Monday, March 21, 2022


You're Cracked

Aristophanes, Clouds 1276 (Strepsiades to Second Creditor; tr. Stephen Halliwell):
I think your brain must have had a right old bashing.

τὸν ἐγκέφαλον ὥσπερ σεσεῖσθαί μοι δοκεῖς.
The same, tr. Benjamin Bickley Rogers:
I shrewdly guess your brain's received a shake.
A useful quotation. I can imagine using it half a dozen times a day.

K.J. Dover ad loc.:
ἐγκέφαλον: Although their terminology presupposes that thought and feeling are functions of organs located in the trunk, the Greeks could not fail to observe the effects of injury to the brain. Cf. Hp. Aph. vii.58, 'When the brain has been shaken, the patient necessarily loses the power of speech at once'. ὥσπερ: Not 'I think you have, as it were, had your brain shaken' but 'I think you are like a man who has ...'. Cf. Pax 234 f. ὥσπερ ᾐσθόμην ... θυείας φθέγμα 'I caught a sound like that of a mortar'.
Alan H. Sommerstein ad loc. quotes Hippocrates, Coan Prognoses 489 (vol. 5, p. 696 Littré):
Those whose brain is shaken and damaged by blows or otherwise fall down forthwith, lose the power of speech, can nei­ther see nor hear, and generally die.

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