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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 quat…

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 …

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. ana…

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/ phṓlarc…

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 co…

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 t…

Philagrius

(127 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)

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…

Adamantius

(110 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)

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).…

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 (IDel…
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