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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…

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…

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…

Corpus Medicorum

(178 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[English version] This research project was begun in 1901 at the suggestion of the Danish scholar Johan Ludvig Heiberg and with the assistance of the Saxon and Danish Academies of Science and the Puschmann Foundation was established in the Berlin Academy of Sciences. Its self-defined task was the editing of all extant ancient medical authors, initially under the directorship of Hermann Diels. Diels' catalogue of manuscripts by Greek physicians (1906), together with a supplement (1907), remains to …

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…

Hippocratism

(604 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[English version] Even though in Byzantium and the medieval Christian Occident Hippocrates was seen as the founder of medicine and given legendary status, his teachings, as compiled in the Corpus Hippocraticum, were studied only on a very narrow textual basis, and the few available texts were known only through Galen's interpretation or from the lemmata of the Galenic commentaries on Hippocrates. In the Western medicine of the Middle Ages, pseudonymous treatises were at least as influential as those contained in the modern edition of Hippocrates' texts, with the exception of the Aphor…

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…
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