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Facedena apud Cornelium celsum est species cancri apostematis.


apostematis ABC | ap’atis jp | ap͡osi f


Facedena, mentioned in Cornelius Celsus, is a kind of cancerous abscess.


Greek φαγέδαινα /phagédaina/ - itacist /fagédena/ - is a derivative of from φαγεῖν /phageîn/ "to eat, devour". Unsurpsingly φαγέδαινα /phagédaina/ denotes an "eating" i.e. spreading corrosive ulcer, a cancer. The word was first loaned into Latin by Pliny in the form: phagedaena, in later and medieval Latin often spelt fagedena.

Simon's form Facedena shows a hypercorrect "c" against the expected and etymologically more correct fagedena. Since Simon presumably spoke Genoese, a type of Ligurian, he would tend to pronounce intervocalic /k/ as /g/, e.g. /egua/ for Latin aqua, Italian acqua. This would tend to make Ligurian and northern speakers in general sometimes unsure if e.g. fagedena was not a dialectal pronunciation of *facedena, the latter wrongly being perceived as more correct.

Simon is referring to Cornelius Celsus's De medicina, 5, 28, 3B, ed. Spencer (1935-8: II.132), where it says: Quae omnia saepe intenduntur fitque ex his ulcis, quod phagedainam Graeci vocant, quia celeriter serpendo penetrandoque usque ossa corpus vorat. … inestque multus umor glutinosus; odor intolerabilis, maiorque quam pro modo ulceris inflammatio.
And here is W.G. Spencer’s translation of the relevant passage, (1935-8: II.133): "And all these signs {sc. of ulceration} often extend, and there results from them an ulcer which the Greeks call phagedaena, because it spreads rapidly and penetrates down to the bones and so devours the flesh. … there is a large amount of glutinous discharge; the stench is intolerable, and the inflammation is greater than accords with the extent of the ulceration."
The Latin text is also available online in the Teubner edition, 5, 28, 3B, ll. 28-32, ed. Marx (1915: 237). [[1]].

The word phagedaena has survived into medical Latin and is defined as a rapidly spreading ulceration with sloughing of dead skin.

WilfGunther (talk) 11/11/2013

See also: Fagedenica

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