Every now and again we seem to get a run on the past. A few months ago we were discussing Pliny the Elder, the Roman cavalry officer who, when he wasn’t suppressing the Gauls (or anyone else the Romans took a dislike to) liked nothing better than to spend a few quiet hours cataloguing his pressed flower collection. He wrote about them too, we still have his writings to prove it, which is very handy for people who need something to post on the web. He died in a dockside accident when he took a ship to rescue a few friends from Pompei harbour, while Vesuvius was doing its thing, prior to slopping lava all over the town.
Then yesterday we had a little chat about Cicero, another Roman. A politician this time. He wasn’t a good soldier and did his best to stay home and provide essential services, like running the empire, etc. He and his pushy wife worked hard, in the scary world of Roman politics, to stay au fait with all the latest trends and to make sure that if ‘they’ voted, ‘they’ voted for him. He was voted out of office by assassination when he reached retirement age.
Today, we’d like to mention Dioscorides. He was a Greek, but he too, pottered around Europe with the Roman army. He collected plants and the folk remedies surrounding them. He wrote them up in five volumes and it was sixteen hundred years before anything better came along. The Yellow Loosestrife was in his book. It stops bleeding and chases away flies.
Oh, and it will dye your hair blonde.