A dragon and a serpent, in a herbal

The British Library

The British Library

This magnificently decorated herbal was made in Lombardy, northern Italy, around the year 1440. Each page contains life-like drawings of various plants and short notes explaining their names. Shown here is snakeroot, with some of its Latin names including dragontea, serpentaria and viperina, all referring to its ability to cure snakebite. The term ‘snakeroot’ is applied today to plants such as plantain. A poultice of plantain applied to a wound is widely believed to accelerate the healing process. Shown here: ff. 37v–38r

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  • Title: A dragon and a serpent, in a herbal
  • Date Created: 15th century
  • Location: British Library, London, UK
  • Location Created: Italy
  • Type: Manuscript
  • Original Source: Sloane MS 4016
  • Rights: Public Domain in most countries other than the UK. For more information visit: https://www.bl.uk/help/how-to-reuse-images-of-unpublished-manuscripts

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