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Article

abacus  

Serafina Cuomo

An abacus (ἄβαξ, ἀβάκιον), a counting board, was the usual aid to reckoning in antiquity. The Greeks and Romans alike used a board with vertical columns, on which (working from right to left) units, tens, and hundreds; or (where money was in question) units of currency, for instance the Attic signs for ⅛ obol, ¼ obol, ½ obol, 1 obol, drachma and so on, could be inscribed. The Salamis abacus is an example of a type of flat, large counting board, made of stone, of which more than twenty have survived from antiquity (Figure 1).There are also significantly fewer examples of small, bronze abacus. (Figure 2).The extant flat, large counting boards have been found in the Greek-speaking part of the Mediterranean, whereas the small bronze abaci appear to originate in the Roman world, and are engraved with Roman numerals. There are different possible reconstructions of how calculations were carried out on the ancient Greek or Roman abacus, which would seem to indicate that different procedures were also in use in antiquity In general, with addition, the totals of the columns were carried to the left, as in ordinary 21st-century addition.

Article

Robert Sallares

Abortion was controversial in antiquity. Doctors taking the Hippocratic Oath (see hippocrates (2)) swore not to administer abortifacients, but other Hippocratic texts suggest that prostitutes (see prostitution, secular) often employed abortion. A *Lysias fragment suggests that abortion was a crime in Athens against the husband, if his wife was pregnant when he died, since his unborn child could have claimed the estate. Greek temple inscriptions show that abortion made a woman impure for 40 days (see pollution).The Stoics (see stoicism) believed that the foetus resembled a plant and only became an animal at birth when it started breathing. This attitude made abortion acceptable. Roman jurisprudence maintained that the foetus was not autonomous from the mother's body. There is no evidence for laws against abortion during the Roman republic. It was common during the early Roman empire (e.g. Ov. Am. 2. 14), and was practised for many reasons, e.g. for family limitation, in case of *adultery, or because of a desire to maintain physical beauty.

Article

Massimo Raffa

From the earliest stages of Greek thought, sound was thought to originate as the result of an impact between two objects. At first it was believed that the swiftness and force of the impact affected both volume and pitch; then it became clear that these were two different parameters. Pitch, in particular, was connected either to quantitative factors, such as the speed of the movement or the number of subsequent impacts, or to qualitative ones, like the idiotes (“peculiarity”) theorized by Theophrastus. The least investigated parameter of sound is timbre, which was usually attributed to the physical characteristics of the source.There is no specific branch of ancient Greek science or physics named akoustike; nevertheless, the Greeks showed a keen interest in sound and its characteristics from the earliest stages of their literature. In the Homeric poems, sound is conceived of as something that possesses magnitude and direction. Such adverbial forms as .

Article

RE, of Aphrodisias, *Peripatetic philosopher (2nd cent. ce). His influential writings included commentaries on the order of *Aristotle's works (mainly philological); on Nicomachean Ethics and *Theophrastus' Characters (historical and literary); on Categories and on Physics; and on *Plato (1)'s Timaeus (mathematical and scientific, relating Pythagorean and Aristoxenian harmonics and contemporary astronomy to Platonic cosmology (see aristoxenus; pythagoras (1)).

Article

In *Alexandria (1) and Constantinople. He wrote an extant medical encyclopaedia, called the Tetrabiblon from its division into four sections. Beginning with a summary of drug theory (see pharmacology), which simplifies many obscurities in *Galen and *Oribasius, the Tetrabiblon compacts pharmacy, *dietetics, general therapeutics, hygiene, bloodletting, cathartics, prognostics, *pathology, fevers, urines, cranial ailments, eye problems (see ophthalmology), *cosmetics, and *dentistry (bks. 1–8). Unavailable are well edited editions of bks. 9–16, containing important accounts of toxicology (bk. 13), and *gynaecology and obstetrics (bk. 16; see childbirth).

Article

Agathinus (Claudius Agathinus) a Spartandoctor of the 1st cent. CE, associated with the medical sect of the *Pneumatists and by at least one ancient source with the establishment of an eclectic medical sect founded on Pneumatism with additional doctrines from medical Empiricism and *Methodism. He was a pupil of *Athenaeus (3) of Attaleia, and was linked with the Stoic philosopher L. *Annaeus Cornutus. He may have taught the physicians *Archigenes and *Herodotus (2). Fragments of his doctrines are reported by *Galen and *Oribasius, amongst others. He wrote influential works on pulsation (grudgingly praised by Galen, 8. 748 Kühn), on semi-tertian fevers, and on the use of hellebore; little is now known of their contents.

Article

Helen King

Appears in *Hyginus (3) (Fab.274) in a list of discoverers and inventors. She is described as an Athenian girl who lived at a time when there were no *midwives, because women and slaves were forbidden to learn medicine; this scenario matches no known historical period. Disguising herself as a man, Agnodice studied medicine under ‘a certain Herophilus’, and then practised medicine at Athens successfully, challenging the professional monopoly on the part of male doctors. Accused by her jealous rivals of seducing her patients, Agnodice demonstrated her innocence by performing the gesture of anasyrmos, lifting her tunic to expose her lower body. This revelation led to a charge of practising medicine unlawfully, but she was saved when the wives of the leading men lobbied the *Areopagus in her defence. Hyginus claims that Athenian law was then changed so that freeborn women could study medicine.

Article

M. Stephen Spurr

Agricultural manuals, written by practising landowners, flourished at Rome from M. *Porcius Cato (1) (c.160 bce) to *Palladius (c.Mid 5th cent. ce), enjoying higher status than other technical literature. Greece had produced notable works (*Varro knew more than 50, Rust. 1. 1. 8–11), but written mostly from a philosophical or scientific viewpoint; and an influential (non-extant) Punic work by Mago had been translated into both Greek and Latin (Varro ibid.; Columella Rust. 1. 1. 13). Agriculture, as gradually defined and systematized (earlier Greek, Punic, and Roman writers had wandered off the topic: Varro Rust. 1. 2. 13), embraced, in Varro's work (c.37 bce), arable cultivation, livestock, arboriculture, market gardens, luxury foods, slave management, and villa construction. A century later, *Columella doubted whether one man could know it all (Rust. 1. praef. 21; 5. 1. 1), and, from the early empire onwards, specialized works appeared, such as *Iulius Atticus' monograph on vines (Columella Rust.

Article

Edward Courtney and R. A. Kaster

Albinus (2) writer on music, geometry, and dialectic, probably identical with Ceionius Rufius Albinus (PLRE 1 ‘Albinus’ 14), the consul of ce 335, and perhaps with the poet of works entitled De metris and Res romanae; one fragment of each survives.

Article

alchemy  

R. Halleux

Of ancient texts on Greek alchemy there survive two papyri, three vast corpora of differing date and content, and a few isolated treatises. (a) Papyrus X from Leiden and the Stockholm papyrus can be dated by handwriting to the early 4th cent. ce. They are two parts of the same collection of recipes for gold, silver, precious stones, and purple, compiled from older works and, in particular, citing *Democritus. (b) Corpus M, the MS Marcianus graecus 299, now in Venice, was copied in the 11th cent., probably in Constantinople. Damaged, although a full table of contents survives, it is a compilation of texts probably formed at the court of the emperor Heraclius (7th cent.) on the initiative of one Theodorus, a court dignitary and associate of Stephen of Alexandria. (c) Corpus B, the MS Parisinus graecus 2325, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, from the 13th cent., of unknown provenance: a collection of texts perhaps formed in the time of *Psellus (11th cent.

Article

Alexander (15) Philalethes (‘Truth-lover’), a physician (fl. later 1st cent. bce?), succeeded *Zeuxis (3) as leader of the Asian branch of *Herophilus's ‘school’. Alexander's views on digestion, on various diseases, and on invisible ducts (πόροι) dispersed throughout the body have much in common with those of *Asclepiades (3) of Bithynia, as the Anonymus Londinensis and the Methodists recognized. However, only one problematic later Latin source explicitly identifies Alexander as a ‘pupil’ (discipulus) of Asclepiades. In his Gynaecia Alexander asserted that there are no diseases peculiar to women, thus siding with both Herophilus and Asclepiades on this controversial issue (see apollonius (10) mys; demetrius (21) of apamea; erasistratus). He agreed with Herophilus and Aristotle that male ‘seed’ (σπέρμα) has its origin in the blood. In his doxographic work Τὰ ἀρέσκοντα (‘Opinions’), he made an influential distinction between an ‘objective’ and a ‘subjective’ definition of the pulse. He argued for a modified ‘objective’ version of the pulse definitions advocated by the Herophileans *Bacchius, *Zeno (7), and *Chrysermus.

Article

Alexander (16), of Tralles, physician, 525–605 ce, died in Rome. The author of an extant encyclopaedia of practical medicine, Alexander shows his continual adaptation of Graeco-Roman texts in light of his actual practice. He wrote the justly famous Letter on Intestinal Worms, a fundamental work in the history of early parasitology; excellent are his accounts of *ophthalmology, angina, pulmonary diseases, urology, gout, and *pharmacology, the last scattered throughout his writings.

Article

Cecil Maurice Bowra, Eveline Krummen, and Christopher Pelling

Anabolē, musical term (see music), used of the striking-up of a musical instrument (esp. of the lyre, Od. 1. 155, 8. 266: ἀνεβάλλετο), a non-vocal prelude serving as a signal to dancers and singers (Pind. Pyth. 1. 4). In the *dithyramb of the 5th cent. bce it apparently denotes the elaborate astrophic lyric preludes introduced by *Melanippides (2); Aristophanes Aves 1385 satirizes their airy, highflown language.

Article

J. T. Vallance

The examination of the parts of the body, their forms, location, nature, function, and interrelations (to adapt the list provided by A. *Cornelius Celsus in the proem to book 1 of the De medicina)—whether through dissection (ἀνατομία, the title of several ancient medical works, and of a lost work by *Aristotle) or as part of more abstract speculation about natural causes (φυσιολογία)—was a concern not only for doctors. Physiology did not have the restricted range it has today; in antiquity it covered all kinds of speculative investigation into nature—in areas ranging from the search for the *soul and its physical location in the body to the explanation of organic processes in animals and plants. This means that ancient medical writers often paid close attention to the work of those whom we might regard today as having quite different concerns. Much early Greek cosmology, for example, was concerned (directly or indirectly) with problems surrounding the nature and origins of life, and the relations between the macroscopic structures of the universe and the microscopic structures of the body. Several Presocratic philosophers of nature advanced speculative models to explain physiological and pathological processes in terms of the transformation and balanced arrangement of one or more types of principal matter which they believed to constitute the universe as a whole. (Ideas of balance and imbalance, democracy and tyranny, symmetry and asymmetry can be seen shaping many different areas of Greek thought, cosmological, political, and physiological.) The influence, both positive and negative, of early cosmological models on Hippocratic physiological theories (see hippocrates (2)) was often profound—so much so that the author of the Hippocratic treatise On Ancient Medicine directed a strong attack on those doctors who borrowed unverifiable hypotheses from the philosophers (see elements; hypothesis, scientific).

Article

Antony Spawforth

Physician and court doctor of *Ptolemy (1) IV (Philopator), follower of *Herophilus. Works: Νάρθηξ (a pharmacopoeia, with descriptions of plants and roots); Περὶ δακέτων (on snake-bites); Περὶ τῶν ψευδῶς πεπιστευμένων (against superstitious beliefs); Περὶ στεφάνων (on wreaths: all lost except for fragments). *Eratosthenes berated him as a ‘literary *Aegisthus’ (Etym.

Article

J. T. Vallance

Animals are the mirror of nature, claimed *Epicurus (quoted in Cic. Fin. 2. 32), echoing a view widely held in different ways throughout antiquity. But others added that animals mirror culture as well; Greek and Roman writing and thinking about animals was as often ethical as what we might call scientific in character. Hardly surprisingly, the archaeological record provides ample evidence that animals were closely observed by artists, and further evidence for the ancient study of animals comes from early medical observations about the role of animals and animal products in human regimen. Yet the term ζῳολογία seems not to occur in any surviving classical work, and the earliest English uses of ‘zoology’ refer more often than not to the study of the medicinal uses of animal products.In the Homeric epics, animals exemplify many types of human qualities. Lions are brave, deer are prone to flight, bees swarm like crowds of people, dogs tread the treacherous path between loyalty and servility. (The story of Odysseus' dog, who died of joy on recognizing the scent of his long-lost master, was regarded by the later medical Empiricists as a miracle of diagnosis.) A great many similar examples can be found in the early Greek lyric poets. In the late 7th cent. bce, *Semonides of Amorgos wrote a poem comparing animals with different types of women; the only good woman is like a bee, the best of a terrible collection.

Article

Daniela Manetti

An anonymous work, preserved in a manuscript of the 1st century ce from Egypt, about several medical issues (definition of basic concepts, medical historiography on the causes of disease, physiology of digestion), Anonymus Londiniensis represents a rare example of an autograph from antiquity. An important source for peripatetic doxography and the reception of Hellenistic medicine.The papyrus P. Lit. Lond. 165, now held in the British Library as inv. 137 (P. Brit. Libr. inv. 137), was published first in 1893 by Hermann Diels, who learned of it through Fridericus G. Kenyon’s first notice.1 Diels set immediately to work, with the help of Kenyon, and produced the edition after a very short time. The papyrus, as reconstructed by Kenyon (with some later additions in 1901), is a roll around 3.5 metres long. Thirty-nine columns, almost complete, are preserved: one or two columns are missing at the beginning, as is at least one between columns IX and X. The text breaks off abruptly halfway down col. XXXIX. The handwriting suggests a date around the later part of the 1st century .

Article

Robert Browning

Anthimus was a Greek doctor attached to the court of the emperor Zeno (ce 474–91) who was involved in treasonable relations with the Ostrogothic king *Theoderic (2) Strabo in 481. He fled Roman territory and took refuge in Italy at the court of *Theoderic (1) the Great, who later sent him on a diplomatic mission to the Franks. He wrote some time after 511 a short Latin handbook of *dietetics—De observatione ciborum ad Theodoricum regem Francorum epistula. The interest of this curious text, half medical textbook, half cookery book, is twofold: first, it provides a detailed and vivid picture of the eating and drinking habits of a Germanic people of the Völkerwanderung: beer and mead are drunk for pleasure, wine as a medicine; second, since Anthimus learnt his Latin from the lips of the common people and had no contact with the literary and grammatical tradition, the De observatione ciborum is a specimen of the popular Latin of late antiquity, deviating from classical norms in vocabulary, morphology, and syntax, and of great value to the Romance philologist.

Article

J. T. Vallance

It is probably misleading, though not entirely inappropriate, to use this word to describe the ancient study of man and society. Misleading, because anthropology did not really exist as the kind of discrete discipline it is today (see anthropology and the classics). What follows here is a very brief summary of some central anthropological themes from antiquity, gathered from a variety of sources and contexts, ethical, scientific, and literary.The Greeks and Romans developed a range of ideas about their own identity and the identity of others; about the nature of human societies, their history, and organization. It is well known that many Greeks designated non-Greek speakers ‘*barbarian’,—after the Greek verb for ‘babble’—and language of course remained an important index of racial and cultural difference. (*Herodotus (1)'s History introduced many Greeks to foreigners and their customs for the first time: Hdt. 4. 183 notes that the Egyptian *Trogodytae ‘squeak like bats’; elsewhere, e.

Article

Alfred Hiatt

The terms antipodes and antichthones, along with others such as antoikoi and perioikoi, referred to hypothetical peoples dwelling beyond the extent of the known world. These terms were the product of a mathematically based astronomy in which the spherical nature of the Earth was a fundamental element. Calculations of the size of the Earth resulted in the conjecture that inhabited land existed beyond the known world of Asia, Europe, and Africa/Libya. Such land was usually thought to be inaccessible owing to the expanse of Ocean, or because of the extremes of heat and cold found, respectively, at the Equator and the poles.The concept of the antipodes appears to have emerged from Pythagorean thought. Pythagoras was credited with the doctrine that inhabitation was not restricted to the known world, and specifically that there were inhabitants on the opposite side of the Earth, whose “down” was “up” for those in the known world; certain Pythagoreans conceived of an antichthon, or counter-Earth, in relation to the known world (Diog. Laert., Vitae Philosophorum 8.