In greco Theómnëstos = richiesto, ricordato da Dio. Era originario di Nicopoli. Come si vedrà tra poco, non si può affermare che era di Nicopoli del Ponto (antica città dell'Asia Minore, nell'Armenia Minore, sulla sinistra del fiume Lico - l'odierno Kelkit - in prossimità dell'attuale centro di Susehri) oppure di Nicopoli in Epiro, città greca fondata da Augusto dopo la battaglia di Azio (31 aC) su un promontorio del golfo di Ambracia presso l'odierna Prévesa. L’Epiro è oggi una Regione della Grecia occidentale, comprendente i nomói di Arta, Giànnina, Thesprotia e Prévesa e si estende al confine con l'Albania.
Infatti neppure il Dr Robert Hoyland dell’Università scozzese di St Andrews è in grado di risolvere il dilemma.
Così mi rispondeva il 12-11-2004:
“Dear Dr. Corti, it is an interesting question. In the introduction to his veterinary treatise Theomnestus says that many treatments for glanders "we found out from animals we treated among the people of Pamphilia...and we took some from the people of Cappadocia, who in turn took them from the Greeks called Arcadians whose horses and pastures we have seen" (translated in my article: "Theomnestus of Nicopolis, Hunayn ibn Ishaq and the beginnings of Islamic Veterinary Science" in islamic reflections, arabic musings, Oxbow Books, Oxford, 2004, 153). This does not give a clear answer; Cappadocia inclines us towards Nicopolis in Asia Minor, and Arcadia perhaps more to Nicopolis in Epirus, but since we are presumably speaking about where he grew up, there is no reason why he should not have moved away in adulthood. I am also unsure why Ritter and Rosenthal both called him Theomnestus of Magnesia when Nicopolis is clearly written in the Arabic mss (do you have any idea?). Sorry not be of more help, best wishes, Robert Hoyland.”
Secondo Diane Ménard, Teomnesto pubblicò le sue opere fra il 313 e il 324 dC ed era amico dell’imperatore romano Licinio (Valerius Licinianus Licinius, Illiria ca. 250 - Tessalonica 325).
Lind (1963) riferisce che il trattato di Theomnestus - Veterinariae medicinae libri duo - fa parte del Corpus Hippiatricorum Graecorum - edito da Grynaeus, Basilea, 1537 e da Oder & Hoppe, Leipzig, Teubner, 1924. Per maggiori dettagli vedere Ippiatri.
In data 28-11-2004 Robert Hoyland mi inviava una e-mail con la quale metteva in evidenza la presenza di un qualcosa in sovrappiù nel testo citato da Aldrovandi: “le ricoprirai [le uova] una a una con del colorante color dell’oro.”, un sovrappiù che infatti parrebbe quasi senza significato e che non è presente nella versione araba. Anche il numero delle uova è diverso: 3 nella versione araba, 5 in quella latina. Poteri dei traduttori!!! Poteri che talora diventano praticamente insindacabili.
Ecco il testo di Hoyland:
Dear Elio, I thought it might be of interest to you to have the translation of the Arabic version of the entry in Theomnestus for "the remedy for a cough arising from heat and dust". Here it is:
arabic: “Take three eggs and
soak them from the evening in very heavy heavy vinegar. By the morrow you will
find them delicate and pliant, like the egg that has been laid prematurely,
and it will be clear to you that the outer shell covering it is soft to the
touch and you will perceive it to be like a bladder. Then open the mouth of
the horse, hold its tongue, and place in its throat each whole egg, and keep
its head up, and hold it (the horse) until it has swallowed them, one by one.
Next, have it drink fenugreek, or barley water mixed with honey. If you do
that for three days, you will have cured it.” (chapter 21: Istanbul 959,
16a; Paris arabe 2810, 14ab).
As you can see from comparison with your Latin translation (below), the two are very close except the odd bit about "you will cover them one by one with a gold coloured dye". It seems out of place and unnecessary here - is it really in the Greek version (sorry I don’t have this to hand any more)?
latin: “Theomnestus says: the cough to which the heat or the dust gave rise in the horse is removed with the followings remedies. When it’s growing dark you will soak five eggs with their shells in sharp vinegar. At dawn you will check that the outer sheet has melted so that they can become quite soft: as they are usually appearing those laid ahead of time and sent forth because of a premature birth by hens: since their covering doesn’t offer resistance to the touch it remains capable of holding the liquid as a bladder. When you opened the mouth, bringing out his tongue, you will push them into his throat whole one by one; you will cover them one by one with a gold colored dye. But the head has to be held upward until he has swallowed them one by one. After them a juice of fenugreek is given or pearl barley blended in honey; given for three days they will reduce the ailment. Thus far his words.”
Dictionary of Greek and Roman
biography and mythology
William Smith - Boston, 1867
Theomnestus (Θεόμνηστος), one of the Greek writers on veterinary surgery, who may perhaps have lived in the fourth or fifth century after Christ. None of his works remain, but some fragments are to be found in the collection of writers on veterinary surgery, first published in Latin by John Ruellius, 1530, fol. Paris, and afterwards in Greek by Simon Grynaeus, 1537, 4to. Basil.