A Medical Theory and the Text at Lactantius, Mort. persec. 33.7 and Pelagonius 347

Classical Quarterly 38 (02):522- (1988)
Abstract
It would be a mistake to attempt to identify in modern terms the disease of Galerius described so graphically by Lactantius, Mort. 33 . Consumption by lice or worms, if not genital ‘gangrene’, was a typical end for a tyrant or the impious, and there must be an element of literary exaggeration in Lactantius' account. But whatever one makes of the nature of the illness, Lactantius did set out to give the passage a scientific plausibility by his use of technical medical phraseology, and by an allusion to a medical theory at 33.7. Recognition of this theory allows one to settle the text at one point, where editors have failed to agree. There is also a second place in the chapter where familiarity with medical Latin points one towards the solution of a textual problem
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