From Simon Online
Jump to: navigation, search

Araneas Cassius felix araneas greci a serpendo quod erpem dicunt herpetas dicunt, nos autem similiter latino sermone a serpendo serpusculos nominamus.


serpendo | sarpando ms. e
erpem (-pẽ AB ) ABC f | herpem (-pẽ H) H e | heripem j | h’bẽ p {contamination with herba?} | herpin {also: herpen, erpe in their apparatus, Fraisse/Rose} Cassius Felix
mss. and prints omit herpetas dicunt between dicunt …. nos, see Commentary below
latino sermone | latine f
serpusculos ABCH f | serpuscolos ms. e | surpusculos (-tulos p) jp
nominamus | dicimus f
{nominamus} et cetera infra add. B | &.cetera. &. j̃ {= infra} add. H jp


Araneae: the Greeks call this affliction herpes derived from Greek herpein {“to crawl, creep”}, which translates into Latin as serpere {"to crawl"}; we Latin speakers call this affliction serpusculi, a word which is similarly derived from serpere.


Simon offers a slightly different version of this text in his entry Herpetas q.v.: Cassius felix aranear inquit quas greci a serpendo herpeta dicunt, nos autem similiter serpiginem a serpendo. But here it is serpigo rather than serpusculi that is equated with herpes.

Simon is quoting Cassius Felix near verbatim De medicina, 25, ed. Fraisse (2001: 51); this text is also available online in the Rose edition, p. 42: chapter XXV, Ad araneas: [[1]]: Ad araneas:
Araneas Graeci a serpendo quod herpin dicunt herpetas dicunt, nos vero similiter latino sermone ... a serpendo serpusculos nominamus - “Latin araneae the Greeks call herpes which derives from their word herpein which means “to crawl, creep” (Latin: serpere); which is just as we in the Latin language call it serpusculi, also a derivation from serpere “to crawl, creep”.
The words in bold print: herpetas dicunt' must have been omitted as early as in Simon’s source, which explains that all of his witnesses show this omission. The formulation: herpin dicunt herpetas dicunt - “they (sc. the Greeks) call it herpes derived from herpein“ is somewhat clumsy, which is perhaps why even some of Fraisse’s witnesses in her apparatus to the Cassius text omit: quod herpin dicunt.

Latin araneae {lit. “spiders”} according to Fraisse, op.cit. annotation 181, denotes a skin disease, and she says it is problematic to be more precise because it means different diseases to different authors: with Cassius Felix it is ἕρπης /hérpēs/, see Herpetas, in Dioscorides Longobardus it is sometimes ἕρπης /hérpēs/ sometimes λειχήν /leikhḗn/”, see Lichenes, and in glosses it is equated with ἐρυσίπελας /erysípelas/, see Erisipila.

The form herpem in most witnesses is –‘ein’ misread as -‘em’, the Greek infinitive pres. act. ἕρπειν /hérpein/, pronounced in later Greek /érpin/ {“to crawl”}.

only attested in Cassius Felix, is modelled on Greek ἕρπητες /hérpētes/, cf. Otto Keller, Lateinische Volksetymologie und Verwandtes, Wiesbaden 1891, p. 71 [[2]] et passim.

WilfGunther (talk) 11:53, 13 August 2015 (BST)

See also: Herpetas, Lichenes, Erisipila

Next entry