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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)

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…

Theodas

(102 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Θεοδᾶς; Theodâs) from Laodicea. Greek physician c. 125 AD; he and Menodotus [2] were pupils of the sceptic Antiochus [20]; he was a leading representative of the School of the Empiricists. He wrote (1.) Chief points (Κεφάλαια), which Galenus and a later (otherwise unknown) Theodosius commented on; (2.) On the parts of medicine (Περὶ τῶν τῆς ἰατρικῆς μερῶν), in which he emphasised the significance of autopsy, historíē ('research') and analogy; (3.) an Introduction to medicine (Εἰσαγώγη). His works were  still being copied in the 3rd cent. in Egypt. Only…

Training (medical)

(600 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Although most healers in Antiquity learned their trade from their fathers or as autodidacts, some also went to study with a master (e.g. Pap. Lond. 43, 2nd cent. BC), or travelled to medical strongholds to receive training. Remains of these teaching centres are to be found in Babylonia [1] and in Egypt, where the ‘House of Life’ in Sais, rebuilt by Darius c. 510 BC, may have served as such a centre and scriptorium [2]. If, in the Greek world, the Hippocratic tradition (Hippocrates) emphasized the superiority of healers trained at Cos, Cnidus …

Surgery

(1,412 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] A. Egyptian The high prestige widely accorded to Egyptian medical practitioners for their surgical skills (Hdt. 3,129), was well-earned. Skeletal finds show the successful treatment of bone fractures, esp. in the arms, and rare cases of trepanation. However, there is no reliable indication of surgical intervention in body cavities [1; 2]. The great diversity of knives, spoons, saws and needles reflects a highly-developed specialism, rooted in wide-ranging medical practice. Early pap…

Iatromaia

(95 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (‘birth-helper’, ‘midwife’). Midwifery was usually practiced by women but was not exclusively in their hands. A Parian inscription, for example, records two male birth-helpers (IG 12,5,199) and the preserved treatises on midwifery address a male readership. Iatromaia as an occupational name appears in two Roman inscriptions of the 3rd and 4th cents. AD (CIL 6,9477f.); in one, a Valeria Verecunda is named as the ‘first iatromaia in her region’, an epithet that seems to refer to the quality of her work rather than a position in a collegium.  Midwife Nutton, Vivian (Lon…

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…

Gesius

(298 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] or Gessios, from Petra (Steph. Byz. s.v. Γέα/ Géa), physician and teacher, end of the 5th/early 6th cent. AD, close friend of Aeneas [3] (Epist. 19; 20) and Procopius of Gaza (Epist. 38; 58; 123; 134). He studied medicine under the Jew Domnos (Suda s.v. Γέσιος/ Gésios) in Alexandria, where he practised as   iatrosophistḗs (teacher of medicine). Although opposed to Christianity, he was baptized at the instigation of the emperor Zeno but retained a cynically negative attitude towards his new religion. He protected th…

Mnesitheus

(118 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Μνησίθεος; Mnēsítheos). Athenian doctor, fl. 350 BC. His tomb was seen by Paus. (1,37,4). He was wealthy enough to erect statues and was one of the dedicators of the beautiful ex-voto inscription to Asclepius IG II2 1449. He is frequently associated with Dieuches [1]; he wrote extensively about dietetics including diets for children, and is counted amongst the more important Dogmatic physicians (Dogmatists) [1]. Galen ascribes to him a logical classification of illnesses that follows Plato's method (fr. 10,11 Bert…

Eryximachus

(89 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Ερυξίμαχος; Eryxímachos) Son of  Acumenus, Athenian doctor and Asclepiad, 5th cent. BC. As a friend of the sophist Hippias (Pl. Prt. 315A) and of Phaedrus (Pl. Phdr. 268A; Symp. 177A), he plays an important part in Plato's Symposium, in which he delivers a long speech in honour of Eros (185E-188E). His slightly pedantic manner earns him only the good-natured laughter of the invited guests but contemporary parallels to his linking of natural philosophy and medicine can be found in the Corpus Hippocraticum. Nutton, Vivian (London)

Medicine

(5,440 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
Nutton, Vivian (London) [German version] A. Introduction (CT) The history of Classical medicine developed in different ways in the three cultures of Byzantium, Islam (Arabic medicine, Arabic-Islamic Cultural Sphere) and Latin Christianity. The first two shared a heritage of late-Antique Galenism, which was far less pervasive in Western Europe and Northern Africa than in the Greek world and among the Syriac Christians of the Near East. From the 11th cent. onwards, Western Europe rediscovered Galenism lar…

Corpus Medicorum

(178 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[English version] This research project was begun in 1901 at the suggestion of the Danish scholar Johan Ludvig Heiberg and with the assistance of the Saxon and Danish Academies of Science and the Puschmann Foundation was established in the Berlin Academy of Sciences. Its self-defined task was the editing of all extant ancient medical authors, initially under the directorship of Hermann Diels. Diels' catalogue of manuscripts by Greek physicians (1906), together with a supplement (1907), remains to …
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