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Campsice aut sicen Dyascoride hastas habet longas digitorum quatuor in terra proiectas lacrimo plenas folia sunt ei lenticule similia et peplo, sed minora et tenuiora, semen habet sub foliis rotundum sicut peplum: et est sine flore radix est illi tenera et inutilis, nascitur asperis et saxosis locis.


Campsice AC | Campsite B efjp | Capsice i
sicen B fp | sicẽ A | sicem C | sycen ms. e | site i | sicen l’ sicea j
hastas AC fp | astas B eij
quattuor C | quatuor AB ef | iiiior ms. i | mss. jp have the early modern Arabic numeral for "4" as drawn in lines 4 or 5 of [[1]]; ms. j adds superscript or
terra ABC | terram efijp
lacrimo | lachrymo A
sunt ei om. p
semen | se f
{nascitur} in add. fj


The plant campsice {"thyme spurge"} or sice. Dyascorides says: It has stalks 4 fingers long, which are spread along the earth and full of sap, with leaves similar to the those of lenticula {"lentil"} and peplus {"wartweed, Euphorbia Peplus"}, but smaller and thinner. It has its round fruit under its leaves like peplus. It is without flower. It has a tender but medicinally useless root. It grows in rough and rocky places.


Greek χαμαισύκη /khamaisýkē/ literally means "ground-fig", and in fact its synonym mentioned above: sicen < συκῆ /sykê/ means "fig-tree"; Simon's form sicen represents the Greek accusative form: συκῆν /sykên/. However, it is not clear what the perceived relationship is between the two very different plants, i.e. a spurge and the fig-tree. Carnoy (1959: 76), however, maintains this, chamaesycē, … nom d'une petite euphorbe (euphorbia Chamaesyce) dont les branchettes s'étalent sur le sol a la façon – mutatis mutandis – de celles du figuier – "chamaesycē is the name of a small euphorbia (euphorbia Chamaesyce), whose little branches are stretched over the soil in the manner – mutatis mutandis – of those of the fig-tree."

χαμαισύκη /khamaisýkē/, Latinised as chamaesyce, had already suffered a number of corruptions in Simon's source, i.e. Dyascorides alphabeticus cf. Bodmer f 32v Capsite [[2]], whose text is ultimately taken from Dioscorides Longobardus, 4, 164, ed. Stadler (1901: 80-1) De camesicu [[3]]. The original Greek text can be found in De materia medica 4, 169, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: II.317), χαμαισύκη /khamaisýkē/ [[4]].

The sound changes that resulted in the form Campsice are in accord with changes in late Greek and Vulgar Latin, i.e. late Greek αι > ε {/ai/ > /e/}, υ > ι {/y/ > /i/}, the Greek sound represented by "χ" i.e. /kh/ was pronounced /k/ in Vulgar and medieval Romance- based Latin leading to /kamesíke/. Also in words of four syllables with stress on the penultimate, the syllable preceding the stress is the weakest, which often led to the loss of the vowel in Vulgar Latin, i.e. /kam(e)síke/; cf. civ(i)táte > Spanish ciudad, Portuguese cidade, carr(i)care > Spanish cargar but Portuguese carregar. The resultant variant camsice is phonetically near-identical to campsice.

Botanical identification:

Most botanical authors agree that the likeliest identification of the plant is Euphorbia chamaesyce L. (syn. Chamaesyce canescens (L.) Prokh.) "thyme spurge" [[5]], [[6]]. It is a prostrate annual herb that prefers to grow on dry, sandy to stony soil along roadsides. Its distribution stretches from the Canary Islands through the Mediterranean to northwestern Russia and Western Asia.

WilfGunther (talk) 12:31, 29 December 2016 (GMT)

See also Camesichi , Peplos

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