Gausos

RMQ-02_Femurs

Ὅτι μὲν τὸν κυρτὸν ἡ γαῦσος φωνὴ δηλοῖ πρόδηλον ἐξ αὐτοῦ τοῦ πράγματος. ὁ γὰρ μηρὸς οὐκ ἀκριβῶς ἐστιν εὐθὺς, ἀλλὰ εἴς τε τὸ ἔξω κυρτότερος, ὥσπερ καὶ κατ’ ἐναντία μέρη κοιλότερος. εἴτε δ’ ὀξύνειν χρὴ τοὔνομα τὸ γαυσὸς εἴτε προπερισπᾷν γαῦσος ἄδηλον. οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἐν ἔθει τῷ τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἡ φωνή. κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν ἔνιοι μὲν προπερισπᾶσθαι κελεύουσιν αὐτὸ παραπλησίως τῷ καῦσος καὶ μαῦρος καὶ γαῦρος, ἔνιοι δὲ ὀξυτονεῖσθαι. δηλονότι πάντα πάθη δηλοῦντα δισύλλαβα τῇ ὀξείᾳ φαίνεται κεχρημένα τάσει, χωλὸς, λορδὸς, στρεβλὸς, κυρτὸς, βλαυσὸς, ῥαιβός. οὐ μόνον δὲ τὰ δισύλλαβα, ἀλλὰ καὶ σχεδὸν ἅπαντα τὰ κατὰ πάθη λεγόμενα, ἀρθριτικὸς, πλευριτικὸς, ἡπατικός. ὁποτέρως οὖν τις θέλει φθέγγεσθαι συγχωρεῖ κἂν ποτέ σοι καὶ τὴν ὀξεῖαν τάσιν εἰπόντι γαυσός. ἐπὶ τοῦτο γὰρ μόνον ἐπειράθην ῥεπόντων τῶν ἀναγινωσκόντων τὸ βιβλίον, ἄν τ’ εἴπῃ τις  ξιῶν προπερισπᾷν, ὡς ἂν ἐκεῖνος ἐθελήσῃ καὶ σὺ φθέγγου, καὶ πάλιν ἂν ἑτέρῳ συντύχῃς ὀξυτονεῖν ἐθέλοντι, καὶ αὐτὸς οὕτως πρᾶττε καταφρονῶν καὶ τόνων καὶ ὀνομάτων, ὡς οὔτε πρὸς φιλοσοφίαν συντελούντων, πολύ γε μᾶλλον οὔτε πρὸς γεωμετρίαν ἢ  ριθμητικὴν ἢ μουσικὴν ἢ ἀστρονομικὴν, ὥστε εἰ μηδεμία τέχνη δέεται πρὸς τὸ ἑαυτῆς τέλος τῆς τῶν ἐπιτρίπτων τούτων ὀνομάτων μακρολογίας, οὐ μόνον οὐ χρὴ προσίεσθαι τὸ ἐπιτήδευμα τῶν ἀνδρῶν, ἀλλὰ καὶ καταγελᾷν ὡς μάλιστα.
(Galen, In Hippocratis de fracturis librum commentarius secundus 18.2.517-519)

That the word γαῦσος means ‘curved’ is made very clear by the thing itself, for the thigh bone is not totally straight, but rather curved on the outside, as it is hollow on the opposite side. Whether the word is to be pronounced γαυσός, with an acute accent on the last syllable, or γαῦσος, is unclear, because the word isn’t used often in the Greek language. For reasons of analogy some say it should have a circumflex on the penultimate syllable like καῦσος, μαῦρος and γαῦρος, but others say it should be an acute accent on the last syllable since it is clear that all two syllable words for bodily symptoms have an acute pitch: χωλός, λορδός, στρεβλός, κυρτός, βλαυσός, ῥαιβός; and not only the two syllable words, but almost all terms for symptoms, such as ἀρθριτικός, πλευριτικός, ἡπατικός. Defer to whichever way somebody wants to pronounce the word. If you say γαυσός with acute pitch (for this is the only pronunciation I’ve actually seen people who read the book incline to), and someone speaks up and they think it right to pronounce it γαῦσος (as a perispomenon), then just pronounce the word the way they prefer. Then if again you come across someone else who wants to pronounce it γαυσός, do you do likewise and think nothing of word-accentuation, since it contributes nothing to philosophy and still less to geometry, arithmetic, music or astronomy. Since there is no practical craft which requires for its goal a drawn-out discussion of these damn words, one must not only not buy into people’s concern with such things, but ridicule it as much as possible. (tr. Alex Foreman, revised and expanded by David Bauwens)

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