Alfos leucas

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Alfos leucas grece macule albe alfos melanas nigre. Cassius felix.


Alfos ABCD ef | Alphos H

alfos melanos (melãos AD) ACD | {new entry} Alfos melanas B | alfos mellenas e | sʒ {= sed} alfos melanas f | alphos melanos H


Alfos leucas is Greek for white spots and alfos melanas black spots. Cassius Felix.


Simon is alluding to Cassius Felix's De medicina, 6, Ad maculas albas {"On white spots"}, where he mentions alphus leucas {} – the Greek for "white spots", see ed. Fraisse (2001: 19), § 1, and 9, Ad maculas nigras {"On black spots"} see ed. Fraisse (2001: 20), § 1.

Greek ἀλφός /alphós/ according to LSJ is "a dull-white leprosy, esp. on the face", comparable to Latin vitiligo. However, in Cassius Felix the noun has changed gender from masculine to feminine and its meaning has been generalised to "type of skin disease", because Cassius mentions explicitly alphus leucas {acc. pl.} – the Greek for "white spots", chapter XVIII, and alphus melaenas {acc. pl.}, Greek for "black spots", chapter XVIII.

The Greek forms encountered in Simon's entry are accusative plural: ἀλφοῦς λευκᾶς /alphoûs leukâs/, which Cassius transcribes as alphus leucas, and ἀλφοῦς μελαίνας /alphoûs melaínas/, transcribed by Cassius as alphus melaenas. It was very likely some scribe with little Greek, who wrongly replaced the Greek accusative plural ending -οῦς, transcribed –us, that was unfamiliar to him with the more common Greek sg. nominative ending in –ός, /-os/, resulting in forms without grammatical agreement: alfos leucas and alfos melaenas.

See also: Licedone

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