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Mental illness

(976 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] A. Near Eastern Mental illnesses (MI) are described in both Jewish and Babylonian texts. Sometimes physical signs are indicated, as in epilepsy, sometimes behaviours are described as in 1 Sam 16:14-16; 21:13-15, but all MI are ascribed to the intervention of God, or, in texts from 500 BC onwards, of a variety of demons [1]. Treatment might be limited to confinement (Jer 29:26-8) or exorcism, including music, but the Jewish ‘Therapeutae’ took an approach that involved the entire lifes…

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…

Aelius Promotus

(91 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] A., of Alexandria, worked during the first half of the second cent. as doctor and writer. He wrote about medicines and sympathetic remedies [1; 2]. The manuscripts also count among the writings of A. a treatise about toxicology [3], the core of which originated in A.'s time and which was apparently one of the main sources for  Aetius [3] of Amida, even if it shows signs of revisions in the meantime. Nutton, Vivian (London) Bibliography 1 E. Rohde, KS vol.1, 1901, 380-410 2 M. Wellmann, in: SBAW 1908, 772-777 3 S. Ihm, 1995.

Erasistratus

(1,039 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
(Ερασίστρατος; Erasístratos) [German version] A. Life Physician, born in the 4th-3rd cent. BC at Iulis on Ceos; the son of Cleombrotus, physician to Seleucus I, and Cretoxene; brother and nephew to other physicians (fr. 1-8 Garofalo). Information on his education is contradictory, but, if we ignore Eusebius when he tells us that E. attained the zenith of his career in 258 BC, a link with Theophrastus and the Peripatos appears possible [7]. The professional practice of his father and E.'s own associati…

Ionicus

(90 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] of Sardis. Teacher and physician, who worked around AD 390. The son of a physician and a pupil of Zeno of Cyprus, he was well respected, particularly regarding his services to practical therapy, pharmacology, the art of bandaging, and surgery. In addition, he was a philosopher with particular gifts in medical prognostication as well as in fortunetelling (Eunapius, Vitae Philosophorum 499). Furthermore, he is reported to have distinguished himself as a well-known orator and poet, even though none of his works have survived. Nutton, Vivian (London)

Epilepsy

(357 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] From 1050 BC onwards we find careful descriptions of epilepsy and its various manifestations in Babylonian texts [1]. There, epilepsy is linked to gods, spirits, or demons. The belief in a religious cause of epilepsy and the corresponding treatment of it through religious, magical, and folk-medicinal methods can be traced throughout all of antiquity and across cultural borders. In c. 400 BC, the Hippocratic author of De morbo sacro propagated a purely somatic interpretation of epilepsy , wherein he suspected that changes in the balance of bodily fluids we…

Venereal diseases

(398 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] In the absence of unambiguous diagnostic evidence it is difficult to reconstruct the ancient history of VD. Less harmful infections such as herpes genitalis (Hippocr. De mulierum affectibus 1,90 = 8,214-8 L.) and chlamydia [2. 220] are well attested, the two major VD of modern times, gonorrhoea and syphilis, can be detected in surviving material only with difficulty. Gonorrhoea, a Greek word coinage presumably from the Hellenistic period, describes any form of excessive production of fluid in a man. It…

Artorius, M.

(136 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Doctor, and follower of Asclepiades of Bithynia (Caelius Aurelianus Morb. acut. 3,113), was in Philippi with Octavian where a dream saved the life of the future emperor (Plut. Antonius 22; Brutus 47; Val. Max. 1,7,2; Vell. Pat. 2,70,1). He was honoured by the Athenians (IG II/III2 4116), probably on the occasion of a journey to Delos (IDélos 4116), and died around 27 BC in a shipwreck (Hieron. Chron. Olymp. 127). A. believed that rabies first attacked the brain and that it spread to the stomach and caused hiccups, unquenchab…

Hicesius

(109 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Greek physician, head of an Erasistratean school in Smyrna, early 1st cent. BC (Str. 12,8,20); he wrote on  dietetics (Plin. HN 14,130; 20,35; 27,31), embryology (Tert. De anima 25) and toothache (Plin. HN 12,40). He was the inventor of a famous black plaster that ‘helped with all types of wounds’ (Gal. 13,787). Galen, who recorded four different recipes for this medication (13,780; 787; 810; 812) and cites the four authors ( Andromachus [5] the Younger,  Heras,  Heraclides [27] a…

Geneva Declaration

(155 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[English version] One of the first official acts of the World Medical Association, founded in 1947, was drafting the Geneva Declaration (GD), a contemporary reformulation of the Hippocratic Oath; further improvements were made in 1968. The so-called abortion paragraph and the ban on surgery made way for more modern general provisions to respect human life from the moment of conception and always to use medical knowledge in harmony with the laws of humanity. It retained mention of a doctor's obliga…

Antidotarium

(264 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] The term originally designated treatises about antidotes, for instance Gal. de antidotis, 14,1-209 (trans. and comment. by [1, cf. 6]) and Philomenus (ed. by [2]), but, in medieval Latin, it referred to all writings about composite medications. It is unclear when exactly the shift in meaning occurred, since most collections of medications in late antiquity show neither titles not authors. The earliest documentation of the title is found in a MS from the 11th cent., which, however,…

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…

Epidemic diseases

(1,056 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] I. Prehistory and early history Epidemic diseases (ED), or in the broadest sense, diseases that attack a large number of living beings simultaneously have been documented archaeologically since the middle of the Bronze Age, that is, since c. 2800 BC. Their appearance has been linked to population growth and the resulting ease with which disease can spread from animals to humans and from person to person [9. 251]. In Egypt, smallpox appears to have been known since c. 1250 BC, although papyri with medicinal content do not refer to this or any other compara…

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…

Pleistonicus

(351 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Πλειστόνικος; Pleistónikos). Doctor fl. c. 270 BC; he was a pupil of Praxagoras of Cos (Celsus, De medicina, proem. 20) and one of the 'classics' of Greek medicine in the so-called Dogmatic tradition (Dogmatists [2]; Gal. Methodus medendi 2,5; Gal. De examinando medico 5,2). It is difficult to assess his individuality, as, according to tradition- i.e. fundamentally in Galen - his views are transmitted as being in agreement with those of Praxagoras or other Dogmatists. Like his master…

Agnellus [of Ravenna]

(294 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Iatrosophist and commentator of medical texts around AD 600, Milan. Ambr. G 108 f. contains his commentaries on Galen's De sectis, Ars medica, De pulsibus ad Teuthram and Ad Glauconem, just as they were recorded by Simplicius (not the famous Aristotle commentator!). The first mentioned is in many places in agreement with a commentary which is ascribed to Iohannes Alexandrinus or Gesius, as well as Greek passages of text, which are associated with Iohannes and Archonides (?). As controversial as the question …

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…

Aretaeus

(401 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Ἀρεταῖος; Aretaîos) of Cappadocia. Greek Hippocratic physician who was influenced by Pneumatic theory. [13] therefore assigned him to the middle of the 1st cent. AD. A.'s name was first mentioned in the late 2nd. cent as the author of a text about prophylactics in Ps.-Alex. Aphr. De febribus 1, 92, 97, 105. However, Galen repeats A.'s story of a leper that appeared in Morb. chron. 4,13,20 without any reference to the source in Subfig. emp. 10 = Deichgräber 75-9. Thirty years later…

Galen of Pergamum

(3,449 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
(Γαλήνος; Galḗnos) [German version] A. Life AD 129 to c. 216, Greek doctor and philosopher. As the son of a prosperous architect named Aelius or Iulius Nicon (not Claudius, as older accounts have it), G. enjoyed a wide education, especially in philosophy. When he was 17, Asclepius appeared to Nicon in a dream which turned G. towards a medical career. After studying with Satyrus, Aiphicianus and Stratonicus in Pergamum, G. went to Smyrna c. 149 to learn from Pelops, a pupil of the Hippocratic Quintus. From there he journeyed to Corinth to find Numisianus, another pupi…
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