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by Mordantia Bat

Contributed and Miscellaneous



Note from M. Bat ( July 2000):

A few weeks back, I received the following batch of wormwood trivia via email from an erudite correspondent.

Now while I do intend to incorporate the Shakespearian trivia in the Shakespearian section, look up the Dioscorides reference to see if I can track down any more details, and, in general, make good use of this fine contribution from this correspondent (who goes by the name of brother theobromus) -- well, just about everything that is not trivial has been hindering me in my passion to search for and share the trivial -- with no sign of relief in sight.

So, I'm "cheating." I simply made up a new page for the moment, so that I could share his fine trivia, verbatim. At least it is here, even if I haven't extracted it for categories or delved into tracking down more tidbits from these leads.



From brother theobromus:

I see from your excellent articles that you have somehow overlooked the mention in Dioscorides (usually called "The Greek Herbal of.." or something similar) of wormwood and also a wine made from it (in the preparations at the end rather than the monograph in the body of the work). Unfortunately it does not seem to have been reticulated yet.

I have read somewhere of purl and purl royal, wormwood ale and wine respectively. 17th century England? The OED is the only place I found them again. They were used as morning stimulants as many use coffee now.

In Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night Dream" "Dian's Bud" is used to banish the love spell on Titania (or was it Bottom?). It is usually considered that this plant is wormwood. Wormwood is associated with Artemis and her Roman counterpart Diana, noted Virgins (not to be confused with human virgins who are unable to become mothers) and so patron goddesses of chastity.

Mrs Grieve covers wormwood quite well. I see she notes a wormwood brandy from 1772.

If you want to find a lot of scientific and medical journal articles use PubMed at That should keep you quite busy considering the number of keywords that will bring up separate articles. Many have useful abstracts in PubMed, but it is always the good and obscure ones that do not.

Thank you, brother theobromus!


(added Oct 2003)  See this Absinthe Forum post by Oxygenee about Pliny the Elder's writings on absinthe: Plinii Secundi: Historia Naturalis

Trivia is always welcome. However, as you may ascertain from my note above, I might be slow about getting around to doing anything with it for a while. My apologies.