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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…

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)
[German version] (Πλειστόνικος; Pleistónikos). Doctor fl. c. 270 BC; he was a pupil of Praxagoras of Cos (Celsus, De medicina, proem. 20) and one of the 'classics' of Greek medicine in the so-called Dogmatic tradition (Dogmatists [2]; Gal. Methodus medendi 2,5; Gal. De examinando medico 5,2). It is difficult to assess his individuality, as, according to tradition- i.e. fundamentally in Galen - his views are transmitted as being in agreement with those of Praxagoras or other Dogmatists. Like his master…

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 …
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