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Metroenticon instrumentum quo medicine in matricem iniiciuntur Cassius felix capitulo de precadente matrice.


Metroenticon C | Metrohẽticũ B | Mentroenticõ e | Metrocenticon (-cum f) A f

matricẽ B | matricem ef | matrice (mat- C) AC

iniiciuntur A | inic- BC f | in-iciũtur ms. e

precadente matrice AC | preardente (pre- f) matrice (-tri- f) B f | pandente matricem e


Metroenticon is a {surgical} instrument with which medicines are injected into the womb, as stated in Cassius Felix in his chapter De precadente matrice {"On the prolapsed womb"}.


Greek μητρεγχύτης /mētrenkhýtēs/, in a Latin transcription: metrenchytes, is a compound made up of

mητρ- /mētr-/ {"mother; womb"} + -εν/εγ- /-en/eg-/ ("into") + χύτης /khýtēs/ {"pourer"} = lit. "into-the-womb-pourer", in Cassius quoted as metrenchyten, i.e. in the accusative.

Simon's forms show influence from the preconsonantal compound form of μήτηρ /mḗtēr/, mητρο- /mētro-/ as occurs e.g. in the entry Metromania;

-(h)enticon, -cum are obviously corruptions of –enchyten.

Simon refers to [Fraisse] Cassius Felix De medicina, 78, 7, Ad procidentem matricem, ed. Fraisse (2001: 214), a chapter "On the prolapsed womb", and in said paragraph a preparation for a vaginal clyster is offered, the injection of which, see Encolpismus, is then applied with the help of an instrument called μητρεγχύτης /mētrenkhýtēs/.

Cassius writes: … et sic in uno commixtis et tepefactis encolpizabis per corneum metrenchyten appellatum; supine schemate iacentis in sinum mulieris infundes, quem Graeci colpon appellant – "and having mixed and warmed up {all the before mentioned ingredients} you shall inject the preparation with the help of a metrenchytes, as it is called, made of horn, and pour it into the sinus {"vagina"}, or as the Greeks call it: colpos, of the woman lying on her back".

Latin sinus, and similarly Greek κόλπος /kólpos/, originally meant a "cloth fold" in front of the toga, from there "lap; breast, bosom" and from there on to medical terminology taking on the meaning of "vagina", often in Cassius Felix made more precise by adding muliebris sinus, sinus feminarum, etc. Cf. André (1991: 188): Le vagin.

Clysters belong to the oldest surgical instruments. They consist of a pipe of appropriate length and diameter, open at both ends. These pipes were either made of horn – expressly mentioned above for μητρεγχύτης /mētrenkhýtēs/ – or metal. An attached hose from which the medicinal liquid was to be injected was made of leather or animal bladder. To achieve injection suitable pressure was exerted by hand on the hose filled with the preparation deemed to be helpful.

Wilf Gunther 18/01/14

See also: Encolpismus

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