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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 material only with difficulty. Gonorrhoea, a Greek word coinage presumably from the Hellenistic period, describes any form of excessive production of fluid in a man. It…

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 attacked the brain and that it spread to the stomach and caused hiccups, unquenchab…

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 cites the four authors ( Andromachus [5] the Younger,  Heras,  Heraclides [27] a…

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 conception and always to use medical knowledge in harmony with the laws of humanity. It retained mention of a doctor's obliga…

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…

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…

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) and follower of  Hippocrates, he interpreted at least some of their teachings in a Stoic sense, e.g., from the field of psychology, in which he followed the Stoic Simias (Gal. 19,58; 18b, 654]. The Hippocratic commentary, which is ascribed to him in the Galen edition by Kühn at Gal. 16,484, is a Renaissance forgery. Nutton, Vivian (London)

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 Herophil…

Callianax

(110 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Καλλιάναξ; Kalliánax). Doctor, adherent of  Herophilus [1] and member of his ‘house’, which possibly refers to the fact that he worked in the mid 3rd cent. BC [1].  Bacchius [1] in his memoir on the early followers of Herophilus (Galen in Hippocratis Epidemiarum 6 comment. 4,10 = CMG V 10,2,2,203), mentions that C. quoted Homer and the Greek tragic writers if his patients told him that they were afraid of dying. He gave them to understand by this that only the immortals could esca…

Acron [of Acragas]

(131 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Ἄκρων; Ákrōn) [of Acragas] Son of a doctor of the same name (Diog. Laert. 8,65), older contemporary of Hippocrates. He was supposed to have rid Athens of the pest by lighting big fires in 430 BC (Plut. De Is. et Os. 80 [cf. 1]). The  Empiricists (Ps.-Gal. 14,638) considered A. as founder of their school and as such he entered the doxographic tradition [2]. It is possible that he participated in the debates regarding the epistemological value of sensory perception (he was familiar …

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 disea…

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 ( Iatrosophistḗs ) in Alexandria are supposed to have written a series of summaries or abridgements of the books contained in this compendium, which were then collected under the title SA and translated into Arabic and perhaps also into Hebrew [2]. In…

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, V…

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 …

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)
[German version] According to Varro [2] (Rust. 2,1,19) derived from Latin volvere, 'roll', by which is meant the swathing of a fetus. In the early Imperial Period, vulva, like matrix, was used in addition to the technical term uterus as a term for the womb [1]. All three terms remained in use throughout Antiquity; in late Latin medical authors, vulva seldom occurs. In the course of time the term changed in meaning, in that it also included the vagina (Celsus, De medicina 4,1,12) and even the clitoris (Iuv. 6,129). In his Etymology (Isid. Orig. 11,1,137), Isidorus [9] of Seville connec…

Archiatros

(357 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (ἀρχιατρός; archiatrós). In the original use of the name during Hellenistic times, archiatros was the title of the king's personal physician. The term first appeared in connection with the Seleucids (IDelos 1547, cf. TAM V 1,689). A similar title, wr sinw, ‘supreme physician’, is documented in pre-Ptolemaic Egyptian texts; it is missing from early Ptolemaic papyri purely by accident. Dating to 50 BC, documentations are extant from Egypt (Athenagoras, SB 5216) and Pontus (IDelos 1573) [2. 218-226]. A physician known at t…
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