A swelling is perceived in the praecordia
, which can readily be distinguished by its superior resistance, from the stomach distended by flatus.
vix prece finita torpor gravis occupat artus, mollia cinguntur tenui praecordia
libro, in frondem crines, in ramos bracchia crescunt, pes modo tam velox pigris radicibus haeret, ora cacumen habet: remanet nitor unus in ilia.
impensius ipsa scire iuvat magni penitus praecordia
mundi, quaque regat generetque suis animalia signis, cernere et in numerum Phoebo modulante referre (I 16-19) "It is more pleasing to know in depth the very (area before the) heart of the universe and to see how it governs and brings forth living beings by means of its signs and to speak of it in verse, with Phoebus providing the tune."
(25) The idea of the heart as the primary organ of knowledge has left traces in English when we speak of 'learning by heart', or in the verb to record (from the Latin, to recollect = recordari) (26) Both the Greeks and Romans saw consciousness as well as knowledge residing in the chest, in heart and lungs, often called the praecordia
. Marcus Aurelius wrote "...
Propertius is aware of the power of a name in poetry, for he tells Maecenas that he has not the stomach (praecordia
) to treat holders of Caesaris ...
ense velut stricto quotiens Lucilius ardens infremuit, rubet auditor cui frigida mens est criminibus, tacita sudant praecordia
culpa, inde ira et lacrimae.
siquidem ille irae furorem ac ferociam animi ratus circa praecordia
grassari: rationis principatum ac moderamen animi in parte summa capitis sedere censuit velut speculatorem a natura perfectum: qui omnia circumspectaret: & vt auriga quadrigis: sic feruori animi atque alacritati moderatur." Bude appears to have in mind here Plato's image of the charioteer at Phaedrus 246b.
The two were known to the ancient Romans as the Praecordia
, the "outworks of the heart."