Sources for the Herbal

The Herbal is a compilation of materials from many sources, almost all of them written, with a few widely scattered but fascinating references to Daniel’s own experience and knowledge or that of contemporary men and women. His citations usually consist only of an author’s name, not the name of the specific work that he has consulted, though there are often highly likely suspects for those works, and we have suggested those suspects where possible.

We have only barely begun the work of identifying the specific passages that Daniel drew on, but plan to include such identifications in the edition of the Herbal. A number of the authorities listed below are actually embedded in passages translated or adapted from other writers.  Asterisks and bold font indicate frequently cited names/works. Some of Daniel’s one-off authorities are probably still missing from this list. Several of the identifications and suggested identifications are indebted to Winston Black’s expert review of the list.

Individual Authors (Real and Pseudonymous):

  • ps.-Albertus Magnus, Boke of Experimentis (= De virtutibus herbarum)
  • Alexander (of Tralles?; Therapeutica; often embedded in Alphita quotes, sometimes with Oribasius)
  • ps.-Alexander of Tralles (De oculis; often circulated with Therapeutica)
  • Ambrose super Cantica canticorum (embedded in Bartholomaeus)
  • ps.-Aristotle (“Book of Plants”)
  • Averroes (embedded?)
  • *Avicenna (?Canon of Medicine, book 2, on materia medica; or embedded in other sources?)
  • *Bartholomaeus (De proprietatibus rerum, often citing book and chapter)
  • Basilius in Exameron (embedded in Bartholomaeus)
  • Cato (embedded in Gargilius Martialis, de caulicolo)
  • Cleopatras (on use of mastix, probably from Constantine’s Liber graduum, perhaps via Henry of Huntingdon)
  • *Constantine the African (Liber graduum, in Pantegni Practica, bk. 2)
  • Crisippus (of Cnidos; a book on cabbage, cited by Pliny; also cited by Gargilius/Pliny junior)
  • Democritus the philosopher (embedded in Auctor bolus citation)
  • *Dioscorides (De materia medica; often embedded in other sources)
  • Galen (sometimes embedded in other sources)
  • *Gargilius Martialis, Medicinae ex holeribus et pomis (= Plinius iunior, bk. 4; possibly via an intermediary source based on slight differences in HD’s parallels to Gargilius)
  • Haly (= ’Ali ibn al-’Abbas al-Majusi; on trocisci, medicinal troches; from Pantegni?; embedded in other authors?)
  • Hamet (= Hamech son of Zacharias, via Mesue, De simplicibus)
  • *Henry the Englishman (Henry of Huntingdon, Anglicanus Ortus)
  • Hyerax Capadox, supposed author of Thomas hyeracis/Thomus hieratesis (embedded in Gargilius, as “Heras Cappadox [var. Hierax Capadox] in thomo suo”; = first-century CE empiric cited by Galen, Celsus, and Gargilius, but no copies of the cited book survive)
  • Hippocrates (Aphorisms; general citations)
  • *Isidore of Seville (Etymologies; often embedded in other quotations, including Bartholomaeus)
  • *Johannes Mesue (as “Jon Mesueth”; De simplicibus medicinis)
  • *Macer (pseudonym for (?) Odo of Meung, author of De viribus herbarum)
  • Master Chancellor, Antidotarie (Giles of Corbeil’s De laudibus et virtutibus compositorum medicaminum?); also credited with a Viaticum
  • Master of Stories ( = Peter Comestor), on Exodus
  • Master Stephen (attrib. author of Alphita)
  • Master Maurus (= Maurus of Salerno?)
  • *Nicholas (Antidotarium Nicolai?)
  • “the letter upon Nicholas” (sometimes with specific book/ch. numbers or reference to a liber trocisci; a gloss on Antidotarium Nicolai? poss. John of St. Amand’s commentary on the Antidotarium Nicolai; or poss. the “Liber iste” collection of glosses?)
  • Oribasius (often embedded in Alphita quotes, sometimes with Alexander; at least once from Constantine, Liber graduum)
  • *Platearius, Matthaeus (Circa instans)
  • “Platearius abridged”; “Platearius extract”
  • *Plinius iunior (= Gargilius Martialis, Medicinae de holeribus et pomis; = Medicina Plinii, bk. 4)
  • *Pliny, Plinius (Natural History; sometimes an error for Plinius iunior/ Gargilius Martialis)
  • Rabanus (Hrabanus Maurus, via Bartholomaeus)
  • Razi (Rhazes; embedded?)
  • *Serapion (Liber aggregacionum/aggregatus = Liber de simplicibus medicamentis)
  • Suetonius (“his boke of Ceragost Emperour Rom”; cited in Alphita quotation)
  • *Uricrisis (self-citations of the Liber Uricrisiarum, beta version)
  • Virgil (on dittany, via Bartholomaeus)

Anonymous, Apocryphal, or Legendary Sources:


  • Alphita (usually by title, but with occasional attribution to “master Stephen”; often quoted without explicit citation)
  • Auctour Aloe = Johannes Mesue, De simplicibus medicinis (begins with Aloe)
  • *Auctour Bolum armonicum (a writer who cites a number of Greco-Arabic sources, incl. Dioscorides, Avicenna, Serapion, Galen, Averroes, Constantine, Mesue, et al.; HD describes him early in the Arundel MS as “Anoþer auctor whos name Y fynde not, bot his boke I fynde incomplet [f. 3r] and “Auctor bolus, whos name Y fynde no3t” [f. 5v])
  • the boke Ambra
  • the book of medicines laxatives (ps.-Mesue, Canones universales; inc. “Dicimus quod medicina laxativa”)
  • “the letter upon Nicholas, in libro trosist”?
  • Lapidary (in Abeston, Agiofora/pearl, Celidonius, Ligurius/Lapis linxis: Marbode of Rennes? twice appears together with a citation of Albert)
  • Liber anathomie (probably the ps.-Galenic Anatomia porci, cited frequently in Liber Uricrisiarum under the titles Book of Anatomies and Liber anathomiarum)
  • “Themeson” (misunderstood by HD as a work on plantain by Pliny, based on a misreading of Henry of Huntingdon’s reference to Themison of Laodicea [1st cent. BCE] in Ortus 5.1.1)
  • Vacca Platonis (= Liber vaccae, Liber aneguemis; a book mainly on various occult recipes)
  • occasional commentaries on books of Scripture (often embedded, esp. in Bartholomaeus)


  • a great lady who made nerval (a medicinal ointment)
  • Centaurus, the teacher of Achilles (as discoverer of herb Centaurea)
  • “the common (folk)”
  • Esculapius (as inventor of a medicine)
  • Hermolaus (as the inventor of a medicine)
  • Medea (as a founder of medicine)
  • women of Salerno