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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 In practice, it was superseded by the Galenic concept equating e…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 …

Olympus

(2,377 words)

Author(s): Kramolisch, Herwig (Eppelheim) | Meyer, Ernst (Zürich) | Scherf, Johannes (Tübingen) | Lohmann, Hans (Bochum) | Lafond, Yves (Bochum) | Et al.
(Ὄλυμπος/Ólympos). Geography: [1-13]. People: [14-15]. [German version] [1] Home of the ›Olympian‹ gods, highest mountain in Greece (Latin Olympus) (Latin Olympus). Kramolisch, Herwig (Eppelheim) Meyer, Ernst (Zürich) [German version] I. Geography The highest mountain in Greece, regarded as the home of the 'Olympian' gods (twelve (Olympian) gods). Its altitude, overlooking all of its surroundings, creates a powerful impression, as do its massive size and density and its dramatic ascent, especially at the east and west, which is hardly obscured by foothills. It rises steeply from a base measuring some 20 km in diameter to a ridge some 2300-2400 m in elevation, with a summit region in the north capped by limestone. It forms a steep ridge fr…

Heraclitus I (Gk)

(1,845 words)

Author(s): Betegh, Gábor (Budapest) | Robbins, Emmet (Toronto) | Albiani, Maria Grazia (Bologna) | Bäbler, Balbina (Göttingen) | Fornaro, Sotera (Sassari) | Et al.
(Ἡράκλειτος; Hērákleitos). [German version] [1] H. of Ephesus Ionian philosopher, c. 500 BC Son of Bloson, outstanding personality within Ionian philosophy. Betegh, Gábor (Budapest) [German version] A. The person H.'s main period of activity is estimated to have been about 503-500 BC (Diog. Laert. 9,1). He belonged to a leading family in the public life of Ephesus. The doxographic tradition records several anecdotes of H.'s arrogance and contempt for his fellow citizens and humanity in general, which are mostly based on fragments of H.…

Claudius

(10,704 words)

Author(s): Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) | Will, Wolfgang (Bonn) | Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne) | Eck, Werner (Cologne) | Birley, A. R. (Düsseldorf) | Et al.
Name of a Roman lineage (Sabine Clausus, with the vernacular variant of   Clodius , esp. in the 1st cent. BC). The Claudii supposedly immigrated to Rome from the Sabine city of Regillum at the beginning of the republic in 504 BC under their ancestor Att(i)us Clausus ( Appius) and were immediately accepted into the circle of patrician families (Liv. 2,16,4-6), which explains why the early members received the invented epithets of Inregillensis C. [I 5-6] and Sabinus C. [I 31-32], [1. 155f.]. The praenomen Appius came t…

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

Agathocles

(1,543 words)

Author(s): Meier, Mischa (Bielefeld) | Meister, Klaus (Berlin) | Badian, Ernst (Cambridge, MA) | Ameling, Walter (Jena) | Karttunen, Klaus (Helsinki) | Et al.
(Ἀγαθοκλῆς; Agathoklês) [German version] [1] of Athens Archon 357/56 BC Archon 357/56 BC (Dem. Or. 47,44; Diod. Sic. 16,9). Meier, Mischa (Bielefeld) [German version] [2] Tyrant King of Syracuse (316-288 BC) Later king of Syracuse, born 361/0 BC in Thermae in Sicily. Son of Carcinus, who had been banned from Rhegium, and who under  Timoleon had received citizenship in Syracuse and had a pottery manufactory. A. had an adventurous youth, participated in several martial undertakings and early on fostered broad-reaching political ambitions. As an ambitious democrat, he soon became …

Cleophantus

(273 words)

Author(s): Beck, Hans (Cologne) | Nutton, Vivian (London)
(Κλεόφαντος; Kleóphantos). [German version] [1] Son of Themistocles and Archippe Son of  Themistocles and Archippe (Plut. Themistocles 32; Pl. Men. 93d-e), was honoured with civic rights in Lampsacus (ATL III,111-3). Davies 6669,VI.…

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…

Rufus

(1,595 words)

Author(s): Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) | Eck, Werner (Cologne) | Nutton, Vivian (London) | Weißenberger, Michael (Greifswald) | Simons, Roswitha (Düsseldorf)
Common Roman cognomen ('red-haired', 'redhead', Quint. Inst. 1,4,25). Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) [German version] [1] [- - -]us R. Proconsul of Pontus-Bithynia with an impressive monument in Rome Proconsul of Pontus-Bithynia, probably in the final period of the Republic or the first years of Augustus. An impressive monument was erected for him in Rome by more than six cities of the province (CIL VI 1508 = 41054; cf. IGUR 71). Eck, Werner (Cologne) Bibliography W. Eck, CIL VI 1508 (Moretti IGUR 71) und die Gestaltung senatorischer Ehrenmonumente, in: Chiron 14, 1984, 201-217 …

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.…

Moschion

(705 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg) | Stanzel, Karl-Heinz (Tübingen) | Nutton, Vivian (London) | Hidber, Thomas (Berne) | Piccione, Rosa Maria
(Μοσχίων/ Moschíōn). [German version] [1] Tragedian, 3rd cent. BC Athenian tragedian, probably 2nd half of 3rd cent. BC, known almost solely through quotations by Stobaeus. Titles attested include ‘Telephos and two historical dramas: ‘Themistokles, at the heart of which was probably the naval battle at Salamis, following on from Aeschylus' ‘Persians, with the distinction that M. made Themistocles the protagonist; and ‘The Pheraeans, probably dealing with the death of Alexander [15] of Pherae. A lengthy f…

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…
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