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On Ancient Medicine   


does not know what effect these things produce upon a man, cannot
know the consequences which result from them, nor how to apply them.


PART 22
And it appears to me that one ought also to know what diseases arise
in man from the powers, and what from the structures. What do I mean
by this? By powers, I mean intense and strong juices; and by structures,
whatever conformations there are in man. For some are hollow, and
from broad contracted into narrow; some expanded, some hard and round,
some broad and suspended, some stretched, some long, some dense, some
rare and succulent, some spongy and of loose texture. Now, then, which
of these figures is the best calculated to suck to itself and attract
humidity from another body? Whether what is hollow and expanded, or
what is solid and round, or what is hollow, and from broad, gradually
turning narrow? I think such as from hollow and broad are contracted
into narrow: this may be ascertained otherwise from obvious facts:
thus, if you gape wide with the mouth you cannot draw in any liquid;
but by protruding, contracting, and compressing the lips, and still
more by using a tube, you can readily draw in whatever you wish. And
thus, too, the instruments which are used for cupping are broad below
and gradually become narrow, and are so constructed in order to suck
and draw in from the fleshy parts. The nature and construction of
the parts within a man are of a like nature; the bladder, the head,
the uterus in woman; these parts clearly attract, and are always filled
with a juice which is foreign to them. Those parts which are hollow
and expanded are most likely to receive any humidity flowing into
them, but cannot attract it in like manner. Those parts which are
solid and round could not attract a humidity, nor receive it when
it flows to them, for it would glide past, and find no place of rest
on them. But spongy and rare parts, such as the spleen, the lungs,
and the breasts, drink up especially the juices around them, and become
hardened and enlarged by the accession of juices. Such things happen
to these organs especially. For it is not with the spleen as with
the stomach, in which there is a liquid, which it contains and evacuates
every day; but when it (the spleen) drinks up and receives a fluid
into itself, the hollow and lax parts of it are filled, even the small
interstices; and, instead of being rare and soft, it becomes hard
and dense, and it can neither digest nor discharge its contents: these
things it suffers, owing to the nature of its structure. Those things
which engender flatulence or tormina in the body, naturally do so
in the hollow and broad parts of the body, such as the stomach and
chest, where they produce rumbling noises; for when they do not fill
the parts so as to be stationary, but have changes of place and movements,
there must necessarily be noise and apparent movements from them.
But such parts as are fleshy and soft, in these there occur torpor
and obstructions, such as happen in apoplexy. But when it (the flatus?)
encounters a broad and resisting structure, and rushes against such
a part, and this happens when it is by nature not strong so as to
be able to withstand it without suffering injury; nor soft and rare,
so as to receive or yield to it, but tender, juicy, full of blood,
and dense, like the liver, owing to its density and broadness, it
resists and does not yield. But flatus, when it obtains admission,
increases and becomes stronger, and rushes toward any resisting object;
but owing to its tenderness, and the quantity of blood which it (the
liver) contains, it cannot be without uneasiness; and for these reasons
the most acute and frequent pains occur in the region of it, along
with suppurations and chronic tumors (phymata). These symptoms also
occur in the site of the diaphragm, but much less frequently; for
the diaphragm is a broad, expanded, and resisting substance, of a
nervous (tendinous?) and strong nature, and therefore less susceptible
of pain; and yet pains and chronic abscesses do occur about it.

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