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date: 25 January 2021


, physician, 1st cent. CE
  • J. T. Vallance


A doctor from *Tralles. He worked in Rome and was probably dead by ce 79. None of his writings survive, but he is often mentioned by other medical writers. *Galen (10. 7 Kühn) claims that he wrote to *Nero boasting of founding ‘a new sect, and the only true one’. *Pliny(1) (HN 29. 9) says that he described himself as the ‘conqueror of physicians’. The new sect was ‘Methodism’ (see medicine, §. 5. 3); it is a matter of some doubt whether he actually founded it or not and his own debt to *Themison of Laodicea is unclear. (Although some later Methodists certainly saw him as some kind of forerunner, if not founder.) The method of Methodism was a treatment which involved rectifying one of two phenomenally evident abnormal states in the affected body, stricture or flux (or in some cases a combination of the two). Methodists like *Soranus of Ephesus stressed the importance of independence from theory, and one important Methodist source, Caelius Aurelianus, attacks Thessalus for being too theoretical in his account of the background to the method.

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