From Simon Online
Jump to: navigation, search

Gesenteria grece est dictu intestina terre et sunt isculi lumbrici terreni Cassius felix capitulo de dolore aurium melius tamen gisenteria scribitur nam gi est terra.


Gesenteria AC ef | Gesenterra (or –teria p) jp | Gesẽterea B
grece est dictu (dictum fjp) intestina ABC fjp | sunt intestina ut grece dicitur ms. e
isculi ABC | Iṳsculi f | ysculi ms. e | ĩsculi p | istuli j {‘c’ misread as ‘t’}
lumbrici | lombrici B f
gisenteria | gesenterea f


Greek gesenteria means in Latin intestina terre {lit. "intestines of the earth"}. They are called in Latin isculi or lumbrici terreni {"earth worms"}. See Cassius Felix in the chapter De dolore aurium {"On ear pain"}. A better version of the word is: gisenteria, because Greek gi means in Latin terra {"earth"}.


The Greek word γῆς έντερα /gês éntera/, already used by Aristotle, literally means "intestines of the earth/ soil", which LSJ gloss "earth-worms; worm casts". It was used by Dioscorides, cf. 1, 67, ed. Wellmann’s Greek text (1906-14: I.142) [[1]] and in Dioscorides Longobardus, 2, 46, ed. Stadler (1899: 195) De gisentera id est vermis longa "On gisentera, i.e. long worm" [[2]].

Simon explicitly refers to Cassius Felix’s De medicina, 28, 3, ed. Fraisse (2001: 54), where it says: Gesentera id est vermiculos de arrugia … in oleo coques "you shall cook in oil gesentera – they are 'shaft' worms"; arrugia "shaft, pit" is here probably used in the sense of "hole; crevice, crack".
This text is also available in the Rose edition (1879: 44) [[3]].

The word gesentera survived into Medieval Latin in a number of variants. Grammatically it is made up of Greek ἔντερον /énteron/, the plural being ἔντερα /éntera/ "guts, bowels", and the genitive of γῆ /gê/ "earth, ground".

Obviously Simon, who probably had a native Greek speaker as his informant or advisor on matters Greek, prefers the itacist pronunciation of Greek - melius tamen ... scribitur - where the word is pronounced /gis éntera/ and /gê/ "earth" is pronounced /gi/, but Latin speakers continued with the older pronunciation /ge/ and /gesenter(i)a/. Simon wrongly gives the word the common noun ending -ia rather than plain -a, perhaps modelling it on the similar sounding disenteria, etc.

isculus/ lumbricus terrenus:
The Latin translations Simon offers are isculus and lumbricus terrenus, both meaning "earth worm". Medieval Latin isculus/hisculus is possibly derived from Greek σκώληξ /skṓlēx/ "worm, esp. earthworm; also: grubs or larvae of insects; worms in dung, decayed matter, in trees and wood" (LSJ). In Renzi’s Collectio Salernitana (1849-57: V.319) a certain Magister Bernardus Provincialis, commenting on the Tabulae Salerni, says p.319: accepi ysculos, id est vermes terrestres quibus piscatores investiunt hamos suos … "I received some ysculi, these are earth worms, which the fishermen put on their fish-hooks {i.e. for bait}." Isculi are also mentioned in the Alphita Synonymy, ed. Mowat (1887: 87) [[4]], where it is said that Mirabiliter consolidant nervos incisos - "they heal together ruptured nerves/sinews miraculously". Cf. also: Alphita, ed. García González (2007: 231 and comment p. 455}.

WilfGunther (talk) 21/11/2013

See also: Caratim, Karathin

Next entry