Le lapidaires grecs, texte établi et traduit par R. Halleux et J. Schamp, Paris 1985, 230- 290 (Collection des Universités de France).
The De lapidibus is a late-antique Latin translation of a Hellenistic Greek treatise on the attributes of stones, which is probably also the source utilized by Ps.-Orpheus. The manuscripts attribute it to two different persons - Damigeron and Evax - both of whom are mentioned as authors in the work’s prefatory letters, albeit without any information that might clarify their relationship to one another. This complexity of authorship is mirrored in a complexity of transmission: the text is deeply layered and includes a degree of variation typical of the lapidary genre, which like herbaria witnesses frequent alterations to the text by copyists who adapted the material of their exemplar to suit their own immediate needs.
As reconstructed by modern editors, the text consists of three distinct parts:
- An initial astrological lapidary, preserved by just two manuscripts (CP), entitled Lapides ad septem signa pertinentes. This relates seven stones (chrisolithus, afroselinus, emathitis, keraunius, medos, arabicus, ostrachitis) to seven signs of the Zodiac (Leo, Cancer, Aries, Sagittarius, Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn).
- A second text, again preserved by CP (and in part by T), De lapidibus et eorum sculpturis, ut supra, septidonio, where septidonio is probably a corruption of septizonio, the dative of septizonium (the seven heavenly orbits). It presents a list of seven stones (lapis aetites, eliotropius, adamas, memnonius, diadochos, smaragdus, corallius) and describes how each one ought to be sculpted or inscribed depending on the social status of its owner.
- A third, the lapidary proper, consisting of eighty stones that are described in no particular order. The chapters are of various lengths, but each one maintains an identical structure similar to what one finds in herbaria: a short description of the stone, places where it can be found, and its properties.
Numerous hellenisms can be identified in the text, suggesting that for a majority of its chapters the author rendered the original Greek in a simple, literal manner. [A. Borgna; tr. C. L. Caterine].
Preliminary steps: Nadia Rosso
Text fitting: Nadia Rosso
TEI code: Nadia Rosso
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