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Encatisma grece sessio sic vocamus decoctionem aliquam in qua sedetur propter egritudines renum intestinorum vesice ani matricis et ceterorum membrorum inferiorum. Cassius felix capitulo de vesice causis sessiones quas greci enkatismata vocant a katime greco quod est sedeo inde cathedra per .k. melius scribitur .i. sedile.


Encatisma (Em- C) AC | Enkatisma (-tissma e) B ef

sessio ABC | insessio f | sissio e

vesice (ue- B) AB ef | vessice C

ani om. e

matricis B f | mr̅icis A | matr͡i e | minicis C

de (d' A) uesice causis (caīs C) sessiones (-ões A) ABC | de causis uesice sessiones e | de uesica f

enkatismata ABC f | karismata e {'t' misread as 'r'}

a katime AC f | katime e | aŕ. a cathime B

cathedra AC e | catedra B | kathedra f


Encatisma is Greek for Latin sessio {"a sitting, seat; session, sitz-bath"}. This is what we call any decoction into which patients are seated because of afflictions of the kidneys, intestines, bladder, anus, womb and other abdominal organs. Cassius Felix in his chapter: De vesice causis {"On the diseases of the bladder"} says that 'it is sitz-baths which the Greeks call enkatismata'. The word is derived from Greek katime, which is in Latin sedeo {"I am seated"}; from this is also derived the word cathedra, which is better spelt with 'k', and it means in Latin sedile {"a seat, bench, stool, chair; a sitting still" (Lewis & Short, 1879).


Greek ἐγκάθισμα /enkáthisma/ means "a sitting bath; a fomentation". The word was adopted into Latin as encathisma and is found in medical works like the Herbarius of Ps.-Apuleius, or by Caelius Aurelianus or by Sextus Placitus.

The word consists of the prefix ἐν- /en-/ in its variant ἐγ- /eng-/ before /k/, {"inside"} + a derivative of κάθημαι /káthēmai/ a verb, 1st sg. perf. ind. mid. {"I am seated, sit"}, the whole word literally meaning "in-sitting"}. κάθημαι /káthēmai/ itself consist of the prefix κατα- /kata-/ in its variant καθ- /kath-/ before /h/, {"down"} + ἧμαι /hêmai/ {"I am seated"}.

The form Encatisma shows Simon's Italian background, where the Greek sound spelt "θ" = transcribed /th/ {found also in English e.g. initially in "thick") is uncommon and is to this day replaced by /t/ in the speech of untutored Italian speakers of e.g. English. This same sound substitution is also present in κάθημαι /káthēmai/, which in addition also underwent the late Greek sound changes αι > ε (/ai/ > /e/} and η > ι (/ē/ > /i/} resulting in Simon's katime.

Greek καθέδρα /kathédra/ with its original meanings "seat; sitting parts, posteriors; sitting posture; chair of teacher; imperial throne" (LSJ) has the same prefix + ἕδρα /hédra/ "sitting place; seat, chair, stool, bench, etc." (LSJ). Although they are semantically very similar the roots of ἧμαι /hêmai/ and ἕδρα /hédra/ are not considered to be cognate by most etymologists.

In this entry Simon offers initially a definition of encatisma and then proceeds to a very brief excerpt from Cassius Felix De medicina, 46, ed. Fraisse (2001: 128-34). Ad vesicae passiones {"On the diseases of the bladder"}. Cf. § 9, p. 131: Adhibendae sunt etiam insessionis fomentationes, nam Graeci encathisma vocant, ex calida et oleo – "Sitz-baths must also be employed, named by the Greeks encathisma – of hot water and oil".

The etymological thoughts at the end of the entry are Simon's own.

Wilf Gunther 07/02/14

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