Assyrian wisdom: The Kyranides on a journey to learn from a foreign inscription (fourth century CE or earlier)

Citation with stable link: Philip A. Harland, 'Assyrian wisdom: The Kyranides on a journey to learn from a foreign inscription (fourth century CE or earlier),' Last modified January 23, 2023, http://philipharland.com/Blog/?p=12356.

Ancient authors: Anonymous compiler, Kyranides (Greek text below the translation: link to full translation in French).

Comments: The passage translated below (which is not otherwise readily available in English) is a somewhat confusing introduction to a largely neglected compilation of healing remedies which usually goes by the scholarly name Kyranides or Koiranides (often Latinized as Cyranides). The compiler portrays this as the second volume following another first volume called simply the “Ancient Book.” The compilation may date to the third or fourth century CE, drawing on earlier materials. (Books 2-3 of the entire compiled work with healing remedies –  not dealt with here – have been shown to reflect material that suggest a date in the fourth century CE, but those remedies may be later additions and the date of book 1 and the prologue, which were likely written first, remains uncertain: see Alpers 1984, addressed in English in Mastrocinque 2015).

The overall work is aimed at showing how the combination of the secret properties of stones, birds, plants, and fish can bring effective healing, on which compare the introduction to Thessalos’ herbal at this link (where astrology plays an additional role), as well as Pliny the Elder’s discussion of healing remedies among Persian Magians (link). The compiler of Kyranides seems to be explaining that he has encountered two alternative recensions of these same medicinal instructions, or two works with some relation to one another. One of them is attributed to Kyranos, imagined as a Persian king but with revelation from the god Hermes Trismegistos, and the other to Harpokration from Alexandria in Egypt.

So Persian (Kyranos the king) and Egyptian (Hermes Trismegistos who supplies Kyranos with knowledge, Harpokration of Alexandria in the second prologue) authorities are playing some role as a source or intermediary of this secret wisdom with foreign (“barbarian”) and, ultimately, divine origins. Yet the alternative prologues seem to agree that the principal credit as intermediaries is given to “Syrians” or Assyrians. Although different in the details, both prologues imagine an original steel or iron inscription with these books written upon it in a “Syrian” language. The books are ostensibly copies of that inscription with added commentary. This is not the place to fully engage the multiple narrative levels (it’s hard to even tell when the compiler is speaking and when he is citing another work, so that’s up in the air sometimes) or to solve the complicated differences between the prologues, which are not fully compatible in the end.

For our purposes, it is significant that the prologues have relevance to the issue of wisdom from foreign lands, then, but it is the second one (attributed to Harpokration) that has a more developed story of Harpokration’s journey to the Euphrates. There he finds an old, bilingual wise sage (actually a prisoner of war) who can interpret the meaning of the mysterious Syrian or Assyrian inscription. This is a further instance of a biographical pattern that can be seen in Thessalos’ preface to his work on medical materials (link), where an Egyptian wise man is involved. But this pattern is also more widely encountered in other stories of journeys by young men to gain wisdom from “barbarian” wise men, as in Plutarch (link), Lucian (link), and Clement (link), where the wise man is a Judean.

To read more about Kyranides, Thessalos and stories of journeys to gain foreign wisdom, see Harland’s article “Journeys in Pursuit of Divine Wisdom” (link).

Works consulted: K. Alpers, “Untersuchungen zum griechischen Physiologus und den Kyraniden,” Vestigia bibliae 6 (1984): 13-87 (on the fourth century date of books 2-3, at least); A. Mastrocinque, “Alphabetic Magic: Traces of a New Version of the Cyranides,” in The Wisdom of Thoth, ed. G. Bąkowska-Czerner, A. Roccati, and A. Świerzowska (Oxford: Archaeopress Publishing, 2015), 49–54, esp. 50-52 (link); F. de Mély, Les Lapidaires de l’antiquité et du moyen-âge, 3 vols. (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1898-1902), especially volume 3 for Greek text and French translation on pp. 33-140 (link); M. Waegman, Amulet and Alphabet: Magical Amulets in the First Book of Cyranides (Amsterdam: J.C. Gieben, 1987), for a translation of healing remedies in book 1.

Source of translations: Translation by Harland.  For comparison, there is now a partial translation of the first section only in M.D. Litwa, Hermetica II (Cambridge: CUP, 2018), 286-287.

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[Introduction of the final compilation of prologues from two different recensions of a work on healing]

[Compiler:] This is the book of Kyranos and of Hermes summoned as threefold [i.e. Hermes Trismegistos]. This is a book compiled from both of them about physical agencies (dynameis), attractions, and repulsions, which was compiled from two books: from the first book of Kyranides by Kyranos (or: Cyranus) king of the Persians and from the book of Harpokration of Alexandria, written for his (5) own daughter.

[1. Prologue ostensibly drawn from the author Kyranos]

[Compiler:] Now the first book of Kyranos contains the following, just as we have also presented:

[Kyranos:] “The thrice-great god Hermes communicated to all receptive men this book of mysterious matters, a great gift of the god which has been received from messengers. For this reason, do not communicate this to ignorant men! Rather, guard it in itself as a great possession! (10) But you, like a father, are, if you are able, to communicate this only to your children as if it was costly gold. It is a great possession for healing activity (energeia), which they, like sacred children, swear only to protect.”

[Compiler:] This is the book in the Syrian language which was engraved on a monument of steel (or: iron) <and found buried in a marshy area in Syria, as previously mentioned> in the (15) Ancient Book which I have translated.

This book, called Kyranis, is written about the twenty-four stones, twenty-four birds, twenty-four plants, and twenty-four types of fish. Every power (dynamis) of these, which has been combined and mixed with the rest of the healing (therapeia) agencies of a human body – not only so but also every power (?) of pleasure and of nature (οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ καὶ τέρψεως καὶ φύσεως) – was revealed by the almighty god, who is all-powerful, through the same wisdom of (20) the activity (energeia) of plants, stones, fish, and birds and through the agencies (dynameis) of stones, animals, and beasts which they [i.e. plants, animals, etc.] produce, as well as through the mixings with one another, the oppositions, and the properties. Knowledge (gnōsis) and a great deal of experience (polypeiria) came to men from the god.

(25) So after dividing the entire work (syntagma) into three Kyranides, I clearly expressed things in alphabetical order as they came to mind. They have been called Kyranides because these are the “queens” of all other books which have been written. They were discovered by Kyranos, king of the Persians, of which this is the first book. This is that one’s prologue.

[2. Prologue ostensibly drawn from the author Harpokration]

[Compiler:] On the other hand, that of Harpokration has the following. (30) It is a healing book from Syria, written by Harpokration for his own daughter. This is what is written:

[Harpokration:] “During my journeys around the Babylonian country, I came near a certain city there, called Seleukeia [i.e. on the Tigris], that everyone sets out to describe in an account. But we do not need to write some lengthy account about that city because we might occupy ourselves with introductions forever. (35) Instead, let us return to our proposed aim.”

[Compiler:] Nonetheless, he continues to speak about another city he saw seventeen measuring-lines (schoinioi; = 750 stadia) away from Seleukeia. Alexander, the king of the Macedonians, destroyed that city upon returning to it, and Alexander founded a different Seleukeia situated near the Persians (or: beneath the Persis plateau [?; Cohen]), since it was of Persian origin [i.e. some existing Persian settlement at the site before the new foundation]. But at first it was called ‘Alexandria which is towards Babylon.’”

(40) [Harpokration:] “After inquiring into these things, my child, three years later in a foreign land, I met an old man who was extremely well-educated, even in the Greek language. He was saying that he was a Syrian by descent group (genos), but that he was passing time there as a prisoner of war. So this man was showing me everything as he took me around everywhere in the city. After coming upon some place about four miles away from the city, I examined a very large monument (stelē) there surrounded by towers. (45) The natives of the country said it was brought from Syria and set up for the purpose of healing (therapeia) the male inhabitants in the city. After examining closely, I found foreign letters which had been engraved. So immediately I was begging the old man if he would comply by offering an explanation. I was listening to him describing in detail about the monument as he was translating the language of barbarians into Greek without hesitation. (50) ‘Look at all of the three surrounding towers, son,’ he said, ‘one stretching for five miles, another for two and a half miles, and still another for four miles.’ ‘These were built by giants,’ he said, ‘who wanted to go up to the skies. Because of this crazy impiety some were struck by lightning and others did not recognize each other for the rest of time, by the will of the god. (55) All the rest of the giants fell down into piles across all of Crete, where the god who was angry at them threw them down.’”

“After these things, the old man urged me to measure with a measuring-line the great stone [i.e. tower] which happened to be towards the east and, after measuring the nearby stone, I found it was 622 cubits high and 76 cubits wide. There were also six steps, (60) and I saw a temple (hieron). In the middle of the temple was the inner-shrine (naos) which had a staircase with 365 silver steps and another 60 gold steps. We went up the stairs to worship the god. And he was saying: ‘The agencies (dynameis) of the god cannot be measured, and they must not be revealed.’”

“I also carefully investigated around the remaining areas. However, I was escorted, and I was considered worthy to hear only about the monument (stelē). (65) After the old man removed a linen covering which was concealing part of the monument, he was displaying foreign letters which had been engraved. But I didn’t know the language, and was begging him to teach me everything without hesitation. I succeeded in finding out what was written on the monument, which follows:”

[Content of the foreign inscription learned by Harpokration]

‘It is a complicated myth: Great is the one who perceives the plans of the immortal one, in order that the second book will receive from god the name “The Kyranis” [i.e. the singular of Kyranides], (70) which comes after the first book called “Ancient Book” from Syria, where the streams of the river of the god Euphrates flow.’

[Harpokration:] “These are the letters that have been inscribed on monuments of steel:

‘I wrote what has already happened and what is about to happen, and then I arranged stones by their agencies (dynameis), grouping them by plants of the earth, fish of the deep, birds of the air and comparing (75) power with power in the four groups. These things were compared more definitively for men living today and for men in the future. (80) Oh immortal soul, who drags along a mortal body, being brought down from the air to evil chains by Necessity, just as god himself declared: You are content to be governed by faulty mortal bodies and by the thread of Necessity spun by the Fates. For just like a man bound in a trap and in chains, next you may also be captured in strong chains by Necessity. Having left a mortal and grievous body, you will certainly see god who is master (85) in the air and in the clouds, the one who brings thunder, earthquakes, lightning-strikes, and thunderbolts, the one who establishes the foundations of the earth and the waves of the sea. These are the works of god, the mother of eternity. The god introduced all of these things to mortals, as well as all their opposites.'”

[Return of the compiler and transition to the herbal]

[Compiler:] Now this book was buried in a Syrian marsh, engraved on a (90) monument of tempered steel as stated already in the book mentioned previously called Ancient. But in this one, which is called Kyranis, is written about the twenty-four stones, twenty-four birds, twenty-four fish, and twenty-four plants. Of these, each power (dynamis), having combined, will mix with the rest of the agencies so that the remaining mortal body, having been soothed, may enjoy health forever. For no one but god gives man breath (pneuma). But everything is written from the composition (syntaxis) of the lord (Kyranos [?]), and the beginning is here.

So this is the way both works begin, that is to say the prologues which have disagreements. Therefore, in agreement, they start their compositions with the letter “alpha” in this way:

[Medicinal text in alphabetical order follows. For a translation of portions of book 1, see Waegeman 1987. There are no other English translations of the entire prologue, to my knowledge. For a French translation of the prologue and the entire work, but not of Kaimakis’ critical edition, see Mély 1902, 33-140].

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[Greek text of the compiler]

<ΠΡΟΛΟΓΟΣ>

Βίβλος αὕτη Κυρανοῦ <καὶ> Ἑρμεία ἐπικλητὴ “τὰ τρία”, ἐξ ἀμφοǀτέρων βίβλος φυσικῶν δυνάμεων συμπαθειῶν καὶ ἀντιπαθειῶν, συνταχθεῖσα ǀ {ἐκ δύο βίβλων}, ἔκ τε τοῦ Κυρανοῦ βασιλέως Περσῶν τῆς πρώτης βίβλου ǀ τῶν Κυρανίδων, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ Ἁρποκρατίωνος τοῦ Ἀλεξανδρέως πρὸς τὴν (5) οἰǀǀκεῖαν θυγατέραν.

ǀ Εἶχε δὲ ἡ πρώτη Κυρανοῦ βίβλος οὕτως, καθὼς καὶ ὑπεθήκαμεν. ǀ Θεοῦ δῶρον μέγιστον <ἀπ’> ἀγγέλων λαβὼν Ἑρμῆς ὁ τρισμέγιστος ǀ θεὸς ἀνθρώποις πᾶσιν μετέδωκεν δεκτικοῖς μυστικῶν βιβλίον τόδε. μὴ οὖν ǀ μετάδος ἀνδράσιν ἀγνώμοσιν, ἀλλ’ ἔχε ἐν ἑαυτῷ ὡς κτῆμα μέγιστον· μόνον ǀǀ (10) δὲ τέκνοις, εἰ δυνηθείης, μετάδος σὺ ὁ πατὴρ ἀντὶ χρυσίου πολυτίμου, ǀ κτῆμα μέγα πρὸς ἐνέργειαν, ὁρκῶν αὐτοὺς μόνον ἀσφαλῶς ἔχειν τέκνον ǀ ἱερόν.

ǀ Αὕτη ἡ βίβλος Συριακοῖς ἐγκεχαραγμένη γράμμασιν ἐν στήλῃ σιδηǀρᾷ ἐν <λίμνῃ τῆς Συρίας κατεχώσθη ὡς προείρηται ἐν> {μὲν} τῇ πρὸ (15) αὐǀǀτῆς βίβλῳ Ἀρχαϊκῇ ὑπ’ ἐμοῦ ἑρμηνευθείσῃ· ἐν ταύτῃ δὲ τῇ καλουμένῃ Κυǀρανίδι ἐγράφη περὶ λίθων κδʹ, πτηνῶν κδʹ, βοτανῶν κδʹ, καὶ ἰχθύων κδʹ. ǀ τούτων οὖν ἑκάστη δύναμις συγκραθεῖσα καὶ μιγεῖσα ταῖς λοιπαῖς δυνάμεσι ǀ σώματος θνητοῦ θεραπείας ἔνεκεν, οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ καὶ τέρψεως καὶ φύσεως, ǀ εὗρεν παρὰ θεοῦ παντοκράτορος τοῦ παντοδυνάμου διὰ τῆς αὐτοῦ σοφίας (20) βοǀǀτανῶν καὶ λίθων καὶ ἰχθύων καὶ πτηνῶν ἐνεργείας καὶ {λίθων} δυνάμεις ǀ καὶ ζώων καὶ θηρίων φύσιν, ἔτι δὲ καὶ τὰς πρὸς ἀλλήλους μίξεις τε ǀ καὶ ἐναντιώσεις καὶ ἰδιότητας. ἤτις θεόθεν ἧκεν εἰς ἀνθρώπους γνῶσις ǀ τε καὶ πολυπειρία.

ǀ Εἰς τρεῖς οὖν διελὼν Κυρανίδας τὸ πᾶν σύνταγμα, ἐσαφήνισα (25) καǀǀτὰ στοιχεῖον ὡς ἐμνημόνευται τὰ πράγματα.

ǀ Κυρανίδες εἴρηνται διὰ τὸ τῶν ἄλλων γραφεισῶν βίβλων βασιλίσǀσας εἶναι ταύτας. εὕρηνται δὲ παρὰ Κυρανοῦ τοῦ βασιλέως ǀ Περσῶν, ὧν ἡ ǀ πρώτη αὕτη.

ǀ Οὗτος μὲν ὁ τούτου πρόλογος· τοῦ δὲ Ἁρποκρατίωνος εἶχεν οὕτως.

(30) ǀǀ Βίβλος ἀπὸ Συρίας θεραπευτική, τῇ οἰκείᾳ θυγατρὶ Ἁρποκρατίων ǀ γέγραφε τάδε: ὁδοιπορίας μοί τινος γενομένης περὶ τὴν Βαβυλωνίαν χώǀραν, πόλις ἐστίν τις ἐκεῖσε Σελεύκεια καλουμένη, ἣν πᾶσαν ἱστορήσας ǀ ἐκεῖθεν ἀπῇρον. ἡμεῖς δὲ τὰ περὶ τῆς πόλεως ἐκείνης, ὡς ἐκεῖνος μακρῷ ǀ λόγῳ, οὐ χρείαν ἔχομεν ἀναγράφειν, ἵνα μὴ ἀεὶ ἐν τοῖς προοιμίοις (35) ἐνǀǀασχολώμεθα, ὅπως ἐπὶ τὸ προκείμενον τοῦ σκοποῦ ἐπανέλθωμεν. ἔτι δὲ ǀ καὶ ἄλλην ἔφη θεάσασθαι πόλιν πρὸ δεκαεπτὰ τῆς Σελευκίας σχοινίων, ἢν ǀ Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ τῶν Μακεδόνων βασιλεὺς ὑποστρέφων κατέστρεψε, καὶ ἔκτιǀσεν ἑτέραν Σελεύκειαν ὑπὸ Περσῶν κειμένην ὡς εἶναι περσογενῆ· καλεῖǀται δὲ πρώτη Ἀλεξάνδρεια ἡ πρὸς Βαβυλῶνα. ταῦτα μὲν ὦ τέκνον (40) ἱστορήǀǀσας, συνέτυχον τρίτον ἐπὶ ξένης γέροντι πεπαιδευμένῳ λίαν καὶ ἐν τοῖς ǀ Ἑλλήνων γράμμασι· ἔλεγε δὲ αὐτὸν Σύρον μὲν εἶναι τῷ γένει, αἰχμάλωǀτον δὲ γενόμενον ἐκεῖ διατρίβειν· οὗτος οὖν πᾶσαν τὴν πόλιν σὺν ἐμοὶ ǀ περιερχόμενος ἐπεδείκνυεν ἕκαστα. ἐλθὼν δὲ ἐπί τινος τόπου ἀπέχοντος ǀ τῆς πόλεως ὡσεὶ μίλια δʹ, στήλην ἐκεῖσε ἐθεασάμην μετὰ πύργων (45) μεγίǀǀστην, ἣν οἱ ἐπιχώριοι ἀπὸ Συρίας ἔλεγον κεκομίσθαι καὶ ἀνατεθεῖσθαι ǀ πρὸς θεραπείαν τῶν ǀ ἐνοικούντων ἀνδρῶν τῇ πόλει. ἀτενίσας οὖν γράμμασι ǀ παροίκοις ἐγκεχαραγμένην εὗρον. εὐθέως οὖν τοῦ πρεσβύτου δεηθεὶς εὐǀπειθῆ πρὸς τὴν ἐπίδειξιν ἔσχον. ἤκουον δὲ αὐτοῦ διηγουμένου τὰ περὶ ǀ τὴν στήλην, καὶ ἑρμηνεύοντος ἀφθόνως Ἑλλάδι φωνῇ τὰ τῶν βαρβάρων (50) ǀǀ γράμματα, “ὁρᾷς γε” ἔφασκεν, “ὦ τέκνον, πάντας τοὺς κειμένους πύργους ǀ τρεῖς, ὧν ὁ μὲν ἐπὶ μίλια εʹ ἐκτέταται, ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ δύο ἥμισυ, ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ ǀ δʹ”. τούτους ᾠκοδομῆσθαι παρὰ γιγάντων ἔλεγεν, ἐθελόντων εἰς οὐρανοὺς ǀ ἀνελθεῖν. ἐκ δὲ τῆς ἀσεβοῦς ταύτης μανίας τῶν μὲν κεραυνοβοληθέντων, ǀ τῶν δὲ ἑαυτοὺς ἠγνοηκότων εἰς τὸν λοιπὸν χρόνον τῇ τοῦ θεοῦ βουλήσει, (55) ǀǀ καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν ἁπάντων ἐφ’ ὅλην τὴν Κρητικὴν νῆσον πεπτωκότων, ǀ εἰς ἣν ὑπέβαλεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς χολούμενος αὐτοῖς. ἐκέλευσεν οὖν μεǀτὰ ταῦτα ὁ πρεσβύτης σχοινίῳ διαμετρῆσαι τὸν λίθον τὸν πρὸς ἀνατοǀλὰς μέγιστον τυγχάνοντα. κἀγὼ μετρήσας τὸν πλησίον εὗρον ἔχοντα τὸ ǀ μὲν ὕψος πηχῶν χκβʹ, τὸ δὲ πλάτος οηʹ. ἦσαν δὲ καὶ ὀρυγαὶ (60) ἀνατάσǀǀσουσαι ηʹ. ἐθεασάμην δὲ καὶ ἱερόν. ὁ δὲ μέσον τοῦ ἱεροῦ ναὸς κλίμαǀκας εἶχε τξεʹ ἀργυρᾶς καὶ ἑτέρας χρυσᾶς ξʹ, εἰς ἃς ἀνεληλύθαμεν ǀ προσεύξασθαι τῷ θεῷ. καὶ ἔλεγε μυρίας τοῦ θεοῦ δυνάμεις, ἃς οὐ χρὴ ǀ καταλέγειν. ἐγὼ δὲ καὶ περὶ τῶν λοιπῶν ἐξετάζειν προαιρούμενος, τὰ ǀ μὲν ἄλλα παρεπεμπόμην, περὶ δὲ τῆς στήλης μόνης ἀκούειν ἠξίουν. ὁ (65) ǀǀ δὲ πρεσβύτης ἀφελὼν τὰ καλύπτοντα τὴν στήλην βύσσινα ἐδείκνυε παρǀοίκοις γράμμασιν αὐτὴν ἐγκεχαραγμένην. ἐγὼ δὲ τῶν γραμμάτων ἄπειǀρος ὢν ἐδεόμην ἀφθόνως ἕκαστα μανθάνειν· ἐτύγχανον δὲ τὰ ἐν τῇ ǀ στήλῃ ἀναγινωσκόμενα οὕτως ἔχοντα.

ǀ Μῦθος πολυφθεγγής· πολλὰ ἰδὼν ἀθανάτου βουλαῖς, {ὅπως ἔσται (70) ǀǀ δευτέρα βίβλος τοὔνομα λέξαι θεοῦ ἡ Κυρανίς, δευτέρα βίβλος ἀπὸ ǀ τῆς πρώτης Ἀρχαϊκῆς συριάδος οὖσα, ὅπου ῥοαὶ χύνονται ποταμοῦ θεοῦ ǀ Εὐφράτου. στήλαις σιδηραῖς κεχαραγμένα γράμματα ταῦτα, ὅσα πρὶν ἐǀχάραξα καὶ μέλλοντα}. πάλιν ἀνέζευξα ἐν δυνάμεσι λίθους, σὺν αὐτοῖς ǀ καὶ φυτὰ γαίης, ἐκ βυθοῦ τε ἰχθυόεντα, καὶ ὄρνεα ἀερόεντα, (75) συγκρίǀǀνας δύναμιν δυνάμει ἐν τετράδι· <ὅπως ἔσται δευτέρα βίβλος τοὔνοǀμα λέξαι θεοῦ ἡ Κυρανίς, δευτέρα βίβλος ἀπὸ τῆς πρώτης Ἀρχαϊκῆς ǀ Συριάδος οὖσα, ὅπου ῥοαὶ χύνονται ποταμοῦ θεοῦ Εὐφράτου. στήλαις ǀ σιδηραῖς κεχαραγμένα γράμματα ταῦτα, ὅσα πρὶν ἐχάραξα καὶ μέλλοντα>. ǀ μείζω ταῦτα ἀνθρώποις γεγόνασί τε καὶ μέλλουσιν. ὦ ψυχὴ ἀθάνατε (80) ǀǀ θνητὸν σῶμα φοροῦσα, ἀχθεῖσα ἀερόθεν δεσμοῖς κακοῖς ὑπ’ ἀνάγκης, ὡς ǀ θεὸς αὐτὸς ἔφρασε θνητοῖς σώμασί σε κυβερνᾶν στέργειν ἐναμάρτοις, ǀ καὶ Μοιρῶν ἀνάγκης τε ἐπίκλωσμα· ὥσπερ γὰρ ἐν συνοχῇ ἀνὴρ ἐνὼν καὶ ǀ δεσμοῖσιν, οὕτως ἄρα καὶ σὺ δεσμοῖς κρατῇ κρατεροῖς ὑπ’ ἀνάγκης. ἐξǀελθοῦσα δὲ θνητοῦ καὶ δυσαχθοῦς σώματος, ὄντως ὄψει δεσπόζοντα θεὸν (85) ǀǀ ἐν αἰθέρι καὶ νεφέλαις, ὃς βροντάς, σεισμοὺς ἀεὶ γαίῃ ἐπάγει ἀστραǀπάς τε κεραυνούς, καὶ θεμέλια γαίης κινεῖ, καὶ κύματα πόντου. ταῦτα ǀ ἔσται ἔργα θεοῦ παμμήτορος αἰώνια. πάντα βροτοῖς κατέδειξεν ὁ θεὸς ǀ καὶ ἐναντία πάντα.”

ǀ Ἀλλ’ αὕτη ἡ βίβλος κατεχώσθη ἐν λίμνῃ τῆς συρίας (90) ἐγκεχαραǀǀγμένη στήλῃ ὁλοστόμῳ σιδηρᾷ ὡς προείρηται ἐν τῇ πρὸ ταύτης βίǀǀβλῳ καλουμένῃ Ἀρχαϊκῇ. ἐν δὲ ταύτῃ τῇ καλουμένῃ Κυρανίδι ἐγράφη ǀ περὶ λίθων κδʹ καὶ πτηνῶν κδʹ καὶ ἰχθύων κδʹ καὶ βοτανῶν κδʹ. τούǀτων ἑκάστη δύναμις συγκραθεῖσα μιγήσεται ταῖς λοιπαῖς δυνάμεσιν, ǀ ὅπως τὸ θνητὸν σῶμα λοιπὸν παρηγορήσαντες ὑγιὲς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα (95) ἀποǀǀλαύσωμεν. οὐδεὶς γὰρ ἀνθρώπῳ πνεῦμα δωρήσεται ἢ θεός. πάντα δὲ ἐǀγράφη ἀπὸ τῆς τοῦ κυρίου συντάξεως, ἔστι δὲ ἡ ἀρχὴ ἥδε·

ǀ Οὕτως μὲν οὖν αἱ τῶν ἀμφοτέρων ἀρχαὶ ἤγουν οἱ πρόλογοι τὴν ǀ διαφωνίαν ἔχουσιν· ἀπ’ ἐντεῦθεν δὲ ὡς ἐκ συμφώνου τὴν ἀπαρχὴν πεǀποιήκασιν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἄλφα στοιχείου οὕτως:

[Text of herbal in alphabetical order follows.]

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