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Phanostrate

(79 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Φανοστράτη; Phanostrátē). Greek-Athenian midwife and doctor, depicted on Attic grave stelae from the end of the 4th cent. BC (IG II/III2 6873; Clairmont, 2. 890). The inclusion of the professional title midwife suggests a certain degree of specialisation in medicine and shows at the same time that women were able to work as doctors and earn a considerable income, as is suggested by the quality and individual designs of the stone mason’s craftsmanship. Nutton, Vivian (London)

Melancholy

(534 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (μέλαινα χολή/ mélaina cholḗ, ‘black bile’). The fourth humour in the tradition of Hippocratic medicine represented by De natura hominis, ch. 4, and later by Rufus of Ephesus and Galen. It was predominant in autumn, associated with the element earth, and cold and dry. It was viewed as the antithesis of blood, having many deadly properties [1]. According to Galen (De atra bile 5,104-148 K.) in its purest form it was highly destructive to everything it touched, and had its origin in the spleen. Not ev…

Phlebotomy

(371 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] In Babylonian, Egyptian and also Greek medicine, blood-letting was part of standard medical practice. This procedure was carried out either by directly opening a vein, by scarification or by using a cupping vessel. Considering how often the latter are depicted on monuments connected with physicians, cupping may have been the most common method [1]. Two notions seem to have favoured phlebotomy: on the one hand, it supposedly prevented the stagnating of the blood and its transformat…

Acesidas

(59 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Ἀκεσίδας; Akesídas). According to Paus. 5,14, A. was considered a hero in Olympia and was elsewhere known under the name Idas. His name offers the assumption that he was worshipped as a healing god, who possibly shared a healing cult, which was very common on the Peloponnese, with  Paeonius,  Iason and  Heracles. Nutton, Vivian (London)

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…

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…

Chrysermus of Alexandria

(135 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (IDélos 1525). C. lived in about 150-120 BC; administrative official, ‘relative of king Ptolemy’, exegete (i.e. head of the civil service in Alexandria), director of the museum and ἐπὶ τῶν ἰατρῶν, a title that is often understood to mean the person responsible for all Egyptian doctors, which in turn led to the conclusion that there was a state organization of doctors. Kudlien is of the opinion that the title refers to the person responsible for the person in charge of the ‘tax on …

Heracleianus

(130 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Physician and anatomist from Alexandria, active c. AD 152, the son of the anatomist and teacher  Numisianus. He compiled an extract of his father's works (Gal. De musculorum dissectione 18 B, 926, 935 K.), demonstrating his own considerable knowledge (Gal. Admin. anat. 16,1). He had a conversation with  Galen, when the latter arrived in Alexandria in c. AD 151, and Galen initially followed his anatomical lectures with benevolence (CMG V,9,1, p. 70). However, when Galen later requested to see the works by H.'s late father, their relatio…

Empiricists

(726 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] A. History The Empiricists are a Greek school of physicians founded in about 250 BC by Philinus of Cos, a pupil of  Herophilus (Ps.-Galen Introductio; Gal. 14,683). According to Celsus (De med. pr. 10) it was founded somewhat later by Serapion of Alexandria. According to some doxographers the founder was Acron of Acragas (about 430 BC; fr. 5-7 Deichgräber). It is mentioned in the medical doxographies as one of the leading movements in Greek medicine even in the time of Isidorus of S…

Definitiones medicae

(237 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] The use of definitiones (‘discussions’) was extensive in medical teaching in the Greek as well as the Roman world (Gal. 1,306 K.; 19,346-7 K.). The most substantial surviving work of this genre is the Definitiones medicae ascribed to Galen (19,346-462 K.), the authenticity of which was doubted even in late antiquity (schol. in Orib. Syn, CMG 6,2,1, 250,29). Wellmann [1. 66] was of the opinion that their author lived towards the end of the 1st cent. AD, and was a member of the Pneumatic school. Although the work con…

Uliadae

(148 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Οὐλιάδαι; Ouliádai). Family connected with medicine and healing cults in Velia [1] in southern Italy. The name derives from lios (Οὔλιος;  Str. 14,1,6-8), one of the numerous epithets of Apollo (B. 4), and refers to his power both to harm and to heal (cf. Asclepius/Asclepiadae). The first verifiable member of this family was Parmenides. Statues and inscriptions in Velia, which were created primarily c. AD 20, represent members of the family, bearing the names Ulis or Uliades, as physicians and as φώλαρχοι/ phṓlarchoi; this probably suggests a cultic communit…

Uterus

(339 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] The two Greek terms μήτρα/ mḗtra and ὑστέρα/ hystéra are both of disputed etymology (Soran. Gynaecia 1,6) and are often used in the plural (the belief in its many chambers derives from animal anatomy). Hippocratic authors ( Corpus Hippocraticum ) shared the idea of the uterus as a jar moving up and down a tube in the body ( Vulva ) and closing in on itself during pregnancy. They were of the view that the uterus can, like a living creature, be attracted or repelled by pleasant or unpleasant smells, and that it held no fix…
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