De honesta voluptate: et valitudine

Platina. October 24, 1480.

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In this book, Platina details the benefits of a range of foods, including spices. This excerpt includes information about cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Notably, Platina disputes the mythical origins of cinnamon, favoring a more realistic description.

On Cinnamon: “What Herodotus tells about cinnamon is all stories and indeed false. It grows in Ethiopia, and its trunk is short with low and close branching; although it never rises on a site above two ells, it has a thickness of four fingers. It grows in thornbushes and brambles, and therefore it is not gathered without trouble. The bark of the twig is the cinnamon. Its special goodness is considered to be at the top, with the tenderest parts extending the length of a span. It has second-best parts, but that part which is near to this top os of a shorter length, while that which is near the root is really poor. Pliny claims to have seen a root of it of great weight, dedicated by the Emperor Vespasian in the temple of Capitoline Jupiter and Peace.

The nature of cinnamon is warm and dry, brings about digestion and aids the stomach and liver with its force and fragrance. I would think that cinnamon is the same as cinnamomum, for in my judgment, in the former syncope has occurred in poetry.”

On Ginger: “The quality of ginger is warm and dry, but it happens to tend toward corruption, in part because it rots like wood corroded by worms. It helps a chilled stomach by drying out its excessive moisture, contracted by eating green fruit. It is also considered an antidote against the bites of poisonous creatures.”

On Nutmeg: “The nut which dealers in paints call muscata is warm and dry. It helps the human body by its force and fragrance, sharpens weakened vision of the eyes, settles vomit, and induces appetite by soothing stomach and liver. All these spices have aromatic force, whether whole or ground, separate or mixed, and they are especially suitable for people to eat.”

Translation from: Mary Ella Milham, ed., Platina, on Right Pleasure and Good Health: A Critical Edition and Translation of De Honesta Voluptate Et Valetudine (Tempe, AZ: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1998), 181 and 183.

Metadata Details
Item Type Book
Title De honesta voluptate: et valitudine
Creator Platina
Publication Date October 24, 1480
Call Number Inc. 7266
Location Special Collections