Gargilius Martialis, Les remèdes tirés des légumes et des fruits, texte établi, traduit et commenté par B. Maire, Paris 2002 (Collection des Universités de France).
In his Institutiones diuinarum et saecularium litterarum (I, 28, 5) Cassiodorus remarks that monks should practice agriculture and horticulture, in accordance with the precept of Psalm 127, 2 (“Labores fructuum tuorum manducabis; beatus es et bene tibi erit”). After this remark, Cassiodorus (I, 28, 6) introduces Gargilius Martialis as a trustworthy auctor on agronomy: de hortis scripsit pulcherrime Gargilius Martialis, qui et nutrimenta holerum et uirtutes eorum diligenter exposuit. This statement appears to be the only indirect source on the existence of Gargilius Martialis’ Medicinae ex holeribus et pomis, demonstrating that, in the age of Cassiodorus, the treatise had reached the standing of a reference work. It illustrates the therapeutic properties of and the advantages for human health offered by a series of herbs, vegetables and fruit. The matter is divided into sixty chapters (chapters 1-39: de holeribus; chapters 40-60: de pomis). The most important sources used by Gargilius Martialis are Plinius the Elder, Dioscorides and Galen. Plinius’ Historia naturalis is the main source, complemented by Dioscorides and Galen. It is unlikely that Gargilius Martialis read Dioscoridesand Galen in the original; he probably used an intermediate source that he does not mention explicitly.
The manuscript tradition gives no indications on the title or the author of the treatise. Manuscripts simply begin with chapter 1, De raphano. Some manuscripts (Florence, Strozz. Lat. LXX; Florence, Med. Laur. Aedilium 165; Prague, lat. XIV.A.12) present this treatise as the fourth book of the Medicina Plinii.
V. Rose suggested what is now the standard title, Medicinae ex holeribus et pomis, mainly on the basis of the content matter. The lack of a preface is probably due to physical damage suffered at some point in the manuscript transmission of the book. [D. Paniagua; tr. L. Battezzato]