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date: 05 March 2021

Dioscurides(2)locked

, 'Phakas', Herophilean physician
  • Heinrich von Staden

Extract

Dioscurides (2), nicknamed ‘Phakas’, possibly because of the moles or marks (φακοί) on his face (as Suidaδ 1206 claims), practised medicine in *Alexandria (1) in the 1st cent. bce as a member of the ‘school’ of *Herophilus. He perhaps served as *Cleopatra VII's physician, and possibly as an ambassador both of her father (*Ptolemy (1) XIIAuletes) and brother, Ptolemy XIII (cf. Suidaδ 1206; Caes. B. Civ. 3. 109. 3–6). Like many Herophileans, Dioscurides engaged in Hippocratic exegesis (see Hippocrates (2)), writing a polemical work in seven books against all previous Hippocratic lexicographers (Erotianus, pref., and ο 5; Gal. 19. 63, 105 K. J. Kühn; cf. Paul of Aegina 4. 24). According to the problematic evidence of the Suida, he also wrote 24 renowned medical books, one of which may have been a work on a plague that occurred in Libya during his lifetime (cf. *Posidonius (2) of Apamea, T 113 Edelstein–Kidd).

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