Saturday, May 06, 2017


Health Care Proposal

In keeping with the spirit of the health care bill currently under consideration by the United States Congress, perhaps the following idea might prove useful.

Strabo 3.3.7 (on the northern Iberians; tr. Horace Leonard Jones, with his notes):
Their sick they expose upon the streets, in the same way as the Egyptians1 did in ancient times, for the sake of their getting suggestions from those who have experienced the disease.

1 Since this custom was followed by the Assyrians (Herodotus 1.197 and Strabo 16.1.20), and since there is no other account of such a practice among the Egyptians, some of the editors have presumed to emend the text, perhaps rightly.

τοὺς δὲ ἀρρώστους, ὥσπερ οἱ Αἰγύπτιοι1 τὸ παλαιόν, προτιθέασιν εἰς τὰς ὁδοὺς τοῖς πεπειραμένοις τοῦ πάθους ὑποθήκης χάριν.

1 Kramer conjectures Ἀσσύριοι for Αἰγύπτιοι, citing Herodotus 1.197 and Strabo 16.1.20. So read Forbiger, Müller-Dübner, and Meineke.
Strabo 16.1.20 (tr. Horace Leonard Jones):
They place the sick where three roads meet and question those who pass by, on the chance that some one has a cure for the malady; and no one of those who pass by is so base as not to suggest some cure when he falls in with them if he has any in mind.

τοὺς δ᾿ ἀρρώστους εἰς τὰς τριόδους ἐκτιθέντες πυνθάνονται τῶν παριόντων, εἴ τίς τι ἔχοι λέγειν τοῦ πάθους ἄκος· οὐδείς τέ ἐστιν οὕτω κακὸς τῶν παριόντων, ὃς οὐκ ἐντυχών, εἴ τι φρονεῖ σωτήριον, ὑποτίθεται.
Herodotus 1.197 (tr. A.D. Godley):
I come now to the next wisest of their customs: having no use for physicians, they carry the sick into the market-place; then those who have been afflicted themselves by the same ill as the sick man's, or seen others in like case, come near and advise him about his disease and comfort him, telling him by what means they have themselves recovered of it or seen others so recover. None may pass by the sick man without speaking and asking what is his sickness.

δεύτερος δὲ σοφίῃ ὅδε ἄλλος σφι νόμος κατέστηκε· τοὺς κάμνοντας ἐς τὴν ἀγορὴν ἐκφορέουσι· οὐ γὰρ δὴ χρέωνται ἰητροῖσι. προσιόντες ὦν πρὸς τὸν κάμνοντα συμβουλεύουσι περὶ τῆς νούσου, εἴ τις καὶ αὐτὸς τοιοῦτο ἔπαθε ὁκοῖον ἂν ἔχῃ ὁ κάμνων ἢ ἄλλον εἶδε παθόντα, ταῦτα προσιόντες συμβουλεύουσι καὶ παραινέουσι ἅσσα αὐτὸς ποιήσας ἐξέφυγε ὁμοίην νοῦσον ἢ ἄλλον εἶδε ἐκφυγόντα. σιγῇ δὲ παρεξελθεῖν τὸν κάμνοντα οὔ σφι ἔξεστι, πρὶν ἂν ἐπείρηται ἥντινα νοῦσον ἔχει.
Related post: Health Care Reform.

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