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10 “As a Matter of Fact, This is Not Difficult to Understand!”: The Addresses to the Reader in Greek and Latin Pharmacological Poetry

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the addresses to the readers in Greek and Latin pharmacological poetry. It shows how the very existence of the phenomenon of writing pharmaceutical recipes in verse was explained and justified in Graeco-Roman antiquity and later in the Middle Ages. The chapter outlines the general considerations unveiling themselves to the discerning reader of this scientific production and then to the appeal to the addressees of these verses in which the author directly reveals the value of such transferable knowledge. The Liber medicinalis by Quintus Serenus opens with a prayer to Apollo to patronise the text and thus be a guarantor of the knowledge transmitted in it. The idea of dedicating his composition, both pharmaceutical and poetical, to Nero played a crucial role in the personal career of Andromachus, who became the emperor's archiater. The approach of Philo of Tarsus is totally different from Andromachus the Elder's.

Keywords: Andromachus the Elder; Greek pharmacological poetry; Latin pharmacological poetry; Philo of Tarsus; Quintus Serenus



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