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The root of the mandragʹora often divides itself in two, and presents a rude appearance of a man. In ancient times human figures were often cut out of the root, and wonderful virtues ascribed to them. It was used to produce fecundity in women (Gen. XXX. 14–16). Some mandrakes cannot be pulled from the earth without producing fatal effects, so a cord used to be fixed to the root, and round a dog’s neck, and the dog being chased drew out the mandrake and died. Another superstition is that when the mandrake is uprooted it utters a scream, in explanation of which Thomas Newton, in his Herball to the Bible, says, “It is supposed to be a creature having life, engendered under the earth of the seed of some dead person put to death for murder.”

“Shrieks like mandrakesʹ torn out of the earth.”

Mandrakes called love-apples. From the old notion that they excited amorous inclinations; hence Venus is called Mandragoriʹtis, and the Emperor Julian, in his epistles, tells Calixʹenēs that he drank its juice nightly as a love-potion.

He has eaten mandrake. Said of a very indolent and sleepy man, from the narcotic and stupefying properties of the plant, well known to the ancients.

“Give me to drink mandragora . .

That I might sleep out this great gap of time

My Antony is away.”

Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, i. 5.

Mandrake. Another superstition connected with this plant is that a small dose makes a person vain of his beauty, and conceited; but that a large dose makes him an idiot.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Manche (French)
Manchester Poet
Manciple (A)
Mandamus (Latin)
Mandeville (Bernard de)
Manger or Manger le Morceau
Mani, Manes, or Manichæus
Manichæans or Manichees

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