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II (60B‑71F)

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Deipnosophistae

of
Athenaeus

published in Vol. I
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,
1927

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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III (85C‑94B)

(Vol. I) Athenaeus
Deipnosophistae

p315 Excerptsa from Book III

72Callimachus the grammarian used to say1 that a big book is a big nuisance.

Egyptian Beans. — Nicander in the Georgics:2 "Of beans, sow the Egyptian, so that in summer you may make wreaths of its blossoms, but later, when the pods are ripe, you may put the beans lurking therein into the hands of the feasters, Beven the young men who have long been eager for them. Tubers, also, I boil and serve at the festival banquet." By tubers Nicander means what the Alexandrians call colocasia.3 As the same author says:4 "Peeling and shredding the colocasium from its bean." And in Sicyon there is a shrine of Athena Colocasia.

But ciborium also means a kind of drinking-cup.5

Theophrastus, in his work on Plants,6 writes as follows: C"In Egypt the bean grows in swamps and marshes. Its maximum length of stalk is four cubits; it is an inch thick, and resembles a pliant, unjointed reed. Inside are separate tubes throughout its length, like a honeycomb. Upon the stalk are the head and blossom, double the size of a poppy; its colour is that of a dark rose. From the stalk grow p317large leaves, Dand the root is thicker than the root of the thickest reed, and is made up of distinct tubes, like the stalk. It is eaten boiled, raw, or baked, being used as food by all who live near swamps. It also grows in Syria and Cilicia, but does not come to maturity in those countries. It also occurs in a rather small marsh near Toronê, in the Chalcidic peninsula, and here it ripen and produces perfect fruit." 73And Diphilus of Siphnos says: "The tuber known as colocasium, belonging to the Egyptian bean, is tasty and nutritious, but hard to digest, being rather astringent; it is better when least woolly in consistency." "The beans," he adds, "which grow in the pods are not easy to digest when green; they have little nutriment, are laxative and very windy, but when dried they cause less flatulence." As a matter of fact, there also grows from the pods a flower used for wreaths. Now the Egyptians call it lotus; but the people of my city Naucratis, says our author, Athenaeus, call it honey-lotus. BFrom it also made honey-lotus crowns, which are very fragrant and cooling in the hot summer season.

Phylarchus says:7 "Never before, in any region, had Egyptian beans been sown, or, if they were, did they grow anywhere except in Egypt. But in the reign of Alexander, son of Pyrrhus, it chanced that they sprang up in a swamp near the Thyamis river in Thesprotia, a region of Epeirus. For perhaps two years, then, they bore fruit luxuriantly and spread; but when Alexander stationed a guard over them to see that no one should even approach the spot, Cto say nothing of gathering them at will, the swamp dried up, and not only did not produce the aforesaid p319fruit again, but whatever water it had contained never reappeared. The like also occurred in Aedepsus. For, not to mention other waters, a spring came to light which sent forth cold water not far from the sea. The sick who drank of it received the greatest benefit, so that many came even from great distances to use the water. Accordingly the generals of King Antigonus, Ddesiring to be more efficient in collecting revenue, imposed a special tax on all who drank, and as a result the stream dried up. In the Troad, also, all who desired were at liberty in old times to collect salt at Tragasae. But when Lysimachus levied a tax on it, it disappeared. Surprised at this, he exempted the place from taxation, whereupon the salt increased once more."

The Cucumber. — There is a proverb, "Munch a cucumber, woman, and keep on weaving your cloak." Matron in his Parodies:8 E"And I saw a cucumber, son of glorious Earth, lying among the green vegetables; and it lay outstretched over nine tables." And Laches: "As when a cucumber grows in a watered field." Attic writers, to be sure, make it a trisyllable (sikyos), but Alcaeus,9 in "may bite some cucumbers," inflects it from the nominative sikys, like stachys, genitive stachyos ("ear of grain").

74 Book III
(Part 1 of 5)

A skillet, radishes . . . and four cucumbers. The diminutive form sikydion occurs in Phrynichus, The Recluse:10 "And chew a gherkin."

p321 Theophrastus11 says there are three kinds of cucumber, Laconian, club-shaped, and Boeotian. Of these the Laconian grows better if watered, but the others grow without watering. BHe also says that "cucumbers are more succulent if the seed, before sowing, is soaked in milk or honey-syrup." This he records in his Plant Aetiology.12 The growth is more rapid, he says,13 if the seed is soaked in water or milk before it is placed in the ground. Euthydemus, in his work on Vegetables, says that dracontiae, as they are called, are a kind of cucumber; and Demetrius Ixion, in the first book of the Etymologumena, says that the word sikyos comes from seuomai ("burst forth") and kio ("move"); for it is a stimulating plant. But Heracleides of Tarentum, in the Symposium, calls the cucumber hedygaion ("from a sweet soil"). Diocles of Carystus says that if the cucumber is eaten in the first course with marshwort it causes distress, because it is carried on top of the stomach, like the radish; but when eaten last it gives less trouble and is more digestible. When cooked it is also a fairly good diuretic. CDiphilus, also, says: "The cucumber, because it is cooling, is hard to digest and to purge from the system; moreover, it causes chilliness, provokes bile, and inhibits coition." Cucumbers grow in gardens when the moon is full, and their growth is as visible as that of sea-urchins.

Figs. — "The fig-tree," says Magnus, "— for on the subject of figs I will yield to no man, even if I am to be hanged on a fig-branch, DI am so extraordinarily fond of them; I will tell what occurs to me — the fig-tree, my friends, was made to be the guide of p323men to civilization. This is proved by the fact that Athenians call the place where it was discovered Sacred Fig-tree, while they call its fruit the Leader14 because it was the first cultivated fruit to be discovered. Of figs, however, there are several kinds. There is first the Attic, which Antiphanes mentions in Homonyms; for in praising Attica he says:15 E"A. What products, Hipponicus, our country bears, excelling all in the whole world! Honey, wheat-bread, figs. — B. Figs, to be sure, it bears a-plenty." And Istros in the History of Attica16 says that it was even forbidden to export figs produced in Attica, in order that the residents alone might enjoy them; and since many were caught in the act of smuggling them across the border, those who gave information to the courts about such persons came to be called, for the first time, sycophantae ("fig-detectives"). And Alexis says17 in The Poet: "It is not right that the name 'sycophant' Fshould be bestowed on scoundrels; for the word 'figs,' when applied to a man, ought to reveal a character good and sweet. As it is, when 'sweet' is attached to a rascal, it makes one wonder how this can be." And Philomnestus, in the article On the Sminthian Festival at Rhodes, says:18 "For the sycophant got his name from the fact that in those days the fines and taxes, 75from the proceeds of which they administered public expenditures, consisted of figs, wine, and oil, and they who exacted these tolls or made declaration of them were called, as it appears, 'sycophants,' being selected as the most trustworthy among the citizens."

p325 A Laconian fig is mentioned in The Farmers by Aristophanes, in these words:19 "Figs I plant — all kinds but the Laconian. For this one is a foe and given to autocratic ways. It would not be so little, did it not hate the common people violently." He calls it little because the plant does not grow large. BAnd Alexis, speaking of Phrygian figs in The Olynthian,20 says: "That God-given inheritance of our mother-country, darling of my heart, a dried fig, brought to light from a Phrygian fig-tree." Among many comic poets, also, who mention the early "phibalis" figs, there is in particular Pherecrates, who says in the Good-for‑Nothings:21 "Good Heavens, man! Have a fever without a care; eat some phibalis figs in the hot summer, then go to sleep at mid-day when you are stuffed with them. Have spasms, burn all over, and bawl!" So also CTelecleides in The Amphictyons:22 "How nice, too, are phibalians!" But myrtle-berries are also called phibalian, in The Cretans of Aristophanes:23 "But first and foremost I want myrtle-berries on the table to chew whenever I have some plan to ponder, the phibalians, I mean, which are very fine, and twined in wreaths." Swallow-figs are also mentioned by Epigenes in The Reveller:24 p327D"Then, after a little while, comes a platter laden with dried swallow-figs." But Androtion, or Philip, or Hegemon, in The Farmers' Handbook, makes a list of the following kinds of fig-tree: "On level ground should be planted swallow-figs, wild-figs, white-figs, and phibalians; but autumn-queens may be planted anywhere. Every variety has some utility; but the most profitable are the dwarfs, phormynians, double-bearing, Megarian, and Laconian varieties, if they are given water."

EThe figs which grow in Rhodes are mentioned by Lynceus in his letters, in which he compares the best products of Attica with those of Rhodes. He writes as follows: "The wild-figs are to the Laconian, in repute, as mulberries to all figs; and I have served these not, as is the custom over there, after dinner, when the taste is perverted by satiety, but when the appetite is unspoiled, before dinner." Yet, if Lynceus had tasted, as I have, the so‑called sparrow-figs in our beautiful Rome, he would have proved himself much more sharp-sighted than his namesake,25 so great is the superiority of these figs over others the whole world around. But there are also other varieties of figs grown near Rome which are held in esteem, to wit, those called Chian and Livian, and further those that go under the name of Chalcidic and African, as Herodotus the Lycian testifies in his treatise on figs.

Parmenon of Byzantium, lauding in his iambic verse the excellence of the products of Canae, a city p329in Aeolis, says:26 76"Far have I journeyed over the sea, bringing no freight of Canaean figs." It is well known that the figs which come from Caunus, in Caria, are also esteemed. The acid or oxalis-figs, so‑called, are mentioned by Heracleon of Ephesus and Nicander of Thyateira, who cite the following lines from a play of Apollodorus of Carystus, The Modiste's Dowry:27 "But the paltry wine was very sour and bad, so that I was ashamed of it; for while other farms produce acid figs, Bmine even has acid vines." As for the figs on the island of Paros — for there also excellent figs grow, called by the Parians haemonia,28 being the same as those known as Lydian, and receiving their name from their reddish tint — Archilochus mentions them thus:29 "Good-bye to Paros with its fine figs and its life by the sea." These figs, in fact, are as different from those produced elsewhere Cºas the meat of the wild boar is superior to all other pork not wild.

The white-fig is a sort of fig-tree, and it may be that is the kind which produces the white figs. Hermippus mentions it in the Iambics thus:30 "The dried white-figs separately." Wild figs are mentioned by Euripides in Sciron:31 "Or impale on branches of wild fig-trees." And Epicharmus in The Sphinx:32 "But not in any wise like wild figs." Sophocles, in p331The Marriage of Helen,33 called the fruit figuratively by the name of the tree, when he said: "A ripe wild-fig thou art, because, though useless for food itself, thou canst impregnate others with thy talk."34 Now he really says "ripe fig-tree," meaning "ripe fig." Alexis, also, in The Melting-pot:35 "Why need we say more of those who everywhere offer figs for sale in baskets? They always put the tough and poor ones at the bottom, but the ripe and handsome ones on top. EºAnd so the purchaser, believing that what he buys are all good, pays the price, while the dealer snaps the coin in his jaw and sells wild figs, protesting with an oath that they are real figs." Now the wild fig, that is, the tree from which come the erina ("wild-figs"), is erinos, used as a masculine. Thus Strattis in Troilus:36 "Have you, then, noticed that there is an erinos ('wild fig-tree') near it?" And Homer:37 "And on it is a tall erineos ('wild fig-tree'), in fullest leaf." Amerias says that runty figs are called erinades.

Hermonax, in his Cretan Glossary, records the terms hamadea and nikylea as varieties of fig. FAnd Philemon, in the Attic Lexicon, says that certain figs are called "regal," from which arises also the term queen figs, which are dried; he notes further that ripe figs are called kolythra. Seleucus, in the Dialect Dictionary, speaks of a glykysida ("peony"), as it is called, very similar to a fig in shape, and says that women forbear to eat it because it causes unseemly p333windiness, as the comic poet Plato says in Cleophon.38 77Pamphilus says that the winter figs are called kodonaea ("bell-figs") by the people of Achaea, saying that Aristophanes makes this statement39 in his Laconian Glossary. And Hermippus, in Soldiers,40 transmits the term "crow-figs" for another sort, in these words: "Preferably the phibalian or the crow-figs."

Theophrastus, in the second book of his History of Plants, speaks of a certain variety of fig-tree which is like the so‑called Aratean. And in the third book41 he says that in the region of the Trojan Ida there grows a bushy fig-tree Bwith a leaf like that of the linden; it bears red figs of the size of olives, but more round, which are like medlars in taste. Concerning the fig-tree in Crete called Cyprian, the same Theophrastus, in the fourth book of the Plant History, has the following:42 "The fig-tree which in Crete is called Cyprian bears its fruit on the stem and the stoutest branches, sending out a small leafless shoot like a rootlet, to which the fruit is attached. The stem is large, resembling the white poplar, but the leaf is like that of the elm. CIt produces four crops, which is also the number of its sproutings. Its sweetness approaches that of the fig, and the inner flesh resembles that of wild-figs; in size it is like a plum."

The so‑called prodromi ("early-figs") are also mentioned by the same Theophrastus in the fifth book of Plant Aetiology43 as follows: "In the case of p335the fig-tree, whenever the atmosphere is mild, damp, and warm, it encourages sprouting; from this come the 'early figs.' " Proceeding, he has this to say: "Again, some produce 'early' figs, such as the Laconian, the white-navel, and several other varieties, whereas others do not." DAnd Seleucus, in the Dialect Dictionary, mentions the word proiterikê ('early') as applied to a kind of fig-tree, because it bears its fruit early. A double-bearing tree is mentioned by Aristophanes in the Ecclesiazusae:44 "You, meanwhile, take some leaves of the double-bearing fig-tree." Also Antiphanes in The Women of Tough-Town:45 "It is down below, right by the double-bearing fig-tree." And Theopompus, in the fifty-fourth book of his Histories,46 says that in parts of Philip's domain, Eround about Bisaltia, Amphipolis, and Grastonia, in Macedonia, the fig-trees produce figs, the vines grapes, the olive-trees olives, in the middle of spring, at the time when you would expect them to be just bursting forth, and that Philip was lucky in everything. In the second book concerning Plants Theophrastus says that even the wild-fig bears twice in a season; others say also that it bears three times, as on the island of Ceos. Theophrastus also says47 that if the fig-tree be planted in a squill-bulb it comes into bearing quicker and is not injured by worms; and in fact anything that is planted in squills grows more quickly and has a sturdier growth. FAgain Theophrastus says, in the second book of Plant Aetiology:48 "The Indian fig-tree, as it is called, although it is of surprising height, has fruit which is small and meagre, as if it had expended p337all its nourishment in getting its growth." And in the second book of the History of Plants our authority says: "There is also another variety of fig-tree in Hellas, Cilicia, and Cyprus, with runty fruit, which bears a good fig in front of the leaf, but the runt behind it. Other trees there are also, which in general produce from the last year's growth, and not from the new. And this fig is the first to have ripe, sweet fruit, unlike the runty kinds among us. It also grows to be much larger than other figs, 78and its season of maturity is not long after the sprouting."

I know, too, of other names currently given to figs: regal, fig-regal, yellow-belly, venison, cake-fig,49 bitter-fig, wake-robin, dusty-white, dusty-black, fountain-fig, mill-fig, and scallion-fig.

Speaking of the name given to figs (sykon), Tryphon, in the second book of the History of Plants,50 says that Androtion, in the Farmers' Handbook, tells the story that Sykeus, one of the Titans, was pursued by Zeus and taken under the protection of his mother, Earth, Band that she caused the plant to grow for her son's pleasure; from him also the city of Sykea in Cilicia got its name. But the Epic poet Pherenicus, a Heracleot by birth, declares that the fig was named from Syke, the daughter of Oxylus; for Oxylus, son of Oreius, married his sister Hamadryas and begot, among others, Carya (walnut), Balanus (oak-nut), Craneia (cornel), Morea (mulberry), Aegeirus (poplar), Ptelea (elm), Ampelus (vine), and Sykê (fig-tree); and these are called Hamadryad ("tree") nymphs, and from them many trees derive their names. Hence, also, he adds, Hipponax says:51 C"The black p339fig-tree, sister of the vine." But Sosibius, the Lacedaemonian, by way of proving that the fig-tree is a discovery of Dionysus, says52 that for that reason the Lacedaemonians even worship a Dionysus of the Fig. And the Naxians, according to Andriscus and again Aglaosthenes,53 record that Dionysus is called Meilichius ("gentle") because he bestowed the fruit of the fig. For this reason, also, among the Naxians the face of the god called Dionysus Baccheus is made of the vine, whereas that of Dionysus Meilichius is of fig-wood. For, they say, figs are called meilicha ("mild fruit").

DThat figs are more useful to man than all other so‑called tree fruits, is sufficiently proved by Herodotus of Lycia by many circumstances in his treatise on figs, and in particular he says that new-born children grow sturdy if nourished with fig-juice. Pherecrates, or whoever is the author of The Persians, says:54 "If any of us after long search ever spies a fresh fig, we smear it on the babies' eyes," evidently in the belief that figs are an uncommonly good remedy. EAnd the admirable and honey-tongued Herodotus, in the first book of his Histories,55 says that figs are a great boon. His words are: "O King, thou art making ready to march against men who wear trousers of leather, and the rest of their garments are of leather; they eat, too, food not such as they desire, but such as they have, because they inhabit a land that is rugged; moreover, they use not wine, but are water-drinkers; they have no figs p341to eat, or any other good thing." Polybius of Megalopolis, also, in the sixteenth book of his Histories,56 says that at the time "when Philip, the father of Perseus, overran Asia, Fhe was embarrassed for lack of rations for his men, and so he accepted figs from the Magnesians, since they had no grain. When, therefore, he had overmastered Myus, he gave the region to the Magnesians in gratitude for the figs." And Ananius the iambic poet also said:57 "If one should lock up within the house much gold, a few figs, and two or three men, he would discover how much better than gold figs are."

79Such was the extent of Magnus's "fig plucking." Then the physician Daphnus said: "Phylotimus, in the third book On Food, says that fresh figs differ considerably in comparison with one another, both as regards varieties, the seasons when they are severally produced, and their effects; but speaking generally, those that are juicy, especially those that are thoroughly ripe, readily dissolve, and are digested more easily than other fruit, and do not hinder the digestion of other food. They also have the effects of moist food in being mucilaginous, sweet, and slightly alkaline, Band cause an evacuation which is copious, loose, rapid, and quite painless. They also produce chyle possessing a salty acidity, when taken with salted food. They readily dissolve, as I said, because although we may eat them in large quantities, we soon become very loose. But this would be impossible if these masses remained and were not quickly dissolved. They are digested more easily than other fruit, as is shown by the fact that if we eat many times as many of them as we eat of other fruit we can p343dispose of them without pain; Cbut what is more significant, if we eat more than the usual amount of other food it gives us no trouble, provided that figs be eaten first. It is clear, therefore, that if we can dispose of both, figs must be digestible themselves and do not hinder the digestion of other food. Their effects, then, are as aforesaid. The mucilaginous and the salty qualities we detect from the fact that they make the hands both sticky and clean, Dwhile the sweetness is noticed in the mouth. That they produce evacuation without cramps or disturbance, and more abundant, rapid, and mild, we think needs no further statement. Moreover, they undergo but little change in the process, not because they are hard to digest, but because we take them down quickly with no mastication, and they make the passage quickly. They produce a salty juice because it has been proved that figs possess this sodic element, and they will cause the juice to be more salty or more acid according to the nature of the other liquids drunk with them. EFor salted foods will increase the saltiness of the juice, whereas vinegar and thyme will increase its acidity."

Heracleides of Tarentum, in the Symposium, asks whether it is better to take warm or cold water after eating figs. Those, he says, who advocate warm water urge it because they notice the fact that warm water quickly cleanses the hands; hence, they say, it is probable that in the belly also figs are quickly dissolved by warm water. FFurther, when warm water is poured on figs outside the body it dissolves their substance, and reduces them to small bits, whereas cold water solidifies them. But those who recommend the drinking of cold water argue that p345"taking a cold drink carries down by its weight the food lodging in the stomach; for figs do not act kindly on the stomach, since they overheat it and reduce its tone; wherefore some persons actually make a practice of drinking unmixed wine with them. After this the contents of the bowels are readily expelled." 80One should take full and abundant draughts after eating figs, in order that they may not remain in the stomach, but may be carried to the lower parts of the intestines.

Other authorities say that figs should not be eaten at noon; for they are likely to bring on illness at that hour, as Pherecrates has said in The Good-for‑Nothings.58 So Aristophanes in The Rehearsal:59 "Seeing him ill one summer, he ate figs at mid-day, that he, too, might have a pain." And Eubulus in Sphinx-Cario:60 B"Dear Zeus, yes! I was indeed ill, good sir, for the other day I ate some figs at noon." Also Nicophon in The Sirens:61 "Why, if one of us easts green figs at noon and then takes a nap, straightway there comes on the run a wretched, good-for‑nothing fever; then it falls upon us and makes us vomit bile."

Diphilus of Siphnos says that fresh figs are only slightly nutritious and produce poor chyle, but are easily excreted, remain on the surface of the stomach, Cand are more readily assimilated than the dry. Those that mature as winter approaches and are ripened by forcing are poorer, whereas those which come at the height of their seasons are better, being p347ripened naturally. Those with a large proportion of acid, and those which have but little water, are, it is true, better flavoured, but are rather heavy. The figs of Tralles are similar to the Rhodian, but the Chian and all others produce a poorer chyle than they. Mnesitheus of Athens, in his book on Victuals says: "In the case of all such fruits as are eaten raw, like pears, figs, and Delphic apples, et cetera, Done should carefully observe the season when the juices contained in them are neither crude nor fermented nor too dried up by over-ripeness." Demetrius of Scepsis, in the fifteenth book of the Trojan Battle-Order,62 says that those who abstain from eating figs have good voices. At any rate, he says that Hegesianax of Alexandria, the historian, was at first a poverty-stricken actor of tragedies, but afterwards became a skilled actor with a voice of pleasing resonance, having tasted no figs for eighteen years. EI also know of proverbs currently said of figs, such as the following: "A fig after the fish, a vegetable after the meat." "Birds like figs, but they will not plant them."

Apples. — These are called specifically Delphic apples by Mnesitheus of Athens in the work on Victuals. Now Diphilus says that apples, when green and not yet fully ripe, have noxious juices and are bad for the stomach, since they lie on the surface of it; moreover they generate bile, induce disease, and cause chills. Yet, when they are ripe, sweet apples have more wholesome juices and are more easily passed because they have no astringency; Fbut sour apples have juices more unwholesome and binding. Apples which are inferior in sweetness, yet pleasant p349to eat, are more wholesome because of their moderate astringency. Summer apples have poor juices, but autumn apples are better in this respect. The so‑called orbiculata63 have sweetness joined with a pleasant astringent quality, and are wholesome. The setania,64 as they are called, and the platania65 as well, 81have a good flavour and are easily passed, but are not wholesome. Those called Mordian grow best in Apollonia, also called Mordium, and resemble the orbiculate. And the Cydonian,66 some kinds of which are called struthia, are in general the most wholesome of all apples, especially when fully ripe. Glaucides says that the best of all fruits are quinces, phaulia,67 and struthia; Band Phylotimus, in the third and tenth books on Food, says that early spring apples are much harder to digest than pears, whether we compare green apples with green pears, or ripe apples with ripe pears. Moreover, they have the effects of liquid foods: those that are sour and not quite ripe have a greater astringency and moderate acidity, producing in the body the liquid principle called "astringent." And in general apples are less digestible than pears, as is shown by the fact that though we may eat fewer apples, we digest them less easily, whereas we may take a larger quantity of pears and digest them better. CThe astringent liquid produced by them, and called by Praxagoras "translucent," is explained by the fact that foods not easily digested have thicker juices;68 but it has been demonstrated that, in p351general, apples are less digestible than pears, and that astringent substances are more apt to produce thicker juices. Thus, among winter apples, quinces produce more astringent juices, while struthia, having fewer juices, which therefore are less astringent, can be more readily digested.

Nicander of Thyateira says that all quinces are called struthia, but he is mistaken. DFor Glaucides makes the matter clear when he says that the best fruits are the three, quinces, phaulia, and struthia. Now quinces are mentioned by Stesichorus in the Helen69 in these words: "Many a quince they threw before the throne of the king, many leaves of myrtle and chaplets of roses, and wreaths of violets twined." Alcman, too, speaks70 of them, and Cantharus, also, in the Tereus:71 "With quinces as far as the breasts."72 Philemon is another writer who calls quinces struthia, in The Rustic.73

EPhylarchus, in the sixth book of his Histories,74 says that quinces by their fragrance can even dull the power of deadly drugs. "At any rate," he says, "when Phariac poison is put into a chest which still smells of the quinces that were stored therein it evanesces, retaining none of its peculiar properties. For when it had been mixed and given to persons against whom this poison had been secretly prepared, it left them quite unharmed. The cause was afterwards discovered on questioning the seller of p353the drug, who recognized the result as due to storing the quinces with it."

FHermon,75 in his Cretan Glossary, says that kodymala is a name for the quinces. But Polemon, in the fifth book of his Answer to Timaeus,76 maintains that some record the kodymalon as a species of flower. Alcman identifies it with the struthium when he says77 "smaller than a kodymalon," where Apollodorus and Sosibius understand the quince. But that the quince is different from the struthium 82is plainly stated by Theophrastus in the second book of his History.78

Excellent apples also grow in Sidus (which is a village belonging to Corinth), as Euphorion or Archytas says in The Crane:79 "Fair as the apple which grows red on the clay slopes of little Sidus." They are mentioned also by Nicander in Things that Change80 in these words: "Forthwith he cut downy apples from the gardens of Sidus or Pleistus, and carved on them the marks of Cadmus."81 BThat Sidus is a village of Corinth is stated by Rhianus in the first book of his Heracleia82 and by Apollodorus of Athens in the fifth book of the Catalogue of Ships.83 And Antigonus of Carystus says, in Antipater,84 "Where my love was, sweeter far than the fair red apples which grow in wind-swept Ephyra."

Phaulian apples are named by Telecleides in the Amphictyons,85 as follows: "O ye who are sometimes p355fine, sometimes fouler than phaulian apples." CSo Theopompus in Theseus.86 And Androtion in the Farmers' Handbook says that "apple-trees are phaulian or struthian (the fruit of the latter does not fall off from its stalk), still others are the spring-time apples, either Laconian, or Siduntian, or with downy skins." As for me, dear friends, I hold in greatest esteem the apples sold in Rome and called Matian, which are said to come from a village situated in the Alps, near Aquileia. Not much inferior to these are the apples of Gangra, a city of Paphlagonia.

DThat Dionysus is also the discoverer of the apple is attested by Theocritus87 of Syracuse, in words something like these: "Storing the apples of Dionysus in the folds at my bosom, and wearing on my head white poplar, sacred bough of Heracles." And Neoptolemus the Parian, in the Dionysiad, records on his own authority that apples as well as all other fruits were discovered by Dionysus. "As for the epimelis, that is a name given to a kind of pear," according to Pamphilus. Apples of the Hesperides is a term recorded by Timachidas in the fourth book of his Banquets. EAnd Pamphilus says that in Lacedaemon these are placed on the tables of the gods;88 fragrant they are, and also not good to eat, and they are called apples of the Hesperides. Aristocrates, to cite another example, in the fourth book of his Spartan History89 speaks of "apples, too, and apple-trees called Hesperid."

p357 Peaches. — Theophrastus, in the second book of the History of Plants,90 discoursing on trees the fruit of which is concealed, writes as follows: "For of all the larger sorts the growth is visible at the beginning, as in the almond, walnut, acorn, and all similar fruits except the Persian nut; here it is by no means true; Fbut again we see it in the pomegranate, pear, and apple-tree." Diphilus of Siphnos, in his work on Food for the Invalid and the Healthy, says: "The so‑called Persian apples (by some also called Persian plums) are fairly good in flavour and more nourishing than apples." Phylotimus, in the third book of his work on Food, says that the Persian apple is rather fatty and mealy, also rather spongy, and when put in a press gives out a very large quantity of oil. 83Aristophanes the grammarian, in the Laconian Glossary,91 says that the Lacedaemonians call plums "Persian sour apples," being what others92 call adrya.

Citrus-fruit. — About this much questioning arose among the wiseacres at the table, whether there is any mention of it in the old writers. For Myrtilus sent the anxious seekers of our company as it were among the wild she-goats,93 by saying that Hegesander of Delphi mentions it in his commentaries, but that he could not for the moment recall his words. BIn refuting him Plutarch declared: "As for myself, I am sure that Hegesander did not mean the citron at all, for I have read all his commentaries for this express purpose, since another p359friend of mine insisted, as you have done, that he knows of it, basing his assurance on some scholastic comments of a gentleman of no mean repute; it is, therefore, high time for you, friend Myrtilus, to look for other testimony." Thereupon Aemilianus said that Juba, king of Mauretania and a very learned man, mentions the citron in his History of Libya,94 asserting that among the Libyans it is called the apple of Hesperia, Cwhence Heracles brought to Greece the apples called, from their colour, golden. As for the so‑called apples of the Hesperides, Asclepiades, in the sixtieth book of his Egyptian History,95 says that Earth brought them forth in honour of the "nuptials," as it was called, of Zeus and Hera. Whereupon Democritus, with a shrewd glance at them, said: "If Juba records anything of the sort, then renounce him and all his works, his Libyan history and his wanderings of Hanno as well. I maintain that the word 'citron' is not found in ancient writers, but the thing itself is described by Theophrastus of Eresus in his History of Plants Din such a way that I am forced to understand his description as referring to the citron. For the philosopher, in the fourth book of his History of Plants,96 has this to say: 'Among many other products of the land of Media and Persia there is in particular the so‑called Persian or97 Median apple. This tree has a leaf similar and pretty nearly equal in size to that of the wild‑strawberry-tree and the walnut, and it has spines like the wild pear or white-thorn, but smooth and very sharp and strong. While the fruit is not eaten, it is very fragrant itself, and so also are the leaves of the tree; and if the fruit p361be placed among garments, it keeps them free of moths. EIt is also useful when one has by chance drunk a deadly poison (for as a dose in wine it upsets the stomach and brings up the poison), and it also sweetens the breath; for if the pulp of the fruit be cooked in broth or anything else, or squeezed and sucked into the mouth, it makes the breath sweet. The seed is taken out and sown in springtime in beds which have been carefully prepared; it is then watered every three or four days; Fwhen the plant is well up, it is transplanted in the spring to soft, moist ground not too thin-soiled. It bears its fruit at all seasons; for when some have been plucked, others are in blossom, and others again are ripening. Those blossoms which have a kind of distaff98 projecting from the centre are fertile, but those which have none are infertile.' Again, in the first book of the same work,99 he gives the facts about the distaff and the fertile blossoms. Impelled, therefore, my friends, by this description which Theophrastus gives of the colour, fragrance, and leaves, I am convinced that the citron is meant; and let none of you be surprised that he says it is not eaten, because even down to our grandfathers' time no one would eat it, 84but they laid it away like some precious heirloom in their chests along with the clothes.

"Now, that this plant really came into Greece from the inland region of Asia may be found mentioned in the poets of comedy; speaking of their size, it is plain that they have the citron in mind. Thus Antiphanes, in The Boeotian Woman:100 'A. It is silly p363even to mention a dainty tid-bit to persons who are virtually insatiable. However, take these apples, Bmy girl. — B. They are fine, indeed. — A. Fine? Ye gods, I should say so! For the seed of this fruit has only just arrived in Athens from the great king. — B. I thought, by the Goddess of Light,101 you were going to say these golden apples came from the Hesperides, since there are only three of them. — A. The fair is rare always, and everywhere dear.' And Eriphus in the Meliboea, after prefixing these very iambics of Antiphanes as though they were his own, continues:102 'B. I thought, by Artemis, Cyou were going to say these golden apples came from the Hesperides, since there are only three. — A. The fair is rare always, and everywhere dear. — B. I'll give an obol for them, at the most. For I will count the cost. — A. And here are pomegranates. — B. How nice they are! — A. Ay, for they say this was the one and only tree that Aphrodite planted in Cyprus. — B. Worshipful Berbeia!103 And so you brought with you only those three? — A. Yes, for I could get no more.'

"If to this anyone objects that what is to‑day called a citron is not meant here, let plainer testimony be cited, although Phaenias of Eresus offers us the suggestion Dthat possibly the juniper-berry (kedron) is intended, from kedros ("cedar"). For the cedar, he says, in the fifth book on Plants,104 also has spines round the leaves. But that this is also true of the citron is known to all.

p365 "I am well aware, too, that when the citron is eaten before any food, dry or liquid, it is an antidote to every poisonous ingredient; I learned this from a townsman of mine who was entrusted with the governorship of Egypt. EHe had sentenced some convicted criminals to be the prey of wild beasts, and they were to be thrown among the creatures called asps. As they were entering the theatre assigned for the punishment of the robbers, a peddler-woman in the street gave them in pity some of the citron which she was holding in both hands and which she was eating. They took it and ate, and when, after a short time, they were thrown among those cruel and monstrous creatures, the asps, they received no injury when bitten. Perplexity seized the magistrate, Fand finally he questioned the soldier who guarded them to see whether they had eaten or drunk anything; when he learned that the citron had been given them, he ordered next day that a piece of citron should be given, exactly as before, to one convict, but not to the other, and the one who ate suffered no injury when bitten by the reptiles, but the other died the moment he was struck. And so, since the same result has been attested in many instances, the citron has been proved to be an antidote to every poison. 85Again, if one boil a whole citron in its natural state, seeds and all, in some Attic honey, it is dissolved in the honey, and anyone who takes two or three 'fingers' of it in the morning will not be harmed in any way by poison. If one doubts this, let him learn also from Theopompus of Chios, a man devoted to the truth, who has spent much money in the accurate investigation of history. p367BHe, namely, in his account of Clearchus, tyrant of Heraclea in Pontus, contained in the thirty-eighth book of his Histories,105 tells how he forcibly put to death many persons, giving most of them aconite to drink. 'When then,' he says, 'all had come to know this poisonous loving-cup of his, they never went out of doors without eating rue; for those who eat this beforehand are not in the least injured by drinking aconite, which, he says, received its name because it grew in a place called Aconae, near Heracleia.' "

CWhen Democritus had ended these remarks, most of the company expressed their wonder at the effects of the citron, and ate it up as though they had not touched any food or drink before. Pamphilus, in the Dialect Dictionary, says that the Romans call it citrus.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Frag. 359. He is speaking of the over-long papyrus roll.

2 Frag. 81 Schneider.

3 An Egyptian plant identified with the dasheen, Colocasium antiquorum.

4 Frag. 82 Schneider.

5 Cf. Athen. 477C.

6 IV.8.7.

7 F. H. G. I.350.

8 Cf. Od. XI.576.

9 P. L. G.4 frag. 151.

10 Kock I.377.

11 Hist. Plant. VII.4.6.

12 II.14.3.

13 Hist. Plant. VII.1.6.

14 Carried at the head of a procession in the festival of Plynteria.

15 Kock II.84; cf. Athen. 43B.

16 F. H. G. I.423.

17 Kock II.365.

18 F. H. G. IV.477.

19 Kock I.419.

20 Kock II.356; cf. Athen. 55A.

21 Kock I.167; cf. Athen. 80A. The meaning of phibaleos is uncertain. Schol. Aristoph. Ach. 802 derives it from a place Phibalis, but he does not know whether it is in Attica or Megara. There is similar uncertainty regarding phormynioi, 75D.

22 Kock I.211.

23 Kock I.798.

24 Kock II.417.

25 The "lynx-eyed" Lynceus of the Argonauts.

26 Bergk, Anth. Lyr.2, p220, ed. Diehl p301.

27 Kock III.287.

28 "Blood-figs," from αἷμα, "blood."

29 P. L. G.4 frag. 51.

30 Kock I.246.

31 T. G. F.2 573.

32 Kaibel 115.

33 T. G. F.2 172.

34 Fig-culture was unsuccessful in California until it was discovered that the insect harboured by the wild fig was necessary for the pollination of the cultivated tree. Cf. Theophr. Hist. Plant. II.8.33, Caus. Plant. II.9.5.

35 Kock II.343.

36 Kock I.723.

37 Od. XII.103.

38 Kock I.617; cf. Plin. H. N. XXV.29.

39 p188 Nauck.

40 Kock I.239.

41 III.17.5.

42 IV.2.3.

43 Caus. Plant. V.1.4; V.1.8.

44 707.

45 Kock II.96.

46 F. H. G. I.324.

47 Hist. Plant. II.5.5.

48 Caus. Plant. II.10.2.

49 Cf. 113D.

50 Frag. 119 Velsen.

51 P. L. G.4 frag. 34.

52 F. H. G. II.628.

53 F. H. G. IV.304.

54 Kock I.184.

55 I.71.

56 XVI.24.9 Hultsch.

57 P. L. G.4 frag. 3.

58 Kock I.167. See 75B.

59 Kock I.511.

60 Kock II.201.

61 Kock I.777.

62 Frag. 9 Gaede.

63 A Latin word ("round") which Diphilus could not have used. For a similar case cf. 294E, F.

64 "This year's," a term properly applied to spring wheat.

65 Cf. platanos, "plane-tree"; but the meaning as applied to an apple is unknown.

66 Quinces (Cydonia vulgaris), eaten raw in Greece, decidedly the best "apple" of the country.

67 This term is applied to a coarse olive, 56C.

68 A proof e contrario.

69 P. L. G.4 III.217.

70 Op. cit. fr. 143.

71 Kock I.765.

72 See critical note.

Thayer's Note: the critical note to the Greek, κυδωνίοις μήλοισιν εἰς τὰ τιτθία, reads:

The verse lacks meaning as it stands, but it is hardly safe to accept Meineke's ἴσα for εἰς, "equal to quinces." Supply "you may compare her."

73 Kock II.478.

74 F. H. G. I.336.

75 Hermonax, cf. 76E.

76 Frag. 43 Preller.

77 P. L. G.4 frag. 90.

78 Hist. Plant. II.2.5.

79 44 Meineke.

80 Frag. 50 Schneider.

81 Alphabetic signs, Καδμεῖα γράμματα.

82 178 Meineke.

83 F. G. H. I.457.

84 170 Wilamowitz.

85 Kock I.211; cf. above, 81 A, note.

86 Kock I.738.

87 II.120.

88 At the Theoxenia, where the gods were supposed to be guests; cf. 137E, 237E, note.º

89 F. H. G. IV.332.

90 Not in the text as we have it. The epitomator, misled by the ambiguous term Περσικόν, has combined the account of the "Persian nut" (see 67A) with that of the "Persian apple," or peach. The "oil" mentioned is from the nut, not the peach; cf. 83D, note d.

91 p188 Nauck.

92 Sicilians, according to Hesychius. Adrya possibly = Hebrew ethrog, "citron."

93 Equivalent to εἰς κόρακας ἀποπέμπειν, "to send to the devil," i.e. "reduce to silence."

94 F. H. G. III.472.

95 F. H. G. III.306.

96 IV.4.2.

97 Later distinguished: Περσικόν, "peach"; Μηδικόν, "orange" (Modern. Greek πορτογάλλι, "from Portugal").

98 The pistil.

99 Hist. Plant. I.13.4.

100 Kock II.35.

101 Artemis-Hecate, of the underworld, which was commonly thought to be in the west.

102 Kock II.429.

103 Perhaps an epithet of Cyprian Aphrodite. Pauly-Wissowa I.2759. See critical note.

Thayer's Note: the critical note to the Greek, Βέρβεια, reads:

Βέρβεια Kock: βερβεαι A.

104 F. H. G. II.301.

105 F. H. G. I.311.


Thayer's Note:

a To obviate needless e‑mail or careless citation in your paper: notice that this heading — the one that appears here in the Loeb edition — refers only to the material on pp315‑319; after which, and I do admit the second title in the Loeb edition a bit confusing, we have a full text of the remainder of Book III. As for any other excerpting, the editor's Introduction will tell you (pp. xvii‑xviii) it was not done in the 21c by the perpetrator of this website, but by a medieval copyist. In sum, the three webpages comprising Book 3 of the Deipnosophistae on this site are not a selection or an abridgment, but the entire extant text of that Book, or at least that printed in the L. C. L.


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