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Thiriasim greci vocant pediculos palpebrarum Cornelius celsus.


Thiriasim (-iʒ A) AC | Tiriasim B ejp | Thariasim f
pediculos | pudiculos f


Thiriasim is what the Greeks call lice of the eyelids, says Cornelius Celsus.
{translation by J.P. Long}


Simon is alluding to Cornelius Celsus, 6, 6, 15, ed. Spencer (1935-8: II.206), where Celsus speaks of afflictions of the eyes, and he says: Genus quoque viti est, quom inter pilos palpebrarum peduculi nascuntur: pthiriasin Graeci nominant – “And there is also an affliction where lice invade between the hairs of the eyelashes, an affliction which the Greeks call pthiriasis”.

Greek φθειρίασις /phtheiríasis/, itacist /fthiríasis/, Latinised phthiriasis, means “morbus pedicularis, louse infestation”.
The word is derived from φθείρ /phtheír/ “louse”, cf. See Fthir.
Simon’s form pthiriasin imitates the Greek accusative φθειρίασιν /phtheiríasin/.
N.b. the Greek consonant cluster φθ /phth/ is often reduced in late and vulgar Latin to /pt/, more often to /ft/, cf. modern Spanish/ Catalan diptongo; modern Italian: oftalmia, Spanish oftalmía.
In the medieval period this cluster, when initial, is often reduced to /t/. Simon’s “h” in Thiriasim is only a spelling option and does not necessarily reflect any knowledge of the etymology of this word, cf. witnesses B ejp; at any rate, it is unlikely that he would have pronounced it like the Greeks, i.e. like word-initially in English thin - IPA [θ]; he probably pronounced it */tiríasim/.

Medical observations:

Phthiriasis as a word has survived into modern medical terminology meaning “infestation with lice”.
In the particular case under review this affliction is strongly reminiscent of what is today called phthiriasis palpebrarum, usually by Phthirus pubis L. {“crab lice”} [[1]] and their ova.

WilfGunther (talk) 15:02, 27 March 2016 (BST)

See Fthir

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