previous next


VII. Now those who are buried in deep ignorance of the art cannot appreciate what has been said. In fact such men will be shown up as ignorant of

[p. 321] medicine, suddenly exalted yet needing good luck. For should wealthy men gain some remission of their trouble, these quacks win reputation through a double good fortune, and if a relapse occurs they stand upon their dignity, having neglected the irreproachable methods of the art, wherewith a good physician, a " brother of the art " as he is called, would be at his best. But he who accomplishes his cures easily without making a mistake would transgress none of these methods through want of power ;1 for he is not distrusted on the ground of wickedness. For quacks do not attempt treatment when they see an alarming2 condition, and avoid calling in other physicians, because they wickedly hate help. And the patients in their pain drift on a sea of twofold wretchedness for not having intrusted themselves to the end to the fuller treatment that is given by the art. For a remission of a disease affords a sick man much relief. Wherefore wanting a healthy condition they do not wish always to submit to the same treatment, therein being in accord with a physician's versatility.3 For the patients

[p. 323] are in need through heavy expenditure, worshipping incompetence and showing no gratitude when they meet it ;4 when they have the power to be well off, they exhaust themselves about fees, really wishing to be well for the sake of managing their investments or farms, yet without a thought in these matters to receive anything.5

1 He is trusted, and so can do as he likes. Therefore want of power to influence a patient never compels him to transgress the medical code.

2 It is quite uncertain whether φλεβονώδεα is the correct reading, and equally uncertain what it means if it be correct. Erotian's note recognises two ancient readings, φλεδονώδεα, explained as τὰ μετὰ φλυαρίας2 καὶ πνευματώδους2 ταραχῆς2 ἐκκρινόμενα, and φλεβονώδεα, explained as τὰ μετ᾽ ἀλγήματος2 οἰδήματα. But the general meaning must be " serious," " alarming."

3 The reader must suspect that in the words ἰητροῦ ποικιλίη is concealed an allusion to frequent changes of the medical attendant. " Changing their doctor every day." The version in the text means that the patients frequently change their minds as do quacks, or as doctors must be ready to change their treatment at a moment's notice.

4 These patients ἀπορέους1ιν, and so can scarcely be the same as the εὔποροι of the earlier part of the chapter. Perhaps οὐκ should be read before ἀχαρις1τέοντες2, and the sense would then be, " they become poor by showing gratitude to quacks, when they might be well off by employing qualified men."

5 The greater part of this chapter is hopeless. There seems to be no connexion between the quack doctors of the first part and the wayward patients of the latter part. I suspect that an incongruous passage has been inserted here by some compiler, just as chapter fourteen was so inserted. Perhaps there are gaps in the text, the filling up of which would clear away the difficulty. Probably there is one after εἵνεκεν. If the latter part be not an interpolation, the general meaning seems to be that when patients grow worse under quack treatment, they change their doctor and hire another quack. So they both grow worse and lose money. They really want to get well to look after their business, but do not think of the right way to return to work again, i. e. of employing a qualified medical man.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (W. H. S. Jones, 1868)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: