Theriaka and Alexipharmaka by Nicander

Orion and Scorpion from Theriaka and Alexipharmaka by Nicander, medieval medical illuminated manuscript, Bibliothèque nationale France


Folio 2v - Orion and a Scorpion

The folio 2verse comprises three figures. On the six lines of text (verses 21-26 of the Theriaka), the illustrator has represented Orion and a scorpion. The images refer to the passage of Nicandro's poem found on the previous page and in which the origin of the scorpion, created by Artemis to punish Orion for his concupiscence (verses 13-20), is recounted. The composition of the page denotes a deliberate decision to relate Orion and the scorpion. The drawing of the lagobolon, the curved cane considered as an attribute of the hunter, is repeated in the curve of the scorpion's stinger. Already in the first image, the illustrator makes us penetrate the spirit of ancient medicine where mythological digressions abound. In the lower margin, there is a viper in full moult, as indicated by the foot εχιδvα απoδυoμεvη. This scene refers to verse 31, copied on the next page.

Grégoire Aslanoff
Université de Paris I - Panthéon - Sorbonne
Fragmento del libro Theriaka y Alexipharmaka

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