextarii of wine to one cyathus, the daily dose being one spoonful until convalescence, or the ash of snails taken in wine;
XXVII. for epilepsy wool-grease with a morsel of myrrh, diluted with two cyathi of wine, a piece the size of a hazel nut being taken in drink, after the bath, or the testicles of a ram dried and pounded, half a denarius by weight being taken in a hemina of water or of ass's milk; to drink wine is forbidden for five days before and after. Very highly praised also is the blood of sheep, taken by the mouth, the gall of sheep, especially of a lamb, with honey, sucking puppy taken in wine and myrrh after the head and feet have been cut off, the excrescence on the leg of a she-mule taken in three cyathi of oxymel, the ash of a spotted lizard from overseas taken in vinegar, the coat of a spotted lizard, which it casts in the same way as a snake, taken in drink. Some have also given in drink the lizard itself, gutted with a reed and dried, others in food the lizard roasted on wooden spits. It is worth while knowing how, when cast, the winter skin is hastily taken from the lizard, which otherwise devours it, for no living creature, they say, shows greater spite in cheating man, for which reason its name has been turned into a term of abuse. They note in the summer time its nest, which is in the cornices over doors and windows, or in vaults or tombs. Over against the nest in the beginning of spring they place cages like weels woven with split reeds, the narrow neck of which gives the creature actual delight, as thereby it casts off more easily the encumbrance of its covering, but when this has been left no return is possible. No remedy for epilepsy is preferred to this. A good one too is a weasel's brain dried and taken in drink, or a weasel's liver, testicles, uterus, or paunch, dried with coriander, as I have said; likewise its ash, or a wild weasel taken whole in food. All the same good qualities are praised in the ferret. A green lizard, with seasonings to banish any nausea, the feet and head being taken off, and an application of snails, reduced to ash, with linseed, nettle seed, and honey, are also cures. The Magi recommend the tail of a python attached as an amulet in gazelle skin by deer sinews, or the bits of stone from the crops of baby swallows fastened to the left upper arm; for swallows are said to administer a bit of stone to each chick when hatched. But if, at the first attack of epilepsy, the chick from the first egg laid is given to the patient in food, he is freed from that complaint; afterwards the treatment is swallows' blood with frankincense, or eating a fresh swallow's heart. Moreover, a little stone, taken from a swallow's nest and laid on the patient, is said to give immediate relief, and worn as an amulet permanent protection. Highly praised also is eating a kite's liver or a snake's slough, a vulture's liver pounded with its blood and taken in drink for thrice seven days, or the heart of a vulture's chick worn as an amulet. But they recommend also the vulture itself to be given in food, and that too when it has eaten its fill from a human corpse. Some are of opinion that a vulture's breast should be taken in drink in a cup made of Turkey-oak wood, or the testicles of a cock in water and milk, after abstinence from wine for five days; for this purpose the testicles are preserved. There have also been some who gave in drink twenty-one red flies, and that too from a corpse, but fewer to weak patients.
XXVIII. Jaundice is combated by dirt from the ears or teats of a sheep, the dose being a denarius by weight with a morsel of myrrh and two cyathi of wine, by the ash of a dog's head in honey wine, by a millipede in a hemina of wine, by earthworms in oxymel with myrrh, by drinking wine that has rinsed a hen's feetthey must be yellowafter they have been cleansed with water, by the brain of a partridge or eagle taken in three cyathi of wine, by the ash of the feathers or intestines of a wood-pigeon taken in honey wine up to three spoonfuls, or by the ash of sparrows burnt over twigs taken in two spoonfuls of hydromel. There is a bird called 'jaundice' from its colour. If one with jaundice looks at it, he is cured, we are told, of that complaint and the bird dies. I think that this bird is the one called in Latin 'galgulus.'
XXIX. For brain-fever appears to be beneficial, a sheep's lung wrapped warm round the patient's head. But who could give to one delirious the brain of a mouse to be taken in water, or the ash of a weasel, or even the dried flesh of a hedgehog, even if the treatment were bound to be successful? As for the eyes of the horned owl reduced to ash, I should be inclined to count this remedy as one of the frauds with which magicians mock mankind, and it is especially in fevers that true medicine is opposed to the doctrines of these quacks. For they have actually divided the art according to the passing of the sun, and also that of the moon, through the twelve signs of the Zodiac. That the whole theory should be rejected I will show by a few examples. If the sun is passing through Gemini, they recommend the sick to be rubbed with the combs, ears, and claws of cocks, burnt and pounded with oil; if it is the moon, the cocks' spurs and wattles must be used. If either sun or moon is passing through Virgo, grains of barley must be used; if through Sagittarius, a bat's wings; if the moon is passing through Leo, leaves of tamarisk, and they add that it must be the cultivated shrub; if through Aquarius, boxwood charcoal, pounded. Of these remedies I shall include only those recognised, or at least thought probable: for example, to rouse the victims of lethargus by pungent smells, among which perhaps I would put the dried testicles of a weasel or the fumes of his burnt liver. For these patients also they consider it useful to wrap round the head the warm lung of a sheep.
XXX. In quartans ordinary medicines are practically useless; for which reason I shall include several of the magicians' remedies, and in the first place the amulets they recommend: the dust in which a hawk has rolled himself tied in a linen cloth by a red thread, or the longest tooth of a black dog. The wasp they call pseudosphex, that flies about by itself, they catch with the left hand and hang under the chin, and others use the first wasp seen in that year; a severed viper's head attached in a linen cloth, or the heart taken from the creature while still alive; the snout and ear tips of a mouse, wrapped in red cloth, the mouse itself being allowed to go free; the right eye gouged out of a living lizard; a fly in a bit of goat skin, with its head cut off; or the beetle that rolls little pellets. Because of this beetle the greater part of Egypt worships the beetle as one of its deities. Apion gives an erudite explanation: he infers that this creature resembles the sun and its revolutions, seeking to find an excuse for the religious customs of his race. But the Magi also make amulets of other beetles. There is one with bent-back little horns, which they take up in the left hand; a third kind, called fullo, with white spots, they cut in two and wear as an amulet on either upper arm; all the rest are worn on the left arm; the heart, taken out `with the left hand from a living snake; four joints of a scorpion's tail, with the sting, wrapped in black cloth, care being taken that the sick man does not see, for three days, either the scorpion when set free or him who attaches the amulet; after the third paroxysm he must hide it away. They tie a thread three times round a caterpillar in a linen cloth, and with three knots, the ministering attendant saying at each knot the reason for so doing. Other amulets are: a slug in a piece of skin, or four slugs' heads cut off with a reed, a multipede wrapped up in wool, the grubs from which gadflies are born, before they develop wings, or other hairy grubs found on thorny bushes. Some shut up four of these grubs in a walnut shell and attach as an amulet. Snails that are found without shells, or a spotted lizard shut up in a little box, they place under the patient's head and let out when the fever goes down. They also recommend the heart of a sea-diver, cut out without iron, dried and pounded, to be taken in warm water, or the hearts of swallows with honey; others swallows' dung in doses of one drachma in three cyathi of goat's or sheep's milk or in raisin wine, to be taken before the parozysms. Some hold that the entire swallow should be taken. An asp's skin, in doses of one sixth of a denarius by weight with an equal quantity of pepper, is taken by Parthian tribes as a cure for a quartan. Chrysippus the philosopher has told us that wearing a phryganion as an amulet is a cure for quartans: but what the animal is Chrysippus has left no account, and I have met nobody who knew. Yet a statement made by so great an authority it was necessary to mention, in case somebody's research should meet with better success. To eat the flesh of a crow or to apply its nest as a friction they think very beneficial in chronic diseases. In tertians too it may be worth while to try whether there is any benefit (so much does suffering delight in hoping against hope) in the spider called lycos (wolf) applied with its web in a small plaster of resin and the wax to both temples and to the forehead, or in the spider itself attached as an amulet in a reed, in which form it is also said to be beneficial for other fevers. A green lizard too may be tried, attached alive, in a vessel just large enough to contain it; by which method we are assured that recurrent fevers also are often banished.
XXXI. For dropsy is given in drink wool grease in wine mixed with a little myrrh, in doses the size of a hazel nut. Some also add goose grease in myrtle-wine. The dirt from the udders of sheep has the same effect, as has the dried flesh of a hedgehog taken by the mouth. An application too of dogs vomit to the abdomen brings away, we are assured, the dropsical fluid.
XXXII. Erysipelas is benefited by wool grease with pompholyx and rose oil, by the blood of a tick, by earth-worms applied in vinegar, by a cricket crushed between the handshe who succeeds in doing this before the complaint shows itself is protected from an attack for the whole of that year, but the cricket must be lifted with iron along with the earth of its holeby goose grease, by the head of a viper, kept till dry, burnt, and then applied in vinegar, a serpent's slough applied in water with bitumen and lamb suet after a bath.
XXXIII. A carbuncle is removed by pigeon's dung, applied by itself or with linseed in oxymel, also by bees that have died in honey, applied and sprinkled with pearl barley. If a carbuncle or other sore is on the privates, the remedy is wool grease with lead scales in honey, and sheep dung for incipient carbuncles. Hard swellings and whatever needs to be softened are treated very efficaciously with goose grease, and equally good results are also given by the grease of cranes.
XXXIV. Boils are said to be cured by a spider, applied before its name has been mentioned and taken off on the third day, by a shrewmouse, killed and hung up so that it does not touch earth after death, and passed three times round the boil, both the attendant and the patient spitting the same number of times, by the red part of poultry dung, best applied fresh in vinegar, by a stork's crop boiled down in wine, by an odd number of flies rubbed on with the medical finger by dirt from the ears of sheep, by stale mutton suet with the ash of woman's hair, and by ram's suet with ash of burnt pumice and an equal quantity of salt.
XXXV. Burns are treated with ash of a dog's head, the ash of dormice and oil, sheep dung and wax, the the ash of mice; with the ash of snails so well that not even a scar is to be seen, with viper fat, and with the ash of pigeon's dung applied in oil.
XXXVI. Hard lumps in the sinews are treated with the ash of a viper's head in cyprus oil, and by an application of earthworms and honey. Pains in the sinews are soothed by fat, by a dead amphisbaena attached as an amulet, by vulture's fat with its crop, dried and pounded with stale pig's fat, by the ash of a horned-owl's head taken in honey wine with the root of a lily, if we believe the Magi. For cramp in the sinews woodpigeon's flesh dried and taken in the food, for cramping spasms hedgehog's flesh, also the ash of a weasela serpent's slough attached as an amulet in a piece of bull's leather prevents such spasms for opisthotonic tetanus the dried liver of a kite, the dose being three oboli taken in three cyathi of hydromel.
XXXVII. Hangnails and whitlows that form on the fingers are removed by the ash of a dog's head, or by the uterus boiled down in oil, with a layer on top of butter from ewe's milk with honey, as also by the gall bladder of any animal; roughness of the nails by cantharides and pitch, taken off on the third day, or by locusts fried with he-goat suet, and by mutton suet. Some mix with the ingredients mistletoe and purslane, others flowers of copper and mistletoe, but remove the application on the third day. Bleeding in the nostrils is arrested by inserting suet from the caul of a sheep, also by its rennet in water, especially by lamb's rennet, snuffed up or injected, even if other remedies do no good, by goose grease with an equal quantity of butter worked up into lozenges, by the earth off snails, but also by the actual snails themselves, taken from their shells; but when there is severe epistaxis it is stayed by snails beaten up and applied to the forehead, and also by spider's web; by the brain or blood of a cock are arrested fluxes from the brain, also by pigeon's blood; it is stored and congealed for this purpose.
If however there is violent haemorrhage from a wound, it is wonderfully arrested by an application of the ash of horse-dung burnt with egg shells.
XXXIX. Ulcers are healed by wool grease, barley ash, and copper rust, in equal parts; this is also equally efficacious for carcinomata and spreading sores. It cauterizes too the edges of ulcers, and levels out excrescences in the flesh; it also fills up hollows and forms scars. There is also great power to heal carcinomata in the ash of sheep's dung with soda added, or in the ash of a lamb's thigh bones, especially when ulcers refuse to cicatrize. There is great power too in the lungs, especially those of rams, which flatten out very efficaciously excrescences of flesh on ulcers; ewe dung too by itself, warmed under an earthen jar and kneaded, reduces swollen wounds, and cleans and heals fistulas and epinyctides. The greatest power, however, is in the ash of a dog's head, which cauterizes and thoroughly heals all excrescences as well as does spodium. These are cauterized too by mouse dung, and also by the ash of weasel's dung. Indurations in deep-seated ulcers and carcinomata are penetrated by multipedes pounded and mixed with terebinth resin and earth of Sinope. The same remedies are very useful for those ulcers that are threatened by worms. Moreover, the various kinds of worms themselves have wonderful uses. The larvae that breed in wood heal all ulcers; and nomae too if burnt with an equal weight of anise and applied in oil. Fresh wounds are united so well by earth worms that there is a general conviction that even severed sinews are by applying them made whole by the seventh day; accordingly it is thought that they should be preserved in honey. Their ash with liquid pitch or symphytum and honey removes too-hard edges of ulcers. Some dry them in the sun, use in vinegar to treat wounds, and do not take them off without an interval of two days. Used in the same way the earth too off snails is beneficial, and snails taken out whole, beaten up, and applied, unite fresh wounds and arrest nomae. There is also an insect called by the Greeks herpes, which is specific for all creeping ulcers. Snails also are good for them, beaten up with their shells; with myrrh indeed and frankincense they are said to heal even severed sinews. The fat of a python also, dried in the sun, is of great benefit, as is a cock's brain for fresh wounds. By viper's salt taken in food we are told that ulcers become more amenable to treatment and heal more rapidly. Indeed the physician Antonius after operating on ulcers without success gave vipers as food to bring about complete cures with wonderful rapidity. The ash of the trixallis with honey removes hard edges on ulcers, as does ash of pigeon's dung with arsenic and honey; these also remove all that needs a cautery. The brain of a horned owl with goose grease is said to unite wounds wonderfully, as, with woman's milk, does the ash of a ram's thighs the ulcers called malignant, but the cloths must be first carefully washed, or the screech owl boiled in oil, with which when melted down are mixed ewe butter and honey. The lips of ulcers that are too hard are softened by bees that have died in honey, and elephantiasis by the blood and ash of a weasel. Wounds and weals made by the scourge are removed by an application of fresh sheepskin.
XL. For fractures of the joints a specific is the ash of a sheep's thighs with waxthis medicament is more efficacious if there are burnt with the thighs the sheep's jawbones and a deer's horn, and the wax is softened with rose oilspecific for broken bones is a dog's brain, spread on a linen cloth, over which is placed wool, occasionally moistened underneath (with oil). In about fourteen days it unites the broken parts, as does quite as quickly the ash of a field-mouse with honey, or that of earthworms, which also extracts fragments of bone.
XLI. Scars are restored to the natural colour by the lungs of sheep, particularly of rams, by their suet in soda, by the ash of a green lizard, by a snake's slough boiled down in wine, and by pigeon's dung with honey; the last in wine does the same for both kinds a of white vitiligo; for vitiligo cantharides also with two parts of rue leaves. These must be kept on in the sun until the skin is violently irritated; then there must be fomentation and rubbing with oil, followed by another application. This treatment should be repeated for several days, but deep ulceration must be guarded against. For vitiligo of all kinds they also recommend the application of flies with root of eupatoria, or the white part of hens' dung kept in old oil in a horn box, or bat's blood, or hedgehog's gall in water. Itch scab however is relieved by the brain of a horned owl with saltpetre, but best of all by dog's blood, and pruritus by the small, broad, kind of snail, crushed and applied.
XLII. Arrows, weapons, and everything that must be extracted from the flesh, are withdrawn by a mouse split and laid on the wound, but especially by a split lizard, or even its head only, crushed and laid on the wound with salt, by the snails that attack leaves in clusters, crushed and similarly laid on with the shells, and edible snails without them, but most efficaciously by the bones of snakes with hare's rennet. These bones also, with the rennet of any quadruped, show a good result by the third day. Cantharides too are highly recommended, beaten up and applied with barley meal.
XLIII. For women's complaints the afterbirth of an ewe is of service, as I said when speaking of goats. The dung too of sheep has the same medicinal uses. Fumigation with lobsters is of the greatest help in strangury in women. If occasionally after conception a woman eats the testicles of a cock, males are said to be formed in the uterus. The foetus is retained by taking in drink the ash of porcupines, brought to maturity by drinking bitch's milk, and withdrawn by the afterbirth of a bitch, which must not touch the earth, laid on the loins of the woman in childbed. Mouse dung diluted with rain water reduces the breasts of women swollen after childbirth. Rubbing the woman all over with the ash of hedgehogs and oil prevents miscarriage. The delivery of those is easier who have swallowed goose a with two cyathi of water, or the liquids that flow from a weasel's uterus through its genitals. Applying earthworms prevents pains in the sinews of neck and shoulders, and taken in raisin wine bring away a sluggish afterbirth. These worms laid by themselves on the breasts also mature suppurations there, open them, draw out the pus, and make them cicatrize. Taken with honey wine they stimulate the flow of milk. There are also little worms found n grass; these, tied round the neck as an amulet, prevent a miscarriage, but they are taken off just before the birth, otherwise they prevent delivery, Care too must be taken not to lay them on the earth. Further, to cause conception five or seven at a time are given in drink. Snails taken in food hasten delivery, and conception too if applied with saffron. An application of snails in starch and tragacanth arrests fluxes. They are also good for menstruation if taken in food, and correct with deer's marrow displacements of the uterus; to one snail should be added a denarius by weight of marrow and cyprus oil. Inflation too of the uterus is dispersed by snails taken out of their shells and beaten up with rose oil. For these purposes the most preferred are snails of Astypalaea. African snails are prepared in a different way; doses of two are beaten up with a three-finger pinch of fenugreek, four spoonfuls of honey added, and the whole applied after rubbing the abdomen with iris juice. There are also found straying everywhere small snails with a white corslet. Dried in the sun on tiles, crushed to powder, and mixed with an equal quantity of bean meal, these impart both whiteness and smoothness to the skin. The desire to scratch is removed by the small, broad snails with pearl barley. If a woman with child step across a viper she will miscarry; similarly if she cross an amphisbaena, a dead one at least, but those that carry on their persons a live one in a box step across with impunity; even if it is a dead one and preserved it makes childbirth easy. In the case of a dead one, wonderful to relate, no harm is done should a pregnant woman cross it without a preserved one, if she at once crosses a preserved one. Fumigation with a dried snake assists menstruation.
XLIV. A snake's slough, tied to the loins as an amulet, makes childbirth easier, but it must be taken off immediately after delivery. They also give it in wine to be taken with frankincense; in any other way it causes miscarriage. A stick with which a frog has been shaken from a snake helps lying-in women, and the ash of the trixallis, applied with honey, helps menstruation, as does a spider that is spinning a thread from a height. It should be caught in the hollow of the hand, crushed? and applied; but if it is caught as it ascends again, the same treatment will arrest menstruation. The stone aetites, found in the eagle's nest, protects a foetus from all plots to cause abortion. A vulture's feather, placed under their feet, helps lying-in women. It is certain that pregnant women must avoid a raven's egg, since if they step over it they will miscarry through the mouth. A hawk's dung taken in honey wine seems to make women fertile. Indurations and abscesses of the uterus are softened by goose grease or by swan's grease.
XLV. The breasts after delivery are safeguarded by goose grease with rose oil and a spider's web. The Phrygians and Lycaonians have found that the fat of bustards is beneficial for teats disordered by childbirth. For uterine suffocation beetles also are applied. Ash of partridge eggshells mixed with cadmia and wax keeps the breasts firm. They also think that breasts do not droop if circles are traced round them three times with the egg of partridge or quail, and that if this egg is swallowed it also produces fertility and an abundant supply of milk as well, that it lessens pains in the breasts if they are rubbed with it and goose grease, that it breaks up moles in the uterus, and that uterine itch is relieved if it is applied with crushed bugs.
XLVI. Bats' blood is a depilatory, but an application to the armpits of boys is not enough unless copper rust or hemlock seed is spread over it afterwards; this treatment either removes the hair altogether or reduces it to down. They think that a bat's brain is equally efficaciousthis brain is double, red and white asome adding the bat's blood and liver. Others in three heminae of oil thoroughly boil a viper after taking out the bones, using the decoction as a depilatory after first plucking out the hairs they do not wish to grow again. The gall of a hedgehog is a depilatory, especially when mixed with a bat's brain and goat's milk, as is also the ash by itself. Parts rubbed with the milk of a bitch with her first litter, when the hairs have been plucked out or not yet grown, do not grow hair again. The same result is said to be produced by the blood of a tick plucked from a dog, by the blood or gall of a swallow, or by the eggs of ants. They say that eyebrows are made black by crushed flies; if however it is desired that the eyes of babies should be black, the expectant mother must eat a shrewmouse; hair is prevented from turning grey by the ash of earth-worms mixed with oil.
XLVII. Babies that are troubled with curdled milk have a preventative in lamb's rennet taken in water or if the trouble has occurred with milk already curdled it is dispersed by this rennet given in vinegar. For dentition the brain of a sheep is very beneficial. The inflammation of babies called siriasis is cured by the bones found in dog's dung worn as an amulet, and hernia in babies by bringing a green lizard to bite them when asleep. Afterwards they fasten the lizard to a reed and hang it in smoke, and they say that as it dies the baby recovers. The slime of snails applied to the eyes of babies straightens the eyelashes and makes them grow. Hernia is cured by the ash of snails applied for thirty days with frankincense in white of egg. There are found in the little horns of snails sandy grits; worn as an amulet these make dentition easy. The ash of snail shells mixed with wax checks procidence of the end of the bowel, but the ash should be mixed with the discharge that exudes when the snails are pricked. A viper's brain tied on with a piece of his skin helps dentition. The same effect have also the largest teeth of serpents. The dung of a raven attached with wool as an amulet cures babies' coughs. Certain details can scarcely be included as serious items, but I must not omit them, since they have been put on record. As a remedy for hernia in babies they recommend a lizard; there should be taken a male, which can be recognised by its having one vent beneath the tail. The necessary ritual is: that it must bite the lesion through a gold or silver barrier; then it must be fastened in an unused cup and placed in smoke. Incontinence of urine in babies is checked by giving in their food boiled mice. The tall, indented horns of the beetle, fastened to babies, serves as an amulet. In the head of the boa is said to be a little stone, which is spit out by it when in fear of violent death; they add that dentition is wonderfully aided if the creature's head is cut off unawares, the stone extracted and worn as an amulet. The brain too of the same creature they recommend to be worn for the same purpose, or the stone or little bone found on the back of a slug. A splendid help also is the brain of a ewe rubbed on the gums, as for the ears is goose grease put in them with juice of ocimum. On prickly plants are grubs which are rough and downy. These worn by babies as an amulet are said to effect an immediate recovery when part of their food sticks in the throat.
XLVIII. Sleep is induced by wool grease with a morsel of myrrh diluted in two cyathi of wine, or else with goose grease and myrtle wine, by the cuckoo bird in a piece of hare's fur worn as an amulet or by a heron's beak worn as an amulet on the forehead in a piece of ass's hide. It is thought too that the beak of the heron by itself rinsed in wide has the same effect. Sleep is kept away, on the contrary, by a dried bat's head worn as an amulet.
XLIX. A lizard drowned in a man's urine is antaphrodisiac to him who passed it, but the Magi claim that it is a love-philtre. Antaphrodisiac too are snails, and pigeon's dung taken with oil and wine. Aphrodisiac for men are the right parts of a vulture's lung, worn as an amulet in a piece of crane's skin; aphrodisiac also are the yolks of five pigeons' eggs mixed with a denarius by weight of pig fat and swallowed in honey, sparrows or their eggs in food, or the right testicle of a cock worn as an amulet in a piece of ram's-skin. They say that rubbing with ibis ash, goose grease and iris oil prevent miscarriage when there has been conception; that desire on the contrary is inhibited if a fighting cock's testicles are rubbed with goose grease and worn as an amulet in a ram s skin, as it also is if with a cock's blood any cock's testicles are placed under the bed. Women unwilling to conceive are forced to do so by hairs from the tail of a she-mule, pulled out during the animal copulation and entwined during the human. A man who passes his urine on a dog's is said to become Less sexually active. A wonderful thing again (if it is true) is told about the ash of the spotted lizard: if wrapped in a linen cloth and held in the left hand it is aphrodisiac; if transferred to the right hand it is antaphrodisiac. Another wonder: the blood of a bat, collected on a flock of wool and placed under the head of women, moves them to lust, as does the tongue of a goose, taken either in food or in drink.
L. The lice of phthiriasis even of the whole body are destroyed in three days by taking in drink the maggots, east slough of a snake, or by drinking, with a little salt, whey after the cheese has been taken out. They say that if the brain of a weasel is added to rennet, cheeses neither go rotten through age nor are touched by mice. If the ash too of a weasel is given to poultry or pigeons in their mash, they are said to be safe from weasels. Pains of draught animals in making urine are ended by a bat put on them as an amulet, and hots by a woodpigeon carried three times round their middle. Wonderful to relate, the woodpigeon on being set free dies, while the animal is at once freed from pain.
LI. The eggs of an owl, given for three days in wine to drunkards, produce distaste for it. Drunkenness is kept away by taking early the roasted lung of sheep. A swallow's beak reduced to ash, beaten up with myrrh, and sprinkled on the wine that will be drunk, will free drinkers from fear of becoming tipsy. This is a discovery of Orus, king of Assyria.
LII. In addition to all this there are some notable things about the animals that belong to this Book: the gromphena, a bird spoken of in Sardinia as like a crane, but now, I think, unknown even to the Sardinians. In the same province we have the ophion, a creature like deer only in its hair, and found nowhere else. The same authorities say that there is a creature called siralugum, but they have not told us what kind of an animal it is or where it is found. I do not indeed doubt that it once existed, since even medicines from it have been prescribed. Marcus Cicero tells us that there are animals called biuri which gnaw the vines in Campania.
LIII. There are still some wonders in the animals that I have mentioned: that a dog does not bark at a person having on him the membrane from the afterbirth of a bitch, or holding the dung or hair of a hare; included among gnats are mullones, which live only for a day; those taking honey from hives are not stung by the bees if they have on them the beak of a woodpecker; pigs follow those from whom they have received in their mash the brain of a raven; the dust in which a she-mule has wallowed, sprinkled on the body, lessens the fires of love. Shrew mice are put to flight if one of them is castrated and let go free; if a snake's skin, salt, emmer wheat, and wild thyme are pounded together and with wine poured down the throat of oxen when the grapes are ripening, they enjoy good health for a whole year, or if three young swallows are given at three meals in their mash; if dust is gathered from the track of a snake and sprinkled on bees, these return to their hives; if the right testicle of a ram is tied up he begets ewes only; those are not wearied by any toil who have on them sinews from the wings and legs of a crane; she-mules do not kick if they have drunk wine. The hoofs of she-mules are the only material discovered that is not rotted by the poisonous water of Styx, a notable fact discovered by Aristotle, to his great infamy, when Antipater sent a draught of it to Alexander the Great. Now I will pass to things found in water.