school. But a man so free from superstition as the
author of Epidemics I. was unlikely to be influenced
by mysticism, particularly by a mysticism which left
his contemporaries apparently untouched. More
probably there is an effort to express a medical
truth. In malarious countries, all diseases, and not
malaria only, tend to grow more severe periodically ;
latent malaria, in fact, colours all other complaints.
May it not be that severe exacerbations and normal
crises were sometimes confused by Hippocrates, or
perhaps a series of malarial exacerbations attracted
the crisis to one of the days composing it? The
sentence in Epidemics I. XXVI. is very definitely to
the effect that when exacerbations are on even days,
crises are on even days ; when exacerbations are
on odd days, crises are on odd days. Evidently
the critical days are not entirely independent of
the periodicity of malaria.
9. CHIEF DISEASES MENTIONED IN THE HIPPOCRATIC
Diseases were classified by ancient physicians
according to their symptoms ; they are now classified
according to the micro-organisms which cause them.
Accordingly it often happens that no exact equivalent
in Greek corresponds to an English medical term
and vice versa. The name of a Greek disease
denotes merely a syndrome of symptoms.
Perhaps the most remarkable point arising in a
discussion of Greek diseases is the apparent absence
of most infectious fevers. Plagues, vaguely referred
to by the term λοιμός,
occurred at intervals, but the
|For the common Greek conception of λοιμός see pseudo-Aristotle
Problems I. 7.|