Reading17-1 (dragged) 6

Reading17-1 (dragged) 6 - Reading 17-1 7 terebinths and...

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Reading 17-1 7 terebinths and silphion. Parenthetically he mentions that in Cyrene they fence off the silphion places so that the animals cannot get to them, and that the region bears all sorts of fruits and animals right up to the region where the silphion grows. The problem with the written history of silphion is that the writers who dealt with the plant from Theo- phrastus on—be they historians or herbalists—do not state explicitly that they had a view of the plant itself and that their description was not based on common knowledge or hearsay. Later botanists who claim to have seen not silphion but asafoetida, also bemoan their having seen it out of season, or too late in the season, or complain that the specimens they had at their disposal were too poor to classify. The only person who says straight-forwardly that he saw silphion is Synesius, an aristocrat of Cyrene in the 5th century and Bishop of Ptolemais. He was given some silphion as a gift from someone who grew it in his garden. It was obviously still considered precious, and Synesius lovingly scolds the giver for such generosity. John Gerard (1545–1612) the author of the famous English herbal of 1597, takes issue with Theophras- tus and Dioscorides in respect to pronouncements on silphion, which he calls magydare or laserwort. He
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course HIST 302 taught by Professor Jensic during the Summer '10 term at Purdue.

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