From Simon Online
Jump to: navigation, search

Acopum grece sic dicitur medicamen dolorem placans ab .a. quod sine et copos quod est labor quasi sine labore faciens.


{ab} .a. ABCH fjp | {ab} a͞u͞ic ms. e {= auicenna; '.a.' misinterpreted as an abbreviation of Avicenna}
{quod} est add. BH efjp
{sine} et add. ABC f
copos | copas j | placas p
{copos} quod est om. BH efjp
faciens | fatiens B j


Acopum is Greek for a medication that soothes pain; the word consists of a- meaning "without" and copos meaning "suffering". This word then means "having the effect of being without pain".


Latin acopum or acopon, (sc. medicamentum or unguentum), means i.a. "a soothing salve" (Lewis & Short, 1879) or restorative ointment. It is adopted from Greek ἄκοπον /ákopon/ {sc. φάρμακον /phármakon/} meaning "application (of various kinds) for relief of pain, etc." (LSJ). ἄκοπον /ákopon/ is the neuter form of the adjective ἄκοπος /ákopos/, which Simon correctly analyses as consisting of ἀ- /a-/ ("un-, non-") + κόπος /kópos/ {i.a. "striking, beating, toil, exertion, suffering, pain"}, resulting in meanings like "without trouble, pain; refreshing; unbruised, whole".

ἄκοπος /ákopos/ is also used in Ancient Greek as the name for a certain plant, see Anagiros; adopted into Latin as acopus or acopos it denotes that plant and also a certain stone.

This medical term is found in Greek medical literature in the works e.g. of Dioscorides and Galen, and in the Latin literature e.g. in Celsus, Pliny, Marcellus Empiricus, Scribonius Largus and Caelius Aurelianus.

Celsus, 5, 24, 1, mentions 2 recipes in ed. Spencer (1935-8: II.56-8), or in the CML edition, ed. Marx (1915) [[1]], where he says: Acopa quoque utilia nervis sunt – "Acopa {annotation: ἄκοπα φάρμακα {/ákopa phármaka/}. Anodyne salves …) again are useful for neuralgia", ed. Spencer (1935-8: 57).

The most comprehensive treaty on acopa is found in later Antiquity in Paul of Aegina, 7, 19, ed. Heiberg (1921-4: II.371) [[2]]. This passage reads like this in the Adams' translation: [[3]] pp.581/582.

Medicine-historical remarks:

Golz (1976: 203f), annotation 129, says that acopa are salves/ointments made with oils, wax, grease and some resin. According to her, op.cit., acopa, although prominent during Antiquity and Late Antiquity - were no longer mentioned in the Antidotarium Nicolai (written ca. 1220-1250) after the revision and reduction Nicolaus had applied to the numerous and diverse preparations found in the Antidotarium universale {or Antidotarius magnus}. Subsequent to the appearance of the Antidotarium Nicolai acopa played no longer any part in medicine. One reason for their disappearance might well have been that they were difficult to distinguish from other ointments, which jarred with Nicolaus' express aim to streamline and standardise his contemporary pharmacopoeia. Goltz sees acopa less of a "medication" than an "indication" because they meant essentially salves/ointment for tiredness, total exhaustion and pains. Cf. Paul of Aegina above. Goltz (1976: 203f).

WilfGunther (talk) 29/01/2014

Next entry