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Athenaeus of Naucratis / Volume I: Books I-VII

Book II: epitome,   pp. 57-121


Page 117

where the brier had stood. And there is a plant called the 
dog-brier, something between a brier and a tree, according to 
the statement of Theophrastus, and it has a red fruit, like 
a pomegranate, and it has a leaf like that of the willow. 
83. Phoenias, in the fifth book of his treatise on Plants, 
speaks of one which he calls the Sicilian cactus, a very 
prickly plant. As also does Theophrastus, in his sixth book 
about Plants, who says, " But the plant which is called the 
cactus exists only in Sicily, and is not found in Greece: and 
it sends forth stalks close to the ground, just above the root. 
And the stalks are the things which are called cacti: and 
they are eatable as soon as they are peeled, and rather bitter; 
and they preserve them in brine. But there is a second kind, 
which sends up a straight stalk, which they call wveEpvte; and 
that also is eatable. The shell of the fruit, as soon as the 
outer soft parts have been taken away, is like the inside of 
a date: that also is eatable; and the name of that is 
aOKaXTqpOV."  But who is there who would not place such 
belief in these assertions as to say confidently that this cactus 
is the same as that plant which is called by the Romans 
carduus, or thistle; as the Romans are at no great distance 
from Sicily, and as it is evidently the same plant which the 
Greeks call Kt a'pa, or the artichoke  For if you merely 
change two letters, Kap8oo and ,Kdros will be the same word. 
And Epicharmus also shows us plainly this, when he puts 
down the cactus in his catalogue of eatable vegetables; in this 
way-" The poppy, fennel, and the rough cactus; now one can 
eat of the other vegetables when dressed with milk, if he bruises 
them and serves them up with rich sauce, but by themselves 
they are not worth much." And in a subsequent passage he 
says-" Lettuces, pines, squills, radishes, cacti." And again 
he says-"A man came from the country, bringing fennel, and 
cacti, and lavender, and sorrel, and chicory, and thistles, and 
ferns, and the cactus, and dractylus, and otostyllus, and scolium, 
and seni, and onopordus." And Philetas the Coan poet says- 
A fawn about to die would make a noise, 
Fearing the venom of the thorny cactus. 
84. And, indeed, Sopater the Paphian, who was born in 
the time of Alexander the son of Philip, and who lived even 
till the time of the second Ptolemy king of Egypt, called the 
artichoke K[vapa just as we do, as he himself declares in one 
ill 
.THE CACTUSI 


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