|Paeonia clusii (Clusius’ peony),
considered by the ancients to have theraputic uses and magical powers.
Endemic to Greece. Photographed in Crete by Mrs Sabine Beckmann. Used with permission.
All rights reserved.
The Medicinal Plants of Antiquity project aims to recover the therapeutic uses
of plants in classical
antiquity (5th century B.C. to 2nd century A.D.) for possible integration
into contemporary research on natural medicines. The resulting comprehensive
computerized database, the first on this topic, will be made available to
scientists and scholars through a fee-based site on the Smithsonian
Institution website. Research will be based on the three major ancient
extant works, or groups of works, on pharmaceutical therapy and medicinal
plants, those by, or attributed to: Hippocrates (5th–4th cent. B.C.),
Dioscorides (1st cent. A.D.), and Galen (2nd cent. A.D.). Texts will
be read in the original language (Greek); relevant data will be extracted
and translated into English, and both versions will be stored in the
primary database and indexed for retrieval. A secondary database will
be used to store identifications of the plants and diseases mentioned
in the texts, when possible, in addition to the historical data on the
authors and their works. This secondary database will be linked to the
primary database so that users of the primary database can consult at
any moment the necessary information for a better understanding of ancient
Browse the preliminary new Diels database of ancient Greek manuscripts. Under construction.
ἶρις ἰλλυρικὴ φύλλα φέρει ὅμοια ξιφίῳ, μείζονα δὲ
καὶ πλατύτερα καὶ λιπαρώτερα