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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Q2r p243]

Gramen.

LXXXVII.

Pour Annibal matté, le Senat Rommain donne
Au prudent Fabius de gramen la couronne.[1]
Ses petits l’alouëtte avec le gramen cache,
Les en entoure, & puis les couver elle tasche.
A Saturne & à Mars le gramen est sacré:
Glauque en ayant mangé devint Dieu consacré.[2]
Ceste herbe pour plusieurs vertus est fort insigne,[3]
Et pource de tutele & salut elle est signe.

Commentaires.

La couronne graminee, qu’on appelle aussi obsi-
dionale, estoit donnee à celuy qui avoit delivré ceux
qui estoyent assiegés: & se faisoit avec le gramen qui
estoit creu dans l’enclos des assiegés.Ceste couronne,
la plus noble de toutes, fut baillee au grand Fabius,
pource que par sa patience & bon conseil, il avoit
rompu tout les desseings d’Annibal. Glauque, pe-
scheur, & excellent nageur, ayant pris grande quan-
tité de poissons, qui luy pesoyent beaucoup, les des-
chargea sur le rivage, desquels l’un, qui se mouroit,
ayant gousté d’une herbe qu’il fouloit, revint soudain
en vie & en vigueur, & saillit dans l’eau: ce
qu’ayant apperceu Glauque, en voulut aussi manger
& ceste viande luy apporta immortalité. Saturne
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Q2v p244] sema cest [=ceste] herbe, & l’appella, le gramen des Dieux:
Il croissoit en quantité au champ de Mars. Le gra-
men est distingué par plusieurs noeuds, & ce qui est
entre deux noeuds, s’appelle doigt: tellement qu’on
appelle ceste herbe digitale: nom qu’on baille aussi à
l’aristolochie.

Notes:

1.  Quintus Fabius Maximus was nicknamed Cunctator, ‘the Delayer’, for his strategy of avoiding pitched battles with Hannibal’s triumphant army in the Second Punic War. This contributed to Hannibal’s eventual withdrawal from Italy. Cf. Ennius’ famous line, Annals, 370: unus homo nobis cunctando restituit rem: ‘one man by his delaying tactics saved the day for us’. A crown of fresh grass plucked from the spot was given to its general by a whole army if delivered from a state of siege. Fabius was awarded such a crown by general consent for saving all Italy from the threat of Hannibal. See Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 5.6.10; Pliny, Natural History, 22.4.6ff.

2.  Some of the divine herb sown by Cronos (a Greek divinity equated with the Roman Saturn) was eaten by Glaucus the fisherman, who then became a sea-god; see Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, 7.296e; 15.679a; Ovid, Metamorphoses, 13.917ff.

3.  See Pliny, Natural History, 24.118.178-83 for the medicinal uses of grass. The finger-grass (ib.183) is common in Mediterranean areas.


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