Hippocrates of Cos, Fractures

LCL 149: 86-87


We are surprised to find that M VII–XIX are not an epitome but a verbal repetition of J XVII–XXIX. They are derived mainly(VII–XV) from F XXXVIII–XLVII, on the elbow; XVI–XVIII, on the wrist, have no extant original, and XIX, on the fingers, does not appear to be an abridgment of the long account in J LXXX.

There seems no reasonable doubt, from the nature of the case, the style of the writing and peculiarities of language, that the epitome was made by the author of Mochlicon and afterwards transferred to Joints to fill up a vacancy. A reader of the latter observes a sudden change of style, the appearance of new words(ἐξαίφνης for ἐξαπίνης) and a whole string of depraved infinitives;1 but the section is in perfect harmony with the rest of Mochlicon.

M XX–XXIV abbreviate the very full account of thigh dislocations in J LI–LX, while the directions for reduction, given at length in J LXX–LXXVIII, are condensed into M XXV.

M XXVI–XXXI on knee, ankle and foot repeat the phenomenon of VII–XIX. They correspond verbally with J LXXXII–LXXXVII and are epitomized from Fractures X–XIV—except XXVI, on the knee, which is, in part, from F XXXVII. We shall find that J LXXXII–LXXXVII form part of an appendix to the original treatise.

M XXXII condenses the account of club foot given in J LXII.

M XXXIII–XXXV deal with compound dislocations,


loss or amputation of parts, gangrene and necrosis. They are derived from J LXIII–LXIX.

M XXXVI feebly represents the long account of spinal curvature in J XLI–XLVI, also fracture and contusion of the ribs, J XLIX.

In XXX VII M begins to go to pieces. It is based partly on J XLI, partly on J L, and the rest of the treatise is a mass of confused notes on dislocations and fractures, often hardly intelligible, but obviously all taken from Fractures–Joints. Imbedded in it is a paragraph(XXXIX) on disease of the palate corresponding almost verbally with passages in Epidemics II, IV, and VI; and interesting as showing that Mochlicon, like Surgery, has some connection with the middle division of this series.

Fractures and Joints may now be summarized briefly. About one-fourth of Fractures deals with dislocations. The first seven chapters treat fracture of the forearm in detail as a typical case. Chapter VIII fracture of the upper arm: IX–XXIII dislocations of the foot and ankle, and fractures of the lower limb. We are surprised to be told in chapter IX that dislocation of the wrist has already been mentioned. The remainder is devoted partly(XXIV–XXXVII) to compound fractures, and partly(XXXVIII–XLVIII) to dislocations of the elbow, with a few words on dislocation of the knee(XXXVIII) and fracture of the olecranon.

Joints begins similarly with a sample case, dislocation of the shoulder-joint, described in great detail(I–XII). Then comes fracture of the collarbone and its dislocation(XIII–XVI). Next(XVII–XXIX) is the interpolation from Mochlicon, on elbow, wrist, and finger-joints. Injuries of the jaw, nose

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.hippocrates_cos-fractures_joints_mochlicon_fractures.1928