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Pepsin greci digestionem dicunt Cassius Felix capitulo de quartana.


Pepsin B ef | Pepsim ACD {'Pepsin' misread as 'Pepsim' due to the ambiguity of the tilde sign, i.e. 'Pepsĩ' }

dicunt om. f

Felix om. f


Pepsis is what the Greeks say for Latin digestio {i.a. "digestion"} according to Cassius Felix in his chapter: De quartana {"On quartan fever"}.


Pepsis - Simon quotes the accusative pepsin – occurs in a number of chapters in Cassius Felix' De medicina. But Simon here refers specifically to chapter V. Ad quartanam {"On quartan fever"}, 2, ed. Fraisse (2001: 158) where he advises that at first only gentler treatments should be given to the fever patient, sed postquam aegritudo pepsin fecerit, id est digestionem, post VIIII aut XI accessiones... adiutoria oportet impendere - "but once the sickness has reached πέψις /pépsis/ or in Latin digestio, after 9 or 11 attacks, it is sensible to apply {stronger} medication to support the healing process".

Greek πέψις /pépsis/ is derived from the verb πέσσω /péssō/ - "(of the sun) to soften, ripen fruit; (by fire) cook, dress, bake; (stomach) digest}". Consequently πέψις /pépsis/ has a similarly wide semantic range, cf. LSJ's "softening, ripening, or changing by means of heat". II. "cooking of food"; 2. (of wine) "fermentation". III. Medic. "digestion of food"; 2. "ripening, 'concoction' of acid humours".

In the context of this passage quoted by Simon πέψις /pépsis/ more specifically denotes a state when the disease-causing disturbed mix of humours has reached a stage in which a humoral equilibrium can reestablish itself {Fraisse, op. cit. ibid.}.

To quote Fraisse in more detail on pepsis, which she translates into French as "coction", borrowed from Latin coctio "cooking, burning; digesting of food" (Lewis & Short, 1879), cf. her comment, (2001: 158):

{annotation} 503. Dans la pensée hippocratique, la maladie est provoquée par une dyscrasie, un déséquilibre entre les humeurs du corps. La coction (πέψις) désigne alors le mélange, comparé à la cuisson, par lequel les humeurs sont susceptibles de se tempérer et de retrouver leur équilibre. Le corps, par ce procédé, va donc de lui-même vers la guérison et le médecin ne doit pas intervenir trop tôt avec des traitements risquant de perturber ce processus naturel. Par opposition, la crudité désigne l’état du corps avant le travail de coction. "In Hippocratic thinking a disease is brought on by a dyscrasy, which is a lack of balance among the humours of the body. Coction (πέψις) {/pépsis/} indicates the mixture, here compared to the cooking process, by which the humours are capable of tempering themselves and finding their way back to a balanced state. The body, by this procedure, therefore guides itself back to recovery and the physician must not intervene too early with treatments, thereby running the risk of upsetting this natural process. In contrast, crudity is the state of the body before coctio {"digestion"} has been set to work". {My translation}.

WilfGunther 05/01/14

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