Dusty Phrases

Hi! Welcome to “Dusty Phrases.” You will find below an ancient phrase in one language or another, along with its English translation. You may also find the power to inspire your friends or provoke dread among your enemies.

For other examples, visit HERE:



Ἰατρέ, θεράπευσον σεαυτόν
Iatre, therapeuson seauton


Physician, heal yourself.

This is a well-known phrase in both Greek and Latin.

The Latin phrase is Medice, cura te ipsum, and was taken from the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible.

The origin point for the fame of the phrase, if not the phrase itself, is the Gospel of Luke, chapter 4, verse 23.

And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘“Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’”

More background from Wiki, embedded below:

Similar proverbs with a medical theme appear in other Jewish literature. For example, “Physician, physician, heal thine own limp!” (Aramaic: אסיא אסי חיגרתך) can be found in Genesis Rabbah 23:4 (300–500 CE). Such proverbs also appear in literary Classical texts from at least the 6th century BC. The Greek dramatist Aeschylus refers to one in his Prometheus Bound, where the chorus comments to the suffering Prometheus, “Like an unskilled doctor, fallen ill, you lose heart and cannot discover by which remedies to cure your own disease.”

The moral of the proverb in general, containing within itself also a criticism of hypocrisy, is to attend to one’s own defects before those in others. This meaning is underlined in the fable of The Frog and the Fox that was attributed to Aesop.

2 thoughts on “Dusty Phrases

    1. You’re welcome! I am learning a lot by writing these posts. I keep running into a feeling that a lot of what I’m covering was probably relatively well-known for “well educated” people (however limited a group that might have been) a couple of generations ago and for the two thousand years prior. Like… I bet most of America’s Founding Fathers just had these Latin and Greek phrases, and their meanings, in their heads. There was a point in the life cycle of the Superman comics – much more recently – when a character’s catch phrase could be “Great Caesar’s Ghost” and that was not bizarre to its readers.