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SOME MSS., the most important being V, have certain characters at the end of the medical histories in Book III of the Epidemics. These characters were known to Galen, who wrote, or contemplated writing, a treatise about them. There is no doubt, therefore, that they are ancient ; Galen indeed in his commentary tells us that his predecessors had been much exercised over them. Zeuxis, he says, had written a history of them in which they were traced back to Mnemon, who either added them to a manuscript in the Library at Alexandria or else brought to the Library a copy with the characters inserted.

These characters are of no real value for the interpretation of the text, but they bear witness to the interest taken in the "medical histories" from very early times. Somebody or other invented a shorthand script in order to summarize these histories, or rather the main teaching of them. For some reason they were only applied to the histories of the third book, and Galen says that the older manuscripts of his time had no characters inserted until the seventh case (woman with angina).

Galen gives the following explanation of the characters :--

Ἡγεῖται μὲν οὖν, ὡς2 ἔφην, ἁπάντων τὸ τὴν διάμετρον γραμμὴν ἔχον Π, ς1ημαῖνον ἀεὶ τὸ πιθανόν. τελευταῖον δ́

[p. 214] ἤτοι τὸ Υ γράμμα φαίνεται γεγραμμένον τὸ Θ, τὸ μὲν ὑγείαν, τὸ δὲ θάνατον ς1ημαῖνον. ἔμπρος1θεν δ᾽ αὐτῶν τῶν ἡμερῶν ἀριθμός2, ἐν αἶς2 ἐνός1ης1εν ἀπέθανεν κάμνων. οἱ δὲ ἐν τῷ μεταξὺ τούτων χαρακτῆρες2 ἄπαντες2 μέν εἰς1ι διὰ τῶν γραμμάτων, ς1ημαίνει τὰ ς1τοιχεῖα τῆς2 φωνῆς2, πλὴν τοῦ κάτωθεν ἀπες1τιγμένου δέλτα. τίνα δὲ διάνοιαν ἕκας1τος2 αὐτῶν ἔχει, δηλώς1ω. μεμνημένων οὒν ἡμῶν, ὅτι τὰ πρὸ τοῦ τελευταίου τῶν χαρακτήρων, ὑφ᾽ οὗ θάνατον ὑγείαν ἔφαμεν δηλοῦς1θαι, γεγραμμένα τὸν ἀριθμὸν τῶν ἡμερῶν ς1ημαίνει, περὶ τῶν ἄλλων, ὄς1α μεταξὺ τούτων τε καὶ τῆς2 ἀρχῆς2 γέγραπται, ποιής1ομαι τὸν λόγον. τὸ μὲν Α δηλοῖ ἀποφθορἁν, ἀπώλειαν, τὸ δὲ Γ γονοειδὲς2 οὖρον, τὸ δ̓ ἀπες1τιγμένον, οἰάπερ ἔς1τιν κάτωθεν ἔχει,1 τρόπῳ τοιῷδε γεγραμμἑνον Δι διαχωρούμενα δἰ ἱδρώτων καὶ διάρροιαν καὶ διαφόρης1ιν2 καὶ ς1υνελόντι φάναι κένως1ιν ἡντιναοῦν ς1ημαίνειν Βούλονται, τὸ δὲ Ε ἐποχήν, ἔδραν, τὸ δὲ Ζ ξήτημα, τὸ δὲ Θ θάνατον, ὡς2 προείρηται, τὸ δὲ I ἱδρῶτα, τὸ δὲ Κ κρίς1ιν κοιλιακὴν διάθες1ιν, τὸ δὲ Μ μανίαν μήτραν, τὸ δὲ Ν νεότητα καὶ νέκρως1ιν, τὸ δὲ Ξ ξανθὴν χολὴν καὶ ξένον τι καὶ ς1πάνιον καὶ ξυς1μὸν καὶ ξηρότητα, τὸ δὲ Ο ὀδύνας2 οὖρον--ἔνιοι δέ φας1ιν, ὄταν ἐπικείμενον ἄνωθεν ἔχῃ τὸ Υ, τότε ς1ημαίνειν τὸ οὒρον αὐτό, γραφόμενον ὡς2 εἰώθας1ι τὸ οὔτως1 γράφειν--, τὸ δὲ II πλῆθος2 πτύελον πυρὸν3 πυρετὸν πνεύμονος2 πάθος2, τὸ [Π] δ᾽ ἐν αὑτῷ μές1ον ἔχον τὸ I, καθότι προείρηται, τὸ πιθανὸν δηλοῖ, τὸ δὲ Ρ ῥύς1ιν ῥῖγος2, τὸ δὲ Φ φρενῖτιν φθίς1ιν, τὸ δὲ Σ ς1πας1μὸν ς1τομάχον κάκως1ιν ς1τόματος2, τὸ δὲ Τ τόκον, τὸ δὲ Υ ὑγείαν ὑποχόνδριον, τὸ δὲ Χ χολὴν χολῶδες2, τὸ δὲ Ψ ψύξιν, τὸ δὲ Ω ὠμότητα.

Kéhn XVII, A 611-613.

[p. 215] Now the first character, as I said, is always the letter II with the intersecting line, meaning in all cases "probable." At the end we see written either Υ or Θ, meaning "recovery" and "death" respectively. Before them is the number of the days at the end of which the patient recovered or died. The characters in the middle are in all cases (except the delta with a mark below it) the letters indicating the elements of the word.4 I will now state the meaning of each. Remember that the last character was said to signify recovery or death, and the last but one the number of the days, and I will now give a list of the others written between the number and the beginning. A signifies "miscarriage," "destruction"; Γ "urine like semen"; the letter with the mark underneath,5 written thus Δ, means "evacuations by sweats," "diarrhoea" and "perspiration,"6 and in general any evacuation ; Ε "retention," "seat"; Ζ "object of search"; Θ "death," as I said before ; Ι "sweat"; Κ "crisis" or "condition of the bowels"; Μ "madness" or "womb"; Ν "youth" or "mortification"; Ξ "yellow bile," "something strange and rare," "irritation," "dryness"; Ο "pains" or "urine," though some say it means urine only when it has the Υ placed above, written as the word οὕτως2 is generally written ; Π means "abundance," "sputum," "wheat,"7 "fever,"

[p. 216] "affection of the lung"; with a vertical stroke in the centre it means as Ι said "probable"; Ρ means "flux," "rigor"; Φ "phrenitis" or "consumption"; Σ "convulsion" or "morbid condition of oesophagus or mouth"; Τ "delivery"; Υ "recovery of health" or "hypochondrium"; Χ "bile" or "bilious"; Ψ "chill"; Ω "crudity."

For more information about the characters see Littré, III. pp. 28-33, and various notes at the end of the cases, and also Ilberg in Kéhlewein's edition, p. 245.

As might have been expected, there is considerable doubt as to the right readings of these characters. Thus in V the characters at the end of Case I (first series) are :--

?? *Z*S*M*O*N

where the first character is obviously another form of Galen's ??. Ilberg emends to :--

?? *Z*S*M*O*N*U>

Galen reads :--

?? *P*O*U*M*U

i. e. πιθανόν.





"It is probable that abundance of urine caused recovery in forty days."

Galen's reading makes it necessary to take the words of the text, μετὰ δὲ κρίς1ιν, τες1ς1αράκοντα

[p. 217] ἡμέρῃς1ιν ὗς1τερον, in the unnatural sense of "after the crisis, forty days from the beginning of the illness." So Littré and Adams, but the Greek scarcely allows it.

It appears certain that there were varieties of this shorthand, and that Galen's account deals with one only.

1 This sentence is evidently corrupt.

2 Littré would read διαχώρης1ιν.

3 Littré would read ??υρρόν.

4 That is, each middle character except one is a letter of the alphabet, and that letter is significant, being the initial of a word, or of several alternative words.

5 The text is probably mutilated, but the general meaning is clear.

6 Surely this is wrong. Littré's suggestion ("stools") may possibly be correct.

7 This again can surely not be correct. Littré's emendation is unconvincing.

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