Pharmakotribēs

hamblin-snake-1

Πομπηΐου Ῥούφου Ῥωμαίοις ἀγορανομοῦντος ἐν Παναθηναίοις φαρμακοτρίβης ἀνὴρ καὶ τῶν τοὺς ὄφεις ἐς τὰ θαύματα τρεφόντων, ἑτέρων ὁμοτέχνων παρεστώτων πολλῶν, ἀσπίδα κατὰ τοῦ βραχίονος προσάγει ἐς ἔλεγχον αὐτοῦ τῆς σοφίας καὶ ἐδήχθη. εἶτα τῷ στόματι ἐξεμύζησε τὸ κακόν. ὕδωρ δὲ οὐκ ἐπιρροφήσας, οὐ γὰρ παρῆν, καίτοι παρεσκευασμένον οἱ (ἀνετέτραπτο δὲ ἐξ ἐπιβουλῆς τὸ σκεῦος), οἷα μὴ ἐκκλύσας τὸν ἰὸν μηδὲ ἀπορρυψάμενος, τὸν βίον κατέστρεψε μετὰ ἡμέραν οἶμαι δευτέραν, οὐκ ἀλγῶν οὐδὲ ἕν, τοῦ μέντοι κακοῦ ἡσυχῆ διασήψαντος αὐτοῦ τὰ οὖλα καὶ τὸ στόμα.
(Aelian, Nat. Anim. 9.62)

When Pompeius Rufus was Aedile at the Panathenaea a medicine-man, one of those who keep snakes for show, amid a crowd of his fellow-practitioners applied an asp to his arm in order to demonstrate his skill, and was bitten. Thereupon he sucked out the poison with his mouth. He failed however to swallow some water afterwards, there being none at hand although he had got some ready (the vessel had been upset by an act of treachery), and as he had not washed off the poison and thoroughly rinsed his mouth he passed away after, believe, two days without suffering any pain, though the poison had little by little reduced his gums and his mouth to putrescence. (tr. Alwyn Faber Scholfield)

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