1516 Hydromel: Barbaro & Baptista

The book I am drawing my recipes from has two primary authors.

Ermolao (Hermolao) Barbaro (Hermolaus Barbarus) 1454-1493 was born in Venice and died in Rome. Son of a politician, he also went into politics (where he was involved in controversies resulting in his exile from Venice), but was also known for his poetry, oration, and translations of classical works.

Ermolao Barbaro

Johannes Baptista Egnatius (Giovanni Battista Egnazio, Giovanni Battista Cipelli) c. 1473-1553, is easily confused with others of similar names. His history is relatively opaque to a simple search.

From a 2009 Christies auction description of our text citing Greene Landmarks of Botanical History for the quotations within the description: ”The definitive edition of Ermolao Barbaro’s (1454-1493) Latin translation and edited by Johannes Baptista Egnatius. De medicinali material, first printed in Latin in 1479 by Petro Paduano was the fons et origo of botanical knowledge until the early seventeenth century: as Sprengel states, “during more than sixteen centuries [Dioscorides] was looked up to as the sole authority, so that everything botanical began with him.” … The second part is Barbaro’s own Corollarii, and is an extended commentary on the plants discussed by Dioscorides with a preface by G.B. Egnazio, printed here for the first time “Barbaro begins to tell things before untold about familiar plants that have been too succinctly written of during fifteen or twenty centuries; a kind of innovation in botany which was of profound import, and one with which Ruel, Valerius Cordus, Tragus, and Conrad Gesner, of a generation later, have been accredited as first pioneers”

1516 Baptista/Barolo Book V Hydromeli DCCCLXVII Dioscorides

Componitur & aliud genus aquae mulse: quod proprie Hydromeli appellant. Hoc aetate media secundarii vini, & eius quod Adynamon vocavimus, vicem implet recreandis ab aegritudine longa viribus. Proindeque partem aliquam inflamatam habentes innocentius utuntur eo: que lora. Inveterate tamen usum servoribet strictisque febribus danaver e: sed stomach laborantibet & defecate ciborum aviditati & repentinis quoque pavoriber laudant, id siet hoc genere, I unam partem mellis duas aquae coelestis div servate insonataeque mittemus. Alii Fontanam praeserunt & ad teritas decoquunt. Ita condentes.

TRANSLATION (Laura Angotti): It is made and another kind of Aqua Mulsa, which properly is called Hydromel. This ages like a secondary wine, and is called Adynamon. It provides relief from the forces of a long illness. It also relieves inflammation in those who use it. However the use in fevers draws them out. But it loosens the stomach …. It is one part of honey and two of rain water put together. Others use spring water cooked to the third part.

Here we see a basic recipe for hydromel / aqua mulsa / melicraton. The 1 part honey to 2 parts water ratio will result in about 3.75 pounds per gallon honey and an alcohol potential of 18-19%. This is a higher honey content than is typical.

Portrait of Barbaro courtesy of Uni Mannheim Mateo (Mannheimer Texte Online)

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