Fragment 500703




Original French:  Alyſſum,

Modern French:  Alyssum,



Sumach, a remedy against madness in dogs (Pliny xxiv. 11 § 57).

François Rabelais [ca. 1483–1553]
Gargantua and Pantagruel
William Francis Smith [1842–1919], translator
London, 1893


Distat ab eo qui alysson vocatur foliis tantum et ramis minoribus; nomen accepit quod a cane morsos rabiem sentire non patitur ex aceto potus adalligatusque; mirum est quod additur, saniem conspecto omnino frutice eo siccari.

The plant called alysson differs from the last [erythrodanum, called by some ereuthodanum, and rubia by the Romans] only in having smaller leaves and branches. It has received its name because it prevents persons bitten by a dog from going mad if they take it in vinegar and wear it as an amulet. The authorities add the wonderful marvel that the mere sight of this shrub dries up sanies. [Sanies is said by Celsus (V. 26, 20) to be thinner than blood, varying both in thickness and colour, while pus is the thickest and whitest of the three, more sticky than either sanies or blood. Pliny is thinking of the discharge from a dog-bite.]

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
Loeb Classical Library


De α privatif et λύσσα, rage, plante qui préserve de la rage : « nomen accepit quod a cane morsos rabiem sentire non patitur, potus ex aceto, adalligatusque. » Pline, XXIV, 57. L’alysson de Pline — différent de celui de Dioscoride, lequel est autre que celui de Théophraste — partaît se rattacher à quelque Rubiacée : Rubia lucida, L., pour Sainéan (H. N. R., p. 117). Au XVIe siècle, Pena et Lobel appelaient Alyssum Italorum notre Alyssum maritimum, Lmk. L’Alyssum mentionné par Lémery comme antirabique serait, pour Mérat et de Lens, A. montanum, L. (Paul Delaunay)

François Rabelais [ca. 1483–1553]
Oeuvres. Tome Cinquieme: Tiers Livre. Édition critique
p. 351
Abel Lefranc [1863-1952], editor
Paris: Librairie Ancienne Honoré Champion, 1931


This alyssum, by philology and application a cure for hydrophobia…

François Rabelais [ca. 1483–1553]
Complete works of Rabelais
Jacques LeClercq [1891–1971], translator
New York: Modern Library, 1936

nommés pas leurs vertus et operations

Sauf pour le lichen, tous les détails sont dans De latinis nominibus («Alysson … dicitur (ut ait Galenus) quod mirifice morsus a cane rabido curet. [gk] enim rabiem significat. Ephemerium… quo die sumptum fuerit (ut nominis ipsa ratio ostendit) intermit. Bechion autem appellatum est, quod [gk], id es tusses … juvet. Nasturtium, cresson alenois … dicitur a torquendis naribus. Hyoscame, faba suis, vulgo hannebane, … dicitur … quot pastu ejus convellantur sues ». R. a mal lu ses notes, faisant de hanebanes une plante différente de l’hyoscame.

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


De α- privatif et λύσσα, « rage », plante qui préserve de la rage (Pline, XXV,lvii).

François Rabelais [ca. 1483–1553]
Œuvres complètes
p. 504, n. 14
Mireille Huchon, editor
Paris: Gallimard, 1994


alyssum. [modern Latin for alysson (Pliny), adopted from Greek ausson name of a plant, perhaps neuter of alussoj `curing (canine) madness,’ formed on a’ priv. + lu´ssa madness.]

A genus of Cruciferous plants, a yellow-flowered species of which (A. saxatile) popularly known as Gold-dust, is a favourite spring flower in English gardens. The early herbalists used the name very vaguely.

1551 William Turner A new herball (1568) 21 Alysson is an herbe lyke vnto horehounde.

1578 Henry Lyte, translator Dodoens’ Niewe herball or historie of plantes107 Alysson… groweth upon rough mountaynes.

1731 Nathan Bailey An universal etymological English dictionary, Alysson, comfrey.



Posted 27 January 2013. Modified 22 January 2017.

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