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9 The Pharmacological Treatise Περὶ εὐφορβίου of Juba II, King of Mauretania

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Chapter Summary

This chapter gives credence to Pliny's version. Indeed, Juba II, King of Mauretania described the plant, its latex and its therapeutical applications in a now lost treatise On Euphorbion, which can be reconstructed through Greek and Latin testimonies. Euphorbos and his brother Antonius Musa were both disciples of Asclepiades of Bithynia, who contributed to introducing Greek medicine into Rome. Pliny tells of the discovery of euphorbion in two passages of his Natural History, in the section dedicated to botany in Book 25 but also in one of the geographical descriptions belonging to the first books of his encyclopaedia, at the beginning of Book 5, when he evokes the Atlas Mountains. Juba's treatise can be reconstructed on the basis of two main sources, Dioscorides and Pliny, but also on the basis of a few elements gleaned in Galen. The discovery of euphorbion is probably the Mauretanian king's most durable legacy.

Keywords: Antonius Musa; Euphorbos; Greek medicine; Juba II; On Euphorbion; pharmacological treatise

10.1163/9789004273863_011
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