Curationum medicinalium centuriae quatuor

Amato Lusitano

Language: Latin

Published: Basileae : [Frobenius], 1556.

Pages 134-135

Scanned version of Curationum medicinalium centuriae quatuor

Curatio quinta, in qua agitur de coccyge osse, cauda dicto, recuruo: ac inflamatione prope ipsum oborta.

Ioannes Cordella, Anconitanus, natus annos vigintisepte, inflammatione cu ingenti dolore circa podicem laborabat: ex qua et febricitabat, et ita querebatur, ut remediorum applicationem omnino pertimesceret: nec quicquam super eum locum admitteret. Clauum enim, aut spinam inibi infixam se habere clamabat. Ego vero causam unde morbus oriri poterat perquirens, cum Gallis iter secisse, ac eorum more succussatore equitasse, respondit: quo audito in mentem venit, forte fortuna huic coccygem os, quod communiter caudam dicunt, plicatum ac fere constractu suisse: quod aliquando euenire solet iis, qui ex alto cadut: vel qui plus iusto concutuitur, ut ab equis, qui concutiendo sessorum gradiuntur gradariis oppositis, saepe sit: potissimum iis qui extra consuetudinem talibus equis utuntur.

Apposito igitur maturante medicameto, ac disrupta phlegmone, et multo ex ea pure deposito aeger melius habuit. Protinus igitur assistes chirurgus nostro cosilio indice digitu manus sinstre per aegrotatis anu immisit: ac (ut praedixteramus) coccge male affectum inuenies, in suu locu dextra manu reduxit. Et paucis postea admotis idonies medicatmentis, intra paucos dies sanitati suit restitutus.


Coccyx os est cauda dictum, ab osse sacro ortum habens, quod tam hominibus, quam simiis, tribus constat ossiculus chartilagineis potius quam osseis. In quo Galenus libro 'De ossibus', nonnulla parta ne uoru reperiri, ac per id disseminari tradit: quod uerum esse in fimiis sciatis uelim, secus autem in homine quum nulli in eo uideantur, nec foramina percipiantur ulla, per quae nerui proparari, aut disseminari aliqui possint. Quibus addere est, quod spinalis medulla ossi sacro terminatur, nec ad coccygem descendit. A qua ner ui originem (ut nostis) trabunt. Proinde in homine coccygem nullus ornari nerius certissimu est, nec minus, ut obiter hoc attingam, de osse sacro a Galeno dicta intelligi debent. Ex tribus enim particulis os sacrum construi, capite undecimo dixit. Quod in simijs uerificari nouimus. Nam humanum os sacrum ex sex constructum est ossibus.

Porro coccygis male affecti curationem breuiter, sed doctissime, ac artificiosissime attingit 'Paulus Aegineta' libri sui sexti capite nonagesimo octavo, a quo nos in hac curatione edocti sumus. Sed unum praeterire non licet, quod inibi quando de osse sacro loquitur, proprie de coccyge sermonem facit, quum dicat, caeterum osse sacro confracto index sinistrae manus digitus in anum demittendus.

Translation by Classical Turns

The fifth cure, in which a bent coccyx bone (called the tail) is treated, along with inflammation arising near it.

Giovanni Cordella of Ancona was 27 years of age and suffering from inflammation, with great pain around the anus, from which he was also feverish, and he was complaining that he was completely terrified of the application of remedies, and would not receive anything up [or ‘over’] that region. For he affirmed that he had a club or a thorn stuck in there. Yet, on investigating the reason why the illness could have arisen, he answered that he was journeying with Frenchmen, and was riding in their fashion on a jolting horse. When I heard this it came to mind that perhaps his coccyx bone, which they commonly call the tail, had by chance become twisted and almost fractured, which tends to happen sometimes to those who fall from a high position, or who are struck harder than usual, such as often happens as a result of horses that shake their rider as they advance, in an opposite manner to pacer horses, especially those who make use of such horses outside their usual experience. Therefore, by applying an appropriate and hasty medicament, disrupting the burning heat, and extracting much pus from it, he was better. Therefore, at once the assistant surgeon, on my advice, inserted the index finger of his left hand into the sick man’s anus, and (as we had said) on finding that coccyx was badly hurt, he brought it back into position with his right hand. And afterwards, once we had given him a few suitable medicaments, he was restored to good health within a few days.


The coccyx bone is called the tail, and arises from the sacrum, which, both in humans and in apes, consists of three small, cartilaginous bones, rather than those of bone, on which see Galen in his book On Bones, where he teaches that some pairs of nerves are to be found and disseminated through it. But I would like to you know that this is true in apes, but not in the case of man, since none are to be seen in him, nor any openings perceived, through which any nerves could be propagated or disseminated. One should add to this that the spinal cord is terminated by the sacrum, and does not descend to the coccyx. It is from this (as you know) that the nerves take their origin. Therefore it is most certain that in man the coccyx is not endowed with any nerves; nevertheless, to touch on this in passing, the things said by Galen should be understood to concern the sacrum. For he said in chapter eleven that the sacrum was constituted of three small parts, which we know is verified in apes. For man’s sacrum is constructed of six bones. Therefore Paul of Aegina treats in brief, but most learnedly and skilfully, the cure of a badly hurt coccyx, in the 98th chapter of Book 6, by which we have been instructed in this cure. But we should not pass over one point, namely that when he there speaks about the sacrum, he is actually talking about the coccyx, when he says that, ‘because the sacrum was fractured, the index finger on the left hand was to be inserted,’ etc.

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