Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Diocles of Carystus

Diocles of Carystus (probably 375–300 BC), also known as Diocles Medicus, came from the island of Euboea but is remembered as a resident of Athens. He wrote on animal anatomy, dietetics, physiology, embryology, and medical botany, but only fragments of his writings survive. His work on anatomy may have been the first of its kind and was based on dissection of animals. He appears to have been the first to use the word “anatomy,” to have been influenced by Hippocratic medicine, and to have invented the Spoon of Diocles, an instrument used to extract from the body parts of weapons or missiles such as barbed arrowheads.

Hippocrates and Diocles of Carystus at a mortar and pestle
Woodcarving showing Hippocrates and Diocles of Carystus from Ancient herbalists and scholars of medicinal lore (Galen, Pliny, Hippocrates etc.); and Venus and Adonis in the gardens of Adonis. Lorenz Fries, 1532. Wellcome Collection. Public domain.

Fall 2022



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