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Prooemium

This webpage reproduces a section of
De Medicina (On Medicine)

by
A. Cornelius Celsus

published in Vol. I
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1935

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Book II

(Vol. I) Celsus
On Medicine

p43 Book I

1 1   [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]A man in health, who is both vigorous and his own master, should be under no obligatory rules, and have no need, either for a medical attendant, or for a rubber and anointer.1 His kind of life should afford him variety; he should be now in the country, now in town, and more often about the farm; he should sail, hunt, rest sometimes, but more often take exercise; for whilst inaction2 weakens the body, work strengthens it; the former brings on premature old age, the latter prolongs youth.

2 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]It is well also at times to go to the bath, at times to make use of cold waters;3 to undergo sometimes inunction, sometimes to neglect that same; to avoid no kind of food in common use; to attend at times a banquet, at times to hold aloof; to eat more than sufficient at one time, at another no more; to take food twice rather than once a day, and always as much as one wants provided one digests it. 3 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]But whilst exercise and food of this sort are necessities, those of the athletes are redundant; for in the one class any break in the routine of exercise, owing to necessities of civil life, affects the body injuriously, and in the other, bodies thus fed up in their fashion age very quickly and become infirm.4

4 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Concubitus indeed is neither to be desired overmuch, nor overmuch to be feared; seldom used it p45braces the body, used frequently it relaxes. Since, however, nature and not number should be the standard of frequency, regard being had to age and constitution, concubitusº can be recognized as harmless when followed neither by languor nor by pain. The use is worse in the day-time, and safer by night; but care should be taken that by day it be not immediately followed by a meal, and at night not immediately followed by work and watching. Such are the precautions to be observed by the strong, and they should take care that whilst in health their defences against ill-health are not used up.

2 1   [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] The weak, however, among whom are a large portion of townspeople, and almost all those fond of letters, need greater precaution, so that care may re-establish what the character of their constitution or of their residence or of their study detracts. 2 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Anyone therefore of these who has digested well may with safety rise early; if too little, he must stay in bed, or if he has been obliged to get up early, must go to sleep again; he who has not digested, should lie up altogether, and neither work nor take exercise nor attend to business. He who without heartburn eructates undigested food should drink cold water at intervals and none the less exercise self-control.

3 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]He should also reside in a house that is light, airy in summer, sunny in winter; avoid the midday sun, the morning and evening chill, also exhalations from rivers and marshes; and he should not often expose himself when the sky is cloudy to a sun that breaks through . . ., lest he should be affected alternately by cold and heat — a thing which excites p47particularly choked nostrils and running colds.5 Much more indeed are these things to be watched in unhealthy localities, where they even produce pestilence.6

4 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]He can tell that his body is sound,7 if his morning urine is whitish, later reddish; the former indicates that digestion is going on, the latter that digestion is complete. On waking one should lie still for a while, then, except in winter time, bathe the face freely with cold water; 5 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]when the days are long the siesta should be taken before the midday meal, when short, after it. In winter, it is best to rest in bed the whole night long; if there must be study by lamp-light, it should not be immediately after taking food, but after digestion. He who has been engaged in the day, whether in domestic or on public affairs, ought to keep some portion of the day for the care of the body. The primary care in this respect is exercise, which should always precede the taking of food; the exercise should be ampler in the case of one who has laboured less and digested less well.

6 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Useful exercises are: reading aloud, drill, handball, running, walking; but this is not by any means most useful on the level, since walking up and down hill varies the movement of the body, unless indeed the body is thoroughly weak; but it is better to walk in the open air than under cover;a better, when the head allows of it, in the sun than in the shade; better under the shade of a wall or of trees than under a roof; better a straight than a winding walk. 7 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]But the exercise ought to come to an end with sweating, or at any rate lassitude, which should be p49well this side of fatigue; and sometimes less, sometimes more, is to be done. But in these matters, as before, the example of athletes should not be followed, with their fixed rules and immoderate labour. The proper sequel to exercise is: at times an anointing, whether in the sun or before a brazier; at times a bath, which should be in a chamber as lofty, well lighted and spacious as possible. However, neither should be made use of invariably, but one of the two the oftener, in accordance with the constitution. There is need of a short rest afterwards.

8 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Coming to food, a surfeit is never of service, excessive abstinence is often unserviceable; if any intemperance is committed, it is safer in drinking than in eating. It is better to begin a meal with savouries,8 salads and such-like; and after that meat is to be eaten, best either when roasted or boiled. 9 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]All preserved fruits9 are unserviceable for two reasons, because more is taken owing to their sweetness, and even what is moderate is still digested with some difficulty. Dessert does no harm to a good stomach, in a weak one it turns sour. Whoever then in this respect has too little strength, had better eat dates, apples and such-like at the beginning of the meal. After many drinkings which have somewhat exceeded the demands of thirst, nothing should be eaten; after a surfeit of food there should be no exertion. 10 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Anyone who has had his fill digests the more readily if he concludes the meal with a drink of cold water, then after keeping awake for a time has a sound sleep. When a full meal is taken at p51midday, after it there should be no exposure to cold, heat or fatigue, which do not harm the body so easily when it is empty as when it is full. When from whatever causes there is prospective want of food, everything laborious should be avoided.

3 1   [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] Now the foregoing precepts indeed almost always hold good; but some particular notice requires to be taken of changes of surroundings and varieties of constitution and sex and age and seasons. For it is not safe to remove either from a salubrious to an oppressive locality, or from an oppressive to a salubrious one. It is better to make the move from a salubrious into an oppressive place at the beginning of winter, from an oppressive into a salubrious one in early summer. 2 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]It is not good indeed to overeat after a long fast, nor to fast after overeating. And he runs a risk who goes contrary to his habit and eats immoderately whether once or twice in the day. Again, neither sudden idleness after excessive labour, nor sudden labour after excessive idleness, is without serious harm. Therefore when a man wishes to make a change, he ought to habituate himself little by little; indeed any work is easier even for a boy or an old man than for an unaccustomed adult. 3 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Hence also too idle a life is inexpedient, because there may come up some necessity for labour. But if at any time a man has had to undergo unaccustomed labour, or at any rate much more than he is used to, he should go to bed on an empty stomach, more especially if he has a bitter taste in his mouth, or his eyes are dimmed, or his bowels disturbed; for then he must not only sleep with his stomach empty, but even remain at rest over the next day, unless rest has quickly removed the trouble; in this case p53he should get up and take slowly a short walk. But even when there has been no necessity for a sleep, because a man has only done more moderate work, still he ought, all the same, to take a little walk. 4 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]This then should be the rule for everyone after incurring fatigue before taking food: first to walk about a little, then, if no bath is at hand, to undergo anointing and sweating in a warm place whether in the sun or before a fire; when there is a bath,10 he should first sit in the warm room, then, after resting there a while, go down into the tubs; next, after being anointed freely with oil and gently rubbed down, again descend into the tub; finally he should foment the face, first with warm, then with cold water. 5 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]A very hot bath does not suit such cases. Therefore if one's excessive fatigue almost amounts to a fever, it is quite sufficient for him to sit in warm water, to which a little oil may be added, up to the groins, in a tepid room; next his whole body, and especially the parts which have been under water, should be rubbed gently with oil to which a little wine and pounded salt have been added. 6 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]This done, anybody who has undergone fatigue is ready for food, in particular food of a fluid consistency; he should be content with water to drink, or if wine, certainly diluted, of the sort to promote diuresis. Further it should be recognized that after labour accompanied by sweating a cold drink is most pernicious, and even although sweating after a fatiguing journey has passed off, it is unserviceable. 7 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]After coming out of the bath, too, Asclepiades held it unserviceable; and this is true in the case of those whose bowels are loose at uncertain moments, and who readily shiver; but it is not the universal rule p55in all cases, since it is more natural that a heated stomach should be cooled, and a cold one warmed by a drink. I grant so much, but I hesitate to give this as a rule, for as a matter of fact a cold drink is bad while sweating. 8 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]It also happens that after a dinner of many courses and many drinks of diluted wine a vomit is even advantageous; the next day there should be a prolonged rest followed by exercise in moderation. If there is oppression due to a persistence of fatigue, water and wine should be drunk alternately, but the bath seldom used. A change of work, too, relieves lassitude; and when a novel form of customary work has tired a man, that form to which he is accustomed restores him. 9 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]To one who is fatigued that couch is best which he uses every day; for whether soft or hard, one to which he is unaccustomed wearies him. Certain things are specially applicable to one who is fatigued whilst travelling on foot. To be rubbed often while actually on the way restores him; after the journey he should sit awhile, then undergo anointing; next at the bath foment with hot water his upper rather than his lower parts. 10 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]But anyone who has become overheated in the sun should go at once to the bath, and there have oil poured over the head and body; next go down to a thoroughly hot tub; then have water poured over his head freely, first hot, next cold. On the other hand, he who has become much chilled should first sit in the calidarium, well wrapped up, until he sweats; next be anointed, afterwards laved, then take food in moderation and after that drinks of undiluted wine. 11 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]He too who on a voyage is troubled by seasickness, if he has vomited out a quantity of bile, should fast or take very little food. If he has spewed p57out sour phlegm, he may take food notwithstanding, but lighter than usual; if he has nausea without vomiting, he should either fast, or after food excite a vomit. 12 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]But he who has spent all day sitting in a carriage or at the games should not after that hurry but walk slowly; also it is of service to linger somewhat in the bath, and then take a small dinner afterwards. When overheated in the bath, taking vinegar and holding it in the mouth restores him; if that is not at hand, cold water may be taken in the same way.

13 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]But above all things everyone should be acquainted with the nature of his own body, for some are spare, others obese; some hot, others more frigid; some moist, others dry; some are costive, in others the bowels are loose. It is seldom but that a man has some part of his body weak. 14 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]So then a thin man ought to fatten himself up, a stout one to thin himself down; a hot man to cool himself, a cold man to make himself warmer; the moist to dry himself up, the dry to moisten himself; he should render firmer his motions if loose, relax them if costive; treatment is to be always directed to the part which is mostly in trouble.

15 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Now the body is fattened: by moderate exercise, by oftener resting, by anointing, and by the bath if after a meal at midday; by the bowels being confined, by winter cold in moderation, by sleep adequate but not over long, by a soft couch, by a tranquil spirit, by food whether solid or fluid which is sweet and fatty; by meals rather frequent and as large as it is possible to digest. 16 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]The body is thinned: by hot water if one bathes in it and especially if salt; by the bath on an empty stomach, by a scorching sun, by heat of all kinds, by worry, by late nights; p59by sleep unduly short or overlong, by a hard bed throughout the summer; by running or much walking or any violent exercise; by a vomit, by purgation, by sour and harsh things consumed; by a single meal a day; by the custom of drinking wine not too cold upon an empty stomach.

17 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]But as I have mentioned a vomit and a purge among thinning measures, there are some things to be said in particular concerning them.11 I note that a vomit was rejected by Asclepiades in the book written by him, entitled De tuenda sanitate; I do not blame him for being disquieted with the custom of those, who by ejecting every day achieve a capacity for gormandizing. He has even gone somewhat further; for from the same volume he has expelled likewise purgings; which indeed are pernicious when procured by too powerful medicaments. 18 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Such measures, however, are not to be dispensed with entirely, because regard for different constitutions and times can make them necessary, provided that they are employed in moderation and only when needed. Hence Asclepiades has himself allowed that what is already corrupted ought to be expelled: so this kind of treatment is not wholly to be condemned. But there may be more than one reason for this too; and so a somewhat closer consideration may be given to the matter.

19 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]A vomit is more advantageous in winter than in summer, for then more phlegm and severer stuffiness in the head occur. It is unsuitable for the thin and for those with a weak stomach, but suitable for the plethoric, and all who have become bilious, whether after overeating or imperfect digestion. For if the meal has been larger than can be digested, it is not p61well to risk its corruption; and if it has already become corrupted, nothing is more to the purpose than to eject it by whatever way its expulsion is first possible. 20 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]When, therefore, there are bitter eructations, with pain and weight over the heart, recourse should be had at once to a vomit, which is likewise of service to anyone who has heartburn and copious salivation or nausea, or ringing in the ears, or watering of the eyes, or a bitter taste in the mouth; similarly in the case of one who is making a change of climate or locality; as well as in the case of those who become troubled by pain over the heart when they have not vomited for several days. 21 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Nor am I unaware that in such cases there is prescribed rest, but that is not always within the reach of those who are obliged to be busy; nor does rest act in the same way with everybody. Accordingly I allow that vomiting should not be practised for the sake of luxury; on account of health I believe from experiment that it is sometimes rightly practised, nevertheless with this reservation, that no one who wants to keep well, and live to old age, should make it a daily habit. 22 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]He who after a meal wants to vomit, if he does so easily should first take tepid water by itself; when there is more difficulty, a little salt or honey should be added. To cause a vomit on getting up in the morning, he should first drink some honey or hyssop in wine, or eat a radish, and after that drink tepid water as described above. The other emetics prescribed by the ancient practitioners all disturb the stomach. 23 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]After a vomit, when the stomach is weak, a little suitable food should be taken, and for drink, unless the vomiting has made the throat raw, three cupfuls of cold water. He who has provoked p63a vomit, if it be early in the day, should after that take a walk, next undergo anointing, then dine; if after dining, he should the next day bathe, or sweat in the baths. 24 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]After that the following meal had better be a light one, consisting of bread a day old, harsh undiluted wine, roasted meat, all food being of the dryest. Whoever aims to provoke a vomit twice a month, had better arrange to do so on two consecutive days, rather than once a fortnight, unless this longer interval causes heaviness in the chest.

25 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Now defaecation is to be procured also by a medicament, when, the bowels being costive, too little is passed, with the result that there is increase of flatulence, dizziness of vision, headaches, and other disturbances in the upper parts. For what can rest and fasting help in such circumstances which come about so much through them? He who wants to defaecate should in the first place make use of such food and wine as will promote it; then if these have little effect, he should take aloes. 26 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]But purgatives also, whilst necessary at times, when frequently used entail danger; for the body becomes subject to malnutrition, since a weakened state leaves it exposed to maladies of all sorts.12

27 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]The body is heated: by anointing, by salt-water affusion and the more so when hot; by all food which is salt, bitter and fleshy; and after meals by the bath and harsh wine. On the contrary it is cooled: by the bath and sleep on an empty stomach, if not too prolonged; by all sour food; by the coldest water to drink, by oil affusion when mixed with water.

28 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]The body is rendered humid: by more than customary exertion, by a frequent bath, by food in p65increased amount, by copious drinking, followed by walking and late hours; much walking, early and forced, has by itself the same effect, food being taken not immediately after exercise; so also those classes of edibles which come from cold and rainy and irrigated localities. 29 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]On the contrary the body is dried: by moderate exercise, hunger, anointing without the addition of water, summer heat with moderate exposure to the sun, cold water to drink, food immediately after exercise, and all edibles coming from hot and dry districts.

30 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]The bowels are confined by exertion, by sitting still, by besmearing the body with potter's clay, by a scanty diet, and that taken once a day in the case of one accustomed to two meals, by drinking little and that only after the consumption of whatever food is to be taken, also by rest after food. 31 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]On the contrary they are rendered loose: by increasing the length of the walk, more food and drink; by moving about after the meal; by frequently drinking during the meal. This too should be recognized, that a vomit confines the bowels when relaxed, and relaxes them when costive: again, a vomit immediately after the meal confines the bowels, later it relaxes them.

32 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]As to what pertains to age:13 the middle-aged sustain hunger more easily, less so young people, and least of all children and old people. The less readily one supports it, the more often should food be taken; one who is growing needs it most. Children and the old should bathe in warm water. Wine should be diluted for children; for the old men it should be rather undilute: but at neither age be of a kind to cause flatulence. 33 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]It matters less for the young what they take and the way they are treated. Those who p67when young are relaxed, when old are generally costive; those constipated in youth are often relaxed when old. It is better to be rather relaxed when young, rather costive when old.

34 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]The season14 of the year also merits consideration. In winter it is fitting to eat more, and to drink less but of a stronger wine, to use much bread, meat preferably boiled, vegetables sparingly; to take a single meal unless the bowels are too costive. If a meal is taken at midday, it is better that it should be somewhat scanty, and that dry, without meat, and without drinking. At that season everything taken should be hot or heat-promoting. Venery then is not so pernicious. 35 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]But in spring food should be reduced a little, the drink added to, but, however, of wine more diluted; more meat along with vegetables should be taken, passing gradually from boiled to roast. Venery is safest at this season of the year. 36 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]But in summer the body requires both food and drink oftener, and so it is proper in addition to take a meal at midday. At that season both meat and vegetables are most appropriate; wine that is much diluted in order that thirst may be relieved without heating the body; laving with cold water, roasted meat, cold food or food which is cooling. 37 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]But just as food is taken more frequently, so there should be less of it. In autumn owing to changes in the weather there is most danger. Hence it is not good to go out of doors unless well covered, and with thick shoes,b especially on the colder days; nor at night to sleep in the open air, or at any rate to be well covered. A little more food may now be taken, the wine less in quantity but stronger. 38 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Some think orchard fruit injurious, which is generally the p69case when eaten immoderately all day, without reducing more substantial food. Hence it is not the fruit but the heaping of all things together which does harm, but in none of them all is there less harm than in the fruit. 39 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]But it is not fitting to eat of it oftener than other kinds of food, and when eaten, it is necessary to subtract some of the more substantial food. But venery is useful neither in summer nor in autumn; it is more tolerable nevertheless in autumn, in summer it is to be abstained from entirely, if that possibly be done.

4 1   [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] I have next to speak of those who have some parts of the body weak. He whose head is infirm ought, after he has digested well, to rub it gently in the morning with his own hands; never if possible cover it with a wrap; have it shaved to the skin. It is well to avoid moonlight, and especially before the actual conjunction of the moon and sun, and to walk nowhere after dinner. 2 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]If he has retained his hair, he should comb it every day, walk much, but, if possible, not under cover nor in the sun; everywhere, however, he should avoid the sun's blaze, especially after taking food and wine; undergo anointing rather than affusion, but that never before a flaming fire, on occasion before a brazier. If he goes owing to the bath he should first sweat for a while, in the tepidarium, wrapped up, and then undergo anointing there; next pass into the calidarium; after a further sweat he should not go down into the hot bath, but have himself sluiced freely from the head downwards, first with hot, next with tepid, then with cold water, which should be poured for longer on the head than upon other parts, after which it should be rubbed for a while, lastly wiped dry and anointed. 3 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Nothing is so p71beneficial to the head as cold water, and so he who has a weak head every day throughout the summer hold it for a while under the stream from a large conduit. But even if he undergoes anointing without going into the bath, and cannot bear cooling of the whole body, he should always nevertheless douche his head with cold water; but since he does not want the rest of his body wetted, he bends forward for the water not to run down his neck, and with his hands directs the flow to his face, that his eyes or other parts may not be irritated. 4 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]He must take food in moderation and such as he can easily digest; and if fasting affects his head, he should take a meal at midday; if it does not so suffer, the single meal is preferable. 5 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]It is more expedient for him to drink a light wine, well diluted, rather than water, in order that he may have something in reserve when his head begins to become heavier; and to him, on the whole, neither wine nor water is proper always; each constitutes a remedy when taken in its turn. To write, to read, to argue, is not beneficial to him, particularly after dinner; after which, indeed, even cogitation is not sufficiently safe; worst of all, however, is a vomit.

5 1   [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] Nor indeed is it only those who are troubled by a weakness of the head that find the use of cold water beneficial, but also those who suffer with persistent running from the eyes,15 choked nostrils and running from the nose, and tonsillar maladies. In these cases, not only is the head to be douched every day, but also the face bathed with abundance of cold water; especially should this be carried out by all those benefited by it, whenever the south wind renders the weather more oppressive. 2 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]And whereas p73after dinner either wrangling or mental worry is injurious to everybody, it is especially so to those who are disposed to pains in the head or windpipe, or to other forms of oral affections. Choked nostrils and running from the nose can be also avoided, or minimized, if one who is liable to these makes as little change as possible in respect to residence and water; if he protects the head, that it may not be scorched by the sun, or be chilled by a passing cloud; if the head be shaved after digestion and the stomach empty; if there be no reading or writing after a meal.

6 1   [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] But one who is often troubled by an urgent motion should exercise his upper parts at handball and the like; walk on an empty stomach, avoid the sun and continual bathing; undergo anointing even without sweating, not make use of multifarious foods, least of all stews or pulse or greens, and of those things which pass through quickly; in a word, to avoid all things which are digested slowly. 2 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Especially advantageous are: venison and hard fish and meat of domestic animals roasted. It is never expedient to drink wine treated with sea-water, nor indeed thin or sweet wine, but that which is dry and fuller-bodied, and not too old. If one desires to use honeyed wine, it should be made from boiled honey. Cold drinks are to be used whenever possible, so long as they do not disturb the bowels. When anything in the dinner is felt to disagree, he should provoke a vomit, repeating it the next day; on the third day should be eaten a small quantity of bread soaked in wine with the addition of grapes preserved in a jar or in must which has been boiled down and such like; then he should return to his accustomed habit; but he must always rest after the meal, p75there must be no tension of mind, no moving about in a walk however short.

7 1   [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] When the more lax intestine, which they name colon, tends to be painful, and when it is nothing more than an inflation of a sort, the aim should be to promote digestion; to practise reading aloud and other exercises; to use a hot bath, also hot food and drink, and in short, to avoid all manner of cold, all sweets and pulse, and whatever else tends to flatulence.

8 1   [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] But if anyone suffers from his stomach, he should read out loud, and after the reading take a walk, then exercise himself at handball and at drill or at anything else which brings the upper part of the body into play; on an empty stomach he should not drink water but hot wine; if he digests readily he should take two meals a day; drink light and dry wine, and after a meal drinks should preferably be cold. 2 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Weakness of the stomach is indicated by pallor, wasting, pain over the heart, nausea, and involuntary vomiting, headache when the stomach is empty; where these symptoms are absent, the stomach is sound. Nor must one absolutely trust those of our patients who when very unwell have conceived a longing for wine or cold water, and in backing up their desires, lay the blame on their perfectly innocent stomach. 3 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]But those who digest slowly, and whose parts below the ribs on that account become inflated, or who on account of heat of some kind become thirsty at night, may drink before going to bed three or four cupfuls of wine through a fine reed. Also, to counter slow digestion, it is well to read aloud, next to take a walk, then to be either anointed or laved, taking care to p77drink wine cold, a large drink after dinner, but as I have said through a tube, ending all by drinking cold water. 4 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]He whose food tends to turn sour should beforehand take a draught of tepid water and vomit; but if as a consequence he has frequent motions, he should, whenever possible after each stool, take a draught of cold water.

9 1   [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] When sinews tend to become painful, as is common in foot or hand ache,16 the affected part should be exercised as far as possible, even exposing it to work or to cold, unless when pain is increasing. Rest in the open air is best. 2 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Venery is always inimical; as in all other bodily affections, digestion is a necessity, for indigestion is most harmful, and whenever the body is attacked, the faulty part feels it most.

3 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]But just as digestion has to do with all sorts of troubles, so has cold with some, heat with others; each person should be guided by his own bodily habit. Cold is inimical to the aged, and to the thin; to wounds, to the parts below the ribs, intestines, bladder, ears, hips, bladebones, genitals, bones, teeth, sinews, womb, brain. 4 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]It renders the skin pale, dry, hard, black; from it are developed shiverings and tremors. But cold is beneficial to the young and to stout people; in cold weather, with due precautions, the mind is more vigorous and the digestion better. 5 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Cold water affusion is of service, not only to the head, but also to the stomach, and to painful joints not accompanied by ulcerations, also for those who are too rubicund, when pain is absent. But heat benefits all that cold harms, such as dimness of eyesight when there is neither pain nor lacrimation, also contracted sinews, and particularly p79those ulcerations which are due to cold. It gives the surface of the body a good colour; it promotes diuresis. 6 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]If excessive it weakens the body, mollifies sinews, relaxes the stomach. Yet cold and heat are both least safe when applied suddenly to persons unaccustomed to them; for cold gives rise to pain in the side and other diseases, cold water excites swelling in the neck.17 Heat hinders concoction, prevents sleep, exhausts by sweating, renders liable the body to pestilential illnesses.

10 1   [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] There are also observances necessary for a healthy man to employ during a pestilence, although in spite of them he cannot be secure. At such a time, then, he will do well to go abroad, take a voyage; when this cannot be, to be carried in a litter, walk in the open before the heat of the day, gently, and to be anointed in like manner; further as stated above he should avoid fatigue, indigestion, cold, heat, venery, and keep all the more to rule, should he feel any bodily oppression. 2 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]At such a time he should not get up early in the morning nor walk about barefoot, and least so after a meal or bath. Neither on an empty stomach nor after a meal should he provoke a vomit, or set up a motion; indeed if the bowels tend to be loose, they are to be restrained. 3 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]The fuller his habit of body, the more abstinence; he should avoid the bath, sweating, a midday siesta, and in any case if food has been taken previously; at such times, however, it is better then to take only one meal a day, and that a moderate one, lest indigestion be provoked. He should drink, one day water, the next day wine; if he observes these rules, there should be the least possible alteration as to the rest of his accustomed dietary. 4 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam]Such then are the things p81to be done in pestilence of all sorts, and particularly in one brought by south winds. And the same precautions are needed by those who travel, when they have left home during an unhealthy season, or when entering an unhealthy district. Even when something prevents observance of other rules, yet he ought to keep up the alteration, mentioned above, from wine to water, and from water to wine.


The Editor's Notes:

1 Book II.14.

2 Hipp., IV.346 (Regimen II.60).

3 Book II.17.1; III.21.6.

4 Both training and diet were carried to excess by athletes.

5 IV.5.

6 See I.10.

7 See II.3.3.

8 See II.21.1.

9 Condita: the context suggests sweets preceding dessert. The word is not found elsewhere in Celsus, but such sweets are referred to by Columella, de R. R. II.22, uvas itemque (p49)olivas conditui legere licet: raisins and olives can be gathered for candying (in honey).

10 Order of the rooms at the Bath: elaeothesium, anointing room; frigidarium, cool room; apodyterium, undressing room; tepidarium, warm room; calidarium, hot room; laconicum, for dry sweating. — See further II.17.

Thayer's Note: For clearer, fuller, and more accurate information, see the article Balneae in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

11 See II.12, 13.

12 See further II.12.

13 See further, II.1.5, 17‑22.

14 See further, II.1.1‑4.

15 Lippitudo is used to translate the ὀφθαλμία of Hippocrates (cf. esp. Prorrhet., II.18. Littré, IX.44). See further, VI.6.

16 See IV.31, 32.

17 See further, II.1.19; V.18.5, 13; 28.7.


Thayer's Notes:

a it is better to walk in the open air than under cover: the reference is to the custom of walking the fixed course of an (indoors) palaestra; writing today, Celsus would tell us to jog outdoors rather than on a jogging track at a health club.

b thick shoes: this is merely a translation of calciamenta, which were street shoes (and boots) as opposed to house slippers, sandals, and the like. See the comprehensive article in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, and Isidore, Orig. XIX.34.


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