Hippocrates on the "Epidemics", Book V

Hippocrates v. VII (edited & translated by Wesley D. Smith, London, 1994)*


13. A woman in Larissa, who was pregnant, lost much blood for fourteen days in the tenth month, but mostly in the three before the delivery of the child. On the fourteenth day the child was born dead, with the right arm attached to its side. On the third day the afterbirth, at the same time of night as the child, was born. The white flows came after that for three days and nights, moderately in general. After that fever seized her two days and nights and her whole belly and hips were in pain, the lower abdomen most of all.


15. Scamandrus in Larissa had mortification in the hip; in time the bone came free. A large incision up to the bone was cut, and then cauterized. Then on the twelfth day after the incision, spasm began, and it increased. That leg was drawn up right to the ribs. And the contraction migrated to the other side. The leg was bent double and very tense and his other limbs trembled and his jaws were fixed. He died drawn up on the eighth day after the spasm came on. He was treated with fomentations made from leather bottles, and with heated vetch seeds over the whole body. He was given an enema and a little old excrement came out. He took the saturated (purgative) drug and repeated it. He did pass excrement. There was no help from what he drank. He slept a little. Having drunk the saturated drug again at evening, he died at sunrise. It seemed that he would have survived longer if not for the strength of the medicine.


16. Hippocomus son of Palamedes in Larissa, eleven years old, was struck on the forehead above the right eye by a horse. The bone did not seem sound and a little blood spurted out of it. He was trephined extensively down to the diploe. And he was cured, despite this condition of the bone, which before was readily festering. On the twentieth day a swelling began by the ear, and fever and shivering. And in the daytime the swelling and pain were greater. He became fevered, beginning with shivering. His eyes swelled, and his face. He was affected more on the right than the left of the head, but the swelling spread also to the left. That did no harm. Finally the fever was less continuous. These things continued until the eight day. He survived, after being cauterized, purging it with medicine for drinking, and treated with plasters on the swelling. The wound was not responsible for his problems.


20. Eudemus in Larissa had severe hemorrhoids, and as time passed was anemic. Bile was aroused but he was quiet in the body. His lower intestine was upset. He passed bilious material. The hemorrhoids projected. He drank a medicine for purging below and was well purged. Again he drank a barley gruel and was again upset. Pains lodged in the hypochondria. In this case one was treating the hemorroids while he was not well in the intestines, but needed therapy and vomiting. Later, after the sore had been anointed, fever came on him and did not leave him before it had killed him. When the shivering left him, the fever would come on and seize him, and he would pass bile and gas: some was passed, but some remained, and he had pain in the belly. The hemorroids were outside the anus the whole time, beginning from the purgations; and the gas developed because of them. The beginning followed on a sneeze.


21. In Larissa a man was wounded from behind by a hand-thrown broad spear. The tip passed through below the navel. Livid, swollen over a larger area. When he was wounded there was much pain at first, and the belly swelled up. The next day he was given a laxative and passed some bloody matter, and he died. It appeared that his entrails were not healthy and that his lower belly had filled with blood.


24. In Larissa, a maiden vomited a small amount of blood when she had become purulent. Fevers seized her, and did not leave her before she finally died in the third month. Before death she grew deaf and could not hear except when one was shouting very loudly. She had been weak before the vomiting of blood.


*Wesley D. Smith (ed), Hippocrates Vol. II, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1994

The original texts and the biography of Hippocrates were compiled with the assistance of Dr.I.N. Elioudes (Philologist, PhD):

 Dr Elioudes was born in Larissa-Greece (1957). He has got a degree in Hellenic Literature from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. His PhD dissertation from the University of Crete was on Traditional Hellenic texts of the 15th and 16th centuries. He has been a writer of articles and research texts on Hellenic Literature (Ancient, Byzantine, post-Byzantine and Modern Greek), one of which is included in the bibliography of Corpus de Textes Linguistique Fontamenteaux (CTLF).


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