A Brief History of the Plague – I

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The Meaning of the Plague in the Ancient World

“Nulla tam detestabilis pestis est, quae non homini ab homine nascatur”.
[No plague is so detestable that it does not spring from man to man]
(Cicero, Mt. Officiis. II, 5, 16)

“Eo ano pestilentia gravis incidit per urbem”
[In that year, a serious pestilence affects the city]
(Liv. XXVII, 23)

That which is there, in its own way, the flame of rain; their numbers and their followers, of a little flu; businessmen and the economists who follow them, of crisis; the rest of the population, from hunger and pain. Controversy arises as to the name, because there is no agreement on the thing itself, so that, as each one seems to be something, it must be shown that by another name it must be called and that, weighing it by its weight, it will be easier to find the force of the word that names it, so that what needs to be done is demanded more properly.

Pandemia appears as the word currently chosen by the medical class to call what the ancient doctor, poet, historian, orator, each in his own way, called the plague, distinguishing it from mere illness. Those who claim a purely physiological cause for the plague are mistaken, as nature responds for the disease with regard to body care, but the cause of the plague has another nature. The purely medical consideration of the pandemic takes it to be the effect of the viral infection, which veils the wild events that account for the pace, speed, and extent of its spread. Thus considered, the infective power of the virus spreads it over the entire surface of the globe, bringing the disease to men, as if the virus governed the movement of its vectors, not their feverish competition, its pandemic circulation. Viewing disease infestation from a purely physiological perspective naturalizes and justifies the historical material foundation upon which nature and natural disease exist and from which infectious events proliferate. The viral agent is reversed: the accelerated dynamics of social life, managed and governed by pestilential cycles of valorization of value, appears as a set of individual displacements, as sporadic and as random as they are epidemic, in a way that individuals, vectors of the virus, although governed by the historically and materially determined structure that organizes social work, appear as regents of the outbreak of infection. The generation of the pandemic cannot be explained except according to the nature of the disease, which cancels the historical material that configures it, not only the proliferation, but also its natural existence, the existing technical apparatus of social communication and the current use of this social structure subordinated to capital, thus placing on the natural sciences the weight of understanding and the contemporary burden of clearing up manifestations concerning social contradictions that were previously posed and that are alien to them, since, although exogenous to the localities where it supervenes, the pandemic event of the disease it subsists endogenously in the social metabolism that reverberates it. Disregarding the material determinations and the historical nature underlying the metamorphosis of the disease into a pandemic leads to containment actions as if this were its expanded scale, as remote and adjacent causes that account for its qualitative transformation are dispensed with.

Medicine does not concern properly human life, but the activity of the body, or animal life of man, considered separately and singularly, which disregards the pandemic aspect of the disease, concerning the life of the city, or the body of the city. Considering it only the expanded scale of a physical illness, medical therapy focuses on individual patients on an expanded scale; it acts on the disease and on the sick bodies considered individually, not on the pandemic itself, whose care goes beyond hospital care, since it is linked to the communication of bodies in cities and the social body as a whole, so that the universal concurrence of wills and individual consciences, the much publicized awareness, cannot serve as a way to interrupt the propagation, since it was not the individual course of the bodies that caused such dissemination; it responds to the social dynamics of life, which must be interrupted in order to rationalize, in order to break, through global social integration, the invisible lines through which capitalist irrationality manages everyday life, transforming life time into work time, and the useful reason in legal bureaucracy. Rupture that implies the destitution of capital's command over the set of social work and over technology, transformed by it into a productive force of value, as a common ethical measure in favor of the liberation of life and science, so that the break in the cycle global appreciation of value, which degrades man and the land, and drags workers under the wheel of finance, restores the vital cycle of human happenings according to the demands, no longer of capital, but of common life.


Celsus teaches that, initially, medical science participated in philosophy, with the cure of diseases and the contemplation of natural things born from the same authors, and that it was Hippocrates of Cos, who is said to have been a disciple of Democritus, the first to have separated it from philosophy[I]. After him, Diocles Caristio, then Praxagoras, Chrysippus, Herophilus, Erasistratus practiced it proceeding in different ways, medicine having been, in those times[ii], divided into three: the one that medicated through food, they called it dietetic; the one who medicated for drugs, pharmacist; the one that healed by hand, surgical[iii]. The first stands out because illustrious authors have claimed the cognition of the things of nature, as if without this rational discipline medicine would become weak. Until Serapion professed that reason did not belong to art, placing it in use only, and in experience, so that dietetics, the most difficult and most illustrious part of ancient medicine, was divided between those who claimed the rational and the empirical.[iv]. This dissension makes the former profess rational medicine, in which it is first necessary to know the remote causes[v] and contiguous to diseases, in which one inquires about what principles bodies are, what is favorable or adverse to their state, believing that one who does not know where they come from cannot cure diseases, demanding a different cure, whether the addiction is or in the moods, or in the wind, or if the blood is transfused in the vessels of the winds, causing inflammation; then, of the obvious causes[vi], in which it is asked what started the disease, whether it was hunger or cold, satiety or heat, saying that those who do not ignore its origin will prevent addiction; finally, from the natural actions of the body, by which the wind is drawn in and given off, food and drink are taken and sewed up, and carried to all parts of the limbs, knowledge without which they suppose it would not be possible to medicate the diseases that among these actions are born and for which, there being various kinds of pains and diseases that arise in the internal parts, it is necessary to scrutinize the viscera and intestines of the bodies of the dead, if not of the living, because more appropriately are the external remedies, if discovered the seats, the figures, the magnitude of these parts[vii].

The empiricists are opposed, who only admit the evident causes, sustaining that the dispute about remote causes and natural actions is superfluous, because, if the evident cause does not provide science, much less can what is dubious, they say.[viii]. According to these, the medication routes derive from the experiments, according to the response of each one. Once the remedies were found, men would have begun to talk about their reason, so that medicine was not found after reason, but after finding it was this demand; and if it teaches the same as experience, it is superfluous; if something else, contrary to experience; and, if it affects an unknown type of illness, this does not mean that the doctor should think about obscure things, first of all he must see what known disease the illness is approaching and try remedies similar to those that often help what is close to him and, by similarity, find help[ix].

This ancient rift between rational medicine and empiricists reverberates in the modern divisions of medicine. As efficiency was put forward as the impartial criterion that guarantees modern scientific knowledge, efficient cause was chosen as the privileged mode of scientific explanation of diseases. Medicine was instituted, predominantly, as a medical practice and experimental science, which refers it to the empiricists and to Serapião, who put it to use and experience, and circumscribed it to obvious causes. But to the extent that optics, physics, mathematics, chemistry applied to techniques and engineering expand what is seen, the consideration of efficient causes extends, in such a way that the expansion of the visible, projects the medical knowledge of the diseases from the consideration of the efficient causes become evident, although in some areas of modern medicine, in epidemiology, in psychology, in psychiatry, in some parts of virology, immunology, and above all among sanitarians, it is not rare to also resort to the causes remote, typical of ancient rational medicine. But, as they are latent and often dubious and uncertain, what is required is the type of causes that can be explored through experience.[X]. Thus, experimental medical science or medical research is concerned with the discovery, by way of experiments, of the evident efficient causes of unknown kinds of evils; already the practice of medicine, the identification of the evident efficient causes of the known genres of diseases, and the use of the aid provided for each one. But it must be understood that absolutely nothing is done from a single cause, but what seems to answer for the effect is taken as the cause.[xi]. By bringing to an end the cause of the disease whose efficient cause is known, medical practice effects the cure; looking for the efficient cause of the disease whose cause is ignored, research finds practice; when, however, the unknown disease becomes a pandemic or plague, it becomes an event: the efficient cause, demanded by the research, is not the one that responds to the becoming, in which the remote ones emerge, that is, the succession of latent causes not necessary and contiguous that involve the efficient cause attached to the disease in the pandemic event, a manifestation in which the subsistence of common remote causes insists on the common existence of the disease.

The mortal body either exists healthy, or exists sick, because the non-existence of health or illness implies the non-existence of the body, just as, non-existent this, non-existence of the former, so that both consist in modes of mortal existence. The sane becomes sick from the advent of a foreign body to health, as falling ill coincides with a contrary bodily alteration that prevents the maintenance, fully or not, of the existing state. The generation of alteration involves the event in which the opportunity of the place and the comfortable occasion contribute to the collision between the bodies from which the altered state results. The disease exists as long as the shock effect persists in the living body. It is more frequently generated from the advent of minimal living bodies, which differentiates it from the injury resulting from collisions with larger bodies. The events in which the foreign bodies converge and collide appear, not as an incident force, since, being incorporeal, they do not have the power to effect, but as that without which the collision, even the smallest, is not effected, being able to become still, inactive or inert in relation to the generation of the disease, or add some help, even if not necessary, like the thread that extends giving the path where the spring climbs, without which it falls. If disease consists of the altered way in which one has the body, it concerns the tendency of the existing body, so that the adjacent incorporeals involved in effecting the alteration of the state exceed the disease, since they involve the dynamics between the bodies, which subsists of the mutual implication of existing ones. The living natural bodily force that effects the patient depends on the incorporeal, fortuitous or not, without which the disease does not become effective, so that in the existing patient the advent of the disease subsists.

The sudden appearance of successive and incessant events in which the disease arises consists of the appearance of the plague, whose route of propagation coincides with the dynamics of circulation of bodies. The pandemic or plague strangely affects mortal bodies incessantly, as it is the reiterated insistence of the event that generates the sick state, a sudden profusion of events that generate changes in the way the healthy body does not have itself. For the genesis of the disease as a state of existing bodily suffering, and of the plague as an incorporeal event subsisting in the patient, it is necessary to recover their generations.


The Greek word loimoes, which is Latin for pestis, which we properly call the plague, initially appears in Greek songs and tragedies, insinuating itself here and there through medical art, oratory and history, genres in which illness, us ou nosēma, is more effective. In corner I of Iliad, Achilles:

"oÔmou: po√lemo√ß te dama:≥ kai; loimo;ß ∆Acaiou√ß`"[xii]
[together with war tames the plague the Achaeans];

war and plague simultaneously ravage man, war being the human way of destroying man, plague the divine. For dishonor in war, Phoebus Apollo casts evil disease, we kakē, upon the army of the Achaeans; it spreads to the peoples and loses them, hence the plague: a disease that spreads[xiii]. But then the plague was not extreme from the disease, for there it is learned that, like the plagues, also the diseases were attributed to the wrath of the immortal gods, to which mortals fell to ask for help. Podalirium and Machaon, the two sons of Aesculapius who accompanied Agamemnon in the Trojan war, having rendered no small help to their companions, did not help in the pestilence and in the various kinds of diseases, but in the injuries, which they medicated with iron and medicines, the which shows that these were the most ancient parts of medicine[xiv], those dealing with collisions with larger bodies. Reading Homer, Cornelius Celso proposes that, in the face of no adverse health aid, it happened that many became good through good customs, not addicted to lust or laziness.[xv], which linked health to conduct.

Em The jobs and the days, teaching his brother Perses about the division of paternal assets, Hesiod:

Oi»ß d= u”briß te me√mhle kakh; kai; sce√tlia and “rga,
toi:ß de; di√khn Kroni√dhß tekmai√retai eu∆ru√opa Zeu√ß`
polla√ki kai; xu√mpasa po√liß kakou: ajndro;ß ajphu√ra,
o”ß tiß ajlitrai√nh≥ kai; ajta√sqala mhcana√atai`
toi:sin d= oujrano√qen me√g= e∆ph√gage ph:ma Kroni√wn,
slime;n oÔmou: kai; loimo√n` ajpofqinu√qousi de; laoi√,
oujde; gunai:keß ti√ktousin, minu√qousi de; hi\koi[xvi]

To whom evil pride touches, and cruel works,
justice decrees them high-sounding Zeus Cronida;
and not infrequently the whole city with the bad man is lost,
with him who sins and schemes wickedness;
upon them hurled the Kronid from heaven great harm,
famine together with pestilence; and the people perish,
and women do not procreate, and houses diminish;

divine justice corrects man's excess and excess, exposing him to famine and tragic plague, both proceeding from a divine cause, both resulting from the deviation of a single, which touches many. On the proud, the heavenly punishment falls miserably, which rarefies their people, interrupting their generation. in the tragedy the persians, the specter of King Darius asks the widow how the business of the Persians was ruined:

Ti√ni tro√pw≥~ loimou: tiß h«lqe skhpto;ß, h] sta√siß po√lei~[xvii]
How? Has a ray of plague or sedition come upon the city?

Either a fulminating plague falls from the sky, or strife among men prevails, so that the business is lost. In Oedipus the King, the priest says to Oedipus:

e∆nd= oÔ purfo√roß qeo;ß
skh√yaß e∆lau√nei, loimo;ß e“cqistoß, po√lin,
uÔf= ou» kenou:tai dw:ma Kadmei:on`[xviii]

the fire-bearing god,
launched the most inimical plague, slaughter the city,
through it the cadmeia house is emptied;

the incendiary plague launched by the god is like an enemy, it hurls itself on the city and the dwellings, on armies and businesses. It shrinks houses, takes beings, because it doesn't walk alone: ​​it comes not to one, but to many.

The poetic apparition of the plague is generated iteratively with the advent of war and famine, polemos e lemons, whose lexicon, by the way, keeps phonic correspondence with loimoes, plague, which completes the triad. To the tragic specter of King Darius, the plague is lightning hurled from heaven by the fire-bearing god; already for the anointed whose current regency follows tragic beliefs it is rain that falls; and, just as, in the past, the containment of the plague involved an expiatory ritual that appeased the god, so, now, collective sacrifices are demanded to appease the contemporary myth personified in the will of the Messiah.


Coming from songs and representations, not being a properly medical word, the plague appears sporadically in Hippocratic medical art as a means of spreading a disease, what distinguishes it from disease, as can be read in From the diet of acute [diseases]:

"Esto de; tau:ta ojxe√a, oJkoi:a wjno√masan oiÔ ajrcai:oi pleuri:tin, kai; peripleumoni√hn, kai; freni:tin, kai; lh√qargon, kai; kau:son, kai; ta[lla noush√mata oÔko√sa toute√wn ejco√mena√ ejstin, w|n oiÔ puretoi; to; e∆pi√pan xunece√eß. ”Otan ga;r mh; loimw√deoß nou√sou tro√poß tiß koino;ß e∆pidhmh√sh≥, ajlla; spora√deeß e“wsin aiJ nou:soi kai; paraplh√sioi, uÔpo; toute√wn tw:n noushma√twn ajpoqnh√skousi ma:llon h] uÔpo; tw:na[llwn tw:n xumpa√ntwn.[xx]

Those that the ancients called pleuritis are acute.[xx], peripneumonia, delirium, lethargy, aestus[xxx], and the more infirmities one has from them, in which continual fevers are the rule. For, not having spread among the people a common mode of pestilential disease, there being only sporadic and similar diseases, from these [acute] diseases more people die than from all others put together.

The disease that makes itself pestilential comes from outside, being therefore strange, and spreads in a common and continually insistent way through the people; unlike other illnesses, it is not sparse: as it spreads, it does not disperse, it accumulates, so that it swells without calming down. Pestilence appears as an epidemic form of disease, that is, as the arrival of a disease that publicly attacks the entire city. Invariably linked to fevers, the medical plague appears in of the breaths:

Prw:ton of; ajpo; koinota√tou nosh√matoß a[rxomai, puretou:` tou:to ga;r to; no√shma pa:sin e∆phedreu√ei toi:sin a[lloisin noush√masi, ma√lista de; flegmonh:≥` dhloi: de; OK; gino√mena prosko√mmata` a{ma ga;r th:≥ flegmonh≥: eujqu;ß boubw;n kai; pureto;ß e”petai. “Esti de; said; ei[dea puretw:n, wJß tau√th≥ dielqei:n` oÔ me;n koino;ß a{pasi kaleo√menoß loimo√ß` oÔ de; day; ponhrh;n di√aitan i∆di√h≥ toi:si ponhrw:ß diaiteome√noisi gino√menoß` ajmfote√rwn de; toute√wn ai[tioß oÔ ajh√r. ÔO me;n ou\n koino;ß pureto;ß day; tou:to toiou:to√ß e∆stin, o”ti tire:ma twujto; pa√nteß e”lkousin` oÔmoi√ou de; oÔmoi√wß tou: pneu√matoß tw:≥ sw√mati micqe√ntoß, o”moioi kai; oiÔ puretoi; gi√nontai.[xxiii]

First, by the most common initial illness: fever. For this disease affects all other diseases, and most of all with inflammation[xxiii], given the recurrent injuries; for along with the inflammation immediately come bubo and fever. To discuss this, there are two kinds of fevers: the one that is common to all is called the plague; and that generated by poor diet, particularly in those who are poorly nourished; the cause of both being the air. And therefore the common fever is such, because all bring the same wind; and having been likewise mingled in the body like wind, likewise are fevers generated.

Plague is not called the same fever, but a fever that equally affects everyone who breathes the same air, becoming a common fever, so that the course of the disease is pestilential, not the disease itself. The celestial and divine provenance of the poetic plague, linked to bad customs, is replaced by the aerial transmission of fever, the cause that makes the medical plague circulate hot and humid, via the inspiration of the shared wind.

Almost four centuries after the death of Hippocrates, Celsus prescribes in Latin how to proceed in the face of different fevers. Having generally discerned everyday fevers, which begin either from heat, whose fervor may be tolerable or intense, or from cold, in which the extreme parts of the limbs freeze, or from horror[xxv], in which the whole body trembles, deals properly with the burning fever which he calls pestilential, distinguishing it:

Quomodo pestilential fevers curari debeant

Desiderat etiam propriam animadversionem in febribus pestilentiae casus. In hac minime utile est, aut fame, aut medicamentis uti, aut ducere alvum. Si vires sinunt, sanguinem mittere optimum est; praecipueque si cum dolore febris est: si id parum tutum est, ubi febris levata est, vomitu pectus purgare. Sed in hoc maturius, quam in aliis morbis, ducere in balneum opus est; vinum calidum et meracius dare, et omnia glutinosa; inter quae carnem quoque generis eiusdem. Nam quo celerius eiusmodi tempestates corripiunt, eo maturius auxiliar, etiam cum quadam temeritate, rapienda sunt. Quod si puer est, qui laborat, neque tantum robur eius est, ut sanguis mitti possit, siti ei utendum est; ducenda alvus vel aqua, vel ptisanae cremore; tum demum levibus cibis nutriendus. Et ex toto non sic pueri, ut viri, curari debent. Ergo, ut in alio quoque genere morborum, parcius in his agendum est: non facile sanguinem mittere, non facile ducere alvum, non cruciare vigilia, fameve, aut nimia siti, non vino curare. Vomitus post fever eliciendus est; deinde dandus cibus ex levissimis; tum is dormiat; posteroque die, si febris manet, abstineat; tertio, ad similem cibum redeat. Dandaque opera est, quantum fieri potest, ut inter opportunam abstinentiam cibo opportuno, omissis ceteris, nutriatur.

Si vero ardens febris extorret, nulla medicamenti danda potio est, sed in ipsis accessionibus oleo et aqua refrigerandus est, quae miscenda manu sunt, donec albescant; and the conclavi tenendus, quo multum et purum aerem trahere possit, neque multis vestimentis strangulandus, sed admodum levibus tantum velandus est. Possunt etiam super stomachum imponi folia vitis in aqua frigida tincta. Ac ne siti quidem nimia vexandus est. Alendus maturius est, id est a die tertio; et ante cibum iisdem perungendus. Si pituita in stomacho coiit, inclinata iam accessione, vomere cogendus est; tum dandum frigidum holus, aut pomum ex iis quae stomacho conveniunt. Si siccus manet stomachus, protinus vel tisanae, vel halicae, vel orizae cremor dandus est, cum quo recens adeps cocta sit. Cum vero in summo increment morbus est, utique non ante quartum diem, magna siti antecedent, frigida aqua copiose praestanda est, ut bibat etiam ultra satietatem. Cum iam venter et praecordia ultra modum replete satisque refrigerata sunt, vomere debet. Quidam ne vomitum quidem exigunt, sed ipsa aqua frigida tantum ad satietatem data pro utuntur medicine. Vbi utrumlibet factum est, fine dress operiendus est, et collocandus ut dormiat; fereque post longam sitim et vigiliam, post latam satietatem, post infractum calorem plenus somnus venit; per quem ingens sudor effunditur, idque praesentissimum auxilium est, sed in is tamen, in quibus praeter ardorem nulli dolores, nullus praecordiorum tumor, nihil prohibens vel in thorace vel in pulmone vel in faucibus, non ulcera, non deiectio, non profluvium alui fuit. Si quis autem in huiusmodi fever leviter tussit, is neque vehementi siti conflictatur, neque bibere aquam frigidam debet, sed eo modo curandus est, quo in ceteris febribus praecipitur.[xxiv]

How are pestilential fevers to be cured?

The case of the pestilence requires proper warning among the fevers. In this case, it is minimally useful to use either hunger, or medication, or induce evacuation. If strength allows it, it is best to draw blood, especially if it is a fever with pain; if this is unsafe, when the fever rises, purge the chest by vomiting. But here, sooner than in other diseases, it is necessary to lead him to a bath, to give him hot unmixed wine, and all glutinous things, including meat of the same kind. For the more quickly such storms subside, the sooner will help be received, even with some temerity. If by chance it is a child who is suffering, and his blush is not so strong that blood can be drawn from him, you must use thirst, induce evacuation, either with water, or with infusion cream and, finally, nourish him. with light meals. And, in general, boys should not be treated like males. Therefore, as in every other kind of illness, in this one too one must act with more parsimony: do not draw blood easily, do not induce evacuation easily, do not torment with wakefulness, or with hunger, or with excessive thirst, do not cure with wine. After the fever, vomit must be provoked; then, give food, the lightest; let him then sleep; and the next day, if the fever remains, let him be abstinent; that, in the third, return to similar food. It is necessary to do, as much as possible, so that, omitting the most, between opportune abstinence, it is nourished with opportune food.

If, however, a burning fever sears him, no drink should be given as a medicine, but during the attacks themselves, he should be refrigerated with oil and water, which should be mixed with the hand, until they turn white; he must be kept in a room where he can get plenty of fresh air; and whether to suffocate him with too many bedclothes, but only to cover him with the lightest. Vine leaves dyed in cold water can also be placed on the stomach. And if you shouldn't vex him with too much thirst. It must be fed earlier, that is, from the third day onwards, and before the meal it must be anointed in the same way. join pituita[xxv] in the stomach, having already lowered the attack, he will have to force himself to vomit it; then give him cold vegetables or pome, those suitable for his stomach. If the stomach remains dry, immediately give cream or infusion[xxviii], or spelled[xxviii], or rhizome[xxix], with which recent lard has been cooked. When, however, the disease is at its peak, certainly not before the fourth day, preceding great thirst, cold water must be offered copiously, so that the person can drink beyond satiety. When, however, the belly and diaphragm are filled beyond measure and sufficiently cooled, he must vomit. There are those who do not require vomiting, but use only the cold water given to satiety as a medicine. Whatever it has been done, it must be covered with much clothing, and put to sleep; almost always, after long thirst and vigil, after much satiety, after the heat is interrupted, there comes full sleep; by which great sweat is shed, and this is a very useful aid, but only in those in whom, in addition to the burning, no pain, no tumor of the diaphragms, nothing hindering, either in the chest, or in the lungs, or in the fauces, there is no ulcer, fainting, diarrhea. If, however, someone coughs slightly during such a fever, he should not be afflicted with vehement thirst, nor should he drink cold water, but he will be cured in the same way as prescribed for other fevers.

The plague manifests itself in different ways in different bodies, although there is a common feverish state whose sweat and burning make it a hot and humid disease, demanding the cooling of the body and the exchange of air. But prior to the way in which the fever is to be cured, the conduct to be followed, while one is still healthy, is a regime against the plague outbreak:

Regimen against plague

Est etiam observatio necessaria: qua qui in pestilentia utatur adhuc integer, quum tamen securus esse non possit. Tunc igitur oportet peregrinari, navigare: ubi id non licet, gestari, ambulare sub divo, ante aestum, leniter; eodemque modo ungi: et, ut supra comprehensum est, vitare fatigationem, cruditatem, frigus, calorem, libidinem: multoque magis se continere, si qua gravitas in corpore est. Tunc neque mane surgendum, neque pedibus nudis ambulandum est, minimeque post cibum, aut balneum; neque jejuno, neque coenato vomendum est; neque movenda alvus; atque etiam, si per se mota est, comprenda est; abstinendum potius, si plenius corpus est. Itemque vitandum balneum, sudor, meridianus somnus, utique si cibus quoque antecessit; qui tamen semel die tum commodius assumitur; insuper etiam modicus, ne cruditatem moveat. Alternis diebus invicem, aqua mode, vinum bibendum est mode. Quibus servatis, ex reliqua victus consuetudine quam minimum mutari debet. Quum vero haec in omni pestilentia facienda sint, tum in ea maxime, quam austri excitarint. Atque etiam peregrinantibus eadem necessaria sunt, ubi gravi tempore anni discesserunt ex suis sedibus, vel ubi in graves regiones venerunt. Ac si cetera res aliqua prohibebit, utique abstinere debebit: atque ita a vino ad aquam, ab hac ad vinum, eo, qui supra positus est, modo, transitus ei esse.[xxx]

regimen against plague

There is also a necessary observation, that it should be used by anyone who is still intact during the plague, even though he cannot be sure. It will then be opportune to travel, sail; if it is not lawful, to be carried in a litter, to wander under the sky, before the calm, lightly, and likewise to be anointed; and, as understood above, to avoid fatigue, crudity, cold, heat, lust; and if it contains much more, if there is any aggravation in the body. Neither should he get up early, nor walk around with bare feet, still less after eating or bathing; nor whether to vomit on an empty stomach or after supper; nor whether to loosen the bowel; and even if it loosens by itself, it will still be contracted; the thicker the body is, the more one has to abstain. And, thus, one must avoid bathing, sweating, siesta, especially if it precedes the meal, which then should be taken only once a day and, even so, moderately, so as not to promote rawness. On alternate days, drink water, then wine, successively. Keeping it; as for the rest of the eating habits, it should be changed minimally. While having to do it in every pestilence, especially in the one that the austral has excited. The same is also necessary for travelers, whether they have left their headquarters at a difficult time of the year or come to difficult regions. And if something else forbids it, he must in any case abstain from what was proposed above and thus pass from wine to water, from water to wine.

In the plague you cannot be safe, for those who can, the advice is to go far away, for those who stay to contain themselves, in any case, everyone's life changes, especially when awakened by the hot, humid wind blowing from the south.

*Yuri Ulbricht Master in Philosophy from USP


[I] Cells. With. I, pr., 6.

[ii] w. III BC

[iii] Cells. With. I, pr., 8-9: “una esset, quae vitu; alter, quae medicamentis; tertia, quae manu mederetur. Primam diaithtikh√n, secundam farmakeutikh√n, tertiam ceirourgikh√n Graeci nominarunt”.

[iv] Cells. With. I, pr., 10-11.

[v] Cells. With. I, pr., 14: “abditas causa vocant, in quibus requiritur, ex quibus principiis nostra corpora sint, quid secundam, adversam valetudinem faciat”.

[vi] Cells. With. I, pr., 18: “evidentes vero eas appellant, in quibus quaerunt, initium morbi calor attulerit, an frigus; hungers, satietas; et quae similia sunt; occursurum enim vitio dicunt eum, qui originem non ignorait”. 

[vii] Cells. With. I, pr. 19: “naturales vero corporis actiones appellant, per quas spiritum trahimus et emittimus; cibum potionemque et assumimus et concoquimus: itemque per quas eadem haec in omnes memberum parts digeruntur”.

[viii] Cells. With. I, pr., 27.

[ix] Cells. With. I, pr., 36-37.

[X] Cells. With. I, pr., 52.

[xi] Cells. With. I, pr., 59.

[xii] Il. I, 61.

[xiii] Il. I, 8-11.

[xiv] Cells. With. I, premium.

[xv] Cells. With. I, premium.

[xvi] Hes. Op. 238-244.

[xvii] A. Press 715.

[xviii] Sophia. Oid. 27-29.

[xx] Hipp. PERI DIAITHS OXEWN. two.

[xx] Or pleurisy, acute inflammation of the pleura.

[xxx] Burning fever.

[xxiii] Hipp. PERI FUSWN. 6.

[xxiii] Cells. With. I, pr.: “inflammationem, quam Graeci flegmonh√n nominant, excitat, eaque inflammatio talem motum efficit, qualis in febris est, ut Erasistrato plauit”.

[xxv] Cells. With. III, 3.

[xxiv] Cells. With. III, 7.

[xxv] Bluteau, R. Portuguese & Latin Vocabulary. “PITUITA. (Doctor's Term) One of the four humours, which make up the temperament of the animal body. The pituita is white, & cold, & he excrement from the first cooking. When Galen says that the pituitary has no particular receptacle, he is speaking of the Pituitary, which flows through the veins & arteries & mixes with the bloody mass. Pituit, & phlegm comes to be the same, if we do not want to understand by Pituit that which falls from the nose, & by phlegm that which is spit. Pituit, ae. Female Cic".

[xxviii] Weeded barley.

[xxviii] Spelled triticum; red wheat.

[xxix] Rice.

[xxx] Cells. With. I, 10.

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