University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Literature Collection

Page View

Athenaeus of Naucratis / Volume I: Books I-VII

Book III,   pp. 121-210

Page 122

But when Nicander speaks of "roots," he means the things 
which are called by the Alexandrians colocasiac; as he says 
Have peel'd the beans, and cut up the colocasia. 
Now there is at Sicyon a temple to the Colocasian Minerva. 
There is also a kind of cup called Ke'j3WoV.' 
2. Theophrastus, in his book on Plants, writes thus: " The 
bean in Egypt grows in marshes and swamps; and its stalk 
is in length, when it is at the largest, about four cubits; but 
in thickness, it is as thick as one's finger: and it is like a 
long reed, only without joints. But it has divisions within, 
running through the whole of it, like honeycombs.  And on 
this stalk is the head and the flower, being about twice the 
size of a poppy; and its colour is like that of a rose, very 
full coloured; and it puts forth large leaves. But the root 
is thicker than the thickest reed, and it has divisions like the 
stalk. And people eat it boiled, and roasted, and raw. And 
the men who live near the marshes eat it very much. It 
grows, too, in Syria and in Cilicia, but those countries do not 
ripen it thoroughly. It grows, too, around Torone in Chal- 
cidice, in a marsh of moderate size, and that place ripens it, 
and it brings its fruit to perfection there.  But Diphilus the 
Siphnian says, "The root of the Egyptian bean, which is 
called colocasium, is very good for the stomach, and very 
nutritious, but it is not very digestible, being very astringent; 
and that is the best which is the least woolly. But the beans 
which are produced by the plant called ciborium, when they 
are green are indigestible, not very nutritious, easily pass 
through one, and are apt to cause flatulence; but when they 
are dry they are 'not so flatulent. And from the genuine 
ciborium there is a flower which grows which is made into 
garlands.  And the Egyptians call the flower the lotus; but 
the Naucratitans tell me, says Athenoeus, that its name is the 
melilotus: and it is of that flower that the melilotus garlands 
are made, which are very fragrant, and which have a cooling 
effect in the summer season. 
3. But Phylarchus says, "that though Egyptian beans had 
never been sown before in any place, and had never produced 
This was a Latin word for a cup. Horace says- 
Obliviosi levia Massici 
Ciboria exple. 

Go up to Top of Page