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Acumenus [of Athens]

(72 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Ἀκουμενός; Akoumenós) [of Athens] Doctor from the late 5th cent. BC. As father of the doctor  Eryximachus, who was a friend of Socrates and Phaedrus, A. emerges briefly as a fictitious dialogue partner in Pl. Phdr. 268a and 269a, in order to emphasize the thesis that the art of medicine comprises more than merely knowledge, which has been gleaned from books and teachers. Nutton, Vivian (London)

Phylotimus

(248 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Φυλότιμος; Phylótimos) of Cos. Physician and chief magistrate ( mónarchos) of Cos in the first half of the 3rd cent. BC; along with Herophilus [1], he was a pupil of Praxagoras and became one of the classic authorities of Greek medicine (cf. Gal. De examinando medico 5,2), although only fragments of his writings now survive. He pursued anatomical interests, placed the seat of the soul in the heart and held that the brain was merely a useless extension of the spinal medulla (Gal. De usu pa…

Humoral theory

(722 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] The idea that physical health was connected with bodily fluids was widespread. Mucus is already mentioned in ancient Egyptian medicine, and also in Babylonian medicine particular attention was paid to the quantity and colour of bodily fluids. The Greeks regarded   ichṓr of the gods, blood (α(̃ιμα; haîma) in humans and sap (χυμός; chymós) in plants as the bearers of life. These fluids (χυμοί/ chymoí, Latin humores) could also become dangerous in excess. Two humours, phlegm (φλέγμα; phlégma) and bile (χόλος; chólos or χολή; cholḗ), are already represented as hazard…

Eustochius

(53 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Evodus (Εὐστόχιος; Eustóchios) from Alexandria. He encountered  Plotinus towards the end of the latter's life ( c. AD 269), who converted him to philosophy. E. also acted as Plotinus' physician, accompanied him on his last journey, and was with him when he died (Porphyrius V. Plot. 7). Nutton, Vivian (London)

Hippocratic Oath

(704 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[English version] Documentary evidence for a use of the HO in Late Antiquity is ambiguous. Gregory of Nazianzus (Greg. Naz. Or. 7,10) reported that his brother Caesarius did not have to swear the oath as a medical student in Alexandria, thus implying that others probably had to. However, there is no record for the Byzantine or Muslim world to confirm any official obligation to swear this oath, even though it was evidently well-known. In practice, it was superseded by the Galenic concept equating e…

Leprosy

(396 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] also ‘Hansen's Disease’. A chronic disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae affecting the peripheral nerves, and often also the skin. Palaeopathological finds prove its existence in the Mediterranean area only for the Hellenistic period [1], but texts from Babylon, Egypt and Israel from c. 800 BC onwards describe disfiguring skin diseases, among which could be included leprosy, even though the descriptions probably refer to psoriasis. The biblical name of the disease ṣaraʿat, in the Middle Ages wrongly translated as leprosy, referred to a disease whic…

Dietetics

(1,163 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] I. Greece Greek medicine is fundamentally different from Egyptian and Babylonian medicine because it allots dietetics in the broader sense of a regime of eating, drinking, exercise and bathing, a key role within therapeutics [2. 395-402; 3]. Originally, dietetics referred to the administering of balanced foods in liquid, pasty or solid form, depending on the degree of illness (Hippocr. De medicina vetere 5 [4. 241-257]). However, about the mid 5th cent. BC it expanded well beyond a …

Anonymus de herbis

(74 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Several MSS of Dioscorides contain an anonymous poem of 215 hexameter verses about the qualities of herbs, which was written probably in the 3rd cent. in highly stylized Greek. It refers back to Nicander, Dioscorides and Andromachus [4, the Elder] According to [1], the poetic language shows similarities with the Orphica (newest edition: [1; cf. 2]). Nutton, Vivian (London) Bibliography 1 E. Heitsch, in: AAWG 1964, 23-38 2 NGAW 1963, 2, 44-49.

Largius Designatianus

(98 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Medical writer, 4th cent. AD, author of a Latin paraphrase of a Greek letter to (an undefined) king Antigonus that is passed down under the name of Hippocrates [6] and that contained a dietetic plan and advice on treating diseases of the head, chest, belly and kidneys. This paraphrase is extant in the introduction to a medical treatise of Marcellus Empiricus, where it is preceded by a letter of L. to his sons. Both texts probably belonged to the introduction to a medical work by L. that is lost today. Nutton, Vivian (London)

Fever

(438 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (πυρετός/ pyretós, Lat. febris) strictly refers to a symptom only, i.e. a raise in body temperature, but all ancient medical authors frequently use this term to refer to a specific illness or class of illness. In modern diagnostic usage, the term covers a variety of conditions; thus the identification of any ancient ‘fever’ without any further sub-classification or other description of symptoms is bound to fail. Such aids to identification could consist of observations regarding the periodicity of fever attacks, as in the febris tertiana or febris quartana, when epi…

Crinas

(73 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] from Marseilles ( Massalia), physician, who came to Rome in the time of Nero (Plin. HN. 29,9). He gained renown when he combined astronomy with medicine by orienting the diet plans for his patients according to the course of the stars. When he died, he left 10 million sesterces after having already spent the same sum on repairing the walls and other defences in his native town. Nutton, Vivian (London)

Democedes

(260 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Δημοκήδης; Dēmokḗdēs) of Croton. Greek physician, lived about 500 BC and according to Hdt. 3,125 was the best physician of his age. He was the son of Calliphon and practised in Croton before going to Aegina. After a year the town of Aegina employed him for one talent as the community's physician but a year later he moved to Athens for a higher salary and finally into the service of Polycrates of Samos who paid two talents. After Polycrates' assassination D. was taken as a slave to…

Iacobus Psychrestus

(108 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Physician, the son of Hesychius of Damascus, changed his residence in the early 6th cent. AD in order to join his father's medical practice in Constantinople. He treated emperor Leo, whereupon he became a   comes and   archiatros (Chron. pasch. 8254a; Malalas, Chronographia 370 Dindorf; Photius, Bibliotheca 344A). As a pagan philosopher who was honoured in Athens and Constantinople with statues, he ordered the rich to help the poor. The latter he incidentally treated without charging a fee. His nic…

Galenism

(389 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[English version] Whereas between about AD 500 and 1100,  Galen was almost unknown in Western Europe, the orthodox  medicine of the Byzantine and Muslim world was substantially based on his concepts that were increasingly systemized and put into a logical order, with a particular focus on their theoretical content.  Galen's monotheism and teleology commended his works also to an environment dominated by religion. From the 12th cent. on, Galenism reached Western Europe in an Arabic guise where it s…

Salpe

(75 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Σάλπη/ Sálpē). Midwife of the Hellenistic era, whose medical and cosmetic recipes were quoted by Plinius [1] in his Historia naturalis (Plin. HN 28,38; 28,66; 28,82; 28,262; 32,135; 32,140). Athenaeus [3] (Ath. 322a) knows a S. as the author of παίγνια/ paígnia (‘light poems’), but it is problematic to consider the two identical [1]. …

Iatrosophistes

(216 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Originally meaning a teacher of medicine (esp. in Alexandria), iatrosophistes could later refer to any experienced practitioner ( medicus sapientissimus, Corpus Glossatorum Latinorum 3,600,32 Goetz), either in orthodox medicine (e.g.  Agnellus, In Galeni De sectis commentarium 33) or in the magical arts of healing (Ps.-Callisthenes, Vita Alexandri 1,3) [1]. Contrary to the emendation by von Arnim in Dion. Chrys. 33,6, the term was probably not coined before the late 4th cent. AD (Epiphanius, Adversu…

Phanostrate

(79 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] …

Melancholy

(534 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (μέλαινα χολή/ mélaina cholḗ, ‘black bile’). The fourth humour in the tradition of Hippocratic medicine represented by De natura hominis, ch. 4, and later by Rufus of Ephesus and Galen. It was predominant in autumn, associated with the element earth, and cold and dry. It was viewed as the antithesis of blood, having many deadly properties [1]. According to Galen (De atra bile 5,104-148 K.) in its purest form it was highly destructive to everything it touched, and had its origin in the spleen. Not ev…

Phlebotomy

(371 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)

Acesidas

(59 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] …
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