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By Hippocrates
Commentary: A few comments have been posted about Aphorisms.

Download: A text-only version is available for download.


By Hippocrates

Written 400 B.C.E

Translated by Francis Adams

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Section VII

1. In acute diseases, coldness of the extremities is bad.

2. Livid flesh on a diseased bone is bad.

3. Hiccup and redness of the eyes, when they supervene on vomiting, are bad.

4. A chill supervening on a sweat is not good.

5. Dysentery, or dropsy, or ecstacy coming on madness is good.

6. In a very protracted disease, loss of appetite and unmixed discharges from the bowels are bad symptoms.

7. A rigor and delirium from excessive drinking are bad.

8. From the rupture of an internal abscess, prostration of strength, vomiting, and deliquium animi result.

9. Delirium or convulsion from a flow of blood is bad.

10. Vomiting, or hiccup, or convulsion, or delirium, in ileus, is bad.

11. Pneumonia coming on pleurisy is bad.

12. Phrenitis along with pneumonia is bad.

13. Convulsion or tetanus, coming upon severe burning, is bad.

14. Stupor or delirium from a blow on the head is bad.

15. From a spitting of blood there is a spitting of pus.

16. From spitting of pus arise phthisis and a flux; and when the sputa are stopped, they die.

17. Hiccup in inflammation of the liver bad.

18. Convulsion or delirium supervening upon insomnolency is bad.

18a. Trembling upon lethargus is bad.

19. Erysipelas upon exposure of a bone (is bad?).

20. Mortification or suppuration upon erysipelas is bad.

21. Hemorrhage upon a strong pulsation in wounds is bad.

22. Suppuration upon a protracted pain of the parts about the bowels is bad.

23. Dysentery upon unmixed alvine discharges is bad.

24. Delirium upon division of the cranium, if it penetrate into the cavity of the head, is bad.

25. Convulsion upon severe purging is mortal.

26. Upon severe pain of the parts about the bowels, coldness of the extremities coming on is bad.

27. Tenesmus coming on in a case of pregnancy causes abortion.

28. Whatever piece of bone, cartilage, or nerve (tendon?) is cut off, it neither grows nor unites.

29. When strong diarrhoea supervenes in a case of leucophlegmatia, it removes the disease.

30. In those cases in which frothy discharges occur in diarrhoea there are defluxions from the head.

31. When there is a farinaceous sediment in the urine during fever, it indicates a protracted illness.

32. In those cases in which the urine is thin at first, and the sediments become bilious, an acute disease is indicated.

33. In those cases in which the urine becomes divided there is great disorder in the body.

34. When bubbles settle on the surface of the urine, they indicate disease of the kidneys, and that the complaint will be protracted.

35. When the scum on the surface is fatty and copious, it indicates acute diseases of the kidneys.

36. Whenever the aforementioned symptoms occur in nephritic diseases, and along with them acute pains about the muscles of the back, provided these be seated about the external parts, you may expect that there will be an abscess; but if the pains be rather about the internal parts, you may also rather expect that the abscess will be seated internally.

37. Haematemesis, without fever, does not prove fatal, but with fever it is bad; it is to be treated with refrigerant and styptic things.

38. Defluxions into the cavity of the chest suppurate in twenty days.

39. When a patient passes blood and clots, and is seized with strangury and pain in the perineum and pubes, disease about the bladder is indicated.

40. If the tongue suddenly lose its powers, or a part of the body become apoplectic, the affection is of a melancholic nature.

41. In hypercatharsis, of old persons, hiccup supervening is not a good symptom.

42. In a fever, is not of a bilious nature, a copious allusion of hot water upon the head removes the fever.

43. A woman does not become ambidexterous.

44. When empyema is treated either by the cautery or incision, if pure and white pus flow from the wound, the patients recover; but if mixed with blood, slimy and fetid, they die.

45. When abscess of the liver is treated by the cautery or incision, if the pus which is discharged be pure and white, the patients recover, (for in this case it is situated in the coats of the liver;) but if it resemble the lees of oil as it flows, they die.

46. Pains of the eyes are removed by drinking undiluted wine, plenteous bathing with hot water, and venesection.

47. If a dropsical patient be seized with hiccup the case is hopeless.

48. Strangury and dysuria are cured by drinking pure wine, and venesection; open the vein on the inside.

49. It is a good sign when swelling and redness on the breast seize a person very ill of quinsy, for in this case the disease is diverted outwardly.

50. When the brain is attacked with sphacelus, the patients die in three days; or if they escape these, they recover.

51. Sneezing arises from the head, owing to the brain being heated, or the cavity (ventricle) in the head being filled with humors; the air confined in it then is discharged, and makes a noise, because it comes through a narrow passage.

52. Fever supervening on painful affections of the liver removes the pain.

53. Those persons to whom it is beneficial to have blood taken from their veins, should have it done in spring.

54. In those cases where phlegm is collected between the diaphragm and the stomach, and occasions pain, as not finding a passage into either of the cavities, the disease will be carried off if the phlegm be diverted to the bladder by the veins.

55. When the liver is filled with water and bursts into the epiploon, in this case the belly is filled with water and the patient dies.

56. Anxiety, yawning, rigor,-wine drunk with an equal proportion of water, removes these complaints.

57. When tubercles (phymata) form in the urethra, if they suppurate and burst, the pain is carried off.

58. In cases of concussion of the brain produced by any cause, the patients necessarily lose their speech.

59. In a person affected with fever, when there is no swelling in the fauces, should suffocation suddenly come on, and the patient not be able to swallow, except with difficulty, it is a mortal symptom.

59a. In the case of a person oppressed by fever, if the neck be turned aside, and the patient cannot swallow, while there is no swelling in the neck, it is a mortal sign.

60. Fasting should be prescribed the those persons who have humid flesh; for fasting dries bodies.

61. When there are changes in the whole body, and the body becomes sometimes cold and sometimes hot, and the color changes, a protracted disease is indicated.

62. A copious sweat, hot or cold, constantly flowing, indicates a superabundance of humidity; we must evacuate then, in a strong person upward, and in a weak, downward.

63. Fevers, not of the intermittent type, if they become exacerbated every third day are dangerous; but if they intermit in any form whatever, this shows that they are not dangerous.

64. In cases of protracted fever, either chronic abscesses or pains in the joints come on.

65. When chronic abscesses (phymata) or pains in the joints take place after fevers, the patients are using too much food.

66. If one give to a person in fever the same food which is given to a person in good health, what is strength to the one is disease to the other.

67. We must look to the urinary evacuations, whether they resemble those of persons in health; if not at all so, they are particularly morbid, but if they are like those of healthy persons, they are not at all morbid.

68. When the dejections are allowed to stand and not shaken, and a sediment is formed like scrapings (of the bowels), in such a case it is proper to purge the bowels; and if you give ptisans before purging, the more you give the more harm you will do.

69. Crude dejections are the product of black bile; if abundant, of more copious, and if deficient, of less copious collections of it.

70. The sputa in fevers, not of an intermittent type, which are livid, streaked with blood, and fetid, are all bad, it is favorable when this evacuation, like the urinary and alvine, passes freely; and whenever any discharge is suppressed and not purged off it is bad.

71. When you wish to purge the body, you must bring it into a state favorable to evacuations; and if you wish to dispose it to evacuations upward, you must bind the belly; and if you wish to dispose it to evacuations downward, you must moisten the belly.

72. Sleep and watchfulness, both of them, when immoderate, constitute disease.

73. In fevers which do not intermit, if the external parts be cold, and the internal burning hot, and fever prevail, it is a mortal sign.

74. In a fever which does not intermit, if a lip, the nose, or an eye be distorted, if the patient lose his sense of sight or of hearing, while now in a weak state,-whatever of these symptoms occurs it is mortal.

75. Upon leucophlegmatia dropsy supervenes.

76. Upon diarrhoea dysentery.

77. Upon dysentery lientery.

78. Upon sphacelus exfoliation of the bone.

79 and 80. Upon vomiting of blood consumption, and a purging of pus upward; upon consumption a defluxion from the head; upon a defluxion diarrhoea; upon diarrhoea a stoppage of the purging upward; upon the stoppage of it death.

81. In the discharges by the bladder, the belly, and the flesh (the skin?) if the body has departed slightly from its natural condition, the disease is slight; if much, it is great; if very much, it is mortal.

82. Persons above forty years of age who are affected with frenzy, do not readily recover; the danger is less when the disease is cognate to the constitution and age.

83. In whatever diseases the eyes weep voluntarily, it is a good symptom, but when involuntarily, it is a bad.

84. When in quartan fevers blood flows from the nostrils it is a bad symptom.

85. Sweats are dangerous when they do not occur on critical days, when they are strong, and quickly forced out of the forehead, either in the form of drops or in streams, and if excessively cold and copious; for such a sweat must proceed from violence, excess of pain, and prolonged squeezing (affliction?).

86. In a chronic disease an excessive flux from the bowels is bad.

87. Those diseases which medicines do not cure, iron (the knife?) cures; those which iron cannot cure, fire cures; and those which fire cannot cure, are to be reckoned wholly incurable.


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