previous next


For the cure of epilepsy wool-grease is used, with a modicum of myrrh, a piece about the size of a hazel-nut being dissolved and taken after the bath, in two cyathi of wine: a ram's testes, also, dried and pounded, and taken in doses of half a denarius, in water, or in a semi-sextarius of asses' milk; the patient being forbidden wine five days before and after using the remedy. Sheep's blood, too, is mightily praised, taken in drink; sheep's gall, also, and lambs' gall in particular, mixed with honey; the flesh of a sucking puppy, taken with wine and myrrh, the head and feet being first removed; the callosities from a mule's legs, taken in three cyathi of oxymel; the ashes of a spotted lizard from beyond seas, taken in vinegar; the thin coat of a spotted lizard, which it casts like a snake, taken in drink—indeed some persons recommend the lizard itself; gutted with a reed and dried and taken in drink; while others, again, are for roasting it on a wooden spit and taking it with the food.

It is worth while knowing how the winter slough of this lizard is obtained when it casts it off, before it has had the opportunity of devouring1 it; there being no creature, it is said, that resorts in its spite to more cunning devices for the deception of man; a circumstance owing to which, the name of "stellio"2 his been borrowed as a name of reproach. The place to which it retires in summer is carefully observed, being generally some spot beneath the projecting parts of doors or windows, or else in vaults or tombs. In the early days of spring, cages made of split reeds are placed before these spots; and the narrower the interstices the more delighted is the animal with them, it being all the better enabled thereby to disengage itself of the coat which adheres to its body and impedes its freedom of action: when, however, it has once quitted it, the construction of the cage prevents its return. There is nothing whatever preferred to this lizard as a remedy for epilepsy. The brains of a weasel are also considered very good, dried and taken in drink; the liver, too, of that animal, or the testes, uterus, or paunch, dried and taken with coriander, in manner already3 mentioned; the ashes also of a burnt weasel; or a wild weasel, eaten whole with the food. All these properties are equally attributed to the ferret. A green lizard is some- times eaten, dressed with seasonings to stimulate the appetite, the feet and head being first removed; the ashes, too, of burnt snails are used, as an ointment, with linseed, nettle-seed, and honey.

The magicians think highly of a dragon's tail, attached to the body, with a deer's sinews, in the skin of a gazelle; as also the small grits found in the crops of young swallows, tied to the left arm of the patient; for swallows, it is said, give small stones to their young the moment they are hatched. If, at the commencement of the first paroxysm, an epileptic patient eats the first of a swallow's brood that has been hatched, he will experience a perfect cure: but at a later period the disease is treated by using swallow's blood with frankincense, or by eating the heart of the bird quite fresh. Nay, even more than this, a small stone taken from a swallow's nest will relieve the patient the moment it is applied, they say; worn, too, as an amulet, it will always act as a preservative against the malady. A kite's liver, too, eaten by the patient, is highly vaunted; the slough also of a serpent; a vulture's liver, beaten up with the blood of the bird, and taken thrice seven days in drink; or the heart of a young vulture, worn attached to the body.

And not only this, but the vulture itself is recommended as a food for the patient, and that, too, when it has been glutted with human flesh. Some recommend the breast of this bird to be taken in drink from a cup made of cerrus4 wood, or the testes of a dunghill cock to be taken in milk and water; the patient abstaining from wine the five preceding days, and the testes being dried for the purpose. There have been authorities found to recommend one-and-twenty red flies-and those found dead, too!-taken in drink, the number being reduced where the patient is of a feeble habit.

1 See B. viii. c. 49.

2 A cozener, cheat, or rogue. Ajasson has a page of discussion on the origin of this appellation.

3 In B. xxix. c. 16.

4 See B. xvi. e. 6.

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 Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: