Tag Archives: Juvenal

Marginalia, no.251

Who marvels at a goiter in the Alps?

~ Juvenal

People in the Alps used to be famous for goiters, the result of too little iodine in the soil. In his final essay Montaigne quotes Juvenal’s line – not because he suffered from goiter, but because he suffered from kidney stones. Montaigne meant that he wasn’t surprised at getting sick because that’s just what happens to our sort of creature. The Swiss started the fashion for iodized salt in 1922, but here in the U.S. things were still a little Alpish into the late ‘70s. As children we were always seeing old ladies with goiters at the local grocery store.


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