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Macronoxia grece longa egritudo sed grecus makronoxia dicit.


Whole entry is missing in p
Macronoxia ABC fj | Macronaxia ms. e {‘o’ misread as ‘a’}
makronoxia ABC f | makronaxia ms. e | macuosia {with ‘o’ written above ‘c’} j


Macronoxia is Greek for 'lingering illness', but a Greek person pronounces makronoxia.


Greek μακρονοσία /makronosía/ is a compound noun consisting of the compound form μακρο- /makro-/ {i.a. "long in time"} + -νοσ- /-nos-/ {root meaning "sick"} + -ία /ía/ {abstract noun ending} resulting in the meaning "prolonged or lingering illness".

The word occurs already in the Greek Dioscorides, 1, 128, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: I.117), σῦκα /sŷka/ {"On figs"} [[1]], where he says that dry figs are suitable for a host of diseases, and also for τοῖς ἐκ μακρονοσίας κακοχροοῦσι /toîs ek makronosías kakokhrooûsi/ "those with a bad complexion caused by a lingering diasease". The word was transferred into Latin by the Longobardic translator(s): 1, 140, Hofmann & Auracher (1883: 70): prodest … qui ex macro nosia colore mutaverunt – "it is good for those that have changed {to a unhealthy} colour due to a longstanding illness".

Macronosia is used 3 times in Cassius Felix' De medicina, 4, ed. Fraisse (2001: 15), Ad capillorum defluxionem {"On loss of hair"}, an affliction which he attributes i.a., to macronosia, …id est longa aegritutine - "of a long illness"}; also in ed. Rose (1879: 12) [[2]];

furthermore chapter XXX Ad fluxum sanguinis ex naribus {"On nose bleeds"}, (2001: 69), where he states that if they persist for two or three days then: pessimam aegritudinem et prolixam ostendit, quam Graeci macronosiam vocant – "this indicates a very grave and prolonged disease, which the Greeks call macronosia"; also in the Rose edition (1879: 60) [[3]];

and finally chapter LXI Ad causon {"On causos fever"}, (2001: 169/170), § 7, where he says that in case the fever patient cannot be made to sweat: periculi indicium est aut prolixam aegritudinem ostendit, quam macronosiam dicunt – "it is a sign of danger or it indicates a lingering disease, which they call macronosia"; also in the Rose edition (1879: 152) [[4]].

The word is mentioned in Du Cange (1883-7) s.v. MACHRONOSIA, Morbus diuturnus, a Graeco Μακρονοσία … {"a long lasting illness, from Greek Μακρονοσία /Makronosía/"}.

Macronosia was often misinterpreted as containing as its last element Latin noxia "hurt, harm, damage, injury", as is the case in Simon's witnesses. This misreading was facilitated by the fact that the letter "x" in early Italian could be pronounced /s/, which was bound to cause confusion with some scribes because /-nosia/ could be written "-nosia" or "-noxia", but the spelling "-noxia" was inherently ambiguous and therefore some scribes read it as /-noksia/, associating it with Latin noxia {"hurt, harm"}. See also X littera section 3).

The difference in pronunciation between Latin and Greek that Simon had in mind could be a difference in stress, less educated Latin /makronósia/ versus educated Latin/Greek /makronosía/ or a difference in the pronunciation of the letter 's' and σ,ς {'s'}. If modern Italian is anything to go by, words that have the same ending "–sia" like fantasia pronounce the ending /-zia/ i.e. /fantazía/ - the /z/ standing here for the voiced sound as in English "rise" versus voiceless "rice", "his" versus "hiss". So Simon could have meant that Latin /macronozía/ differs from Greek /macronosía/.

The term macronosia is still occasionally used in modern medical terminology.

WilfGunther (talk) 15/03/2014

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