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Eraclepa liber antiquus de simplici medicina est que latine ferraria nigra vocatur et cetera, et est quam moderni centrum galli et gallitricum silvestre dicunt.


antiquus (-us A f) AC efp | ãtiqus B

ferraria AB efp | feraria C

et cetera om. e

{cetera} et om. p

galli AC efp | gali B

gallitricum (-tri- f; -cũ e; -tricũ p) AC efp | galitricũ B


Eraclepa, it occurs in an ancient book called De simplici medicina, and there it is called ferraria nigra in Latin, et cetera. And it is the plant our modern authors call centrum galli and gallitricum silvestre.


  • Eraclepa is a corrupted version of (h)eraclea < Greek Ἡρακλεία /Hērakleía/ a plant seen as either sacred to Hercules or given this name because of the perceived Herculean strength of its curative power, or Hercules is supposed to have discovered these powers, with many other naming motives being also proposed. Could it be that Simon did not recognise that Eraclepa was nothing else than (H)eraclea since he repeats in his entry Ferraria nigra the corrupted name eraclepa, but in his two entries Heraclea (1) and Heraclea (2) he makes no mention of it?

Botanical identification:

The unexplained intrusion of "p" in the name must have occurred very early on since it is found in all of Simon's witnesses. Perhaps an original *Eracleja was misread as Eraclepa, a misreading that might have happened even as far back as in a Greek original: ΗΡΑΚΛΕΙΑ > *ΗΡΑΚΛΕΠΑ . Ps.-Apuleius, ed. Howard (1927: 131-2) HERBA HERACLEA, where on p. 132 it says: Nomina herbae. A Graecis dicitur heraclea, alii sideritis, … Itali ferraria nigra, …. - "the Greeks call it heraclea, some sideritis, … the Italians ferraria nigra {lit. 'black ironwort'}." [[1]] The name heraclea was applied to a large number of plants, e.g. in the fore-mentioned Herbarius of Ps. Apuleius it is listed as a synonym for a further three plants; see also Simon's Eraclea.

André (1985: 120), suggests for this particular Heraclea in Ps. Apuleius, ed. Howard (1927: 132): Sideritis romana L. [[2]], a plant with a Mediterranean distribution.

WilfGunther 17:04, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

See also: Sideritis

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