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date: 06 December 2023


, of Bithynia (?), Alexandrian physician, later 3rd cent. bce?


, of Bithynia (?), Alexandrian physician, later 3rd cent. bce?
  • Heinrich von Staden


Alexandrian physician (later 3rd cent. BCE?), member of the ‘school’ of *Herophilus. He ascribed great value to semiotics, i.e. to the careful study of symptomatic signs (τὰ σημεῖα τὰ συμπίπτοντα) that ‘signify’ (σημαίνει) each affection (πάθος) and its cause (αἰτία), as a basis both for prognosis and for treatment. By contrast, he devalued attempts to question patients in order to ascertain antecedent causes (ἡγούμεναι προφάσεις) represented by the patient's regimen, lifestyle, or general physical condition. Famous for his treatise on the toxic effects of certain fragrant wreaths, he also wrote on various botanical drug ingredients, at times using idiosyncratic nomenclature. See botany. Like many Herophileans, he contributed to the interpretation of Hippocratic works (including Epid. 6 and perhaps Prognostic), not hesitating to ridicule exegetical precursors, including the founding father of his own school, Herophilus. Such criticisms illustrate the dynamic, pluralistic, agonal relations that prevailed in Hellenistic medicine, even among adherents of the same medical ‘school’.


  • Science, Technology, and Medicine

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