Tag Archives: Antiquity

Byzantine physicians

Greek physicians dominated medicine for almost two thousand years, beginning with the school of Hippocrates, of Herophilus and Erasistratus in Alexandria, and continuing after the Roman conquest. Celsus and Galen were in Rome; Dioscorides was in the Roman army during the reign of the Emperor Nero. Aretaeus of Cappadocia practiced sometime during the second century. […]

From the goddess of healing to hair of the dog: the role of canines in health myth and fact

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, USA    “A sculpture of Gula, Sumerian deity of healing, with a dog at her side.” Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY The landscape of Mesopotamia was riddled with challenges, but for every problem that arose there was a deity to petition. Of these perhaps the most well-known was Inanna or Ishtar, who influenced […]

Aristotle and the four humors

Aristotle is one of the greatest philosophers of all time. He has influenced human thought for almost 2500 years and many of his works are as relevant today as they were in the days of ancient Greece. Students of his philosophical works are likely to be familiar with his Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, Rhetoric, and Poetics, […]

Aretaeus of Cappadocia, second only to Hippocrates

Aretaeus was born in Cappadocia during the Roman hegemony over Greek Asia Minor. Few details are known about his life, but it is believed he studied in Alexandria and practiced medicine in Rome around the second century AD. After his death he was forgotten until rediscovered during the Renaissance, when a Latin translation of his […]

An ancient oath with modern significance

 Emmanuel Ugokwe SIA Africa and Society for Young Writers, Nigeria Southeast and SouthSouth Hippocrates of Kos Engraving by Peter Paul Rubens, 1638 About 400 BCE Hippocrates, commonly known as the father of medicine, wrote the Hippocratic oath. That noble, ethical creed still guides the medical profession. Is that what you have been taught? If so, you are […]

Alcmaeon of Croton, philosopher physician

Steph Magowan Royal Holloway, University of London   Alcmaeon of Croton remains one of the lesser known Presocratic writers, not only because of the sparse nature of his extant work but also because of his fragmentary treatment in modern scholarship. He is mentioned in passing but rarely fully examined, often even excluded entirely in work […]

Medicine in ancient Nineveh

Hussain A. AL-SARDAR Essex, United Kingdom   A view of ancient Nineveh Introduction Mesopotamia is the land between the Tigris and Euphrates, currently in the southern part of Iraq. Many civilizations developed and vanished in this very fertile part of the world. The first civilization was that of the Sumerians, who invented the cuneiform tablets […]

Death in ancient times

George Dunea British Medical Journal, Volume 294, 18 April 1987   “Many a physician has slain a king!” the emperor Hadrian shouted aloud as he lay on his deathbed. But Augustus when he was near death gathered his friends to ask if, in the manner of actors, he deserved applause for having played well his […]

Eumenes: even horses need to take regular exercise

  Photography by Hector Guerra   “During this siege, as he [Eumenes] perceived that the men, cooped up in such narrow limits and eating their food without exercise, would lose health, and also that the horses would lose condition if they never used their limbs. . . . He arranged the largest room in the […]

Many physicians have slain a king

George Dunea BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL – VOLUME 308  (January 29, 1994) Modern tourists know Hadrian mainly for his mausoleum in Rome or for the wall that he built in the north of England to keep out the barbarians. Historians think of him as an effective emperor and a capable administrator. But he was also a […]