There are hints in Pliny that the grammarian Apion wrote a work of pharmacy, but the evidence in Pliny is tenuous and somewhat contradictory, and some has even been emended away. Apion is rarely considered a pharmacist, although there are parallels of grammarians—contemporary with Apion—who wrote on pharmacy. Moreover, three overlooked passages provide a much stronger case for pharmaceutical work by Apion. The surviving recipes prescribe mineral-based compounds as remedies, confirming the evidence in Pliny’s index, and they are also consistent both with Greek and Egyptian medical practice.
KeyserP.T.KeyserIrby-MassieAmmōnios of Alexandria, Apion of Oasis, Apios Phaskos, Apollōnios “Ophis” (Snake), “Organikos,” “Thēr” (Beast), Axios, Hērakleidēs of Ephesos, Iulius Secundus, Menekratēs, Pamphilos of Alexandria, and Pasikratēs2008a b c d e f g h i j66104105110-111104184 367 455 544 606-607 and 627(2008)
ManettiD.Boudon-MillotV.Problemi di tradizione tardoantica e medievale di Galeno, De compositione medicamentorum per generaStoria della tradizione e edizione dei medici Greci: atti del vi colloquio internazionale2010Napoli129142
Neitzel1977185-328; and augmented by Theodoridis (1989).
Damon2011138-139. Note also F 17 (Pliny 36.79: Apion like others wrote about the wasteful pyramids) and F 19 (Pliny 30.99: the scarab-beetle that rolls up balls of manure) each of which may derive either from the Egyptian Matters or from a work of paradoxa.
JosephusAgainst Apion2.29 34 135; Athenaios 1.29 (16f); Jerome Illustrious Men 13.2; and the Suda α-3215: all give Apion’s ethnic as ‘Alexandria’.
Keyser1999237; Murphy (2004 29-48) emphasizes rather the “structural intricacy and variety” of the work but sees an overall “rough outline” with medicinal uses of plants and animals in books 20-32 and metals and minerals in books 33-37; recently Henderson (2011) apparently explicates similarly.
Mayhoff1906118; Beaujeu and Ernout 1951 153-154.
Guthrie 1920/1987 287-296; Baltes1972.
OribasiusCollection44.21.2 (cmg 6.2.1 p. 142) preserves the text; Scribonius Largus 202 preserves Meges’ plaster of mineral medicines. On Meges see Raeder 1931 and Scarborough 2008. On ‘flake’ see below § 4.
Montanari (2002) suggested the early second century ce; whereas Irby-Massie (2008a) gives a date-range of 20 bce to 95 ce (i.e. before Asclepiades); Athenaeus 10 (414e) cites him as ‘of Alexandria’.
See Wellmann 1895; Irby-Massie (2008d) gives a date-range of 30 to 80 ce (i.e. before Andromachus).
See Tosi 2007 and Keyser2008i.
See Doyen-Higuet 2002 and McCabe2008a.
AristophanesFrogs712; Dioscorides mm 5.156; Celsus 5.1; Pliny 35.195-196; Galen On the Mixing and Effects of Simple Medicines 9.1.4 (12.182-189 K.) and often prescribed; cf. Caley and Richards 1956 209 and Kalcyk 2003. (Within I simply cite Galen’s work as ‘Simples’.)
See Fabricius1972140192-196; Nutton 2003; Touwaide 2008b; and Keyser 2008b.
See HippocratesEpidemics2.1.1 (5.72 Littré) 3.3.3 (3.70 Littré) 3.3.7 (3.84 Littré); Scribonius Largus 25 (carbunculos quos anthracas dicunt); Celsus 5.28.1 (symptoms and course of the disease); Pliny 26.5-6 (a disease usually fatal); and Galen Unnatural Tumors 6 (7.719-720 K.). Similar remedies are prescribed by: Scribonius Largus 63 (alumen [alum] aeris flos [‘flower of copper’] and other ingredients) 206 (burnt copper aerugo [copper acetate] alumen and other ingredients) and Celsus 6.18.5 (chalcitis [copper ore] aerugo and other ingredients).
See Breasted1930382; Ebbell 1937 68-76; Majno 1975 111-115; and Gundlach 1980.
See Foye1977on copper mercury silver zinc and others; Liu et al. 2008; Borkow and Gabbay 2009; and Lemire Harrison and Turner 2013.
See Fabricius1972130190-192; Scarborough and Touwaide 2008; and Keyser 2008c.
GalenComp. Med. Sec. Locos5.3 gives three other recipes against ‘µεντάγρα’ two of which are from Pamphilus 12.839-842 K.; most of their ingredients are minerals similar to the ones here. The fourth recipe is from the obscure ‘Axios’: see Keyser 2008e.
GalenUse of the Parts7.14 (3.572 K. = 1.416 Helmreich): τῶν δ’ ἰατρῶν οἱ προσαγορευθέντες ὀργανικοί (‘those doctors called ‘machine-makers’’); see May 1968 v. 1 p. 364. Marganne 2006 74-78 analyses the chapters of Oribasius that preserve extensive extracts from Heliodorus who quoted earlier ‘organikoi’.
Heliodorus in OribasiusColl.49.8.7 (cmg 6.2.2 p. 14): Πασικράτην τὸν ὀργανικὸν γενόµενον ἐν τῇ Σιδῶνι (‘Pasicrates who was a “machine-maker” in Sidon’). See Michler 1968a 87-88 130-131 and Keyser 2008j.