Fish-Snacks, Burning-Stones and Deadly Fruit: Another Wondrous Wednesday

Here is the second half of the Paradoxographus Palatinus: Admiranda. This collection is extremely difficult to date and may hail from Byzantine Greece. As with some of the other paradoxographoi these are new translations, so corrections or questions are welcome.

11 “Artemidoros says that among the Liparitanoi fish are found by digging and that the people there use the dug fish unsparingly for snacking.”

᾿Αρτεμίδωρός φησιν ἐν Λιπαριτανοῖς ἰχθύας ὀρυκτοὺς εὑρίσκεσθαι, καὶ τῷ ὀρυκτῷ ἰχθύι ἀφθόνως τοὺς ἐκεῖ ὡς ἐπὶ τραγήματα χρῆσθαι.

12 “Andronikos says that in Hispania in some place pebbles are found strewn about with many angles, grown on their own—some are white and others are wax-colored; they give birth to pebbles like them.

I also used to have one of these for testing which was produced at my home which showed that the story was not a lie. He also says that there is a certain spring in Hispania which has water which is sweet and potable. If someone puts his hands in the water and holds them their for a short time he will find white salt embedded around his hands.”

᾿Ανδρόνικός φησιν ἐν ᾿Ισπανίᾳ ἔν τινι τόπῳ λιθάρια εὑρίσκεσθαι περιερριμμένα πολύγωνα αὐτοφυῆ, ἃ μὲν λευκά, ἃ δὲ κηροειδῆ, ἃ καὶ κύει ὅμοια ἑαυτοῖς λιθάρια· τούτων δὴ καὶ ἐγὼ ἒν πείρας ἕνεκα ἔσχον, ὃ δὴ ἔτεκε παρ’ ἐμοί, ὥστε τὸ ῥῆμα μὴ εἶναι ψεῦδος. εἶναι δὲ καὶ πηγήν τινα ἐν ῾Ισπανίᾳ, ἣν γλυκὺ ἔχειν ὕδωρ καὶ πότιμον· εἰ δέ τις ἐμβάλοι εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ τὰς χεῖρας καὶ μικρὸν χρόνον ἐάσειε, ἅλας εὑρίσκειν λευκὸν περιπεπηγὸς ταῖς χερσί.

13 “Timaios says that the Krathis river in Italy lightens the hair of those who bathe in it.”

Τίμαιός φησι τὸν κατὰ τὴν ᾿Ιταλίαν ποταμὸν τὸν Κρᾶθιν τῶν ἐν αὐτῷ λουομένων ξανθίζειν τὰς τρίχας.

14 “In Selasphoros an herb is found which when people use it in the spring there they rid themselves of yellow bile, but in the spring black bile, and phlegm if they use it in the winter. It leads out the portion of those which is unmixed of every other. [?]”

᾿Εν Σελασφόρῳ βοτάνη εὑρίσκεται, ᾗ χρώμενοι οἱ ἐκεῖ ἔαρος μὲν κένωσιν ξανθῆς χολῆς ποιοῦνται, φθινοπώρου δὲ μελαίνης χολῆς, ἐν δὲ χειμῶνι φλέγματος· ἐξάγει δὲ τὸ καθὲν τούτων ἀμιγὲς παντὸς ἑτέρου.

15 “Kallimachus says that in Thrace there are two rivers named Keron and Neleus. He adds that flocks who are there for grazing turn white from the Neleus, but those who take from both waters become multi-colored.”

Καλλίμαχός φησιν ἐν Θρᾴκῃ δύο ποταμοὺς εἶναι Κέρωνα καὶ Νηλέα ὀνομαζομένους· τῶν δὲ προβάτων περὶ τὸ συλλαμβάνειν ὄντων τὰ μὲν ἀπὸ τοῦ Νηλέως λευκούς, τὰ δὲ ἀπ’ ἀμφοτέρων τῶν ὑδάτων ποικίλους.

16 “Polykleitos says that there is a river Liparis among the Soloi which oils up those who bathe in it so that they don’t need anointing.”

Πολύκλειτός φησιν ἐν Σόλοις ποταμὸν Λίπαριν εἶναι, ὃν δὴ λιπαίνειν τοὺς λουομένους, ὥστε χρίσματος μὴ δεῖσθαι.

17 “The same author claims that the river Mouabis in Pamphylia turns a bush that dips into it to stone.”

῾Ο αὐτός φησι τὸν ἐν Παμφυλίᾳ ποταμὸν Μούαβιν ἀπολιθοῦν τὴν ἐμβληθεῖσαν στοιβήν.

18 “Athenaios says that there is a tree among the Persians which bears some kind of deadly fruit, which the Persians, when Kambyses led his army against Egypt, took to Egypt and planted in many places so that the Egyptians died when they encountered the fruit. The tree transforms the earth to endure the fruit unharmed and they call it Persaia because it was planted by the Persians”

᾿Αθήναιός φησιν ἐν Πέρσαις εἶναι δένδρον τι θανάσιμον τὸν καρπὸν φέρον, ὃ τοὺς πέρσας, ὅτε Καμβύσης ἐπ’ Αἴγυπτον ἐστράτευσε, κομίσαι εἰς Αἴγυπτον καὶ ἐν πολλοῖς φυτεῦσαι τόποις, ὅπως οἱ Αἰγύπτιοι τὸν καρπὸν προσφερόμενοι διαφθαρῶσι· τὸ δὲ δένδρον μεταβαλὸν τὴν γῆν ἀπαθῆ τὸν καρπὸν ἐξενεγκεῖν, καὶ περσαίαν τ’ ὀνομάζεσθαι διὰ τὸ ὑπὸ Περσῶν φυτευθῆναι.

19 “Theopompos says that in the land of the Agrioi of Thrace there is a river called Pontos which carries burning stones. When these are lit they do not burn as they are turned under the rapids but when they appear from under the water they reignite. Nothing that moves can endure the smell of these stones.”

Θεόπομπός φησιν ἐν τῇ τῶν ᾿Αγριέων Θρᾳκῶν χώρᾳ ποταμὸν εἶναι ὀνομαζόμενον Πόντον, ὃν καταφέρειν λίθους ἀνθρακώδεις· τούτους δὲ ἀναφθέντας ὑπὸ μὲν τῶν ῥιπιδίων ῥιπιζομένους <οὐ> καίεσθαι, ὑπὸ δὲ ὕδατος ῥαινομένους ἀνα-λάμπειν. οὐδὲν δὲ ἑρπετὸν τὴν ὀσμὴν αὐτῶν ὑπομένειν.

20 “Antigonos says [of sheep intestines] that those of rams are voiceless, but those from females can sing. This fact has not escaped the poet, for he says “He stretching the seven strings from female sheep.”

Επὶ τῶν <ἐντέρων τῶν> προβάτων φησὶν ᾿Αντίγονος τὰ μὲν τῶν κριῶν ἄφωνα εἶναι, τὰ δὲ τῶν θηλέων ἔμφωνα· οὐ λεληθέναι δὲ τοῦτο τὸν ποιητήν. φησὶ γάρ·
ἑπτὰ δὲ θηλυτέρων οἴων ἐτανύσσατο χορδάς.

This last line is a variant for the Homeric Hymn to Hermes 51

“He stretched out seven symphonious sheep-gut strings”
ἑπτὰ δὲ συμφώνους ὀΐων ἐτανύσσατο χορδάς.

21 “Katôn says that Ktisis, there are white birds in the Alpeioi, mice 12-liters in size, boars with single-lips, hairy dogs, and hornless bulls.”

Κάτων φησίν, ἐν ταῖς Κτίσεσιν, ἐπὶ τῶν ῎Αλπεων λευκοὺς μὲν λαγωοὺς γίνεσθαι, μῦς δ’ ἐνδεκαλίτρους, ὗς δὲ μονοχήλους καὶ κύνας δασεῖς καὶ βόας ἀκεράτους.

Image result for medieval manuscript lipless boar
Koninklijke Bibliotheek, KB, KA 16, Folio 45v (From the Medieval Bestiary)

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