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Sporicon grece Cassius felix capitulo de scabie est nomen medicaminis ad scabiem.


Sporicon is a Greek word that occurs in Cassius Felix, in his chapter de scabie {"On the itch, mange"}. It is the name of some medication for scabies.


Simon refers to Cassius Felix De medicina, 15, ed. Fraisse (2001: 27-8), Ad scabiem, where he says that the ancients (veteres) used to distinguish two types of scabies, one scabies squamosa {"scaly scabies"} resulting from melancholic humours, which is difficult to heal.

Of the second type he says: § 2: Alia vero nascitur simplex veniens ex humore acrio vel salso. Et curatur medicamento scabioso quod psoricon dicitur - "The other, the simple scabies, comes from a sharp and salty humour. And it can be cured with a medication for scabies, which the Greeks call psoricon" and he goes on to give instructions as to its preparation. Here are the ingredients:

Sulphuris vivi unc. I et S {1.5 ounces of native sulphur}

picis siccae unc. II {2 ounces of dry pitch}

cerae unc. III, {3 ounces of wax}

squillae medii unc. II {2 ounces middle {heart} of squill}

olei libram I {1 pound of oil}.

In § 3 he also describes how to make a "psoric" plaster for scabies and leprosy.

The Greek term ψώρα /psṓra/ covers a variety of cutaneous diseases, and the related adjective is /psōrikós/ ψωρικός. τὸ ψωρικόν /tò psōrikón/ (sc. φάρμακον /phármakon/, σμῆγμα /smêgma/) means "itch-salve".

Simon's form sporicon shows metathesis of the expected psoricon, an error that had probably already occurred in Simon's copy of Cassius Felix, because Fraisse's apparatus shows a number of these inverted forms in her witnesses

See also: Knismos, Psora

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