How To Talk to a (Potentially Deranged) Patient

Rufus of Ephesus, Quest. Medic. 2

“It is right to ask someone who is sick questions from which something of the matters concerning the sickness might be diagnosed and might be treated better. First, I advise to make inquiries from the one who is sick himself. For you might from this learn how much the person is sick or healthy in respect to judgment along with his strength and weakness and what type of sickness and what place he has suffered.

If the patient answers right away and properly and plausibly and without stumbling in speech or sense and if it is according to is typical matter—if he is otherwise orderly, in a gentle and orderly way, but, if otherwise bold or fearful, in a brash or timid manner—it is right to consider him to be in his right mind. But if you ask him some things and he should answer others or forget in the middle of speaking, if his speech is unsteady and unclear and there are shifts from his first manner to the opposite, these are all signs of being deranged.”

     ᾿Ερωτήματα χρὴ τὸν νοσοῦντα ἐρωτᾶν, ἐξ ὧν ἂν καὶ διαγνωσθείη τι τῶν περὶ τὴν νόσον ἀκριβέστερον καὶ θεραπευθείη κάλλιον. πρῶτον δὲ ἐκεῖνο ὑποτίθημι τὰς πεύσεις αὐτοῦ τοῦ νοσοῦντος ποιεῖσθαι. μάθοις γὰρ ἂν ἐνθένδε ὅσα τε κατὰ γνώμην νοσεῖ ἢ ὑγιαίνει ὁ ἄνθρωπος καὶ ῥώμην αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀσθένειαν, καὶ τίνα ἰδέαν νόσου καὶ τίνα τόπον πεπονηκὼς <εἴη>. εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἐφεξῆς τε ἀποκρίνοιτο καὶ μνημονικῶς καὶ τὰ εἰκότα καὶ μηδαμῆ σφαλλόμενος μήτε τῇ γλώττῃ μήτε τῇ γνώμῃ καὶ εἰ καθ’ ὁρμὴν τὴν οἰκείαν, —εἰ μέν ἐστιν ἄλλως κόσμιος, πράως καὶ

κοσμίως, ὁ δ’ αὖ φύσει θρασὺς ἢ δειλὸς θρασέως ἢ δεδοικ<ότ>ως—τοῦτον μὲν χρὴ νομίζειν τὰ γοῦν κατὰ γνώμην καλῶς ἔχειν. εἰ δὲ καὶ ἄλλα σὺ μὲν ἐρωτᾷς, ὁ δὲ ἄλλα ἀποκρίνοιτο καὶ εἰ μεταξὺ λέγων ἐπιλανθάνοιτο, αἱ δὲ τρομώδεις καὶ ἀσαφεῖς γλῶσσαι καὶ αἱ μεταστάσεις ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀρχαίου τρόπου πρὸς τὸ ἐναντίον, πάντα ταῦτα παρακρουστικά.

 

Image result for medieval manuscript medicine doctor
Sloane MS 1975, f. 91v

How To Talk to a Patient (And Look for the Signs of the Deranged)

Rufus of Ephesus, Quest. Medic. 2

“It is right to ask someone who is sick questions from which something of the matters concerning the sickness might be diagnosed and might be treated better. First, I advise to make inquiries from the one who is sick himself. For you might from this learn how much the person is sick or healthy in respect to judgment along with his strength and weakness and what type of sickness and what place he has suffered.

If the patient answers right away and properly and plausibly and without stumbling in speech or sense and if it is according to is typical matter—if he is otherwise orderly, in a gentle and orderly way, but, if otherwise bold or fearful, in a brash or timid manner—it is right to consider him to be in his right mind. But if you ask him some things and he should answer others or forget in the middle of speaking, if his speech is unsteady and unclear and there are shifts from his first manner to the opposite, these are all signs of being deranged.”

     ᾿Ερωτήματα χρὴ τὸν νοσοῦντα ἐρωτᾶν, ἐξ ὧν ἂν καὶ διαγνωσθείη τι τῶν περὶ τὴν νόσον ἀκριβέστερον καὶ θεραπευθείη κάλλιον. πρῶτον δὲ ἐκεῖνο ὑποτίθημι τὰς πεύσεις αὐτοῦ τοῦ νοσοῦντος ποιεῖσθαι. μάθοις γὰρ ἂν ἐνθένδε ὅσα τε κατὰ γνώμην νοσεῖ ἢ ὑγιαίνει ὁ ἄνθρωπος καὶ ῥώμην αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀσθένειαν, καὶ τίνα ἰδέαν νόσου καὶ τίνα τόπον πεπονηκὼς <εἴη>. εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἐφεξῆς τε ἀποκρίνοιτο καὶ μνημονικῶς καὶ τὰ εἰκότα καὶ μηδαμῆ σφαλλόμενος μήτε τῇ γλώττῃ μήτε τῇ γνώμῃ καὶ εἰ καθ’ ὁρμὴν τὴν οἰκείαν, —εἰ μέν ἐστιν ἄλλως κόσμιος, πράως καὶ

κοσμίως, ὁ δ’ αὖ φύσει θρασὺς ἢ δειλὸς θρασέως ἢ δεδοικ<ότ>ως—τοῦτον μὲν χρὴ νομίζειν τὰ γοῦν κατὰ γνώμην καλῶς ἔχειν. εἰ δὲ καὶ ἄλλα σὺ μὲν ἐρωτᾷς, ὁ δὲ ἄλλα ἀποκρίνοιτο καὶ εἰ μεταξὺ λέγων ἐπιλανθάνοιτο, αἱ δὲ τρομώδεις καὶ ἀσαφεῖς γλῶσσαι καὶ αἱ μεταστάσεις ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀρχαίου τρόπου πρὸς τὸ ἐναντίον, πάντα ταῦτα παρακρουστικά.

 

Image result for medieval manuscript medicine doctor
Sloane MS 1975, f. 91v

Heal Your Body and Soul This Holiday Season: Talk with Family and Friends

In the holiday season, take some time away from madness to refresh your soul with family and friends.

From the Suda

“Pharmakon [medicine]: conversation, consoling, it comes from pherein [bringing] akos [relief/cure]. But it is also said to come from flowers.

Φάρμακον: παραμυθία, ὁμιλία, εἴρηται δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ φέρειν τὴν ἄκεσιν: εἴρηται δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθέων

Etym. Magn.

“Medicine: consolation, conversation. This is from pherein [to bear] and akos [relief], something close to pherakon

Φάρμακον: Παραμυθία, ὁμιλία· παρὰ τὸ φέρειν τὸ ἄκος, φέρακόν τι ὄν·

Chantraine s.v. pharmakon, after surveying various approaches to its etymology (mostly reflexes of pherô and PIE *bher-) concludes “la question de l’origine de pharmakon est insoluble en l’ état present de nos connaissances.”

But it seems that the medicinal/therapeutic power of conversation was a popular trope in several contexts.

Some Proverbs from Arsenius, Paroemiographer

“Only words [reason] is medicine for grief”

Λόγος μέν ἐστι φάρμακον λύπης μόνος.

“Conversation [ or ‘reason’] is the doctor for suffering in the soul”

Λόγος ἰατρὸς τοῦ κατὰ ψυχὴν πάθους.

The palliative and or curative effect of stories and speech appears with some frequency in Euripides (and then appears in other authors as well)

Euripides, fr. 1065

“Many words of the ancients still ring true:
Their fine stories are medicine for mortal fear.”

καὶ τῶν παλαιῶν πόλλ’ ἔπη καλῶς ἔχει·
λόγοι γὰρ ἐσθλοὶ φάρμακον φόβου βροτοῖς.

Euripides, fr. 1079

“Mortals have no other medicine for pain
Like the advice of a good man, a friend
Who has experience with this sickness.
A man who troubles then calms his thoughts with drinking,
Finds immediate pleasure, but laments twice as much later on.”

Οὐκ ἔστι λύπης ἄλλο φάρμακον βροτοῖς
ὡς ἀνδρὸς ἐσθλοῦ καὶ φίλου παραίνεσις.
ὅστις δὲ ταύτῃ τῇ νόσῳ ξυνὼν ἀνὴρ
μέθῃ ταράσσει καὶ γαληνίζει φρένα,
παραυτίχ’ ἡσθεὶς ὕστερον στένει διπλᾶ.

Eur. Fr. 962

“There are different medicines for different diseases.
A kind story [muthos] from friends for a man in grief;
Advice for someone playing the fool to excess”

. . . ἄλλ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ἄλλῃ φάρμακον κεῖται νόσῳ·
λυπουμένῳ μὲν μῦθος εὐμενὴς φίλων,
ἄγαν δὲ μωραίνοντι νουθετήματα.

Menander (fr. 591 K.).

“The man who is sick in the body needs a doctor;
someone who is sick in the mind needs a friend
For a well-meaning friend knows how to treat grief.”

Τῷ μὲν τὸ σῶμα † διατεθειμένῳ κακῶς
χρεία ‘στ’ ἰατροῦ, τῷ δὲ τὴν ψυχὴν φίλου·
λύπην γὰρ εὔνους οἶδε θεραπεύειν φίλος.

Attributed to Socrates (in Stobaeus)

“The sick need doctors; the unlucky need encouragement from friends.”

Τοῖς μὲν νοσοῦσιν ἰατρούς, τοῖς δ’ ἀτυχοῦσι φίλους δεῖ παραινεῖν.

Euripides, Alcestis, 962—966

I have leapt through the Muses
And soared high but
Even though I have tried most words
I have found nothing stronger than Necessity
Not any medicine at all.

᾿Εγὼ καὶ διὰ Μούσας
καὶ μετάρσιος ᾖξα καὶ
πλείστων ἁψάμενος λόγων
κρεῖσσον οὐδὲν ᾿Ανάγκας
εὗρον, οὐδέ τι φάρμακον.

Sotion, About Rage

“Consolation is the greatest medicine for anger,
It counters grief, anger, and brings forgetfulness from all evils.”

῞Οτι ἡ παραμυθία φάρμακον ἀνίας ἐστὶ μέγιστον,
νηπενθές τ’ ἄχολόν τε, κακῶν ἐπίληθον ἁπάντων.

Biôn (c. XIV Herm., XVIII Ahr.).

“Love should summon the Muses; the Muses should carry love.
The Muses—I hope—give song to me always when I need it,
Sweet song, no medicine is more pleasing!”

Μοίσας ῎Ερως καλέοι, Μοῖσαι τὸν ῎Ερωτα φέροιεν·
μολπὰν ταὶ Μοῖσαί μοι ἀεὶ ποθέοντι διδοῖεν,
τὰν γλυκερὰν μολπάν, τᾶς φάρμακον ἅδιον οὐδέν.

Image result for Ancient Greek friends

All of these quotes make me rethink the following from the Odyssey (14.399-400):

“Let us take pleasure from recalling one another’s grievous pains”

κήδεσιν ἀλλήλων τερπώμεθα λευγαλέοισι / μνωομένω

Medicine for the Soul: Conversations with Friends

The other day I was a little surprised to find the following definitions and etymologies of  pharmakon (“medicine”).

From the Suda

“Pharmakon [medicine]: conversation, consoling, it comes from pherein [bringing] akos [relief/cure]. But it is also said to come from flowers.

Φάρμακον: παραμυθία, ὁμιλία, εἴρηται δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ φέρειν τὴν ἄκεσιν: εἴρηται δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθέων

Etym. Magn.

“Medicine: consolation, conversation. This is from pherein [to bear] and akos [relief], something close to pherakon

Φάρμακον: Παραμυθία, ὁμιλία· παρὰ τὸ φέρειν τὸ ἄκος, φέρακόν τι ὄν·

Chaintrain s.v. pharmakon, after surveying various approaches to its etymology (mostly reflexes of pherô and PIE *bher-) concludes “la question de l’origine de pharmakon est insoluble en l’ état present de nos connaissances.”

But it seems that the medicinal/therapeutic power of conversation was a popular trope in several contexts.

Some Proverbs from Arsenius, Paroemiographer

“Only words [reason] is medicine for grief”

Λόγος μέν ἐστι φάρμακον λύπης μόνος.

“Conversation [ or ‘reason’] is the doctor for suffering in the soul”

Λόγος ἰατρὸς τοῦ κατὰ ψυχὴν πάθους.

The palliative and or curative effect of stories and speech appears with some frequency in Euripides (and then appears in other authors as well)

Euripides, fr. 1065

“Many words of the ancients still ring true:
Their fine stories are medicine for mortal fear.”

καὶ τῶν παλαιῶν πόλλ’ ἔπη καλῶς ἔχει·
λόγοι γὰρ ἐσθλοὶ φάρμακον φόβου βροτοῖς.

 

Euripides, fr. 1079

“Mortals have no other medicine for pain
Like the advice of a good man, a friend
Who has experience with this sickness.
A man who troubles then calms his thoughts with drinking,
Finds immediate pleasure, but laments twice as much later on.”

Οὐκ ἔστι λύπης ἄλλο φάρμακον βροτοῖς
ὡς ἀνδρὸς ἐσθλοῦ καὶ φίλου παραίνεσις.
ὅστις δὲ ταύτῃ τῇ νόσῳ ξυνὼν ἀνὴρ
μέθῃ ταράσσει καὶ γαληνίζει φρένα,
παραυτίχ’ ἡσθεὶς ὕστερον στένει διπλᾶ.

 

Eur. Fr. 962

“There are different medicines for different diseases.
A kind story [muthos] from friends for a man in grief;
Advice for someone playing the fool to excess”

. . . ἄλλ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ἄλλῃ φάρμακον κεῖται νόσῳ·
λυπουμένῳ μὲν μῦθος εὐμενὴς φίλων,
ἄγαν δὲ μωραίνοντι νουθετήματα.

Menander (fr. 591 K.).

“The man who is sick in the body needs a doctor;
someone who is sick in the mind needs a friend
For a well-meaning friend knows how to treat grief.”

Τῷ μὲν τὸ σῶμα † διατεθειμένῳ κακῶς
χρεία ‘στ’ ἰατροῦ, τῷ δὲ τὴν ψυχὴν φίλου·
λύπην γὰρ εὔνους οἶδε θεραπεύειν φίλος.

Attributed to Socrates (in Stobaeus)

“The sick need doctors; the unlucky need encouragement from friends.”

Τοῖς μὲν νοσοῦσιν ἰατρούς, τοῖς δ’ ἀτυχοῦσι φίλους δεῖ παραινεῖν.

 

Euripides, Alcestis, 962—966

I have leapt through the Muses
And soared high but
Even though I have tried most words
I have found nothing stronger than Necessity
Not any medicine at all.

᾿Εγὼ καὶ διὰ Μούσας
καὶ μετάρσιος ᾖξα καὶ
πλείστων ἁψάμενος λόγων
κρεῖσσον οὐδὲν ᾿Ανάγκας
εὗρον, οὐδέ τι φάρμακον.

Sotion, About Rage

“Consolation is the greatest medicine for anger,
It counters grief, anger, and brings forgetfulness from all evils.”

῞Οτι ἡ παραμυθία φάρμακον ἀνίας ἐστὶ μέγιστον,
νηπενθές τ’ ἄχολόν τε, κακῶν ἐπίληθον ἁπάντων.

Biôn (c. XIV Herm., XVIII Ahr.).

“Love should summon the Muses; the Muses should carry love.
The Muses—I hope—give song to me always when I need it,
Sweet song, no medicine is more pleasing!”

Μοίσας ῎Ερως καλέοι, Μοῖσαι τὸν ῎Ερωτα φέροιεν·
μολπὰν ταὶ Μοῖσαί μοι ἀεὶ ποθέοντι διδοῖεν,
τὰν γλυκερὰν μολπάν, τᾶς φάρμακον ἅδιον οὐδέν.

Image result for Ancient Greek friends

All of these quotes make me rethink the following from the Odyssey (14.399-400):

“Let us take pleasure from recalling one another’s grievous pains”

κήδεσιν ἀλλήλων τερπώμεθα λευγαλέοισι / μνωομένω