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Acumenus [of Athens]

(72 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Ἀκουμενός; Akoumenós) [of Athens] Doctor from the late 5th cent. BC. As father of the doctor  Eryximachus, who was a friend of Socrates and Phaedrus, A. emerges briefly as a fictitious dialogue partner in Pl. Phdr. 268a and 269a, in order to emphasize the thesis that the art of medicine comprises more than merely knowledge, which has been gleaned from books and teachers. Nutton, Vivian (London)

Phylotimus

(248 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Φυλότιμος; Phylótimos) of Cos. Physician and chief magistrate ( mónarchos) of Cos in the first half of the 3rd cent. BC; along with Herophilus [1], he was a pupil of Praxagoras and became one of the classic authorities of Greek medicine (cf. Gal. De examinando medico 5,2), although only fragments of his writings now …

Humoral theory

(722 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] The idea that physical health was connected with bodily fluids was widespread. Mucus is already mentioned in ancient Egyptian medicine, and also in Babylonian medicine particular attention was paid to the quantity and colour of bodily fluids. The Greeks regarded   ichṓr of the gods, blood (α(̃ιμα; haîma) in humans and sap (χυμός; chymós) in plants as the bearers of life. These fluids (χυμοί/ chymoí, Latin humores) could also become dangerous in excess. Two humours, phlegm (φλέγμα; phlégma) and bile (χόλος; chólos or χολή; cholḗ), are already represented as hazard…

Eustochius

(53 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Evodus (Εὐστόχιος; Eustóchios) from Alexandria. He encountered  Plotinus towards the end of the latter's life ( c. AD 269), who converted him to philosophy. E. also acted as Plotinus' physician, accompanied him on his last journey, and was with him when he died (Porphyrius V. Plot. 7). Nutton, Vivian (London)

Hippocratic Oath

(704 words)

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

Leprosy

(396 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] also ‘Hansen's Disease’. A chronic disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae affecting the peripheral nerves, and often also the skin. Palaeopathological finds prove its existence in the Mediterranean area only for the Hellenistic period [1], but texts from Babylon, Egypt and Israel from c. 800 BC onwards describe disfiguring skin diseases, among which could be included leprosy, even though the descriptions probably refer to psoriasis. The biblical name of the disease ṣaraʿat, in the Middle Ages wrongly translated as leprosy, referred to a disease whic…

Dietetics

(1,163 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] I. Greece Greek medicine is fundamentally different from Egyptian and Babylonian medicine because it allots dietetics in the broader sense of a regime of eating, drinking, exercise and bathing, a key role within therapeutics [2. 395-402; 3]. Originally, dietetics referred to the administering of balanced foods in liquid, pasty or solid form, depending on the degree of illness (Hippocr. De medicina vetere 5 [4. 241-257]). However, about the mid 5th cent. BC it expanded well beyond a …

Anonymus de herbis

(74 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Several MSS of Dioscorides contain an anonymous poem of 215 hexameter verses about the qualities of herbs, which was written probably in the 3rd cent. in highly stylized Greek. It refers back to Nicander, Dioscorides and Andromachus [4, the Elder] According to [1], the poetic language shows similarities with the Orphica (newest edition: [1; cf. 2]).…

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…

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.…

Democedes

(260 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)

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 comm…

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) Bibliog…

Iatrosophistes

(216 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] Originally meaning a teacher of medicine (esp. in Alexandria), iatrosophistes could later refer to any experienced practitioner ( medicus sapientissimus

Phanostrate

(79 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Φανοστράτη; Phanostrátē). Greek-Athenian midwife and doctor, depicted on Attic grave stelae from the end of the 4th cent. BC (IG II/III2 6873; Clairmont, 2. 890). The inclusion of the professional title midwife suggests a certain degree of specialisation in medicine and shows at the same time that women were able to work as doctors and earn a considerable income, as is suggested by the quality and individual designs of the stone mason’s craftsmanship.…

Melancholy

(534 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (μέλαινα χολή/ mélaina cholḗ, ‘black bile’). The fourth humour in the tradition of Hippocratic medicine represented by De natura hominis, ch. 4, and later by Rufus of Ephesus and Galen. It was predominant in autumn, associated with the element earth, and cold and dry. It was viewed as the antithesis of blood, having many deadly properties [1]. According to Galen (De atra bile 5,104-148 K.) in its purest form it was highly destructive to everything it touched, and had its origin in the spleen. Not ev…

Phlebotomy

(371 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)

Acesidas

(59 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Ἀκεσίδας; Akesídas). According to Paus. 5,14, A. was considered a hero in Olympia and was elsewhere known under the name Idas. His name offers the assumption that he was worshipped as a healing god, who possibly shared a healing cult, which was very common on the Peloponnese, with  Paeonius,  Iason and  Heracles. Nutton, Vivian (London)

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

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 (L…

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…

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 ap…

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, so…

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 …

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 (

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 iatral…

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 Babylonia…

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 religio…

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 direc…

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 commentar…

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, ‘infection’, refers to the transmission of disease (TD) from person to person, directly or through an intermediary. TD is associated with the idea of pollution: Judaism, for instance, holds that…

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 w…

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. Nutton, Vivian (London)

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. 400 BC, the Hippocratic author of De morbo sacro prop…

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…

Medicine, Historiography of

(2,043 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
Nutton, Vivian (London) [German version] A. Arabic Medical Historiography (CT) The historiography of ancient medicine goes back at least to Late Antiquity, when a 'History of the Physicians' is said to have been written by John Philoponus (6th cent.). Material from this work was drawn upon by Ishaq ibn Hunayn (d. 910/911), for his own 'History' ( Ta'rikh al-atibba), which is largely concerned with chronology [11]. Ishaq's example was followed by a variety of writers in Arabic, some, like the bookseller Ibn an-Nadim (fl. 987), producing largely lists of…
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