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3724 P. Oxy. 54 = Trismegistos 59118 = LDAB 213


Medical recipe. The six lines fully preserved, although later crossed out with a large χ, were written in the blank intercolumnear space of a papyrus roll containing Greek epigrams and they only occupy the upper part of col. III, at a distance of ca. 2 cm from the top. This prescription for cough-mixture belongs to the genre "ἀρτηριακαί", well-attested medicaments to heal respiratory infections, and it is here intented for practical use. The specific title is followed by a list of aromatic and medical compounds which are widespread in medical tradition. The unattractive vertical script in capital letters, not lacking a few corrections, reveals the script to be very likely a draft.

(This papyrus has been digitally edited by Letizia Rivera as part of the Project "DIGMEDTEXT - Online Humanities Scholarship: A Digital Medical Library based on Ancient Texts" (ERC-AdG-2013, Grant Agreement no. 339828) funded by the European Research Council at the University of Parma (Principal Investigator: Prof. Isabella Andorlini). The digital edition is mostly based on the previous editions ( = P.J. Parsons, P.Oxy. LV 3724; ed.alt. = I. Andorlini, Estratto provvisorio del Corpus dei papiri greci di medicina, pp. 59-62; ed.ter. = I. Andorlini, GMP II 12).)

DCLP transcription: 59118 [xml]

Ἀρτηριακῆς σκευή.
κρόκου (τριώβολον)
τραγακάνθης(*) (δραχμή) α
στροβειλίων(*) (δραχμή) α
5ὠο\ῦ/(*) ἕν
μελιτίου(*) (τετρώβολον) (ἥμισυ)


^ 3. corr. ex τραγα⟦ν̣⟧
^ 4. l. στροβιλίων
^ 5. corr. ex ω⟦ω⟧
^ 6. corr. ex μελιτιο⟦ν⟧

Editorial History; All History; (detailed)

Creative Commons License © Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


  • 1.

    It is here offered the first occurrence on papyrus of the term ἀρτηριακή; such remedies are so called since they were intended to medicate affection in the windpipe, the organ of respiration which Greek defined as τρακεῖα ἀρτηρία. Instead of σκευή, σκεύασις and σκευασία can be found as well in the same meaning of "medical preparation" (cf. V. Gazza 1955, 86-110).

  • 2.

    Saffron is a famous disinfectant and ointment for the eyes, also effective against cough. The powder coming from saffron flowers is melted in honey as described in Galen, Comp. sec. loc. IX 4.

  • 3.

    The scribe corrected in scribendo τραγαν- into τραγακ- (pap.) with κ written on top of the ν. The term τραγάκανθα comes from the resemblance of this arabic gum to the horns (ἄκανθα) of a goat (τραγός).

  • 4.

    The ε of στροβε⟦ι⟧ is traced from the beginning of ι. Στροβ(ε)ιλίον, diminutive of στρόβιλος and frequent form in papyrus documents, indicates an edible pine kernel also used in magical prescriptions (cf. e.g. Suppl. mag. II 83.5-9).

  • 5.

    The scribe makes a correction by crossing out the second ω and also intends to convert the plural "of eggs" into a singular.

  • 6.

    The symbol equaling four obols is followed by a small angular sign and presumably another symbol indicating "half". The derivative form μελίτιον (cf. LSJ s.v. μελίτιον, τό = μελίτειον) occurs only here in the papyri.