Pliny the Elder on Goats

Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23 – AD 79), better known as Pliny the Elder, was a naturalist and author as well as a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire. During his lifetime he wrote many books, the most significant being a 37-volume encyclopedia called Naturalis Historia (Natural History) that survived into modern times. He mentions goats hundreds of times in this vast work and some of the tidbits, especially entries about medicines involving goat parts, are astounding.

Note: It was not good to be a goat in ancient Rome.

Cures for Babies

“The brain of a she-goat, passed through a golden ring, is given drop by drop by the Magi to babies, before they are fed with milk, to guard them from epilepsy and other diseases of babies. Restless babies, especially girls, are quietened by an amulet of goat’s dung wrapped in a piece of cloth…By rubbing the gums of infants with goats’ milk or hare’s brains, dentition is greatly facilitated.” Continue reading “Pliny the Elder on Goats”