Pyrotica medicina

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Pyrotica medicina adustiva.


Pyrotica AC f | Pirotica B ejp
medicina (mena j) AC j | medicamina B efp
adustiua A f | adustiuaʒ j | adustia C | adhustiua B ep


"Pyrotic" medicine translates into Latin as adustiva medicina {i.e. "warming, heating medicine"}.


Greek πυρωτικός /pyrōtikós/ means "making hot, heating" from the root πυρ /pyr/ "fire". Simon translates it with adustivus, which Latham translates as "incendiary", derived from aduro "to set fire to, burn".

The word is attested in the Greek Dioscorides, e.g. 2, 171, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: II.237), where he says of σκίλλα /skílla/ : δύναμιν ἔχει … πυρωτικήν /dýnamis ékhei pyrōtikḗn/ “it has a heating virtue or quality” [[1]].
The word was however not adopted in their Dioscoridean text by the Longobardic translator(s) – first half of the 6th c. A.D. - for the the chapter on “Scilla” translating it simply with calida {“hot”} [[2]],
but for book V it was adopted directly from the Greek text [[3]] into Latin as pirotica in the chapter on alosanctos {“salt efflorescence”} [[4]].

In the Latin-writing literature the word is first attested in Theodorus Priscianus (4th c. A.D.), Euporiston, 2, 2, 10, ed. Rose (1894: 110.13), where certain signs and symptoms of phrenitis are described and prescriptions for certain cures are offered, one of them being: Ventris item si constrictum fuerit officium, per clysterem simplicissimum procurabo, melicratum calido oleo tantummodo admiscens, nil asperum neque pyroticae qualitatis adiciens [[5]] - "Also if the function of the stomach is constricted {i.e. constipation}, I will administer a very simple clyster, only consisting of warm oil with water-mead mixed in, adding nothing harsh or of a heating quality to it."
Rose, the editor of Theodorus lists the following vvll.: pyreticae, peritica, periticę, piroticē, pyrotice.

Concerning medieval writers the word is attested twice in Gariopontus {middle of the 11th c.}, Passionarius (1531) [[6]], in liber I, scan 22, p.7, caput VIII, De phrenesi, where he quotes Theodorus Priscianus’ advice above, and in liber V, scan 242, p.117, caput XLIII, De apostematibus, where he gives advice on curing imposthumes.

WilfGunther 09/01/2014

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