Dot Wordsworth

From Pliny to poetry: the history of ‘ictus’ and ‘ductus’

‘I know the difference between ictal and icteric,’ said my husband proudly, reminding me of Tweedledum in Through the Looking-Glass. He explained, accurately enough, that ictal was to do with strokes and icteric with jaundice. But he hadn’t heard about the bird.

Pliny in his Natural History says that there is a bird called ikteros (icterus) from its colour of yellowish green, like jaundice.

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