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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 …

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…

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.  …

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…

Gesius

(298 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] or Gessios, from Petra (Steph. Byz. s.v. Γέα/ Géa), physician and teacher, end of the 5th/early 6th cent. AD, close friend of Aeneas [3] (Epist. 19; 20) and Procopius of Gaza (Epist. 38; 58; 123; 134). He studied medicine under the Jew Domnos (Suda s.v. Γέσιος/ Gésios) in Alexandria, where he practised as   iatrosophistḗs (teacher of medicine). Although opposed to Christianity, he was baptized at the instigation of the emperor Zeno but retained a cynically negative attitude towards his new religion. He protected th…

Medical ethics

(1,348 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] A. Introduction Medical ethics can be defined as the attitude of those schooled in the art of healing towards those whom they want to heal. How this appears in detail, depends on the healer's social group and standing and also the society in which he or she works. Furthermore, healers and those seeking healing may well have completely divergent views on medical ethics. It is possible to regulate for any desired attitude in the sense of the earlier definition by laws or professional …

Numisianus

(198 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Νουμισιανός; Noumisianós), anatomist and teacher of medicine in the 2nd cent. AD. A pupil of Quintus, he wrote many works on anatomy in Greek, but these were hoarded by his son Heracleianus and were eventully destroyed by fire (Galen, Administrationes anatomicae 14,1). Although Galen praises his promotion of anatomy, he attributes no discovery to him. Like other Alexandrians, N. commented upon Hippocrates (Galen, In Hippocratis Epidemiarum librum II, commentum 4: CMG V 10,1, 345-3…

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…

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…

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…

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 the ‘tax on …

Eryximachus

(89 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] (Ερυξίμαχος; Eryxímachos) Son of  Acumenus, Athenian doctor and Asclepiad, 5th cent. BC. As a friend of the sophist Hippias (Pl. Prt. 315A) and of Phaedrus (Pl. Phdr. 268A; Symp. 177A), he plays an important part in Plato's Symposium, in which he delivers a long speech in honour of Eros (185E-188E). His slightly pedantic manner earns him only the good-natured laughter of the invited guests but contemporary parallels to his linking of natural philosophy and medicine can be found in the Corpus Hippocraticum. 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…

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)

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. Nutton, Vivian (London)

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…

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 quattuor humoribus [1] , as well as in large com…

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…

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…

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)

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)

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 …

Medicine

(5,440 words)

Author(s): Nutton, Vivian (London)
Nutton, Vivian (London) [German version] A. Introduction (CT) The history of Classical medicine developed in different ways in the three cultures of Byzantium, Islam (Arabic medicine, Arabic-Islamic Cultural Sphere) and Latin Christianity. The first two shared a heritage of late-Antique Galenism, which was far less pervasive in Western Europe and Northern Africa than in the Greek world and among the Syriac Christians of the Near East. From the 11th cent. onwards, Western Europe rediscovered Galenism lar…

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 survive. He pursued anatomical interests, placed the seat of the soul in the heart and held that the brain was merely a useless extension of the spinal medulla (Gal. De usu pa…

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…

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)

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 …

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…

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…

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…

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)

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/ phṓlarchoi; this probably suggests a cultic communit…

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 which was apparently one of the main sources for  Aetius [3] of Amida, even if it shows signs of revisions in the meantime. Nutton, Vivian (London) Bibliography 1 E. Rohde, KS vol.1, 1901, 380-410 2 M. Wellmann, in: SBAW 1908, 772-777 3 S. Ihm, 1995.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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 propagated a purely somatic interpretation of epilepsy , wherein he suspected that changes in the balance of bodily fluids we…

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…

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…

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 …

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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) Bibliography 1 D. Bain, Salpe's ΠΑΙΓΝΙΑ; Athenaeus 322a and Plin. H. N. 28,38, in: CQ 48, 1998, 262-268.

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…

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…
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