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Histoire générale des drogues (General History of Drugs)

Author Pierre Pomet French

Not on view

Five engraved images herald the discussion of unicorns in chapter 2 of book 1, on animals; several types are localized and described in the text. In the case of the camphur, at upper left, Pomet cites the authority of Ambroise Paré, who claims that it lives in the Arabian Desert, and that its horn can cure various maladies, especially poisoning. The pirassoupi at lower left, by contrast, has two straight, spiraling horns and is said to be found near the Red Sea. Pomet refers the reader to another recently published treatise on animals that illustrates even more unicorns. Later, in chapter 33, Pomet discusses the narwhal, noting that what is known as "unicorn horn" is in fact narwhal tusk.

Pomet was pharmacist to Louis XIV and purveyor of medicinal remedies from distant lands, including sugar and coffee. His text was translated into English in 1712 and widely circulated. (Benjamin Franklin noted the presence of a copy in Philadelphia.) In book 7, Pomet explains that the best dates come from Tunisia, and the best chocolate from his native Paris.

Histoire générale des drogues (General History of Drugs), Pierre Pomet (French, Paris 1658–1699 Paris), Engraving in printed book, French (Paris)

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