Why Artemisia?

Posted on Thu 27 June 2019 in misc

Why the title? Four aspects of Artemisia appealed to me. In relation to the blog element in particular, I was thinking of Lucretius' well-known image of honey and wormwood in the proem to Book Four of \emph{De Rerum Nature}. Poetry, he says, is the honey that disguises the bitter taste of the medicinal wormwood (artemisia). I make no claim, however, to offer honey to sweeten the commentary that I am offering, still less any poetry.

The role of artemisia in ancient medicine also seems appropriate for my research interests in ancient science and technology, including a couple of PhD theses on ancient pharmacology that brave souls have entrusted to my supervision.

The second aspect is more personal. In the period between my first paper being submitted for publication and actually being published, I started transitioning and then stopped, which entailed me having to notify the editors accordingly. David Harvey's response to (another) change of nomenclature was to recall Xerxes' alleged comment about Artemisia, ‘Our men have become women and our women have become men‘ (Hdt.\ 8.88).

Finally, artemisia is used in the production of absinthe, not a drink I particularly care for, but the effects may not be irrelevant to the output on this site.