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10. πολύς AND ὀλίγος IN THE PLURAL.

It is at least curious that one of the translator's greatest difficulties is to decide what are the meanings of πολύς and ὀλίγος (also of ς1μικρά) when used in the plural. The reader is at first sight inclined to think that ῥεύματα πολλά (Epidemics III. IV.) means "many fluxes," and so possibly it may. But just above we have ῥεῦμα πολύ, "a copious flux," and so the plural may well mean "copious fluxes." The ambiguity becomes more serious when the words are applied to the excreta. Is frequency or quantity the more dominant idea? It seems impossible to say for certain, but the evidence tends towards the latter view. From Prognostic Chapter XI it seems that quantity is the more important thing, and in the same passage πυκνόν is the word used to denote frequency. The usage in Epidemics I. and III. bears out this view. "Frequently shivering" is φρικώδεες πυκνά (Epid. III. XIII.). In the same chapter occurs the sentence, αἱ δὲ βῆχες ἐνῆς1αν μὲν διὰ τέλεος πολλαί, καὶ πολλὰ ἀνάγους1αι πέπονα, where πολλαί means "many" and πολλά "copious." In Epid. III. Case II. (second series) βῆχες ς1υνεχέες ὑγραὶ πολλαί means "continued coughing with watery and copious sputa." In Case IX. of the same series "frequent, slight epistaxis" is ᾑμορράγει . . . . πυκνὰ κατ̓ ὀλίγον. After long consideration of this difficult question I conclude that πολύς and ὀλίγος in the plural, when

[p. lxii] used of excreta, etc., should be translated "copious" or "abundant" unless the context makes the other meaning absolutely necessary.

The case is somewhat similar with the word ς1μικρά. Used adverbially this word means "slightly," "a little," more often than it does "in small quantities." ς1μικρὰ κατενόει is almost certainly "lucid intervals," and ς1μικρὰ ἐκοιμήθη is "snatches of sleep," but I do not feel sure that ς1μικρὰ παρέκρους1ε means more than "slight delirium," nor ς1μικρὰ ἐπύρεξε (Epid. III. XIII.) more than "slightly feverish."

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