Fragment 510127




Original French:  Ferule

Modern French:  Ferule

“…than is the ferule and the boulas to the scholars of Navarre…”

Among the examples of pairings whose antipathies are not as vehement as the hatred thieves have of a certain usage of Pantagruelion.



ateriariam Daedalus, et in ea serram, asciam, perpendiculum, terebram, glutinum, ichthyocollam; normam autem et libellam et tornum et clavem Theodorus Samius, mensuras et pondera Phidon Argivus, aut Palamedes ut maluit. Gellius; ignem e silice Pyrodes Cilicis filius, eundem adservare Prometheus, vehiculum cum quattuor rotis Phryges, mercaturas Poeni, culturam vitium et arborum Eumolpus Atheniensis, vinum aquae miscere Staphylus Sileni filius, oleum et trapetas Aristaeus Atheniensis, idem mella; bovem et aratrum Buzyges Atheniensis, ut alii Triptolemus; regiam civitate Aegyptii, popularem Attici post Theseum. tyrannus primus fuit Phalaris Agraganti. servitium invenere Lacedaemonii. iudicium capitis in Areopago primum actum est.

Carpentry was invented by Daedalus, and with it the saw, axe, plumb-line, gimlet, glue, isinglass; but the square, the plummet, the lathe and the lever by Theodorus of Samos, measures and weights by Phidon of Argos, or, as Gellius preferred, Palamedes; fire from flint by Pyrodes son of Cilix, the storing of fire in a fennel-stalk by Prometheus; a vehicle with four wheels by the Phrygians, trade by the Phoenicians, viticulture and arboriculture by Eumolpus of Athens, diluting wine with water by Staphylus son of Silenus, oil and oil-mills by Aristaeus of Athens, honey by the same; the ox and the plough by Buzyges of Athens, or, as others say, by Triptolemus; monarchical government by the Egyptians, republican by the Athenians after Theseus. The first tyrant was Phalaris at Girgenti. Slavery was invented by the Spartans. Capital trials were first carried on in the Areopagus.

Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD), The Natural History. Volume 2: Books 3 – 7. Harris Rackham (1868–1944), translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1942. 07.56. Loeb Classical Library


Fennel-giant makes very agreeable fodder for the ass; to other beasts of burden, however, it is a quick poison. For this reason the animal is sacred to Father Liber, as is also fennel-giant. Lifeless things also, even the most insignificant, have each their own special poisons.

Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD), The Natural History. Volume 7: Books 24–27. William Henry Samuel Jones (1876–1963), translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1956. 24.01. Loeb Classical Library


Et ferulam inter externas dixisse conveniat arborumque generi adscripsisse, quoniam quarundam naturae, sicuti distinguemus, lignum omne corticis loco habent forinsecus, ligni autem loco fungosam intus medullam ut sabuci, quaedam vero inanitatem ut harundines. calidis nascitur locis atque trans maria, geniculatis nodata scapis. duo eius genera: nartheca Graeci vocant adsurgentem in altitudinem, nartheciam vero semper humilem. a genibus exeunt folia maxima ut quaeque terrae proxima; cetera natura eadem quae aneto, et fructu simili. nulli fruticum levitas maior; ob id gestatu facilis baculorum usum senectuti praebet.

It may be suitable to have fennel giant [Ferula communis] mentioned among the exotics and assigned to the genus ‘tree,’ inasmuch as the structure of some plants, in the classification that we shall adopt, has the whole of the wood outside in place of bark and inside, in place of wood, a fungous pith like that of the elder, though some have an empty hollow inside like reeds. This fennel grows in hot countries over sea; its stalk is divided by knotted joints. It has two varieties, one called in Greek narthex, which rises to some height, the other narthecia, which always grows low. From the joints shoot out very large leaves, the larger the nearer to the ground; but in other respects it has the same nature as the dill, and the fruit is similar. No shrub supplies a wood of lighter weight, and consequently it is easy to carry, and supplies walking-sticks to be used by old gentlemen.

Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD), The Natural History. Volume 4: Books 12–16. Harris Rackham (1868–1944), translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1945. 13.42. Loeb Classical Library


Ferulacé: Round, also, of the kind of the herbe Ferula.
Ferule: A Ferula, or Paulmer used in Schooles for correction; also, the herbe Ferula, Sagapene, Fennell Giant; also, a reed, or cane.

Cotgrave, Randle (–1634?), A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongue. London: Adam Islip, 1611. PBM


Ferula was used by the Romans to punish schoolboys. Cf. Martial, x. 62, 10; xiv. 80.

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), The Five Books and Minor Writings. Volume 1: Books I-III. William Francis Smith (1842–1919), translator. London: Alexader P. Watt, 1893. Internet Archive


Ferula communis, D. C., ombellifère dont la tige servait à fustiger les écoliers.
Invisæ nimium pueris, gratæque magistris
Clara Prometheo munere ligna sumis, dit Martial, X, 62, 10. Et Juvénal, Sat., I, v. 15: Et nos ergo manum ferulæ subduximus. (Paul Delaunay)

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), Oeuvres. Édition critique. Tome Cinquieme: Tiers Livre. Abel Lefranc (1863-1952), editor. Paris: Librairie Ancienne Honoré Champion, 1931. p. 360. Internet Archive


Ferule: A Ferula, or Paulmer used in Schooles for correction; also, the hearbe Ferula, Sagapene, Fennell Giant; also, a reed, or cane.

Cotgrave, Randle (–1634?), A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongue. London: Adam Islip, 1611. PBM


Encore une fois, la plupart de ces exemples se retrouvent dans le De latinis nominibus de Charles Estienne. Le nenufar et la semence de saule sont des antiaphrodisiaques. La ferula servait, dans l’Antiquité, à fustiger les écoliers (cf. Martial, X, 62-10).

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), Le Tiers Livre. Edition critique. Michael A. Screech (b. 1926), editor. Paris-Genève: Librarie Droz, 1964.

La ferula

10.62 Schoolmaster, be indulgent to your simple scholars; if you would have many a long-haired youth resort to your lectures, and the class seated round your critical table love you. So may no teacher of arithmetic, or of swift writing, be surrounded by a greater ring of pupils. The days are bright, and glow under the flaming constellation of the Lion, and fervid July is ripening the teeming harvest. Let the Scythian scourge with its formidable thongs, such as flogged Marsyas of Celaenae, and the terrible cane, the schoolmaster’s sceptre, be laid aside, and sleep until the Ides of October. In summer, if boys preserve their health, they do enough.

Martial (ca. 40 – 103), Epigrams. Tertullian


Ferula (from Latin ferula, “rod”) is a genus of about 170 species of flowering plants in the family Apiaceae, native to the Mediterranean region east to central Asia, mostly growing in arid climates. They are herbaceous perennial plants growing to 1–4 m tall, with stout, hollow, somewhat succulent stems. The leaves are tripinnate or even more finely divided, with a stout basal sheath clasping the stem. The flowers are yellow, produced in large umbels. Many plants of this genus, especially F. communis are referred to as “giant fennel,” although they are not fennel in the strict sense.

The Romans called the hollow light rod made from this plant a ferula (compare also fasces, judicial birches). Such rods were used for walking sticks, splints, for stirring boiling liquids, and for corporal punishment.

The ferula also shows up in mythological contexts. The main shaft of a thyrsus was traditionally made from this plant, and Prometheus smuggled fire to humanity by hiding it in a ferula.

Wikipedia. Ferula. Wikipedia


ferula. [adopted from Latin ferula giant fennel, a rod.]

A genus of plants; the giant fennel.

1398 John de Trevisa Bartholomeus De proprietatibus rerus xvii. lxxi. (1495) 645 Ferula is an herbe.
1562 William Turner A new herball, the seconde parte ii. 1 b, The nature of Ferula is the sorest enemie that can be to Lampreys.

From the use of the fennel-stalk in Roman times: A cane, rod, or other instrument of punishment, especially a flat piece of wood; figuratively school discipline.

1562 William Turner A new herball, the seconde parte ii. (1568) 66 The roote of the whyte Nymphea is black,… of the yelow… whyte.

1601 Philemon Holland, translator Pliny’s History of the world, commonly called the Natural historie II. 222 Nenuphar is called in Greeke Nymphæa.

1673 Ray Journ. Low C. (1693) II. 97 Their Alterative Physick consists of Coolers, and Anodyns, as Nymphæa, Poppy, Endive.

1741 Complete family piece and country gentleman and farmer’s best guide ii. iii. 374 In the Water Tubs, the yellow Nymphea or Water Lilly.



Posted 22 January 2013. Modified 17 June 2017.

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