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Erotianus

(328 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Greek grammarian, middle or end of the 1st cent. AD, author of a glossary of Hippocratic words, which he dedicated to  Andromachus [4 or 5], a doctor at the imperial court in Rome [2; 3]. The alphabetic structure of the glossary, in its surviving form, does not go back to E. since, in his preface (9), he expressly emphasizes that he had explained the words in the sequence of their appearance in c. 37 Hippocratic texts which in turn could be classified into 1) semiotic, 2) physiological-aetiological, 3) therapeutic texts, 4) miscellaneous, 5) texts on…

Acesias

(50 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Ἀκεσίας; Akesías). Greek doctor of 3rd cent. BC (?). According to an intentionally ambiguous proverb, he only treated those who suffered the worst (suffering or doctor) (Aristoph. Byz., Zenob. 1,52). It is possible that he also wrote about culinary art (Ath. 12, 516c). Nutton, Vivian (London)

Praxagoras

(541 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Πραξαγόρας; Praxagóras) of Cos. Doctor, at the end of the 4th cent. BC, teacher of Herophilus [1], Phylotimus, Pleistonicus and Xenophon. His family claimed its descent from Asclepius; his grandfather who shared the same name and his father, Nicarchus, were likewise doctors. His family continued to be very prominent on Cos for generations [1]. A poem composed by Crinagoras still survives on a statue in his honour (Anth. Plan. 273). Amongst the works of this doctor are a treatise on therapy in at least 4 books, a work about diseases in at least 3 bo…

Dietetics

(386 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[English version] Classical ideas of dietetics, based on the Hippocratic and Galenic notions of a balance between the four humours, continued to play an important role in medicine  into the 20th cent. (Humoral Theory). In Arabic medicine, all substances taken into the body had properties that could affect its health, for good or ill, and hence it was the doctor's duty to prescribe diets for health, as well as for disease, and equally that of his patient  to understand the rules for a healthy lifes…

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…

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…

Medical ethics

(1,348 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] A. Introduction Medical ethics can be defined as the attitude of those schooled in the art of healing towards those whom they want to heal. How this appears in detail, depends on the healer's social group and standing and also the society in which he or she works. Furthermore, healers and those seeking healing may well have completely divergent views on medical ethics. It is possible to regulate for any desired attitude in the sense of the earlier definition by laws or professional …

Numisianus

(198 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Νουμισιανός; Noumisianós), anatomist and teacher of medicine in the 2nd cent. AD. A pupil of Quintus, he wrote many works on anatomy in Greek, but these were hoarded by his son Heracleianus and were eventully destroyed by fire (Galen, Administrationes anatomicae 14,1). Although Galen praises his promotion of anatomy, he attributes no discovery to him. Like other Alexandrians, N. commented upon Hippocrates (Galen, In Hippocratis Epidemiarum librum II, commentum 4: CMG V 10,1, 345-3…

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…

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…

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…

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…
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