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Ἡ νόσος—‘the famous plague.’ The account (c. 47-54) falls into three parts, (i) its origin (47, 48), (ii) symptoms and effects on sufferers (49, 50), (iii) effects on morality (51, etc.). This description has been imitated by many writers, as Lucretius VI. 1138-1251 who is in turn imitated by Vergil, Georg. III, 478 and Ovid, Met. VII. 523), Procopius, Persica II, 22, who describes the plague at Constantinople in Justinian's reign, A.D. 542, and John Cantacuzene, Emperor of the Eastern Empire, who described very poorly the great plague of 1347 with which the plague of Florence described by Boccaccio and the ‘Black Death’ in England are connected. Superstitious horror, followed by demoralisation, is common to all great plagues. πρῶτον ἤρξατο—cf. c. 36, 1, 48, 1. γενέσθαι—the phrase occurs also I. 103 τὸ μῖσος ἤρξατο γενέσθαι, c. 68, 2, III. 18 ὁ χειμὼν ἤρχετο γίγνεσθαι, Isocr. 15, 82 ἤρχετο τὸ γένος τὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων γίγνεσθαι, Andoc. 2, 9 ἤρχετο γίγνεσθαι δυσδαιμονἐστερος. The tense of γίγνομαι must be the same as that of ἄρχομαι; yet ἤρξατο πρἀσσειν is good Greek, though ἤρχετο πρᾶξαι is not (the reason is that γίγνομαι is inceptive, while πράσσω is not, so that ἤρξατο γίγνεσθαι would be a contradiction in terms; thus ἤρξατο γιγνώσκειν would not do). λεγόμενον—as though νόσημα had preceded. ἐγκατασκῆψαι —Soph. O. T. 27 ἐν δ᾽ ὁ πυρφόρος θεός | σκήψας ἐλαύνει, λοιμὸς ἔχθιστος πάλιν. περὶ—circa: c. 7, 3. οὕτως—with γενέσθαι. ἐμνημονεύετο—anacoluthon. as λεγόμενον μὲν preceded. (Observe that this is not a solecism.) Cf. c. 65, 11.
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