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Iacobus Psychrestus

(108 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Physician, the son of Hesychius of Damascus, changed his residence in the early 6th cent. AD in order to join his father's medical practice in Constantinople. He treated emperor Leo, whereupon he became a   comes and   archiatros (Chron. pasch. 8254a; Malalas, Chronographia 370 Dindorf; Photius, Bibliotheca 344A). As a pagan philosopher who was honoured in Athens and Constantinople with statues, he ordered the rich to help the poor. The latter he incidentally treated without charging a fee. His nic…

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.

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…

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. Nutton, Vivian (London)

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…

Pneumatists

(494 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (πνευματικοί/ pneumatikoí, Latin pneumatici). Greek medical sect, founded by Athenaeus [6] of Attaleia under the influence of Stoicism. Galen (De causis contentivis 2) makes Athenaeus a pupil of Posidonius [2], which might indicate a date in the latter half of the 1st cent. BC. However, Cornelius Celsus [7] who wrote in Rome in the mid-1st cent. AD, seems not to have been aware of this sect at all, and its most famous representatives - Agathinus, Herodotus [3], Antyllus [2] and Archi…

Mustio

(169 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (also Muscio) Translator and adapter into Latin of two gynaecological treatises by  Soranus of Ephesus.One of these, now lost in Greek, was a shorter manual of questions and answers; the second the celebrated Gynaikeîa (‘Gynaecology). Some MSS of M.'s compendium end with an appendix listing vaginal pessaries. Although not a faithful translation of Soranus, M.'s adaptation does offer help in the constitution of the Greek text, and it was the most popular treatise on gynaecology to survive from Antiquity into the …

Archigenes

(340 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Ἀρχιγένης; Archigénēs) of Apamea. Physician, student of  Agathinus, lived under Trajan (AD 98-117) and died at the age of 63 (Suda s. v. Archigenes). He was an eclecticist and had close ties to the Hippocratic view that disease is caused by the dyscrasia of hot, cold, moist and dry. A. was predominantly influenced by the Pneumatists and wrote extensively about the study of the pulse. Galen (8,625-635) criticized his list of eight different pulse qualities as too tenuous. Some of t…

Agathinus

(219 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Ἀγαθῖνος; Agathînos) of Sparta (Ps.-Gal. 19,353). Greek doctor of the first cent., student of Athenaeus of Attaleia, teacher of Archigenes and the Pneumatist  Herodotus. Even though he was mostly counted among the Pneumatists, some believed that he had founded his own, the Episynthetic or Eclectic School. The handed-down fragments of his writings allow connections to the Empiricists and Methodists to be recognized. He wrote about medicines (a fragment about stinking hellebore is i…

Callimorphus

(80 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Military doctor, who according to Lucian (Quomodo historia 16,24 = FGrH II 210), wrote, in a highly tragic and stilted style, a history of the Parthian Wars of Lucius Verus in the years AD 162-166 that bore the title Parthica. Unless this was a figment of Lucian's imagination, it appears that he served in the Parthian War, either in the legio VI Ferrata, or in an ala contariorum (a troop division of pike-bearers). Nutton, Vivian (London)

Penis

(165 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (φαλλός/ phallós, lat. mentula (for synonyms, see [1]). Its anatomy, including the glans, scrotum, and testicles, was established by 250 BC, but its physiology, especially its capacity as to achieve an erection, was harder to explain. Galen ( De usu partium 15,3) called it a 'nerve-like part', and in De motibus dubiis discussed the possible effects of imagination on the process. Although circumcision (Circumcisio) was seen as essentially Jewish, infibulation was widely practised. Medical and surgical texts offer a variety of treat…

Iatraleiptes

(106 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Masseur, a profession that seems to have become fashionable in the 1st cent. AD (e.g. CIL 6,9476) but the linking of medicine and gymnastics extends as far back as Herodicus [1] of Selymbria (5th cent. BC). Trimalchio was treated by three aliptae (Petron. Sat. 28). Pliny considers this entire branch of medicine a form of quackery (HN 29,4-5). Vespasian however guaranteed all who practiced this art various privileges (FIRA 1,77) and Pliny the Younger managed to persuade Trajan to confer Roman (and Alexandrian) citizenship to his Egyptian iatraleiptes Harpocrates, w…

Anatomy

(1,960 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] A. Egypt and ancient Orient Anatomy in the sense of a systematically gained body of knowledge on the basis of dissections appears to have been a Greek invention. We do know that Babylonian (and later also Etruscan) hepatoscopy entailed the removal of an animal liver, but aside from the relatively differentiated terminology for this organ and the assignment of certain emotions to the main organs, Babylonian texts are silent about the topic of anatomy [17]. The beginnings of anatomical r…

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…

Alexipharmaka

(207 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (ἀλεξιφάρμακα; alexiphármaka). ‘Medications that protect from poisons’. The search for effective antidotes is as old as the poisons themselves.  Theophrastus ( c. 380-288/5 BC) already presented discussions of a few antidotes (fr. 360, 361 Fortenbaugh), but a more serious investigation into poisons seems to have begun in Alexandria with  Herophilus and  Erasistratus (around 280 BC) and was continued by Apollodorus and Nicander of Colophon (2nd cent. BC), whose Theriaka and Alexipharmaka are the oldest surviving treatises on the topic. Alexipharmaka can be us…

Mental illness

(976 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] A. Near Eastern Mental illnesses (MI) are described in both Jewish and Babylonian texts. Sometimes physical signs are indicated, as in epilepsy, sometimes behaviours are described as in 1 Sam 16:14-16; 21:13-15, but all MI are ascribed to the intervention of God, or, in texts from 500 BC onwards, of a variety of demons [1]. Treatment might be limited to confinement (Jer 29:26-8) or exorcism, including music, but the Jewish ‘Therapeutae’ took an approach that involved the entire lifes…

Transmission of disease

(307 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Latin contagio

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.…

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. …

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.…

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 …

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 atta…

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 cite…

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 concept…

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 compendia, like the Canon of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (Arabic medicine), and in the lectures of medieval university professors, discussing the precise way in which the four humours were mixed together in the individual [6]. Its foundations were part empirical, based on the human body's tendency to homoeostasis, and part theoretical. Its combination of Hippocratic and Aristotelian doctrines (Melancholy) made it particularly attractive to an intellectual communi…

Arabic medicine

(1,884 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
Nutton, Vivian (London) [German version] …

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 me…

Heracleianus

(130 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)

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…

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 …

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 (

Aeficianus

(88 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Greek doctor and philosopher, teacher of  Galen, lived about AD 150 in Asia Minor (Gal. 19,58, CMG V 10,2,2, 287). A long-standing student of  Quintus (Gal. 18A, 575)…

Anonymus Parisinus

(350 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Paris, BN, suppl. gr. 636, contains excerpts from a doxological work about acute and chronic diseases. C. Daremberg first discovered its significance for the history of medicine in his 1851 edition of Oribasius, p. XL, and collated at least two other MSS, without ever producing an edition. Following a hint by G. Costomiris, R. Fuchs took over the editio princeps in 1894 on the basis of two Paris MSS [1] but caused confusion by separating the doxographic part from the therapeutic part. Fuchs did not edit the section on acute diseases unt…

Pulse

(548 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (σφυγμός/ sphygmós, Latin pulsus). Although a pounding pulse was long recognized as an indication of illness, it seems to have been Aristotle [6] (Hist. an. 521a; De respiratione 479b) who was the first to connect the phenomenon with the heart [1]. His assertion that the pulse was a normal, constant presence in all blood vessels was disproved by Praxagoras, who was able to show that only arteries had a pulse. His view that arteries contained only pneûma and functioned independent of the heart was in turn questioned by his pupil Herophilus [1], whose ideas, based in part on vivisection, formed the basis for …

Callianax

(110 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)

Euryphon of Cnidus

(339 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Greek physician, mid 5th cent. BC. The story recounted in Sor. Vita Hipp. 5, that E. cured Perdiccas II of Macedonia of an illness caused by unrequited love, arose comparatively late and is rather fantastical. According to Galen (17a,886), he provided the most important contributions to the so-called ‘Cnidian Sentences’, which have survived only in fragments [1. 65-66; 2. 14-26]. In the opinion of some ancient scholars some of his works, especially those dealing with dietetics, were taken up into the Hippocratic Corpus (Gal. 6,473; 7,960; 16,3). E. regarded diseases as the result of residues of food that, in his opinion, rise to the head. If the stomach is empty and clean before the next meal, digestion functions normally (Anonymus Londinensis 3,7). Galen (2,900; 15,135-136) includes him in a list of physicians well-versed in anatomy, doubtless referring to E.'s naming of the parts of the body and his differentiation of veins and arteries rather than to a definite practice of dissection [3. 1343]. …

Summaria Alexandrinorum

(296 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] In Late Antiquity in Alexandria [1] writings by Galenus and to a lesser extent by Hippocrates [6] were assembled into a medical compendium. Known as the '16 Books of Galen', it covers the basic areas of medicine  (including anatomy, physiology and therapeutics). According to Arab sources [1], a number of teachers (

Philagrius

(127 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Φιλάγριος; Philágrios). Doctor from Epirus, fl. 3rd-4th cents. AD; he practised in Thessalonica and was the author of more than 70 books: treatises on dietetics, gout, dropsy and rabies as well as a commentary on Hippocrates [1]. He is often cited by later authors, especially in Arabic, for his treatment of diseases of the liver and spleen. Doctrinally, he often follows Galen, but pays particular attention to pneuma (Pneumatists) as the co-ordinating force in organisms. His name appears often in garbled form as Filaretus (e.g. frr. 131-133: Rhazes, Continens, Venice 1509, folios 493r-494v), though it is uncertain whether he is the author of the treatise on the pulse which is attributed to Philaretus [1]. Nutton, Vivian (London) Bibliography …

Lippitudo

(175 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] An eye disease characterized by exudation, covering a variety of specific diseases like trachoma and conjunctivitis. A dry variety of lippitudo, xerophthalmía, in which the purulent eyes become stuck shut over night is also described (Celsus, De medicina 6,6,29). Celsus [7] (ibid. 6,6,2) reports a large number of ointments and other agents against lippitudo, an extremely common condition; this is confirmed by many ‘oculists' stamps’ for eye ointments ( Kollyrion) with the inscriptions ‘against lippitudo’ and by the large number of manufacturers of such ointments, whose names are given on the stamps and in recipe-literature [1]. A report from Vindolanda…

Adamantius

(110 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] [1] Doctor Doctor and iatrosophist, who as Jew was expelled from Alexandria in c. AD 412, converted to Christianity in Constantinople and returned to Alexandria. Author of an abridged version of the Physiognomy of  Polemon of Laodicea, (ed. R. Förster 1893). Some prescriptions, which are ascribed to him, are handed down by Oribasius (Syn. ad Eustathium 2,58-59; 3,24-25; 9,57). He is probably not the author of the treatise ‘About the Winds’, Ed. V. Rose 1864), which refers to Peripatetic meteorology and apparently dates from the 3rd cent. AD. …

Vulva

(163 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
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