"TRINI COLORES, CANDIDUS PRIMO, MOX RUBENS, MATURIS NIGER" (Nat. 15, 97) ALBERI COLORI MEDICINA: SUGGESTIONI DAI LIBRI 15 E 23 DELLA NATURALIS HISTORIA DI PLINIO IL VECCHIO

Daniela Cavallo

Abstract


TRINI COLORES, CANDIDUS PRIMO, MOX RUBENS, MATURIS NIGER (Nat. 15, 97) TREES COLOURS MEDICINE: SUGGESTIONS FROM BOOKS 15 AND 23 OF THE NATURALIS HISTORIA BY PLINIUS THE ELDER

Books 15 and 23 of the Naturalis Historia by Plinius the Elder are part of his opera dedicated to botany. Book 15 is a compendium relating to the observation and description of specific nature and characteristics of the olive tree and of fruit trees, mostly cultivated; these trees are also analyzed in the book through digressions on the remedia. Book 23 is articulated as a broad reflection on medicinal properties (medicinae arborum) of the trees described in Book 15. These two books, even if one independent from the other, can be read in parallel. Basically, I present my study about the two books following the original organization of the Plinian opera; it focuses not only on the investigation about the term colour itself, but also about the names of the different colours and other terms or attributions attributable to the colour/colours. The search for colour in the original texts is more emphasized in the analysis of Book 15; otherwise, I offer Book 23 as a reduced promptuarium medicinarum arborum, obviously based on the Plinian description. In the end, some brief considerations on the value of colour in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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