Note on Technical Terms

The following terms require some explanation as they cannot be rendered simply and precisely into English.

ἀπόστασις/apostasis: the process of recovery from a disease is often associated with the collection and removal of morbid humours (peccant material) from the ailing part of the body, an apostasis. Cf. Regimen in Acute Diseases (Appendix) 39: “All diseases are resolved through either the mouth, the cavity, or the bladder; sweating is a form of resolution common to them all.” The moment of this resolution by apostasis generally represents the disease’s “crisis”.

ἕλκος/helkos: the meaning of the term is wider than any single English term, and includes any discontinuity of tissue, whether internal or external, inflamed or livid, traumatic or spontaneous; possible translations include “sore”, “ulcer”, “wound” or simply “lesion”. The Hippocratic treatise traditionally named Ulcers (Περὶ ἑλκῶν) is in fact an account not of the pathological phenomenon “ulcer” in the strict dictionary sense, but rather of surface lesions of all types.

κοιλίη/cavity: generally the thorax and/or abdomen is meant, but more frequently the gastro-intestinal tract. Anything a person feels to be “high up” or that involves nausea or vomiting is imagined to be in the “upper cavity”,


anything felt to be “low down” or that has a relationship to defecation is in the “lower cavity”. The term “cavity” can also be applied to other hollows in the body, e.g. in bones.

Φλεγμαίνειν/phlegmainein: either “to form phlegm”, “to swell up”, or “to become inflamed”; in many passages it is impossible to tell which of these three is meant.

Φλέψ/vessel: generally a blood vessel, whether artery or vein, but occasionally some other tube such as the ureter.