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Ragadie dicuntur scissure accidentes in circulo ani multi ardoris.


scissure AC | sisure f | fissure jp | fisure B | fixure ms. e
accidentes | accedentes p
ani | anni (ãni j) B j
ardoris ABC e | odoris ardoris f


Ragadie is the name given to fissures in the perianal region caused by tearing and accompanied by a strong painful sensation.


Latin rhagades (fem. pl.) or rhagadia (neut. pl.) are derived from Greek ῥαγάδες /rhagádes/ the pl. of ῥαγάς /rhagás/ and ῥαγάδια /rhagádia/ the pl. of the diminutive ῥαγάδιον /rhagádion/, both meaning essentially "a crack or fissure of the skin". Grammatically ragadia was in medieval Latin and consequently in Simon's Latin often treated as a femininum singular with a regular plural ragadi(a)e, cf. Isidore below.

Simon appears to think that ragadie {"linear skin cracks"} occur only around the perianal region but from the very beginning - although the anal region is frequently mentioned - rhagades were defined as affecting various other parts of the body. Maybe Simon was influenced in his narrow definition by Isidore of Seville who says, Etymologiae, 4, 7, 39 [[1]]: Ragadie dicuntur, eo quod fissure sint rugis collectae circa orificium – "Ragadie are so called because they are fissures that gather in rugis {'wrinkles'} around the orifice." {N.b. Isidore falsely sees the word rugis {"in wrinkles"} as the original source of the word ragadiae, i.e. in his thinking rugisragas}. Isidore, unless the text is corrupted, also seems to equate ragadiae with emorrhoida, because he goes on to say: Haec et emorroidae a sanguinis fluore dictae – "these {i.e. ragadiae} are also called hemorrhoids because they discharge blood".

For a wider definition of ragadia, cf. e.g. Dioscorides Longobardus, 1, 80, ed. Mihăescu (1938: 44) De pice liquida {"On liquid/ raw pitch"}, where it says: ragadia pedum vel ani inuncta percurat - "when smeared on in ointment, it {'raw pitch'} fully cures fissures on feet and anus".

And in Alphita, ed. Mowat (1887: 153) [[2]] it says: Ragadia vel ragagia ... i. fissura vel cissura de frigore vel de sole facta in pedibus vel labiis vel in alio loco - "Ragadia or ragagia is a fissure or crack caused by cold or the sun affecting feet, lips or other places".
García Gonzáles (2007: 285 and comment 522) has established this text in his edition of Alphita: Ragadia est fissura de sole vel frigore nata in pedibus et labris vel in aliis membris.

And du Cange (1883-7) [[3]] quotes: Ragadias in volis manuum et inter omnes digitos - "Ragadie occur in the palms of hands and between any of the fingers".
ibid.: Ragades, Ragadia, fissuræ et rimæ in sede seu ano; item in labris et vulva - "Ragades, Ragadia are fissures or cracks in the seat or anus, also in the lips and the vulva" (My translations).

Modern medical terminology defines rhagades in the broader sense as: Fissures, cracks, chaps or fine scars in the skin occurring at mucocutaneous junctions [[4]], i.e. found around the mouth, anus {anal rhagades} and other body orifices and in regions subjected to stretching and frequent movement.

WilfGunther 23/01/2014

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