Quintus Gargilius Martialis

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Quintus Gargilius Martialis was a third-century Roman writer on horticulture, botany and medicine. He has been identified by some with the military commander of the same name, mentioned in a Latin inscription of 260 as having lost his life in the colony of Auzia in Mauretania Caesariensis.[1] Considerable fragments of his work (probably called De hortis), which treated of the cultivation of trees and vegetables, and also of their medicinal properties, have survived, chiefly in the body of and as an appendix to the Medicina Plinii (an anonymous 4th century handbook of medical recipes based upon Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historiae, xx–xxxii). Extant sections treat of apples, peaches, quinces, citrons, almonds, chestnuts, parsnips, and various other edibles, with an emphasis on the medical effects they have on the body (quoting Dioscorides sometimes). Gargilius also wrote a treatise on the tending of cattle (De curis bouum). A biography of the emperor Alexander Severus is also attributed to him in the Augustan History. This attribution has been read as a joke by some critics.

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