Arthritis

arthritis

Κἀκεῖνα δὲ μνήμης ἄξια διηγεῖτο ὑπὸ συμπαθείας οὐκ ἄνευ δακρύων. ἐδεδίει γὰρ ἀκμαζούσης αὐτῷ τῆς ἡλικίας, μήποτε ἡ τοῦ πατρὸς ἀρθρῖτις νόσος, ἅτε φιλοῦσα καὶ εἰωθυῖα δὲ τὰ πολλὰ εἰς παῖδας ἐκ πατέρων χωρεῖν, οὕτω καὶ ἐπ’ αὐτὸν ἔλθοι· καὶ οὐκ ἀδεές, οἶμαι, ἐδεδίει. ἤδη γὰρ ἦν πρὸ τοῦ, ὅπερ καὶ ἔδει πρότερον ἱστορῆσαι, ἀλγηδόνος· τοιαύτης αἰσθόμενος, ἡνίκα δὴ καὶ ἄλλο παράδοξον ἐγεγόνει περὶ αὐτόν. συμβουλευθεὶς γὰρ παρὰ τινῶν ἐπέθηκε τὸ λεγόμενον πτυγμάτιον τῷ ἀλγοῦντι ποδὶ, καὶ κειμένου αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τῆς κλίνης, στρουθὸς ἐξαίφνης καταπτὰς ὑφήρπασε τὸ πτυγμάτιον. ἦν μὲν οὖν καὶ ὁ σύμβολος θεῖος καὶ ὄντως παιώνειος ἱκανός τε θάρρος ἐμποιῆσαι περὶ τοῦ μέλλοντος· ὁ δὲ ὥσπερ ἔφην, καὶ ἐς ὕστερον οὐδὲν ἧττον φόβῳ τῆς νόσου κατείχετο. ἱκετεύσας δὴ τὸν θεὸν περὶ τούτου καὶ δεηθεὶς φῆναί τι αὐτῷ σαφές, καθευδήσας εἶδε (τολμηρὸν μὲν καὶ ἐνθυμηθῆναι, τολμητέον δ’ οὖν ὅμως καὶ οὐκ ἀποδειλιατέον τὸ ἀληθὲς εἰς φῶς ἀγαγεῖν) εἶδε δέ, ὡς ἐδόκει, ἥκοντά τινα ἐξ Ἐπιδαύρου καὶ ἐπικύψαντα εἰς τὰ σκέλη, καὶ οὐδὲ τὰ γόνατα διὰ φιλανθρωπίαν ἀπαρνησάμενον φιλεῖν. διετέλεσεν οὖν τὸ ἐντεῦθεν πάντα τὸν βίον περὶ τούτου θαρρῶν, καὶ εἰς γῆρας ἀφίκετο βαθὺ μηδενὸς ἔτι πάθους τοιούτου ἐπαισθανόμενος.
(Marinus, Procl. 31)

And when he recalled these memorable events, it was not without sympathetic tears. For he feared, as his age increased, that the arthritic illness of his father, which for the most part is apt and likely to pass to children from their fathers, should in this way come to him also. And his fears were not, I think, in vain. For even before this, as I had to recount above, he was conscious of an ailment of this kind – on which occasion, indeed, another wonderful thing happened to him. For on the advice of certain people, he applied to his ailing foot the so-called liniment, and as he was lying on his bed a bird swooped down suddenly and snatched away the liniment. This was therefore a divine symbol and truly Paeonian, sufficient to give him confidence in the future. And yet, as I have said, he was none the less preoccupied by fear of the illness at a later time. So he supplicated the god about this, entreating him to give some clear message, and in his sleep he saw – for bold though it is even to think of this, one must nevertheless be bold to bring the truth to light without shrinking – he saw, as it seemed, someone coming from Epidaurus and leaning over his leg. So humane was he that he did not even refuse to kiss the knees. From this time on, therefore, as he went through the rest of his life he was confident about this, and reached a great old age with no further experience of such suffering. (tr. Mark Edwards)

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