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Iatrosophistes

(216 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Originally meaning a teacher of medicine (esp. in Alexandria), iatrosophistes could later refer to any experienced practitioner ( medicus sapientissimus, Corpus Glossatorum Latinorum 3,600,32 Goetz), either in orthodox medicine (e.g.  Agnellus, In Galeni De sectis commentarium 33) or in the magical arts of healing (Ps.-Callisthenes, Vita Alexandri 1,3) [1]. Contrary to the emendation by von Arnim in Dion. Chrys. 33,6, the term was probably not coined before the late 4th cent. AD (Epiphanius, Adversu…

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…

Acumenus [of Athens]

(72 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Ἀκουμενός; Akoumenós) [of Athens] Doctor from the late 5th cent. BC. As father of the doctor  Eryximachus, who was a friend of Socrates and Phaedrus, A. emerges briefly as a fictitious dialogue partner in Pl. Phdr. 268a and 269a, in order to emphasize the thesis that the art of medicine comprises more than merely knowledge, which has been gleaned from books and teachers. Nutton, Vivian (London)

Phylotimus

(248 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Φυλότιμος; Phylótimos) of Cos. Physician and chief magistrate ( mónarchos) of Cos in the first half of the 3rd cent. BC; along with Herophilus [1], he was a pupil of Praxagoras and became one of the classic authorities of Greek medicine (cf. Gal. De examinando medico 5,2), although only fragments of his writings now survive. He pursued anatomical interests, placed the seat of the soul in the heart and held that the brain was merely a useless extension of the spinal medulla (Gal. De usu pa…

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 …

Anonymus de herbis

(74 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Several MSS of Dioscorides contain an anonymous poem of 215 hexameter verses about the qualities of herbs, which was written probably in the 3rd cent. in highly stylized Greek. It refers back to Nicander, Dioscorides and Andromachus [4, the Elder] According to [1], the poetic language shows similarities with the Orphica (newest edition: [1; cf. 2]). Nutton, Vivian (London) Bibliography 1 E. Heitsch, in: AAWG 1964, 23-38 2 NGAW 1963, 2, 44-49.

Largius Designatianus

(98 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Medical writer, 4th cent. AD, author of a Latin paraphrase of a Greek letter to (an undefined) king Antigonus that is passed down under the name of Hippocrates [6] and that contained a dietetic plan and advice on treating diseases of the head, chest, belly and kidneys. This paraphrase is extant in the introduction to a medical treatise of Marcellus Empiricus, where it is preceded by a letter of L. to his sons. Both texts probably belonged to the introduction to a medical work by L. that is lost today. Nutton, Vivian (London)
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