De Medicina

De Medicina
By Celsus
Edited by: W. G. Spencer (trans.)

Cambridge, Massachusetts Harvard University Press 1971 (Republication of the 1935 edition).

Digital Hippocrates Collection Table of Contents

Celsus On Medicine

Book I

Book II

Book III

Book IV

Book V

Book VI

Book VII


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Book III

 [p. 221] in opposition the art of medicine avails nothing. There is, however, for a practitioner who is unsuccessful, more excuse in acute than in chronic diseases: for acute diseases are of short duration, within which the patient is snuffed out, if not benefited by the treatment: chronic diseases give time for deliberation, and for change of remedies, so that when the practitioner is in attendance from the commencement, it is seldom that a docile patient should perish unless by the practitioner's default. A chronic disease, nevertheless, when it has become deep-seated, is no less difficult to deal with than an acute one. And indeed the older an acute malady, the more recent a chronic one, the more easily it is treated.

There is another point which should be borne in mind, that the same remedies do not suit all patients. Hence it is that the highest authorities proclaim as if they were the only remedies, now some, now others, each in accordance with what he has found successful. It is well, then, when any one remedy fails, to look not so much to the authority as to the patient, and to make trial, now of one, now of another remedy, taking care, however, that in acute diseases what is doing no good is changed quickly; in chronic diseases which it takes time to produce as well as to remove, if a remedy does not succeed at once, it should not be condemned at once, much less should it be discontinued if it is beneficial, though only to a small extent, because the progress is completed by time.

2 Now at their commencements, it is easy to recognize at once what is an acute disease, and what a chronic one, not only as regards those which take a uniform course, but also when the course is variable. For when severe paroxysms and pains are causing