Transliteration versus Translation of Greek Plant Names in the Syriac Medical Writings of Sergius of Reš ʿAynā: On the Tables of Contents in BL Add. 14,661

In: Aramaic Studies
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  • 1 CNRS, UMR 8167 Orient & Méditerranée, ERC Floriental, Paris, France
  • 2 CNRS, UMR 8167 Orient & Méditerranée, ERC Floriental, Paris, France

This article explores some of the translational choices made by Sergius of Reš ʿAynā in translating the Greek plant names found in Books VIVIII of Galen’s treatise On simple drugs into Syriac, and especially as found in the “tables of contents”—or pínakes—which preface these books. These latter took the form of alphabetically ordered lists of Greek phytonyms transliterated into Syriac characters, occasionally followed by a translational gloss in Syriac. After a brief introduction, we discuss the form, function and content of these pínakes, outline a typology, and suggest explanations for selected problematic features.

Abstract

This article explores some of the translational choices made by Sergius of Reš ʿAynā in translating the Greek plant names found in Books VIVIII of Galen’s treatise On simple drugs into Syriac, and especially as found in the “tables of contents”—or pínakes—which preface these books. These latter took the form of alphabetically ordered lists of Greek phytonyms transliterated into Syriac characters, occasionally followed by a translational gloss in Syriac. After a brief introduction, we discuss the form, function and content of these pínakes, outline a typology, and suggest explanations for selected problematic features.

1. Introduction

Students of Syriac medical translations are very fortunate to have at their disposal an important manuscript, currently housed in the British Library as Additional 14,661,1 containing a virtually complete Syriac translation of Books VIVIII of Galen’s important pharmacological treatise On simple drugs.2 In addition to the Syriac translation of Galen’s text, it also contains three alphabetically arranged lists of plant names which, taken together, provide what has been characterized as “the earliest known Syriac glossary of plant names”.3

As implied in this last statement, the manuscript is important not only because of its contents, but also because of its early date, which William Wright had estimated, on the basis of palaeographic considerations, to be in the 6th or 7th century.4 Finally, the Syriac scholar whose translational work is conveyed in this manuscript is also important: It is none other than the famous 6th-century ecclesiastical philosopher, politician, and medical doctor, Sergius of Reš ʿAynā.5 One ought also to note the proximity of the palaeographic dating of this manuscript with the period of Sergius’s own translational activities. The manuscript in question is thus separated by a few generations at most from the period of the translator himself.

BL Add 14,661 is thus a quite important and early manuscript witness to what was probably the very first Syriac translation of On simple drugs.6 The three books it contains convey Galen’s descriptions of the therapeutic properties of medically useful plants, with the individual entries arranged alphabetically: Book VI is relevant to Greek plant names beginning with the letter alpha up through those beginning with the letter iota, Book VII from kappa through mu, and Book VIII from nu through omega.7

Since Sergius was producing a full translation of these three books in their entirety, from beginning to end, and not excerpting, extracting, paraphrasing or otherwise rearranging, he kept the original Greek alphabetical order of the entries, despite the fact that the alphabetical order in Syriac tradition, though similar, was slightly different from Greek. This potential obstacle for the targeted Syriac audience would have been at least partially mitigated by the presence of these alphabetical lists of plant names.8 They thus would have served a very practical purpose: that of a table of contents, a pínax as such was known in contemporary Byzantine Greek book culture, for each of the three books, allowing the reader to understand the structure of the book, and thus find much more quickly and efficiently the chapter entry which corresponded to the plant of interest.

With this general background in mind, the present article is concerned almost exclusively with these three alphabetical lists of plant names, which, as we have said, probably played the role of “tables of contents” or pínakes,9 prefaced to the translations of each of the three books, drawing attention, where appropriate, to the choices made by Sergius in transliterating each Greek plant name, and then translating it into Syriac—or not translating it, as the case may be. For purposes of illustration, special attention has been paid to the pínax of Book VI (see below, Figs. 2–9 in the appendix),10 since it is the best documented (see below, section § 2).

2. History of Scholarship

These three alphabetical lists of plant names (and BL Add 14,661 in general) have already been the object of previous study. Robert Payne Smith and his collaborators, for example, made extensive use of them in preparing the Thesaurus Syriacus.11 And thanks to the punctual citations of BL Add 14,661 published therein, Immanuel Löw, a contemporary specialist on Aramaic plant names, also made extensive use of them in assembling his very rich collection of phytonym data published in 1881 in his Aramäische Pflanzennamen.12 While both of these sources extensively exploited, and often explicitly cited the textual data, they nevertheless did not reproduce them in their entirety.13

Adelbert Merx submitted what is perhaps still the most important article about this manuscript in 1881, shortly after the appearance of Löw’s book, and the article appeared in print a few years later in 1885.14 His study had the merit of reproducing the full text of the alphabetical lists of plant names, citing where pertinent differences to be found in the rubrics of the corresponding sections in Sergius’ actual translation of Galen’s text. For purposes of comparison, Merx also cited the rubrics of the corresponding sections of Galen’s text in Greek, for which he used the edition of Karl Gottlob Kühn (1821–1833).15

Since the end of the 19th century and until quite recently, relatively little attention had been paid to BL Add 14,661. Only brief and passing allusions to its contents are to be found in the few scholarly articles touching on Syriac medical texts or pharmaceutical vocabulary published in the 20th century.16

It was only slightly over a decade ago, in 2005, that a new era in the study of this topic might be said to have been inaugurated, with the publication of an important study of this manuscript by Siam Bhayro.17 This present era may be characterized—if we may legitimately presume to have sufficient objectivity for assessing the over-arching spirit of the present period—by a more nuanced approach to the Syriac translations of Sergius: By “more nuanced” we mean not taking literally (and accepting naïvely) Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq’s quite negative judgement of the mediocre, or even bad quality of Sergius’s translations.18

The present period is also, and perhaps above all, characterized by the rather sudden availability of more primary data, shedding light on the subsequent influence of Sergius’s translations. Several types of primary data are now, or are rapidly becoming available. We may mention in passing Matteo Martelli’s identification, in a 2010 article, of citations from Sergius’s translation of Galen’s treatise On simple drugs in later Syriac alchemical compilations,19 and more indirectly, the ERC Floriental project’s work on Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq’s Syriac and Arabic compilation On the properties of foodstuffs, in which several extracts taken from On simple drugs and incorporated by Ḥunayn into his abridgment of Galen’s On foodstuffs20 have been identified.21 These fragments from On simple drugs are indirect since they are the work of Ḥunayn and not Sergius, but their identification nevertheless allows for a detailed comparison of the respective translation techniques of Ḥunayn and Sergius, based on actual parallel texts and not solely on Ḥunayn’s own rather self-aggrandizing claims,22 something that has only recently begun to be addressed critically.

But certainly the most important recent development is the recovery of a new manuscript witness to Sergius’s translation of On simple drugs. This is the so-called “Syriac Galen palimpsest”, a privately-owned palimpsest whose study has been greatly facilitated by the ready availability of digital spectral imaging of each page of the manuscript, done by R.B. Toth Associates, the same team that scanned the “Archimedes palimpsest”.23

With regard to this paper in particular, the pertinence of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest lies in the fact that, like BL Add 14,661, it also contains the alphabetical lists of plant names added to each of Books VIVIII as tables of contents. Already in 2010 Siam Bhayro was able to determine this based on his study of two leaves,24 one of which,25 034r–035v, clearly contains, in the gutter region of the first column, the middle portion of the alpha section of the table of contents for Book VI; see below, Fig. 7 in the appendix.26 As a whole, 034r–035v contains the latter two-thirds of the alpha entries and the first part of the beta entries.

Further identifications have been proposed by one of the present authors.27 Fortuitously, these happen to include several other leaves containing the tables of contents of Book VI, thus making it possible to compare the fully preserved and legible pínax of Book VI as attested in BL Add 14,661,28 with legible portions of the corresponding parallel text of the same pínax from the Syriac Galen Palimpsest. The first of these is 034v–035r (shown below, Fig. 6, appendix),29 which immediately preceded the leaf 034r–035v described above, and thus contains the beginning of the pínax of Book VI.

The leaf 016r–021v (Fig. 8, appendix),30 in contrast, must have followed directly after 034r–035v, for its two columns contain the remainder of the beta entries; all of the gamma, delta, epsilon and zeta entries; and virtually all of the eta entries.

Finally, the leaf 016v–021r (Fig. 9)31 contains the end of the pínax of Book VI: the upper half of the first column must have contained all of the theta and iota entries (θ-1 through θ-7, ι-1 through ι-8).

Progress, though slow, is thus being made.32 The decipherment of palimpsests is of course necessarily a gradual and cumulative process, and this series of identifications will no doubt continue over the course of the next few years, almost certainly in close collaboration with colleagues specialized in digital and spectral imaging techniques.33

3. On the Structure and Function of the Three Alphabetic Lists of Plant Names

As an illustration of the basic structure of these Syriac pínakes transmitted by Sergius, it may be easiest simply to select a single page from BL Add 14,661 as a representative sample. We have chosen folio 4v,34 of which the contents are represented below in Fig. 1.

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Figure 1 Content of folio 4v of BL Add 14,661, from near the end of the pínax of Book VI. See also Merx, ‘Proben’, pp. 256–25735

3.1. Structural Considerations

Figs. 1–4 (Figs. 2–4 are in the appendix) adequately illustrate three principle structural characteristics of these pínakes: the list format itself, the presence of marginal alphabetic section markers throughout the list, and the arrangement of the list according to Greek alphabetical order.

A glance at Figs. 2–4 in the appendix is sufficient to illustrate the first point. The page formatting found at the top of folio 2v (right side of Fig. 2), which contains the final part of Sergius’ own preface to Book VI, is fully justified. Then begins the pínax, which presents a different page format, in which the information is intentionally presented in list form, rather than in justified, continuous script. Where appropriate, the copyist used “filler” punctuation (“points of elipsis” as it were) to fill in the blank spaces on the left side of each line, presumably to indicate that the blank spaces following each individual entry in the pínax were intentional. At the end of the pínax (the last four lines of folio 5r, on the left side of Fig. 4), the copyist resumes the more habitual fully justified page format.

A perusal of Figs. 2–4 will also draw attention to the Greek capital letters printed in the margin to the right of the pínax and scattered throughout the list.36 These section markers would have been of great practical use to any Syriac reader with an elementary knowledge of the Greek alphabet. Since an originally consonantal sign like the Syriac ālaph (noting essentially the glottal “attack” preceding any word beginning with a vowel) does not correspond to just one, but instead to several Greek vocalic letters (for example, Syriac ālaph is used to transliterate word-initial alpha, epsilon, omicron and omega, regardless of the presence of a smooth or rough breathing at the beginning of the Greek word),37 it would have been practically useful to mark the various sections within the pínax in a redundant way. The position of the Greek capital letter Epsilon in the margin in Fig. 1 (cf. also Figs. 4–5) is an example: It indicates that in this section Syriac ālaph is being used for Greek epsilon, and not alpha, nor omega, nor some other Greek letter.

Finally, the arrangement within the pínakes, not just of the sequence of sections, but also of the individual entries within each section, is also alphabetical, again following the Greek order rather than the Syriac. Again in reference to the contents of folio 4v (see Fig. 1 above) as an example, one easily notices that the first eight lines of this folio begin with the same letter (the Syriac letter dālat), used to transliterate Greek plant names beginning with the letter delta; the remaining entries on this page begin with another letter (the Syriac letter ālaph), used to transliterate Greek plant names beginning with the letter epsilon. The letter ālaph precedes dālat in the Syriac order, but delta immediately precedes epsilon in the Greek order. This folio thus covers the contents of Book VI from rubric δ-6, devoted to ‮ܕܐܦܢܐ ܐܝܠܢܐ‬‎, “δάφνη the tree”, down through rubric ε-23, devoted to ‮ܐܘܦܐܛܘܪܝܘܢ‬‎, that is, “εὐπατόριον” transcribed into Syriac characters, which is then provided with the gloss “which is ‘the House-of-ʾAbgar plant’ ”, in Syriac.38 Both the sequence of sections, and the entries within each section, follow the Greek alphabetical order.

3.2. Functional Considerations

As should be clear from the above description (§ 3.1), the structural format of the pínakes was essential for the practical utility of these lists for the Syriac reader, since they allowed the rapid relative location of the plant name of interest. Returning to folio 4v as an illustration (see above, Fig. 1), should the Syriac reader be interested in learning what Galen had to say about the medicinal properties of olives, for example, he need only have located the relative placement of the entry corresponding to “olive” in the table of contents of Book VI. In this case, he would have needed to know that the Greek word for olive tree is ἐλαία, beginning with the letter epsilon, and thus to be found in Book VI, after the section devoted to the letter delta. On consulting the part of the pínax contained on folio 4v, the reader would have learned that the entry devoted to “olive” corresponds to the third rubric after the beginning of the epsilon section.

These structural and functional considerations, combined with the fact that less than half of the transliterated Greek phytonyms are provided with Syriac glosses (see below, section § 6.3) in the pínakes, indicate that we are here dealing not so much with a “glossary”39 as with a “table of contents”.

4. On the Content of the Alphabetical Lists of Plant Names

4.1. The Number of Entries

In addition to their structure and function, these pínakes also present considerable interest in terms of their content. We may begin a characterization of the contents of these lists with some brute statistics, that is, the number of entries in each the pínax. Figs. 2–4 (in the appendix) show images of the entire pínax for Book VI in BL Add 14,661. A quick tally reveals that the pínax of Book VI, as attested in BL Add 14,661, contains some 164 entries. For the sake of comparison and comprehensiveness, we may also note that the pínax of Book VII contains 134 entries,40 and that of Book VIII contains some 179 entries.41 Thus, the total number of entries in these three pínakes for Books VIVIII is 477.

4.1. Inconsistencies between the pínakes and the Chapter Rubrics

The entries in the pínakes, however, do not always correspond perfectly with the chapter rubrics within the text sections. As Merx had already observed, these two versions of the contents of the treatise, that of the pínakes on the one hand and the group of all chapter rubrics in the text section on the other, “mutually complement and correct each other”.42

This inconsistency is best illustrated by a selection of examples. At the top of fol. 4r of BL Add 14,661 (Fig. 3, appendix), for example, in the beta section of the pínax for Book VI, one notices that only one entry is provided for the Greek phytonym βολβός,43 and not two, as in Sergius’ actual translation of the Galenic text,44 where, after the βλίτον entry (β-8) and prior to that of βουβώνιον (β-11), one finds not just one but two distinct rubrics, each devoted to a different type of βολβός. The first, β-9,45 is characterized simply as ‮ܒܘܠܒܘܐܘܣ‬‎ (that is, the Greek phytonym βολβός transliterated into Syriac characters),46 and the second, β-10,47 more explicitly as ‮ܒܘܠܒܘܣ ܗ̇ܘ ܕܥܒ̇ܕ ܛܝܒܬܐ‬‎, that is, ‘βολβός’ (transliterated into Syriac characters), followed by the Syriac phrase ‘the one that causes vomiting’.48 Since the single entry in the pínax specifically refers to ‘the other βολβός’,49 we can infer that the entry for the first type of βολβός had been accidentally omitted from the pínax.

The same situation applies, mutatis mutandis, to rubric β-17, which is present in the text section, where one finds the rubric ‮ܥܠ ܒܪܘܡܐܘܣ‬‎, ‘on βρόμος’ (as above, the Greek phytonym βρόμος is not translated here but merely transliterated into Syriac characters),50 but entirely absent from the pínax.51

4.2. Excursus: Were the pínakes Created by Sergius?

It appears to us highly unlikely that Sergius independently added such pínakes to his Syriac translations; it seems to us much more likely that these alphabetical lists of plant names were to be found also in Sergius’ Greek model. Given their obvious utility, Sergius therefore transliterated them into Syriac characters, adding occasional glosses in Syriac.

Even though the pínakes are admittedly absent from the Greek text of On simple drugs as edited by Kühn, nevertheless if we examine Greek manuscripts of this work on one hand,52 and Latin translations of it on the other,53 we find several examples which do contain them. Unfortunately, however, the most ancient witnesses attesting the presence of the pínakes in this Galenic treatise are all very recent (with the exception of Sergius’ Syriac translation). Certainty is not possible, of course, but taken as a whole, the variety of the diverse evidence does suggest at least the remote possibility, not only that the Greek model used by Sergius contained these pínakes, but even that they had been present in Galen’s original composition.

In order to explore this question more thoroughly, it may be helpful to take into consideration the work of one of Sergius’ contemporaries (and indeed, virtually a neighbour), the 6th-century Greek medical author, Aetius of Amida, who also wrote extensively on Galen’s treatise On simple drugs, in Book I of Libri medicinales.54 In this book, Aetius not only used Galen’s treatise On simple drugs as a source, but he specifically used Books VIVIII. At the beginning of Book I, prior to Galen’s proemium, Aetius added a pínax, just as Sergius did. The presence of the pínax in Aetius’ treatise is not disputed by scholars, which thus confirms its productive use in the same century as Sergius. Furthermore, it is probable that both Greek models used by Sergius and by Aetius also contained such a pínax. Whether or not the presence of the pínax should be pushed even farther back in time, however, is uncertain.

5. The Textual Interest of the pínakes in Sergius’ Syriac Translation

Several other notable aspects of the content of these pínakes might be also discussed, even discussed at great length. For the sake of brevity, however, we simply mention two categories of examples: those that seem pertinent for the textual criticism of the underlying Greek source text, and those that suggest a certain unfamiliarity or awkwardness, on the part of Sergius or a subsequent copyist, with respect to the Greek botanical vocabulary.

5.1. Examples of Interest for the Textual Criticism of Sergius’ Greek Model

Of the first category, one representative example is provided by the entry δ-8, which appears as δορυκνίδιον in Kühn’s edition.55 The much more common form of this Greek phytonym is δορύκνιον. In fact, in the entirety of Kühn’s edition of Galen’s works, the rare form δορυκνίδιον is attested only in this passage from On simple drugs (the more common form δορύκνιον being attested in other treatises of Galen in Kühn’s edition). Interestingly, the rare form δορυκνίδιον is also attested in two important Greek manuscripts conserved in the Vatican Library (Urb. 67 and Pal. gr. 31). In Sergius’ pínax, however, we find the spelling ‮ܕܘܪܩܢܝܐܘܢ‬‎ (DWRQNYʾWN)56 in fol. 4v,5 of BL Add 14,661 (see above, Fig. 1, and below, Figs. 4–5), which is only compatible with δορύκνιον, not with δορυκνίδιον. Thus, regardless of one’s position regarding the appropriate application of the principle of lectio difficilior, the Syriac evidence is clearly relevant to the textual criticism of the Greek text of Galen.

5.2. Examples that Suggest an Unfamiliarity with Greek Plant Names

The second category concerns those examples which suggest a certain unfamiliarity or awkwardness, either on the part of Sergius or more likely a subsequent copyist, with respect to the Greek botanical vocabulary. One such example may be found in the line immediately following the entry δ-8 δορύκνιον, discussed above. For the δ-9 entry one expects to find the Greek phytonym δρακόντιον transliterated into Syriac characters. Indeed, the plant name δρακόντιον is fairly frequent in ancient authors such as Dioscorides and Galen, and also in Late Antique medical authors such as Oribasius, Aetius of Amida, Paul of Egina, etc. But in Sergius’ pínax (fol. 4v,6 of BL Add 14,661; see above, Fig. 1, and below, Figs. 4–5), one finds instead ‮ܕܪܩܘܢܝܐܘܢ‬‎ (DRQWNYʾWN), which is best characterized as a misspelling of δρακόντιον, since one would expect to find the Syriac character ‮ܛ‬‎ (), regularly used to render Greek τ in Syriac spellings of Greek words.57 Further evidence that this is indeed an error comes from the corresponding chapter rubric within the translated text, where the Greek phytonym is spelled “correctly” in Syriac characters: ‮ܕܪܩܘܢܛܝܐܘܢ‬‎ (DRQWNṬYʾWN) for δρακόντιον.58

There are a great many examples of this sort of thing. Some of these are probably not so much errors as adaptations of the Greek plant name to Syriac pronunciation patterns. A plausible example is found in the entry κ-21 in Sergius’ pínax to Book VII devoted to the Greek plant name κέστρον.59 The Syriac spelling in the pínax, ‮ܩܐܣܛܐܪܘܢ‬‎ (QʾSṬʾRWN),60 contains a seemingly superfluous ālaph sign, ‮ܐ‬‎ (ʾ), between ṭet and reš, suggesting that the Syriac author or copyist pronounced the Greek word something like kes-ta-ron, probably in accordance with the well-established principle of West Semitic syllabification of avoiding consonantal clusters of three or more consonants. Such ad hoc phonetic spellings were not generalized, however, as indicated by the “correct” spelling of the phytonym in the corresponding chapter rubric within the translated text, where one finds ‮ܩܐܣܛܪܘܢ‬‎ (QʾSṬRWN), which is perfectly consistent with κέστρον.61

In most of these cases, the incongruity of the Syriac transliteration, whether this be attributed to Sergius himself, or rather (and in most cases more likely) to a subsequent copyist, is best understood as reflecting a certain awkwardness, or unfamiliarity, with the Greek botanical vocabulary.

6. A Tripartite Typology of the Structure of the Entries in the pínakes

This last suggestion, namely that Sergius (or subsequent copyists of his works) may have been unfamiliar with certain Greek technical vocabulary for the botanical materia medica, is pertinent for our understanding of a key feature of the structure and content of these pínakes: A glance at the pínax section shown above in Fig. 1 is sufficient to indicate that the lines on the pínakes may be of variable length. Some entries are quite short, while others extend almost to the end of the line. The reasons for such variable line length appear to be quite straightforward, and may be expressed in the form of a tripartite typology.62

6.1. Long Entries of the Type “X (Greek Plant Name), which is Y (Syriac Plant Name)”

Many of the Greek plant names described by Galen corresponded to very basic, banal, well known agricultural and economic plants (or plant products). In the pínax section shown above in Fig. 1, for example, we find an entry for the word ἐρέβινθος,63 transliterated into Syriac script. The plant (and especially the seed) designated by this word were very well known throughout the ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean, even to those with relatively limited contact with agriculture, since the chickpea formed then, as now, and as it had for the previous five or six millennia, one of the staple pulses used as food throughout the region.64 Since the plant (and seed) designated by this Greek phytonym ἐρέβινθος were so well-known to his targeted Syriac readers, Sergius permitted himself to provide it with a gloss in the Syriac language. After transliterating the Greek plant name into Syriac characters, ‮ܐܪܐܒܝܢܬܘܣ‬‎ (ʾRʾBYNTWS, the expected Syriac transliteration of ἐρέβινθος), Sergius writes ‮ܕܐܝܬܝܗܘܢ ܚܡ̈ܨܐ‬‎, literally, “which (is what) chickpeas are”.

Most of these “long” entries of the type “X (Greek plant name), which is Y (Syriac plant name)”65 are variants of this type: Either they correspond to common economic and agricultural plants and plant products familiar from everyday life (as with ἐρέβινθος discussed above), or they refer to “wild” or other varieties of the same,66 or they refer to well-known plant products familiar from the marketplace (even if the plant itself is unfamiliar).67

6.2. Long Entries of the Type “X (Greek Plant Name), which is Perhaps Y (Syriac Plant Name)”

A related, but slightly different syntactic pattern is also found in the pínakes of Sergius: This pattern resembles the previous one in every respect, with the sole exception that we find the adverb ‮ܟܒܪ‬‎ “perhaps” added to the Syriac gloss.68 As Siam Bhayro recognized some years ago,69 by including this adverb Sergius seems to be frankly admitting his own uncertainty about what the appropriate Syriac equivalent of given Greek plant name was. Two examples of this category may be found on the section of Sergius’ pínax to Book VI presented above in Fig. 1 (and below, in Figs. 4–5); these are:

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6.3. Short Entries of the Type “X (Greek Plant Name)”, No Syriac Translation Attempted

A third and final type of entry consists of only one word: the Greek botanical term transliterated into Syriac characters, without any attempt on the part of Sergius to translate the Greek phytonym into Syriac.71 Examples drawn from the section of Sergius’ pínax to Book VI presented above in Fig. 1 (and below, in Figs. 4–5) include:

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It seems plausible to us that, in some cases at least, the reason these entries were left untranslated was simply that Sergius had no clear and definite idea what plant was being referred to. Indeed, in general these entries seem to correspond not to banal, common economic and agricultural plants, but instead to rare, often obscure plants, often of very limited geographical distribution.

7. Conclusions

Like contemporary medical colleagues such as Aetius of Amida, Sergius of Reš ʿAynā read and wrote extensively on the botanical portions of Galen’s treatise On simple drugs. Also like Aetius, Sergius included a table of contents or pínax prior to each of Books VIVIII in his own translation of these books (see above, section § 5.3). From this, and from the presence of such pínakes in certain later manuscript traditions of these books in Greek and Latin, we conclude that such pínakes were present in Greek manuscripts of these books of Galen’s treatise On simple drugs in circulation in the 6th-century Near East, and which would have served as models for both Aetius and Sergius.

Since, however, unlike Aetius, Sergius translated Galen into Syriac, he was obliged to confront an additional problem: how to translate the technical botanical vocabulary discussed by Galen. Sergius’ response to this challenge was valiant but incomplete: Of the nearly 500 Greek plant names encountered in Galen’s On simple drugs only slightly more than half are provided with Syriac translations in the pínakes; for the remainder (slightly less than half) the Greek botanical terminology is retained, and merely transliterated into Syriac characters. We believe that the best working hypothesis for explaining this distribution is that Sergius translated into Syriac those Greek phytonym that he knew, and left untranslated those that were unfamiliar.74

Indeed, a number of spelling errors in the Syriac pínakes to Books VIVIII of Sergius of Reš ʿAynā’s Syriac translation of Galen’s treatise On simple drugs, of which a selection is presented above in section § 5.2, suggest a certain amount of unfamiliarity, on the part of Sergius or subsequent copyists, with respect to the Greek plant names discussed in Galen’s treatise.

That such uncertainty was not exclusively limited to later Syriac copyists, but seems also to have characterized, at least to a certain extent, the translational work of Sergius himself, is further implied by the tripartite typology of the structure of the pínax entries developed above in section § 6. In that typology, we distinguish three different formal patterns to be found in the individual pínax entries.

The first discussed (section § 6.1) presents the formal pattern “X [Greek phytonym], which is Y [Syriac phytonym]”, and is frequently found for those Greek plant names which refer to well-known economic plants. We suspect that the explanation for this formal association is that, when the translator was himself acquainted with the plant being discussed, he did not hesitate to offer the appropriate Syriac translation for the plant name in question.

The third and briefest pattern (section § 6.3) consists merely of the Greek plant name transliterated into Syriac characters, with no attempt whatsoever made by the translator to translate the Greek plant into Syriac; this pattern is often found associated with Greek phytonyms that are rare, obscure, or of uncertain meaning. We suspect that (at least in some such cases), these entries were left untranslated simply because the translator did not know what plant was being discussed.

This dichotomy between plants known and unknown seems to be confirmed by the presence of a rare formal pattern, closely related to the first. This second formal pattern discussed above (section § 6.2) follows the formal structure of the first but with a slight addition: “X [Greek phytonym], which is perhaps Y [Syriac phytonym]”. The presence of the adverb “perhaps” seems to indicate a small amount of uncertainty on the part of the translator, but not so much as to convince him to drop the Syriac translation altogether.

We would cautiously suggest, on the basis of the above argument, the following working hypothesis: Sergius, in his botanical and pharmacological translations of Galen into Syriac, practiced a kind of “botanical agnosticism”. In his excessive use of mere transliteration (instead of translation) of Greek plant names, he seems to have been well aware of his own uncertainty as to the correct identity of the plant in question. When in doubt, he preferred, perhaps out of prudence, to leave the Greek technical term as is, and not even to attempt translation.

In the broader perspective of orienting potential future research, this provisional study of Sergius’ translational technique as applied to botanical technical terms could be profitably extended to include other, and especially later Syriac medical corpora, thus providing a diachronic perspective illustrating in greater detail how Syriac translation habits with regard to certain Greek plant names might have changed over time. Since the 9th-century translation movement in particular was profoundly influential for the formation of Syriac technical terminology, it would be particularly valuable in future work on this topic to confront Sergius’ translational habits with those of Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq.75

8. Appendix: Manuscript Images of Selected pínakes in the Syriac Medical Writings of Sergius

d3229790e1442Figure 2

Folios 2v and 3r of BL Add 14,661, containing the beginning of the pínax of Book VI (the lower half of fol. 2v contains entries α-1 through α-17; fol. 3r shows entries α-18 through α-48); see also Merx, ‘Proben’, pp. 249–252© British Library Board (Add. 14,661)

Citation: Aramaic Studies 15, 2 (2017) ; 10.1163/17455227-01502004

d3229790e1478Figure 3

Folios 3v and 4r of BL Add 14,661, containing the middle of the pínax of Book VI (fol. 3v contains entries α-48 through β-1; fol. 4r shows entries β-2 through δ-3); see also Merx, ‘Proben’, pp. 252–255© British Library Board (Add. 14,661)

Citation: Aramaic Studies 15, 2 (2017) ; 10.1163/17455227-01502004

d3229790e1514Figure 4

Folios 4v and 5r of BL Add 14,661, containing the end of the pínax of Book VI (fol. 4v contains entries δ-4 through ε-23; fol. 5r shows entries ε-24 through ι-8, then moves on to the text of Galen’s introduction to Book VI); see also Merx, ‘Proben’, pp. 256–259© British Library Board (Add. 14,661)

Citation: Aramaic Studies 15, 2 (2017) ; 10.1163/17455227-01502004

d3229790e1550Figure 5

Detail of folio 4v of BL Add 14,661 (containing entries δ-4 through ε-23); see Merx, ‘Proben’, pp. 256–257, and also above, Fig. 1.© British Library Board (Add. 14,661)

Citation: Aramaic Studies 15, 2 (2017) ; 10.1163/17455227-01502004

d3229790e1571Figure 6

Bifolium 034v–035r of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, containing the beginning of the pínax of Book VI (legible traces of the first third of the alpha section of the table of contents for Book VI, α-1 through approximately α-24, may be found in the second column); see also Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 241 (Fig. 4)© Owner of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Access Rights

Citation: Aramaic Studies 15, 2 (2017) ; 10.1163/17455227-01502004

d3229790e1604Figure 7

Bifolium 034r–035v of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, containing the second part of the pínax of Book VI (approximately the middle third of the alpha entries, perhaps α-25 through α-51, in the first column; and the final third of the alpha entries followed by the first part of the beta entries, approximately α-52 through β-8, in the second column); see also Bhayro and Brock, ‘The Syriac Galen Palimpsest and the role of Syriac’, pp. 32–36© Owner of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Access Rights

Citation: Aramaic Studies 15, 2 (2017) ; 10.1163/17455227-01502004

d3229790e1640Figure 8

Bifolium 016r–021v of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, containing the third part of the pínax of Book VI. The first column contains the end of the beta entries (approximately β-9 through β-19), all of the gamma entries (γ-1 through γ-12), and all but one of the delta entries (δ-1 through δ-10). The second column contains the final delta entry (δ-11), all of the epsilon and zeta entries (ε-1 through ε-26, ζ-1 through ζ-4), and virtually all of the eta entries. See also Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 243 (Fig. 8).© Owner of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Access Rights

Citation: Aramaic Studies 15, 2 (2017) ; 10.1163/17455227-01502004

d3229790e1688Figure 9

Bifolium 016v–021r of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, containing the final part of the pínax of Book VI: the upper half of the first column must have contained all of the theta and iota entries (θ-1 through θ-7, ι-1 through ι-8); the entries for ι-6 through ι-8 are quite legible in the gutter region of the first column. See also Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 244 (Fig. 10)© Owner of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Access Rights

Citation: Aramaic Studies 15, 2 (2017) ; 10.1163/17455227-01502004

1

W. Wright, Catalogue of Syriac manuscripts in the British Museum acquired since the year 1838, Part 3 (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1872) p. 1187 (n° 1004).

2

There is some uncertainty about how exactly (that is, under what title) this work should be cited. Here and throughout we have followed Caroline Petit (who is preparing a critical edition of the Greek text) in using the English title On simple drugs; provisionally, see her website (carolinepetit.net) where further bibliography may be found. The abbreviation “Kühn” is used in this article to refer to the most readily accessible and frequently cited edition of the Greek text: C. Kühn, Claudii Galeni opera omnia (Medicorum Graecorum opera quae exstant, 11–12, Lipsiae: Cnoblochii, 1826) vol. XI, pp. 379–892; vol. XII, pp. 1–377. For example: Book VI = XI 879–892 Kühn; Book VII = XII 1–82 Kühn; and Book VIII = XII 83–158 Kühn.

3

Cf. A. Merx, ‘Proben der syrischen Übersetzung von Galenus’ Schrift über die einfachen Heilmittel’, ZDMG 39 (1885), pp. 237–305 (239): “In jedem Falle haben wir in Sergius Übersetzung das älteste syrische Glossar für Pflanzennamen und wir haben es sogar doppelt, im Inhaltsregister und in den Capitelüberschriften der einzelnen Bücher, die sich gegenseitig ergänzen und berichtigen”; H. Hugonnard-Roche, La logique d’ Aristote du grec au syriaque (Textes et traditions, 9, Paris: Vrin, 2004), p. 126, note 3: “le plus ancien glossaire syriaque connu de noms de plantes”. The question of whether or not these lists are best characterized as “glossaries” or instead as “tables of contents” is addressed in more detail below (section § 3.2).

4

Wright, Catalogue 3, 1872, p. 1187: “written in a good, regular Esṭrangĕlā of the vith or viith cent”.

5

On the life and writings of Sergius, see the recent brief overview in S. Brock, ‘Sergios of Reshʿaina’, in S.P. Brock, A.M. Butts, G.A. Kiraz and L. Van Rompay (eds.), Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2011) p. 366. For greater detail, see A. Baumstark, ‘Lucubrationes Syro-Græcæ’, Jahrbücher für classische Philologie, Supplementband 21 (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1894) pp. 353–524 (358–384); idem, Geschichte der syrischen literatur (Bonn: A. Marcus und E. Weber, 1922) pp. 167–169; H. Hugonnard-Roche, ‘Aux origines de l’ exégèse orientale de la Logique d’ Aristote: Sergius de Rešʿaina († 536), médecin et philosophe’, JA 277 (1989), pp. 1–17; S. Bhayro, ‘Syriac medical terminology: Sergius and Galen’s pharmacopia’, AS 3 (2005), pp. 147–165 (152–157); and now S. Bhayro and R. Hawley, ‘La littérature botanique et pharmaceutique en langue syriaque’, in E. Villey (ed.), Les sciences en syriaque (Études syriaques 11, Paris: Geuthner, 2014) pp. 285–318 (293–314).

6

According to the Chronography of Bar Hebraeus, “Sergius of Reš ʿAynā, who first translated medical texts from Greek into Syriac” (‮ܣܪܓܝܣ ܪܫܥܝܢܝܐ ܕܗܘ̣ ܩܕܡܐܝܬ ܐܥܒܪ ܟܬܒ̈ܐ ܐܣ̈ܝܝܐ ܡܢ ܝܘܢܝܐ ܠܣܘܪܝܝܐ‬‎); cf. E.A. Wallis Budge, The Chronography of Gregory Abûʾl Faraj, the Son of Aaron, the Hebrew Physician Commonly Known as Bar Hebraeus, Being the First Part of His Political History of the World (London: Oxford University Press, 1932) vol. 2, 21r; cited and translated in Bhayro, ‘Syriac medical terminology’, p. 153. For a well-informed and useful overview of the Oriental fortuna of Galen’s book On simple drugs, and of this translation in particular, see S. Bhayro and S. Brock, ‘The Syriac Galen Palimpsest and the role of Syriac in the transmission of Greek medicine in the Orient’, in R. David (ed.), ‘Ancient Medical and Healing Systems: Their Legacy to Western Medicine’, BJRL 89, Supplement (2013), pp. 25–43.

7

See above, footnote 2.

8

On the provenance of these alphabetical tables of contents, see below (section § 4.3).

9

See in more detail below, section § 3.2.

10

That of BL Add 14,661 (Figs. 2–4 in the appendix) is especially important. The authors here express their gratitude to the British Library Board for their permission to publish these images.

11

R. Payne Smith, Thesaurus Syriacus, vol. 1 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1879) p. iv.

12

I. Löw, Aramäische Pflanzennamen (Leipzig: Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann, 1881) p. 18.

13

See also I. Löw’s magnum opus, his four volume Die Flora der Juden (Vienna: Löwit, 1924–1934).

14

Merx, ‘Proben’.

15

The Greek text of Galen’s On simple drugs is to be found in volumes 11 and 12 of Kühn’s edition (vol. XI, pp. 379–892; vol. XII, pp. 1–377); see above, footnote 2. The text edited by Kühn is not a critical edition, and therefore it does not necessarily provide a reliable text, as Caroline Petit has shown; see, for example, her provisional critical edition of On simple drugs VI 4 (= XI 811,10–813,10 Kühn) in C. Petit, ‘La tradition latine du traité des Simples de Galien. Remarques préliminares’, Medicina nei Secoli 23-3 (2013), pp. 1063–1090 (1084–1086).

16

Almost any global treatment of the Syriac medical tradition is obliged at least to mention this manuscript, it being one of the most important; cf. R. Degen, ‘Ein Corpus Medicorum Syriacorum’, Medizinhistorisches Journal 7 (1972), pp. 114–122 (116, 120); idem, ‘Galen im Syrischen: Eine Übersicht über die syrische Überlieferung der Werke Galens’, in V. Nutton (ed.), Galen: Problems and Prospects. A Collection of Papers Submitted at the 1979 Cambridge Conference, (London: The Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1981) pp. 131–166 (146–147); Ph. Gignoux, ‘Medicina e farmacologia’, in Storia della scienza, volume IV: Medioevo, Rinascimento. La scienza siriaca, capitolo V: Medicina e farmacologia (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 2001) pp. 42–55 (42,54). A good deal of the technical pharmaceutical vocabulary to be found in BL Add 14,661 also occurs in the Syriac Geoponics; see the thorough discussion of the comparative data by U. Seidel, ‘Studien zum Vokabular der Landwirtschaft im Syrischen II’, Altorientalische Forschungen 16 (1989), pp. 89–139 (109–115, for example).

17

Bhayro, ‘Syriac medical terminology’.

18

On this issue in general, see already S. Brock, ‘The Syriac background to Ḥunayn’s translation techniques’, Aram 3 (1991), pp. 139–162; idem, ‘Changing fashions in Syriac tanslation technique: The background to Syriac translations under the Abbasids’, Journal of the Canadian Society for Syriac Studies 4 (2004), pp. 3–14; and see now Bhayro and Brock, ‘The Syriac Galen and the role of Syriac’, pp. 40–42; as well as S. Bhayro, ‘Galen in Syriac: Rethinking Old Assumptions’, Aramaic Studies 15 (2017), pp. 132–154, this issue.

19

M. Martelli, ‘Medicina ed alchimia. Estratti Galenici nel corpus degli scritti alchemici siriaci di Zosimo’, Galenos 4 (2010), pp. 207–228.

20

The Greek text of Galen’s treatise On the properties of foodstuffs was edited by Georg Helmreich (Corpus Medicorum Graecorum, V, 4.2, Leipzig and Berlin, 1923).

21

For some examples, see S. Bhayro, R. Hawley, G. Kessel and P.E. Pormann, ‘Collaborative research on the digital Syriac Galen palimpsest’, Semitica et Classica 5 (2012), pp. 261–264 (264); idem, ‘The Syriac Galen palimpsest: Progress, prospects and problems’, JSS 58 (2013), pp. 131–148 (140–143); Bhayro and Hawley, ‘La littérature botanique’, pp. 300–301. These identifications have been the work of Irene Calà, Jimmy Daccache, Robert Hawley and Matthias Wernhard (all team members of the ERC Floriental project).

22

For example, Bhayro, Hawley, Kessel and Pormann, ‘Progress, prospects and problems’, pp. 140–143.

23

Bhayro, Hawley, Kessel and Pormann, ‘Collaborative research’; idem, ‘Progress, prospects and problems’; Bhayro and Brock, ‘The Syriac Galen Palimpsest and the role of Syriac’; Bhayro and Hawley, ‘La littérature botanique’, pp. 294–299.

24

Bhayro, Hawley, Kessel & Pormann, ‘Collaborative research’, pp. 261 (note 4), 264; eidem, ‘Progress, prospects and problems’, p. 134; Bhayro and Brock, ‘The Syriac Galen Palimpsest and the role of Syriac’, pp. 32–36.

25

The other leaf is 042r–043v, which contains part of the table of contents for Book VIII; Bhayro & Brock, ‘The Syriac Galen Palimpsest and the role of Syriac’, p. 36.

26

See also R. Hawley, ‘More identifications of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest’, Semitica et Classica 7 (2014), pp. 237–272 (238, 242, Fig. 6).

27

Hawley, ‘More identifications’.

28

Images of the pínax of Book VI in BL Add 14,661 are shown below in Figs. 2–4 of the appendix.

29

See also Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 241 (Fig. 4).

30

Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 243 (Fig. 8).

31

Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 244 (Fig. 10).

32

With regard to the pínakes in particular, only one other leaf has as yet been identified with certainty: 198r–203v (see Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 254 [Fig. 28]), containing part of the pínax from Book VII (the final part of the lamda entries and most if not all of the mu entries). Another probable pínax is 118r–123v, but we have not been able to identify the book to which this leaf belongs (it may possibly be from Books IXXI, not otherwise preserved in Syriac).

33

A very promising enterprise currently in its initial stages is the AHRC funded project entitled ‘The Syriac Galen palimpsest: Galen’s On simple drugs and the recovery of lost texts through sophisticated imaging techniques’ coordinated by principle investigator Peter E. Pormann and co-investigators Bill Sellers and Siam Bhayro, hosted by the University of Manchester.

34

See the appendix below, Fig. 5 (also the right side of Fig. 4).

35

The rare Greek phytonym ἐπιμήδιον (a few occurrences in Dioscorides, Galen, Oribasius, Paul of Egina) is here unexpectedly transliterated into Syriac characters as ‮ܐܦܝܡ̈ܐܕܐܣ‬‎ (ʾPYMʾDʾS), a spelling which is somewhat reminiscent of the variant ἐπιμήδις attested in a 14th-century manuscript of Paul of Egina (Par. gr. 2208). If the Syriac spelling is indeed an error, it was probably due in part to the rarity of the plant name.

36

One finds a capital A in the right margin of folio 2v (right side of Fig. 2), a capital B in the right margin at the bottom of folio 3v (right side of Fig. 3), a capital Γ in the center and a capital Δ near the bottom in the right margin of folio 4r (left side of Fig. 3), a capital E in the right margin of folio 4v (Fig. 5, and on the right side of Fig. 4), and the capital letters Ζ, Η, Θ, and Ι arranged along the right margin of folio 5r (left side of Fig. 4).

37

Conversely, Syriac he (‮ܗ‬‎) is used to transliterate word-initial eta and upsilon, again, regardless of smooth or rough breathing. Sergius’ system for transliterating Greek words is thus somewhat different from the methods used in other contexts and by other Syriac authors (on which see Aaron M. Butts, Language Change in the Wake of Empire: Syriac in Its Greco-Roman Context [Linguistic studies in ancient West Semitic 11; Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2016], 75–80; and idem, ‘The integration of consonants in Greek loanwords in Syriac’, Aramaic Studies 14 [2016], pp. 1–35, at 30–33).

38

That is, the entries cited in this folio refer to the sequence of chapters in Greek in XI 863,1–879,5 Kühn.

39

See above, footnote 3. In any case, if certain aspects of these pínakes resemble those of a “glossary”, it must be admitted that the “glossary” in question was very selective and only partial.

40

BL Add 14,661, fol. 32r–33v; cf. Merx, ‘Proben’, pp. 275–282.

41

BL Add 14,661, fol. 54v–57r; cf. Merx, ‘Proben’, pp. 290–302.

42

Merx, ‘Proben’, p. 239: ‘… und wir haben es sogar doppelt, im Inhaltsregister und in den Capitelüberschriften der einzelnen Bücher, die sich gegenseitig ergänzen und berichtigen …’.

43

On line 8 of fol. 4r (cf. Fig. 3, appendix, left side), one reads ‮ܒܘܠܒܘܐܘܤ ܐܚܪܢܐ‬‎, literally ‘the other βολβός’.

44

In Kühn’s edition of the Greek text, these two chapters correspond to β-9 (VI 2.9 = XI 851,11–18 Kühn) and β-10 (VI 2.10 = XI 852,1–2 Kühn).

45

BL Add 14,661, fol. 21r,36–43 (ult.).

46

This chapter corresponds to the entry on βολβός ἥμερος, ‘domesticated βολβός’ in the Greek text of Galen (Περὶ βολβοῦ ἡμέρου: VI 2.9 = XI 851,11–18 Kühn).

47

BL Add 14,661, fol. 21v,1–2.

48

This chapter corresponds to the entry on βολβός ἐμετικός, ‘emetic βολβός’ in the Greek text of Galen (Περὶ βολβοῦ ἐμετικοῦ: VI 2.10 = XI 852,1–2 Kühn).

49

See above, footnote 42.

50

BL Add 14,661, fol. 22r,19. This chapter corresponds to the entry Περὶ βρόμου (VI 2.17 = XI 855,1–6 Kühn).

51

Cf. lines 14–15 of fol. 4r (cf. Fig. 3, appendix, left side).

52

For example the manuscript Vat. Pal. gr. 31 (14th century) contains three such tables of contents: the first prior to the beginning of Book VI (concerning phytonyms from alpha to iota), the second prior to Book VII (from kappa to mu), and the third prior to Book VIII (from nu to omega). This is thus the very same presentation as what we find in Sergius’ translation.

53

In the Latin translation edited by Bonardus (1490) we find a pínax of Book VI, but placed at the end of the book and not at the beginning. Book VI of Simples edited by Bonardus is in fact the Latin translation of Gerard of Cremona (12th century) made from an Arabic model. Books VIIVIII in the edition of Bonardus, however, were from the Latin translation made by Niccolò da Reggio (14th century) directly from a Greek model. In the Latin translation of Gerardus Gaudanus (1530), the pínax is absent. This latter translation is very close to the Aldina edition (1525), as was the manuscript used by Kühn.

54

The first part of this work (Books IVIII) was edited by Alessandro Olivieri in the Corpus Medicorum Graecorum (Berlin, 1935–1950).

55

Περὶ δορυκνιδίου: VI 4.8 = XI 864,3–6 Kühn.

56

A slightly different spelling, ‮ܕܘܪܘܩܢܝܐܘܢ‬‎ (DWRWQNYʾWN) is used in the rubric of the corresponding chapter in the translated text (BL Add 14,661, fol. 24r,36), but this spelling too is only compatible with δορύκνιον, not with δορυκνίδιον.

57

Butts, ‘The integration of consonants’, pp. 26–28.

58

BL Add 14,661, fol. 24r,40. This passage corresponds to the chapter Περὶ δρακοντίου (VI 4.9 = XI 864,7–865,9 Kühn).

59

Περὶ κέστρου: VII 10.21 = XII 23,16–24,6 Kühn.

60

BL Add 14,661, fol. 32v,1.

61

BL Add 14,661, fol. 39v,33.

62

See also Bhayro and Hawley, ‘La littérature botanique’, pp. 312–313.

63

Περὶ ἐρεβίνθου: VI 5.17 = XI 876,12–877,5 Kühn; Περὶ ἐρεβίνθου ἀγρίου: VI 5.18 = XI 877,6–9 Kühn.

64

D. Zohary, M. Hopf and E. Weiss, Domestication of Plants in the Old World: The Origin and Spread of Domesticated Plants in Southwest Asia, Europe, and the Mediterranean Basin, 4th edition (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012) pp. 87–89.

65

By our reckoning, 270 of the total 477 entries in Sergius’ pínakes to Books VIVIII show this pattern.

66

Cf. the entry ε-18 in Sergius’ pínax (fol. 4v,24 of BL Add 14,661; see above, Fig. 1, and below, figs. 4–5), where ἐρέβινθος ἄγριος, that is, “ἐρέβινθος of the field”, in other words “wild ἐρέβινθος” is followed by the Syriac gloss ‮ܕܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܚܡܨܐ ܕܒܪܐ‬‎, literally, “which is the chickpea of the steppe”, that is, “wild chickpea”.

67

Cf. the entry ε-22 in Sergius’ pínax (fol. 4v,29 of BL Add 14,661; see above, Fig. 1, and below, figs. 4–5), in which the Greek phytonym ἐρυθρόδανος is followed by the Syriac gloss ‮ܕܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܦܘܬܐ‬‎, literally, “which is madder” (Rubia tinctorum is an economic plant well-known for its use in the dying industry).

68

Only 3 of the total 477 entries in Sergius’ pínakes to Books VIVIII show this pattern; all three examples occur in Book VI.

69

Bhayro, ‘Syriac Medical Terminology’, p. 162.

70

Περὶ ἐρείκης: VI 5.19 = XI 877,10–11 Kühn.

71

By our reckoning, 204 of the total 477 entries in Sergius’ pínakes to Books VIVIII show this pattern.

72

Περὶ δικτάμνου: VI 4.6 = XI 863,15–18 Kühn.

73

Περὶ ἐλύμου: VI 5.12 = XI 875,5–9 Kühn.

74

See also Bhayro and Hawley, ‘La littérature botanique’, p. 313.

75

For some preliminary steps in this direction, see Bhayro and Hawley, ‘La littérature botanique’, pp. 304–308.

  • 12

    I. Löw, Aramäische Pflanzennamen (Leipzig: Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann, 1881) p. 18.

  • 19

    M. Martelli, ‘Medicina ed alchimia. Estratti Galenici nel corpus degli scritti alchemici siriaci di Zosimo’, Galenos 4 (2010), pp. 207–228.

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  • 23

    Bhayro, Hawley, Kessel and Pormann, ‘Collaborative research’; idem, ‘Progress, prospects and problems’; Bhayro and Brock, ‘The Syriac Galen Palimpsest and the role of Syriac’; Bhayro and Hawley, ‘La littérature botanique’, pp. 294–299.

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  • 24

    Bhayro, Hawley, Kessel & Pormann, ‘Collaborative research’, pp. 261 (note 4), 264; eidem, ‘Progress, prospects and problems’, p. 134; Bhayro and Brock, ‘The Syriac Galen Palimpsest and the role of Syriac’, pp. 32–36.

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  • 26

    See also R. Hawley, ‘More identifications of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest’, Semitica et Classica 7 (2014), pp. 237–272 (238, 242, Fig. 6).

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  • 29

    See also Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 241 (Fig. 4).

  • 30

    Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 243 (Fig. 8).

  • 31

    Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 244 (Fig. 10).

  • 57

    Butts, ‘The integration of consonants’, pp. 26–28.

  • 62

    See also Bhayro and Hawley, ‘La littérature botanique’, pp. 312–313.

  • 69

    Bhayro, ‘Syriac Medical Terminology’, p. 162.

  • 74

    See also Bhayro and Hawley, ‘La littérature botanique’, p. 313.

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  • 12

    I. Löw, Aramäische Pflanzennamen (Leipzig: Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann, 1881) p. 18.

  • 19

    M. Martelli, ‘Medicina ed alchimia. Estratti Galenici nel corpus degli scritti alchemici siriaci di Zosimo’, Galenos 4 (2010), pp. 207–228.

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  • 23

    Bhayro, Hawley, Kessel and Pormann, ‘Collaborative research’; idem, ‘Progress, prospects and problems’; Bhayro and Brock, ‘The Syriac Galen Palimpsest and the role of Syriac’; Bhayro and Hawley, ‘La littérature botanique’, pp. 294–299.

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  • 24

    Bhayro, Hawley, Kessel & Pormann, ‘Collaborative research’, pp. 261 (note 4), 264; eidem, ‘Progress, prospects and problems’, p. 134; Bhayro and Brock, ‘The Syriac Galen Palimpsest and the role of Syriac’, pp. 32–36.

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  • 26

    See also R. Hawley, ‘More identifications of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest’, Semitica et Classica 7 (2014), pp. 237–272 (238, 242, Fig. 6).

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  • 29

    See also Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 241 (Fig. 4).

  • 30

    Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 243 (Fig. 8).

  • 31

    Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 244 (Fig. 10).

  • 57

    Butts, ‘The integration of consonants’, pp. 26–28.

  • 62

    See also Bhayro and Hawley, ‘La littérature botanique’, pp. 312–313.

  • 69

    Bhayro, ‘Syriac Medical Terminology’, p. 162.

  • 74

    See also Bhayro and Hawley, ‘La littérature botanique’, p. 313.

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    Figure 2

    Folios 2v and 3r of BL Add 14,661, containing the beginning of the pínax of Book VI (the lower half of fol. 2v contains entries α-1 through α-17; fol. 3r shows entries α-18 through α-48); see also Merx, ‘Proben’, pp. 249–252© British Library Board (Add. 14,661)

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    Figure 3

    Folios 3v and 4r of BL Add 14,661, containing the middle of the pínax of Book VI (fol. 3v contains entries α-48 through β-1; fol. 4r shows entries β-2 through δ-3); see also Merx, ‘Proben’, pp. 252–255© British Library Board (Add. 14,661)

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    Figure 4

    Folios 4v and 5r of BL Add 14,661, containing the end of the pínax of Book VI (fol. 4v contains entries δ-4 through ε-23; fol. 5r shows entries ε-24 through ι-8, then moves on to the text of Galen’s introduction to Book VI); see also Merx, ‘Proben’, pp. 256–259© British Library Board (Add. 14,661)

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    Figure 5

    Detail of folio 4v of BL Add 14,661 (containing entries δ-4 through ε-23); see Merx, ‘Proben’, pp. 256–257, and also above, Fig. 1.© British Library Board (Add. 14,661)

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    Figure 6

    Bifolium 034v–035r of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, containing the beginning of the pínax of Book VI (legible traces of the first third of the alpha section of the table of contents for Book VI, α-1 through approximately α-24, may be found in the second column); see also Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 241 (Fig. 4)© Owner of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Access Rights

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    Figure 7

    Bifolium 034r–035v of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, containing the second part of the pínax of Book VI (approximately the middle third of the alpha entries, perhaps α-25 through α-51, in the first column; and the final third of the alpha entries followed by the first part of the beta entries, approximately α-52 through β-8, in the second column); see also Bhayro and Brock, ‘The Syriac Galen Palimpsest and the role of Syriac’, pp. 32–36© Owner of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Access Rights

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    Figure 8

    Bifolium 016r–021v of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, containing the third part of the pínax of Book VI. The first column contains the end of the beta entries (approximately β-9 through β-19), all of the gamma entries (γ-1 through γ-12), and all but one of the delta entries (δ-1 through δ-10). The second column contains the final delta entry (δ-11), all of the epsilon and zeta entries (ε-1 through ε-26, ζ-1 through ζ-4), and virtually all of the eta entries. See also Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 243 (Fig. 8).© Owner of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Access Rights

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    Figure 9

    Bifolium 016v–021r of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, containing the final part of the pínax of Book VI: the upper half of the first column must have contained all of the theta and iota entries (θ-1 through θ-7, ι-1 through ι-8); the entries for ι-6 through ι-8 are quite legible in the gutter region of the first column. See also Hawley, ‘More identifications’, pp. 238, 244 (Fig. 10)© Owner of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Access Rights

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