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Agathinus

(219 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Ἀγαθῖνος; Agathînos) of Sparta (Ps.-Gal. 19,353). Greek doctor of the first cent., student of Athenaeus of Attaleia, teacher of Archigenes and the Pneumatist  Herodotus. Even though he was mostly counted among the Pneumatists, some believed that he had founded his own, the Episynthetic or Eclectic School. The handed-down fragments of his writings allow connections to the Empiricists and Methodists to be recognized. He wrote about medicines (a fragment about stinking hellebore is i…

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…

Medicine, Historiography of

(2,043 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
Nutton, Vivian (London) [German version] A. Arabic Medical Historiography (CT) The historiography of ancient medicine goes back at least to Late Antiquity, when a 'History of the Physicians' is said to have been written by John Philoponus (6th cent.). Material from this work was drawn upon by Ishaq ibn Hunayn (d. 910/911), for his own 'History' ( Ta'rikh al-atibba), which is largely concerned with chronology [11]. Ishaq's example was followed by a variety of writers in Arabic, some, like the bookseller Ibn an-Nadim (fl. 987), producing largely lists of…

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]. Nutton, Vivian (London) Bibliography 1 D. Bain, Salpe's ΠΑΙΓΝΙΑ; Athenaeus 322a and Plin. H. N. 28,38, in: CQ 48, 1998, 262-268.

Anonymus Londiniensis

(480 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] The papyrus inventory no. 137 of the British Library in London is the most important surviving medical papyrus. It was written towards the turn of the 1st to the 2nd cent. and is divided into three parts: columns 1-4,17 contain a list of definitions that concern the páthē of body and soul (cf. the discussion in Gal. Meth. med. 1); columns 4,21-20,50, present different views about the causes of diseases; columns 21,1-39,32 deal with physiology. The text as well as many internal characteristics indicate that these chapters, thou…

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…

Arabic medicine

(1,884 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
Nutton, Vivian (London) [German version] A. Origins (CT) By AD 500, Greek medicine had become largely Galenic Galenism. Alternative medical theories no longer flourished, and even pragmatists like Alexander of Tralles did not reject Galenic ideas entirely. In Alexandria, and elsewhere in the Byzantine world that followed Alexandrian traditions, e.g. Ravenna, there was a teaching syllabus of Galen, the so-called 16 books - Summaria Alexandrinorum, and of Hippocrates that was commented upon by lecturers who expected of their audience also a grasp of Aristoteli…

Aeficianus

(88 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Greek doctor and philosopher, teacher of  Galen, lived about AD 150 in Asia Minor (Gal. 19,58, CMG V 10,2,2, 287). A long-standing student of  Quintus (Gal. 18A, 575) and follower of  Hippocrates, he interpreted at least some of their teachings in a Stoic sense, e.g., from the field of psychology, in which he followed the Stoic Simias (Gal. 19,58; 18b, 654]. The Hippocratic commentary, which is ascribed to him in the Galen edition by Kühn at Gal. 16,484, is a Renaissance forgery. Nutton, Vivian (London)

Transmission of disease

(307 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Latin contagio, ‘infection’, refers to the transmission of disease (TD) from person to person, directly or through an intermediary. TD is associated with the idea of pollution: Judaism, for instance, holds that people suffering from certain diseases (such as leprosy) or menstruating women must be avoided (Purification). The stated reasons were either hygienic or religious. Similar precepts are known from ancient Babylon and Greece as well. The observation that those in close contac…

Hospital

(590 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[English version] In Late Antiquity, a hospital was a place within an environment of religious character, where one cared for people in need including old and sick ones. In the early MA, along the great routes of pilgrimage, chains of small inns developed. Many Benedictine monasteries had their own hospital wards, which may also have catered for the needs of a large part of the public. As of the 11th cent., hospitals were constructed in cities, again under the influence of eastern Mediterranean cu…

Charmis

(123 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Χάρμις; Chármis) Greek physician from Massilia, who went to Rome c. AD 55. Thanks to his cold-water cures he soon made a name there, and gained many wealthy patients (Plin. HN 29,10). For one treatment he invoiced a patient from the provinces for HS 200,000 (Plin. HN 29, 22), and demanded a similarly exorbitant price of 1,000 Attic drachmas for a single dose of an antidote (Gal. 14,114,127). During his lifetime C. invested HS 20 million in public construction projects in Massilia, and at h…

Lead poisoning

(406 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Even though the analysis of skeletons has shown that lead played a larger role in the classical period than in prehistoric times, the measured values are lower than expected in view of the considerable rise in lead production between 600 BC and AD 500 and its use in the manufacture of household goods and water pipes [1; 2; 3]. As the symptoms of lead poisoning (LP) are very similar to other diseases, there are hardly any descriptions which can be taken as referring to it unambiguo…

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…

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.

Hospital

(2,037 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] A. Definition Hospital in the sense of public institutions for the medical care of exclusively sick people are not encountered before the 4th cent. AD, and even then the majority of terms used (Greek xenṓn, xenodocheîon, ptōcheîon, gerontokomeíon, Latin xenon, xenodochium, ptochium, gerontocomium, valetudinarium; ‘guesthouse’, ‘pilgrims' hostel’, ‘poorhouse’, ‘old people's home’, ‘hospital’) point to a diversity of functions, target groups and services that partly overlap with each other. Private houses for sick members o…

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…

Vulva

(163 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] According to Varro [2] (Rust. 2,1,19) derived from Latin volvere, 'roll', by which is meant the swathing of a fetus. In the early Imperial Period, vulva, like matrix, was used in addition to the technical term uterus as a term for the womb [1]. All three terms remained in use throughout Antiquity; in late Latin medical authors, vulva seldom occurs. In the course of time the term changed in meaning, in that it also included the vagina (Celsus, De medicina 4,1,12) and even the clitoris (Iuv. 6,129). In his Etymology (Isid. Orig. 11,1,137), Isidorus [9] of Seville connec…

Ophthalmology

(1,093 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] A. Egypt The eye-doctors of Egypt were already famous when in about 540 BC the Persian king Cyrus [1] asked the Pharaoh Amasis for one to cure him (Hdt. 3,1; cf. 2,84). Diseases of the eyes were quite common in Egypt. Three of the seven early medical papyri are devoted to such diseases. P. Ebers alone contains more than 100 recipes for blindness. Some of these prescriptions involve Dreckapotheke, while others, for example, use liver - rich in vitamin A and a valuable remedy for xerophthalmia. Eye surgery seem to have been rarely performed and Egy…

Humoral Theory

(1,080 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[English version] The doctrine that the human body was made up of four humours, blood, phlegm, bile and black bile, and that health consisted in their being in balance, was accepted as the creation of Hippocrates well before the 2nd cent. AD. Galen's authority, buttressed by his logical and rhetorical skills, ensured that it became for centuries the dominant theory in Western medicine and in its oriental siblings. It was expounded in short (often pseudonymous) tracts like the ps.-Galenic Perì chymôn [16] or the Epistula Yppocratis de quattuor humoribus [1] , as well as in large com…

Archiatros

(357 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (ἀρχιατρός; archiatrós). In the original use of the name during Hellenistic times, archiatros was the title of the king's personal physician. The term first appeared in connection with the Seleucids (IDelos 1547, cf. TAM V 1,689). A similar title, wr sinw, ‘supreme physician’, is documented in pre-Ptolemaic Egyptian texts; it is missing from early Ptolemaic papyri purely by accident. Dating to 50 BC, documentations are extant from Egypt (Athenagoras, SB 5216) and Pontus (IDelos 1573) [2. 218-226]. A physician known at t…
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