Ancient Medicine (Sciences of Antiquity Series)
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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.
Podalirius perform their actions without recourse to the gods: Machaon applies his dressings and Podalirius diagnoses Ajax’s incipient madness without any mention of them. Indeed, when Apollo comes to treat the gods who have themselves been wounded in skirmishes he does so in the same manner and is described in the same words as Machaon.10 Although this argument should not be pressed too far in dealing with a poem that relies heavily on formulaic language in its depiction of both gods and heroes,
learn other languages. Even Herodotus’ account shows how even an intelligent man could be led astray by his own eyes and by his interpreters. Hence, there is no guarantee that a visit to the East would have resulted in anything but the most superficial acquaintance with non-Greek medical theory. The exchange of substances need not have involved any deep exchange of ideas beyond the most obvious instructions for use, and by the fifth century many foreign substances were so common that they had
and medicine share the same procedure; they both have to employ a logical method of division of the nature of their subject, medicine dealing with the body, rhetoric with the soul. When Phaedrus gives only lukewarm assent to this formulation, Socrates repeats his question in a different way: ‘Then can you understand the nature of the soul intelligently without the nature of the whole?’9 Phaedrus’ response is a somewhat ironic assent: ‘At any rate, if we’re to believe Hippocrates, one can’t even
even those whom he had punished.51 Most of the cure inscriptions are reports of chronic sickness cured by divine intervention: paralysis, facial blemishes, blindness, ‘lice’, swellings and a failure to conceive are all mentioned, but one story tells of a broken goblet put back together again by the god, and another of the rediscovery of a lost child.52 Asclepius also appears to have a monopoly on curing three- and five-year pregnancies.53 Later cure inscriptions, from the shrines in Rome,
fellow villagers or townsfolk) and even some of their private correspondence. A son writes to his mother to excuse his brother Marcus who cannot come home to attend a funeral because he is worried about leaving the not inconsiderable number of patients in his surgery.50 We have traces of the books they read, or tried to find.51 Some of the fragments once formed part of the works of learned surgeons and pharmacologists, sometimes beautifully illustrated on high-quality papyrus, a pleasure to