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Full text of "Ancient Classic Texts before 400 B.C."

On the Sacred Disease 
By Hippocrates 



Translated by Francis Adams 

It is thus with regard to the disease called Sacred: it appears to 

me to be nowise more divine nor more sacred than other diseases, but 

has a natural cause from the originates like other affections. Men 

regard its nature and cause as divine from ignorance and wonder, because 

it is not at all like to other diseases. And this notion of its divinity 

is kept up by their inability to comprehend it, and the simplicity 

of the mode by which it is cured, for men are freed from it by purifications 

and incantations. But if it is reckoned divine because it is wonderful, 

instead of one there are many diseases which would be sacred; for, 

as I will show, there are others no less wonderful and prodigious, 

which nobody imagines to be sacred. The quotidian, tertian, and quartan 

fevers, seem to me no less sacred and divine in their origin than 

this disease, although they are not reckoned so wonderful. And I see 

men become mad and demented from no manifest cause, and at the same 

time doing many things out of place; and I have known many persons 

in sleep groaning and crying out, some in a state of suffocation, 

some jumping up and fleeing out of doors, and deprived of their reason 

until they awaken, and afterward becoming well and rational as before, 

although they be pale and weak; and this will happen not once but 

frequently. And there are many and various things of the like kind, 

which it would be tedious to state particularly. 

They who first referred this malady to the gods appear to me to have 
been just such persons as the conjurors, purif icators, mountebanks, 
and charlatans now are, who give themselves out for being excessively 
religious, and as knowing more than other people. Such persons, then, 
using the divinity as a pretext and screen of their own inability 
to of their own inability to afford any assistance, have given out 
that the disease is sacred, adding suitable reasons for this opinion, 
they have instituted a mode of treatment which is safe for themselves, 
namely, by applying purifications and incantations, and enforcing 
abstinence from baths and many articles of food which are unwholesome 
to men in diseases. Of sea substances, the surmullet, the blacktail, 
the mullet, and the eel; for these are the fishes most to be guarded 
against. And of fleshes, those of the goat, the stag, the sow, and 
the dog: for these are the kinds of flesh which are aptest to disorder 
the bowels. Of fowls, the cock, the turtle, and the bustard, and such 
others as are reckoned to be particularly strong. And of potherbs, 
mint, garlic, and onions; for what is acrid does not agree with a 
weak person. And they forbid to have a black robe, because black is 
expressive of death; and to sleep on a goat's skin, or to wear it, 
and to put one foot upon another, or one hand upon another; for all 
these things are held to be hindrances to the cure. All these they 
enjoin with reference to its divinity, as if possessed of more knowledge, 
and announcing beforehand other causes so that if the person should 
recover, theirs would be the honor and credit; and if he should die, 
they would have a certain defense, as if the gods, and not they, were 
to blame, seeing they had administered nothing either to eat or drink 
as medicines, nor had overheated him with baths, so as to prove the 
cause of what had happened. But I am of opinion that (if this were 
true) none of the Libyans, who live in the interior, would be free 
from this disease, since they all sleep on goats' skins, and live 
upon goats' flesh; neither have they couch, robe, nor shoe that is 
not made of goat's skin, for they have no other herds but goats and 
oxen. But if these things, when administered in food, aggravate the 
disease, and if it be cured by abstinence from them, godhead is not 
the cause at all; nor will purifications be of any avail, but it is 
the food which is beneficial and prejudicial, and the influence of 



the divinity vanishes. 

Thus, they who try to cure these maladies in this way, appear to me 
neither to reckon them sacred nor divine. For when they are removed 
by such purifications, and this method of cure, what is to prevent 
them from being brought upon men and induced by other devices similar 
to these? So that the cause is no longer divine, but human. For whoever 
is able, by purifications conjurations, to drive away such an affection, 
will be able, by other practices, to excite it; and, according to 
this view, its divine nature is entirely done away with. By such sayings 
and doings, they profess to be possessed of superior knowledge, and 
deceive mankind by enjoining lustrations and purifications upon them, 
while their discourse turns upon the divinity and the godhead. And 
yet it would appear to me that their discourse savors not of piety, 
as they suppose, but rather of impiety, and as if there were no gods, 
and that what they hold to be holy and divine, were impious and unholy. 
This I will now explain. 

For, if they profess to know how to bring down the moon, darken the 

sun, induce storms and fine weather, and rains and droughts, and make 

the sea and land unproductive, and so forth, whether they arrogate 

this power as being derived from mysteries or any other knowledge 

or consideration, they appear to me to practice impiety, and either 

to fancy that there are no gods, or, if there are, that they have 

no ability to ward off any of the greatest evils. How, then, are they 

not enemies to the gods? For if a man by magical arts and sacrifices 

will bring down the moon, and darken the sun, and induce storms, or 

fine weather, I should not believe that there was anything divine, 

but human, in these things, provided the power of the divine were 

overpowered by human knowledge and subjected to it. But perhaps it 

will be said, these things are not so, but, not withstanding, men 

being in want of the means of life, invent many and various things, 

and devise many contrivances for all other things, and for this disease, 

in every phase of the disease, assigning the cause to a god. Nor do 

they remember the same things once, but frequently. For, if they imitate 

a goat, or grind their teeth, or if their right side be convulsed, 

they say that the mother of the gods is the cause. But if they speak 

in a sharper and more intense tone, they resemble this state to a 

horse, and say that Poseidon is the cause. Or if any excrement be 

passed, which is often the case, owing to the violence of the disease, 

the appellation of Enodia is adhibited; or, if it be passed in smaller 

and denser masses, like bird's, it is said to be from Apollo Nomius . 

But if foam be emitted by the mouth, and the patient kick with his 

feet, Ares then gets the blame. But terrors which happen during the 

night, and fevers, and delirium, and jumpings out of bed, and frightful 

apparitions, and fleeing away, -all these they hold to be the plots 

of Hecate, and the invasions the and use purifications and incantations, 

and, as appears to me, make the divinity to be most wicked and most 

impious. For they purify those laboring under this disease, with the 

same sorts of blood and the other means that are used in the case 

of those who are stained with crimes, and of malefactors, or who have 

been enchanted by men, or who have done any wicked act; who ought 

to do the very reverse, namely, sacrifice and pray, and, bringing 

gifts to the temples, supplicate the gods. But now they do none of 

these things, but purify; and some of the purifications they conceal 

in the earth, and some they throw into the sea, and some they carry 

to the mountains where no one can touch or tread upon them. But these 

they ought to take to the temples and present to the god, if a god 

be the cause of the disease. Neither truly do I count it a worthy 

opinion to hold that the body of man is polluted by god, the most 

impure by the most holy; for were it defiled, or did it suffer from 

any other thing, it would be like to be purified and sanctified rather 

than polluted by god. For it is the divinity which purifies and sanctifies 

the greatest of offenses and the most wicked, and which proves our 



protection from them. And we mark out the boundaries of the temples 
and the groves of the gods, so that no one may pass them unless he 
be pure, and when we enter them we are sprinkled with holy water, 
not as being polluted, but as laying aside any other pollution which 
we formerly had. And thus it appears to me to hold, with regard to 
purifications . 

But this disease seems to me to be no more divine than others; but 

it has its nature such as other diseases have, and a cause whence 

it originates, and its nature and cause are divine only just as much 

as all others are, and it is curable no less than the others, unless 

when, the from of time, it is confirmed, and has became stronger than 

the remedies applied. Its origin is hereditary, like that of other 

diseases. For if a phlegmatic person be born of a phlegmatic, and 

a bilious of a bilious, and a phthisical of a phthisical, and one 

having spleen disease, of another having disease of the spleen, what 

is to hinder it from happening that where the father and mother were 

subject to this disease, certain of their offspring should be so affected 

also? As the semen comes from all parts of the body, healthy particles 

will come from healthy parts, and unhealthy from unhealthy parts. 

And another great proof that it is in nothing more divine than other 

diseases is, that it occurs in those who are of a phlegmatic constitution, 

but does not attack the bilious. Yet, if it were more divine than 

the others, this disease ought to befall all alike, and make no distinction 

between the bilious and phlegmatic. 

But the brain is the cause of this affection, as it is of other very 
great diseases, and in what manner and from what cause it is formed, 
I will now plainly declare. The brain of man, as in all other animals, 
is double, and a thin membrane divides it through the middle, and 
therefore the pain is not always in the same part of the head; for 
sometimes it is situated on either side, and sometimes the whole is 
affected; and veins run toward it from all parts of the body, many 
of which are small, but two are thick, the one from the liver, and 
the other from the spleen. And it is thus with regard to the one from 
the liver: a portion of it runs downward through the parts on the 
side, near the kidneys and the psoas muscles, to the inner part of 
the thigh, and extends to the foot. It is called vena cava. The other 
runs upward by the right veins and the lungs, and divides into branches 
for the heart and the right arm. The remaining part of it rises upward 
across the clavicle to the right side of the neck, and is superficial 
so as to be seen; near the ear it is concealed, and there it divides; 
its thickest, largest, and most hollow part ends in the brain; another 
small vein goes to the right ear, another to the right eye, and another 
to the nostril. Such are the distributions of the hepatic vein. And 
a vein from the spleen is distributed on the left side, upward and 
downward, like that from the liver, but more slender and feeble. 

By these veins we draw in much breath, since they are the spiracles 
of our bodies inhaling air to themselves and distributing it to the 
rest of the body, and to the smaller veins, and they and afterwards 
exhale it. For the breath cannot be stationary, but it passes upward 
and downward, for if stopped and intercepted, the part where it is 
stopped becomes powerless. In proof of this, when, in sitting or lying, 
the small veins are compressed, so that the breath from the larger 
vein does not pass into them, the part is immediately seized with 
numbness; and it is so likewise with regard to the other veins. 

This malady, then, affects phlegmatic people, but not bilious. It 
begins to be formed while the foetus is still in utero. For the brain, 
like the other organs, is depurated and grows before birth. If, then, 
in this purgation it be properly and moderately depurated, and neither 
more nor less than what is proper be secreted from it, the head is 
thus in the most healthy condition. If the secretion (melting) the 



from the brain be greater than natural, the person, when he grows 
up, will have his head diseased, and full of noises, and will neither 
be able to endure the sun nor cold. Or, if the melting take place 
from any one part, either from the eye or ear, or if a vein has become 
slender, that part will be deranged in proportion to the melting. 
Or, should depuration not take place, but congestion accumulate in 
the brain, it necessarily becomes phlegmatic. And such children as 
have an eruption of ulcers on the head, on the ears, and along the 
rest of the body, with copious discharges of saliva and mucus, -these, 
in after life, enjoy best health; for in this way the phlegm which 
ought to have been purged off in the womb, is discharged and cleared 
away, and persons so purged, for the most part, are not subject to 
attacks of this disease. But such as have had their skin free from 
eruptions, and have had no discharge of saliva or mucus, nor have 
undergone the proper purgation in the womb, these persons run the 
risk of being seized with this disease. 

But should the defluxion make its way to the heart, the person is 

seized with palpitation and asthma, the chest becomes diseased, and 

some also have curvature of the spine. For when a defluxion of cold 

phlegm takes place on the lungs and heart, the blood is chilled, and 

the veins, being violently chilled, palpitate in the lungs and heart, 

and the heart palpitates, so that from this necessity asthma and orthopnoea 

supervene. For it does not receive the spirits as much breath as he 

needs until the defluxion of phlegm be mastered, and being heated 

is distributed to the veins, then it ceases from its palpitation and 

difficulty of breathing, and this takes place as soon as it obtains 

an abundant supply; and this will be more slowly, provided the defluxion 

be more abundant, or if it be less, more quickly. And if the defluxions 

be more condensed, the epileptic attacks will be more frequent, but 

otherwise if it be rarer. Such are the symptoms when the defluxion 

is upon the lungs and heart; but if it be upon the bowels, the person 

is attacked with diarrhoea. 

And if, being shut out from all these outlets, its defluxion be determined 

to the veins I have formerly mentioned, the patient loses his speech, 

and chokes, and foam issues by the mouth, the teeth are fixed, the 

hands are contracted, the eyes distorted, he becomes insensible, and 

in some cases the bowels are evacuated. And these symptoms occur sometimes 

on the left side, sometimes on the right, and sometimes in both. The 

cause of everyone of these symptoms I will now explain. The man becomes 

speechless when the phlegm, suddenly descending into the veins, shuts 

out the air, and does not admit it either to the brain or to the vena 

cava, or to the ventricles, but interrupts the inspiration. For when 

a person draws in air by the mouth and nostrils, the breath goes first 

to the brain, then the greater part of it to the internal cavity, 

and part to the lungs, and part to the veins, and from them it is 

distributed to the other parts of the body along the veins; and whatever 

passes to the stomach cools, and does nothing more; and so also with 

regard to the lungs. But the air which enters the veins is of use 

(to the body) by entering the brain and its ventricles, and thus it 

imparts sensibility and motion to all the members, so that when the 

veins are excluded from the air by the phlegm and do not receive it, 

the man loses his speech and intellect, and the hands become powerless, 

and are contracted, the blood stopping and not being diffused, as 

it was wont; and the eyes are distorted owing to the veins being excluded 

from the air; and they palpitate; and froth from the lungs issues 

by the mouth. For when the breath does not find entrance to him, he 

foams and sputters like a dying person. And the bowels are evacuated 

in consequence of the violent suffocation; and the suffocation is 

produced when the liver and stomach ascend to the diaphragm, and the 

mouth of the stomach is shut up; this takes place when the breath 

does not enter by the mouth, as it is wont. The patient kicks with 

his feet when the air is shut up in the lungs and cannot find an outlet, 



owing to the phlegm; and rushing by the blood upward and downward, 
it occasions convulsions and pain, and therefore he kicks with his 
feet. All these symptoms he endures when the cold phlegm passes into 
the warm blood, for it congeals and stops the blood. And if the deflexion 
be copious and thick, it immediately proves fatal to him, for by its 
cold it prevails over the blood and congeals it; or, if it be less, 
it in the first place obtains the mastery, and stops the respiration; 
and then in the course of time, when it is diffused along the veins 
and mixed with much warm blood, it is thus overpowered, the veins 
receive the air, and the patient recovers his senses. 

Of little children who are seized with this disease, the greater part 
die, provided the defluxion be copious and humid, for the veins being 
slender cannot admit the phlegm, owing to its thickness and abundance; 
but the blood is cooled and congealed, and the child immediately dies. 
But if the phlegm be in small quantity, and make a defluxion into 
both the veins, or to those on either side, the children survive, 
but exhibit notable marks of the disorder; for either the mouth is 
drawn aside, or an eye, the neck, or a hand, wherever a vein being 
filled with phlegm loses its tone, and is attenuated, and the part 
of the body connected with this vein is necessarily rendered weaker 
and defective. But for the most it affords relief for a longer interval; 
for the child is no longer seized with these attacks, if once it has 
contracted this impress of the disease, in consequence of which the 
other veins are necessarily affected, and to a certain degree attenuated, 
so as just to admit the air, but no longer to permit the influx of 
phlegm. However, the parts are proportionally enfeebled whenever the 
veins are in an unhealthy state. When in striplings the defluxion 
is small and to the right side, they recover without leaving any marks 
of the disease, but there is danger of its becoming habitual, and 
even increasing if not treated by suitable remedies. Thus, or very 
nearly so, is the case when it attacks children. 

To persons of a more advanced age, it neither proves fatal, nor produces 

distortions. For their veins are capacious and are filled with hot 

blood; and therefore the phlegm can neither prevail nor cool the blood, 

so as to coagulate it, but it is quickly overpowered and mixed with 

the blood, and thus the veins receive the air, and sensibility remains; 

and, owing to their strength, the aforesaid symptoms are less likely 

to seize them. But when this disease attacks very old people, it therefore 

proves fatal, or induces paraplegia, because the veins are empty, 

and the blood scanty, thin, and watery. When, therefore, the defluxion 

is copious, and the season winter, it proves fatal; for it chokes 

up the exhalents, and coagulates the blood if the defluxion be to 

both sides; but if to either, it merely induces paraplegia. For the 

blood being thin, cold, and scanty, cannot prevail over the but being 

itself overpowered, it is coagulated, so that those parts in which 

the blood is corrupted, lose their strength. 

The flux is to the right rather than to the left because the veins 
there are more capacious and numerous than on the left side, for on 
the one side they spring from the liver, and on the other from the 
spleen. The defluxion and melting down take place most especially 
in the case of children in whom the head is heated either by the sun 
or by fire, or if the brain suddenly contract a rigor, and then the 
phlegm is excreted. For it is melted down by the heat and diffusion 
of the but it is excreted by the congealing and contracting of it, 
and thus a defluxion takes place. And in some this is the cause of 
the disease, and in others, when the south wind quickly succeeds to 
northern breezes, it suddenly unbinds and relaxes the brain, which 
is contracted and weak, so that there is an inundation of phlegm, 
and thus the defluxion takes place. The defluxion also takes place 
in consequence of fear, from any hidden cause, if we are the at any 
person's calling aloud, or while crying, when one cannot quickly recover 



one's breath, such as often happens to children. When any of these 
things occur, the body immediately shivers, the person becoming speechless 
cannot draw his breath, but the breath (pneuma) stops, the brain is 
contracted, the blood stands still, and thus the excretion and defluxion 
of the phlegm take place. In children, these are the causes of the 
attack at first. But to old persons winter is most inimical. For when 
the head and brain have been heated at a great fire, and then the 
person is brought into cold and has a rigor, or when from cold he 
comes into warmth, and sits at the fire, he is apt to suffer in the 
same way, and thus he is seized in the manner described above. And 
there is much danger of the same thing occurring, if his head be exposed 
to the sun, but less so in summer, as the changes are not sudden. 
When a person has passed the twentieth year of his life, this disease 
is not apt to seize him, unless it has become habitual from childhood, 
or at least this is rarely or never the case. For the veins are filled 
with blood, and the brain consistent and firm, so that it does not 
run down into the veins, or if it do, it does not master the blood, 
which is copious and hot. 

But when it has gained strength from one's childhood, and become habitual, 

such a person usually suffers attacks, and is seized with them in 

changes of the winds, especially in south winds, and it is difficult 

of removal. For the brain becomes more humid than natural, and is 

inundated with phlegm, so that the defluxions become more frequent, 

and the phlegm can no longer be the nor the brain be dried up, but 

it becomes wet and humid. This you may ascertain in particular, from 

beasts of the flock which are seized with this disease, and more especially 

goats, for they are most frequently attacked with it. If you will 

cut open the head, you will find the brain humid, full of sweat, and 

having a bad smell. And in this way truly you may see that it is not 

a god that injures the body, but disease. And so it is with man. For 

when the disease has prevailed for a length of time, it is no longer 

curable, as the brain is corroded by the phlegm, and melted, and what 

is melted down becomes water, and surrounds the brain externally, 

and overflows it; wherefore they are more frequently and readily seized 

with the disease. And therefore the disease is protracted, because 

the influx is thin, owing to its quantity, and is immediately overpowered 

by the blood and heated all through. 

But such persons as are habituated to the disease know beforehand 
when they are about to be seized and flee from men; if their own house 
be at hand, they run home, but if not, to a deserted place, where 
as few persons as possible will see them falling, and they immediately 
cover themselves up. This they do from shame of the affection, and 
not from fear of the divinity, as many suppose. And little children 
at first fall down wherever they may happen to be, from inexperience. 
But when they have been often seized, and feel its approach beforehand, 
they flee to their mothers, or to any other person they are acquainted 
with, from terror and dread of the affection, for being still infants 
they do not know yet what it is to be ashamed. 

Therefore, they are attacked during changes of the winds, and especially 
south winds, then also with north winds, and afterwards also with 
the others. These are the strongest winds, and the most opposed to 
one another, both as to direction and power. For, the north wind condenses 
the air, and separates from it whatever is muddy and nebulous, and 
renders it clearer and brighter, and so in like manner also, all the 
winds which arise from the sea and other waters; for they extract 
the humidity and nebulosity from all objects, and from men themselves, 
and therefore it (the north wind) is the most wholesome of the winds. 
But the effects of the south are the very reverse. For in the first 
place it begins by melting and diffusing the condensed air, and therefore 
it does not blow strong at first, but is gentle at the commencement, 
because it is not able at once to overcome the and compacted air, 



which yet in a while it dissolves. It produces the same effects upon 
the land, the sea, the fountains, the wells, and on every production 
which contains humidity, and this, there is in all things, some more, 
some less. For all these feel the effects of this wind, and from clear 
they become cloudy, from cold, hot; from dry, moist; and whatever 
ear then vessels are placed upon the ground, filled with wine or any 
other fluid, are affected with the south wind, and undergo a change. 
And the a change. And the sun, and the moon, it renders blunter appearance 
than they naturally are. When, then, it possesses such powers over 
things so great and strong, and the body is made to feel and undergo 
changes in the changes of the winds, it necessarily follows that the 
brain should be disolved and overpowered with moisture, and that the 
veins should become more relaxed by the south winds, and that by the 
north the healthiest portion of the brain should become contracted, 
while the most morbid and humid is secreted, and overflows externally, 
and that catarrhs should thus take place in the changes of these winds. 
Thus is this disease formed and prevails from those things which enter 
into and go out of the body, and it is not more difficult to understand 
or to cure than the others, neither is it more divine than other diseases. 

Men ought to know that from nothing else but the brain come joys, 
delights, laughter and sports, and sorrows, griefs, despondency, and 
lamentations. And by this, in an especial manner, we acquire wisdom 
and knowledge, and see and hear, and know what are foul and what are 
fair, what are bad and what are good, what are sweet, and what unsavory; 
some we discriminate by habit, and some we perceive by their utility. 
By this we distinguish objects of relish and disrelish, according 
to the seasons; and the same things do not always please us. And by 
the same organ we become mad and delirious, and fears and terrors 
assail us, some by night, and some by day, and dreams and untimely 
wanderings, and cares that are not suitable, and ignorance of present 
circumstances, desuetude, and unskilfulness . All these things we endure 
from the brain, when it is not healthy, but is more hot, more cold, 
more moist, or more dry than natural, or when it suffers any other 
preternatural and unusual affection. And we become mad from its humidity. 
For when it is more moist than natural, it is necessarily put into 
motion, and the affection being moved, neither the sight nor hearing 
can be at rest, and the tongue speaks in accordance with the sight 
and hearing. 

As long as the brain is at rest, the man enjoys his reason, but the 
depravement of the brain arises from phlegm and bile, either of which 
you may recognize in this manner: Those who are mad from phlegm are 
quiet, and do not cry out nor make a noise; but those from bile are 
vociferous, malignant, and will not be quiet, but are always doing 
something improper. If the madness be constant, these are the causes 
thereof. But if terrors and fears assail, they are connected with 
derangement of the brain, and derangement is owing to its being heated. 
And it is heated by bile when it is determined to the brain along 
the bloodvessels running from the trunk; and fear is present until 
it returns again to the veins and trunk, when it ceases. He is grieved 
and troubled when the brain is unseasonably cooled and contracted 
beyond its wont. This it suffers from phlegm, and from the same affection 
the patient becomes oblivious. He calls out and screams at night when 
the brain is suddenly heated. The bilious endure this. But the phlegmatic 
are not heated, except when much blood goes to the brain, and creates 
an ebullition. Much blood passes along the aforesaid veins. But when 
the man happens to see a frightful dream and is in fear as if awake, 
then his face is in a greater glow, and the eyes are red when the 
patient is in fear. And the understanding meditates doing some mischief, 
and thus it is affected in sleep. But if, when awakened, he returns 
to himself, and the blood is again distributed along the veins, it 
ceases . 



In these ways I am of the opinion that the brain exercises the greatest 
power in the man. This is the interpreter to us of those things which 
emanate from the air, when the brain happens to be in a sound state. 
But the air supplies sense to it. And the eyes, the ears, the tongue 
and the feet, administer such things as the brain cogitates. For in 
as much as it is supplied with air, does it impart sense to the body. 
It is the brain which is the messenger to the understanding. For when 
the man draws the breath into himself, it passes first to the brain, 
and thus the air is distributed to the rest of the body, leaving in 
the brain its acme, and whatever has sense and understanding. For 
if it passed first to the body and last to the brain, then having 
left in the flesh and veins the judgment, when it reached the brain 
it would be hot, and not at all pure, but mixed with the humidity 
from flesh and blood, so as to be no longer pure. 

Wherefore, I say, that it is the brain which interprets the understanding. 
But the diaphragm has obtained its name (frenes) from accident and 
usage, and not from reality or nature, for I know no power which it 
possesses, either as to sense or understanding, except that when the 
man is affected with unexpected joy or sorrow, it throbs and produces 
palpitations, owing to its thinness, and as having no belly to receive 
anything good or bad that may present themselves to it, but it is 
thrown into commotion by both these, from its natural weakness. It 
then perceives beforehand none of those things which occur in the 
body, but has received its name vaguely and without any proper reason, 
like the parts about the heart, which are called auricles, but which 
contribute nothing towards hearing. Some say that we think with the 
heart, and that this is the part which is grieved, and experiences 
care. But it is not so; only it contracts like the diaphragm, and 
still more so for the same causes. For veins from all parts of the 
body run to it, and it has valves, so as to as to perceive if any 
pain or pleasurable emotion befall the man. For when grieved the body 
necessarily shudders, and is contracted, and from excessive joy it 
is affected in like manner. Wherefore the heart and the diaphragm 
are particularly sensitive, they have nothing to do, however, with 
the operations of the understanding, but of all but of all these the 
brain is the cause. Since, then, the brain, as being the primary seat 
of sense and of the spirits, perceives whatever occurs in the body, 
if any change more powerful than usual take place in the air, owing 
to the seasons, the brain becomes changed by the state of the air. 
For, on this account, the brain first perceives, because, I say, all 
the most acute, most powerful, and most deadly diseases, and those 
which are most difficult to be understood by the inexperienced, fall 
upon the brain. 

And the disease called the Sacred arises from causes as the others, 

namely, those things which enter and quit the body, such as cold, 

the sun, and the winds, which are ever changing and are never at rest. 

And these things are divine, so that there is no necessity for making 

a distinction, and holding this disease to be more divine than the 

others, but all are divine, and all human. And each has its own peculiar 

nature and power, and none is of an ambiguous nature, or irremediable. 

And the most of them are curable by the same means as those by which 

any other thing is food to one, and injurious to another. Thus, then, 

the physician should understand and distinguish the season of each, 

so that at one time he may attend to the nourishment and increase, 

and at another to abstraction and diminution. And in this disease 

as in all others, he must strive not to feed the disease, but endeavor 

to wear it out by administering whatever is most opposed to each disease, 

and not that which favors and is allied to it. For by that which is 

allied to it, it gains vigor and increase, but it wears out and disappears 

under the use of that which is opposed to it. But whoever is acquainted 

with such a change in men, and can render a man humid and dry, hot 

and cold by regimen, could also cure this disease, if he recognizes 



the proper season for administering his remedies, without minding 
purifications, spells, and all other illiberal practices of a like 
kind . 

THE END