The roots of botany in ancient Greece, from Theophrastus in the 3rd century BCE, and of pharmacology, from Dioscorides in the 1st century CE, grew from philosophical investigations into plant life informed by the rhizotomi – the root gatherers. These were described as uneducated, superstitious people, finders and dealers in the fibrous, tuberous and bulbous roots of plants. They mixed medicine with magic, enacted rituals, spoke or sang prayers and incantations. Their ceremonies involved drawn swords, facing east, eating garlic, drinking wine, anointing with oils, sacrifices. Some roots could be ...


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