Ancient Medicine (Sciences of Antiquity Series)

Ancient Medicine (Sciences of Antiquity Series)

Vivian Nutton

Language: English

Pages: 504

ISBN: 0415520959

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The first edition of Ancient Medicine was the most complete examination of the medicine of the ancient world for a hundred years. The new edition includes the key discoveries made since the first edition, especially from important texts discovered in recent finds of papyri and manuscripts, making it the most comprehensive and up-to-date survey available.

Vivian Nutton pays particular attention to the life and work of doctors in communities, links between medicine and magic, and examines the different approaches to medicine across the ancient world. The new edition includes more on Rufus and Galen as well as augmented information on Babylonia, Hellenistic medicine and Late Antiquity.

With recently discovered texts made accessible for the first time, and providing new evidence, this broad exploration challenges currently held perspectives, and proves an invaluable resource for students of both classics and the history of medicine.
















knowledge and understanding of his Greek heritage, Celsus expresses a distinctively Roman point of view. Yet this hesitancy towards medicine, even on the part of one so knowledgable as Celsus, should not be allowed to mislead. Medicine as practised and discussed by the Greeks was established firmly in Rome by the late second century BC. Despite public expressions of reluctance, Roman patients proved willing and eager to use Greek doctors to treat their ailments, and practitioners of medicine from

discredit his predecessor, shows him using emetics and clysters, venesection, tapping for dropsy and even pharyngotomy.92 This is eminently reasonable, for an author who wrote on wounds and wound treatments, as Asclepiades did, is unlikely to have shunned the knife completely.93 In Asclepiades Greek medicine in Rome found its earliest celebrated exponent. He wrote in Greek, although his message was largely to a Roman audience and his abilities were recognised across the linguistic divide. He was

argument. He appended a series of quotations – the first, in a badly damaged portion of the papyrus, probably from Diseases 1, the second from The Nature of Man – to show that Aristotle should have placed Hippocrates in the opposite camp, among those who believed that disease was the result of imbalance.21 Anonymus’ response is in itself interesting, for while The Nature of Man held centre stage in the Hippocratic tradition represented by Galen, and was subsequently accepted as supremely

wellstocked and appointed surgery, a neat bandage on another patient, a sound pronouncement about the sort of disease likely to be met with in the locality, appropriate dress and behaviour, an avowed willingness to help, but, at the same time, a reluctance to go too far with rash procedures that might end up damaging or even killing the patient.10 The comic poet Alexis joked that even one’s dialect mattered: an Athenian doctor who prescribed beetroot using its Attic name would be despised, but a

that of Prognostic, allows the possibility of distinguishing between foreknowledge, prognosis in the strict sense of the term, and foretelling, but he regards such a distinction as irrelevant to medical practice. One cannot make a sound statement about the future without sound foreknowledge, and only a fool would choose to be swayed by the manner of the pronouncement rather than its potential accuracy.21 As this author implies, prognosis is more than a tactical device to impress patients: it is

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