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Orthochatomenus lectus asmaticis aptus in quo potius sedere quam iacere videantur, Theodorus Priscianus capitulo de asmate. Musio capitulo de prefocatione matricis orthocathemena inquit sedeat et est dictu recte sedens ab orton quod est rectum et cate quod est sedere.


Orthochatomenus C | -chatomenus A f | -cacomeus e | -catẽeus B

asmaticis ABC f | asmaticus e

potius AC | pocius (-us f) B ef

orthocathemena AC | orthocatemena ef | ortochatemẽa B

dictu ABC | dictum ms. e | dictu om. f

ab orton ABC | ab orthon ms. e | abhortum f

cate B e | chate AC f

quod est (ē ABC) ABC e | om. f


An upright bed {Orthochatomenus lectus} is suitable for those with asthma, in which they feel very comfortable by sitting up rather than if they were lying down, says Theodorus Priscianus in his chapter: De asmate {"On asthma"}. Musio in his chapter: De prefocatione matricis {"On the suffocation of the uterus"} says: let her sit orthocathemena, which means "sitting upright", from Greek orton meaning "upright" and cate {which is the verbal root} meaning "to sit".


Simon correctly parses the Greek words as consisting of κάθη(-μαι) /káthē(-mai)/ "(I) sit" and ὄρθος /órthos/, neuter ὄρθον /órthon/ "upright". Greek has a compound verb: ὀρθο-κάθημαι /ortho-káthēmai "I sit upright". The sg. perf. mid. masc. nom. participle is ὀρθοκαθήμενος /orthokathḗmenos/, here meaning "in which one can sit up" (Souter, s.v. orthocathēmenus) and the feminine equivalent is ὀρθοκαθημένη /orthokathēménē/, here Latinized to orthocathemena.

Simon's brief quotes are first from Theodorus Priscianus, Euporiston, 2, 25, ed. Rose (1894: 173), De asthmaticis vel suspiriosis {"On asthmatics and those with breathing difficulties"}: Lectus orthocathemenus ut potius sedere quam iacere <videantur> adcurandus est - "An upright bed as they are more comfortable sitting up than lying flat must be prepared with great care".

The other quote is from Mustio, Gynaecia, liber secundus, 4, 28, ed. Rose (1882: 59). De praefocatione matrices {"On the suffocation of the uterus"}, where he says: Collocanda est in cubiculo calido et claro, ita ut stramenta ad caput altiora habeat et quasi ortocatemene sedeat - "She {the woman suffering from this affliction} must be placed in a warm and light bedroom, so that she has the spreadings piled much higher at the head and she is therefore seated as if in an upright bed".

The description "potius sedere quam iacere" calls to mind a semi-upright position called Fowler's position today. Fowler's position facilitates breathing and helps to prevent aspiration by reducing upward pressure from the abdomen. By placing the pelvis at the lowest point, it may assist postpartum drainage of the uterus, or lead to accumulation of intraabdominal liquid in the douglas pouch (see also [[1]] and [[2]]).

See also: Istericepnix

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