Synaristosae hoc edunt (Men. fr. 336 K.–A. = Plin. NH 23.159) Ovvero: del ‘fantomatico’ mirto bianco nella commedia greca


At the beginning of Menander’s Synaristosai, three women were shown eating myrtle berries, as a preventive means against bad breath. Modern scholars usually believe that they ate seeds of the rare white myrtle, but a full examination of Pliny’s references to myrtle, in comparison with other Greek and Latin sources (esp. Dioscorides), suggests that the Menandrian women ate the seeds of cultivated myrtle, and presumably black myrtle berries. The only other comic reference to white myrtle (Ar. Av. 1100–1) is contested. Apparently, in the classical age, the distinction between black and white myrtle did not affect the comic poets and their audiences.