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Article

John Scarborough

Medical botanist and personal physician of *Mithradates VI of Pontus (120–63 bce), after whom he named mithridatia, the mall, liliaceous Erythronium dens-canis L. (Plin.HN 25. 26. 62). Crateuas composed two or more tracts, known only by fragments: (1) a herbal, title not preserved, which featured coloured drawings of plants accompanied by botanical descriptions and specific instructions for medical employment (ibid. 25. 4. 8); (2) Root Cutting and Gathering (scholia on Nic.Ther. 681a (ed. A. Crugnola, 1971)), a book on the pharmacology of roots and medicinal plants, detailing preparation techniques. Crateuas’ treatises were well known to *Dioscorides (2), whose Materia medica derived some details from Root Cutting and other works, indicated by occasional citations. Perhaps some of the botanical illuminations in the Anicia Juliana manuscript of ce 512 (cod. Vindobonensis med. gr. 1) are based on Crateuas’ drawings, but recent opinion leans against direct borrowing (Riddle, Dioscorides190–1).

Article

Inventor (fl. 270 bce), was the son of a barber in *Alexandria (1), and employed by *Ptolemy (1) II. He was the first to make devices employing ‘*pneumatics’, i.e. the action of air under pressure. His work on the subject is lost, but descriptions of some of his inventions are preserved by *Philon (2), *Vitruvius, and *Heron. These include the pump with plunger and valve (Vitr. 10. 7; Heron, Pneumatics 1. 28), the water-organ (Vitr. 10. 8), the first accurate water-clock (Vitr. 9. 8. 4 ff.; see clocks) and a war-catapult (Philon, Belopoeica43). No great theoretician, Ctesibius was a mechanical genius, some of whose inventions were of permanent value. It is probable that many of the basic ideas in the works of Philon and Heron on mechanical devices derive from him.

Article

John Scarborough

Cyranides, a Greek tract in five books, listing the magical and curative powers of stones, plants, and animals. Authorship, date, and title are uncertain, although the Cyranides bears affinity to works ‘by’ *Hermes Trismegistus, suggesting Egyptian—perhaps Coptic—origins in the 1st or 2nd cent. ce. The treatise says it is partly by Cyranus, king of Persia, and partly by Harpocration (the medical and astrological writer). Book 5 contains a number of parallel passages to *Dioscorides (2), indicating that both the Cyranides and Dioscorides drew from common and rather ancient traditions.

Article

Damon (2) Athenian sophist, musicologist and children’s music-teacher, a member of *Pericles’ (1) circle of intellectuals, mentioned admiringly but perhaps ironically in *Plato (1)’s dialogues. He is credited with some musical innovations, but is best known for ideas about music’s social and political influence and the ethical effects of various rhythms, mentioned in Plato, Resp. 3 and 4. Despite the imaginative reconstructions of Lasserre and others, there is no reliable evidence that he analyzed the harmoniai, or that there was ever an identifiable school of ‘Damonians’ dedicated to an ‘ethos theory’ of music. There are only very fragile grounds for attributing to him the ‘ancient scales’ described in *Aristides Quintilanus, De mus. 1 or ideas found in De mus. 2.

Article

Physician of the ‘school’ of *Herophilus. No Herophilean was more famous for his contributions to *pathology. In On Affections 1–12 and in Signs (or Semiotics) he discussed the symptoms and causes of numerous mental and physical disorders, including priapism, satyriasis, mania, hydrophobia, lethargy, cardiac disorders, phrenitis, dropsy, pneumonia, and pleurisy. Like Herophilus, he also had a strong interest in *gynaecology: he discussed the causes of difficult *childbirth (δυστοκία), inflammation of the uterus, and seven kinds of vaginal discharge. Displaying the scientific independence characteristic of the Herophilean school, he directly contradicted Herophilus by asserting that there are diseases peculiar to women. Therapeutics represent a further attested interest of Demetrius. Although also known from an anonymous papyrus, Demetrius is the only Herophilean whose views are transmitted mainly by Methodist sources (*Soranus, Caelius Aurelianus); this perhaps is an indication of the esteem in which his ‘practical’ contributions were held, also by non-Herophileans.

Article

Democedes of *Croton (6th cent. bce), one of the most famous doctors (see medicine) of his time (Hdt. 3. 125), and origin of Croton's medical reputation (Hdt. 3. 131), practised in *Aegina, *Athens, and then for *Polycrates (1) of Samos. After the murder of Polycrates in c.

Article

Ludwig Edelstein and V. Nutton

Dentistry in antiquity was part of general *medicine; diseases of the teeth were explained and treated in accordance with the theories on other diseases. The operative technique was excellent (the Hippocratic treatment of the fracture of the mandible is famous; see Hippocrates (2)); extractions were performed at an early date. The methods of preserving the teeth, however, consisted mainly of medicinal and dietetic means; fillings for that purpose were unknown. Loose teeth were fastened with gold wire (Hippoc Περὶ ἄρθρων 32; Twelve Tables 10. 8). Toothache being considered a chronic disease and one of the greatest torments (Celsus, Med. 6. 9), hygienic prescriptions were extensively advocated. Cleansing of the teeth with tooth-powder, the toothpick (dentiscalpium), chewing (σχινίζειν τοὺς ὀδόντας) were recommended in addition to innumerable remedies against bad breath, a favourite topic of Latin epigrammatists. False teeth were set, but only by technicians, the artificial teeth being carved from ivory or other animal teeth. Such prostheses, used by the *Etruscans and Romans, served primarily to hide physical defects and to correct deficiencies of speech, but had probably to be removed before meals.

Article

J. T. Vallance

Diagnosis (διάγνωσις, Lat. cognitio), lit. ‘the means of distinguishing, or recognizing’. The concept of diagnosis is important in ancient forensic oratory and law, but the most extended accounts of its importance are found in the medical writers. Much ancient medical literature is concerned with the way in which the doctor should discern the nature, history, and future course of the patient's illness. Each case dealt with by the doctor involved the recognition of a number of signs which needed to be distinguished and ordered so that the correct treatment could be prescribed, and the progress of the disease anticipated. Prognosis (πρόγνωσις) is effectively a part of diagnosis, and many ancient diagnoses result not so much in naming the affection as in predicting its outcome. Effective prognosis not only increased the patient's confidence in the doctor, but could also encourage the doctor to avoid hopeless cases.A group of Hippocratic treatises, including Prognostic, Prorrhetic, and Critical Days, deal with the nature of the signs presented to the doctor by the patient.

Article

Courtney Ann Roby

Illustrations were extremely rare in ancient literary texts. They were only occasionally used in medical texts, principally Apollonius of Citium, Dioscorides, and perhaps Soranus; references survive to illustrations in lost works on biology by Aristotle.1 Illustrations, or diagrams, were mandatory in the exact sciences—the unique genre of illustrated text in antiquity. Such diagrams were formed by a network of straight and curved lines (certainly drawn with ruler and perhaps by compass as well; the few extant arcs on papyri are drawn freehand). In the extant literature, diagrams are always labelled by letters of the alphabet, standing typically at the intersection points of the lines. The diagrams are crucial to the logical development of the text and encode some of the information the text takes for granted, in a nonverbal way. At the same time, diagrams are drawn schematically so that the apparent metrical relations of the diagram are not meant to represent the metrical relations of the object studied. Thus, diagrams encode topological rather than metrical properties. The foundational study of these attributes of diagrams is Reviel Netz’s study of 1999.

Article

Author of significant writings on harmonics. (See music § 5.) His novel techniques on the monochord and his original, rather straightforward tetrachordal divisions are closely criticized by Ptolemy (Harm. 2. 13–14). *Porphyry quotes extensive passages (On Ptolemy's Harmonics 26. 6–29, 27. 17–28. 26) on distinctions between schools of harmonic theory, developed elaborately from the female musicologist *Ptolemaϊs, and cites Didymus as authority for a report known to Ptolemy (Harm. 1. 6), originating with *Archytas, about early Pythagorean procedures. Porphyry also alleges that Ptolemy took much of his material from Didymus without acknowledgement; this is no doubt an exaggeration, but there may be some truth in it, particularly as regards his information about Archytas and the Pythagorean theorists. He is perhaps the Suda's Didymus son of Heraclides, a grammarian and eminent musician of Neronian times.

Article

J. T. Vallance

Many ancient medical authorities believed that therapeutic medicine had its origins in the gradual discovery of connections between health and the regulation of one's day-to-day life (δίαιτα). A group of treatises in the Hippocratic corpus (see hippocrates (2)) is concerned specifically with the study of the living-patterns of both sick and healthy. By the time *Celsus wrote the preface to his treatise On Medicine, dietetics had long been established as one of the three main branches of therapeutics, along with *surgery and *pharmacology. Traditionally, Herodicus of Selymbria, a gymnastic trainer, was credited with recognizing the connections between regimen and both health and illness; dietetics was originally thought to have developed in the context of the regulation of life for those training for the games (see Pl.Resp. 406a).

Hippocratic dietetic strategy involved the doctor with the healthy as much as the sick. Certain activities were known to be risky, and were thus to be discouraged—too much sex, drinking, reading, inactivity, massage, and so on. Doctors were encouraged to observe with great care all the factors, both internal and external, which might influence the body for good or ill.

Article

In several ancient medical canons (e.g. Vindicianus, De med 2, fr. 2 Wellmann) he is placed second in fame only to *Hippocrates (2). His writings survive only in quotations, and there are serious problems of attribution in the case of certain fragments. Diocles was perhaps a contemporary of *Aristotle (c.384–322 bce) but his dates are highly controversial and the nature of his intellectual relationship to Aristotle and the Lyceum even more so. *Galen claims that he wrote the first anatomical handbook (2. 282 Kühn, fr. 23 W); he also wrote influential works on physiology, aetiology, medical semiotics and prognostics, *dietetics, and *botany (see also anatomy and physiology). His practice was no less famous than his theory; a type of bandage for the head was named after him, as was a cunning spoon-like device for the removal of arrowheads. The relative sophistication of Diocles' method is evident in an unusual fragment preserved by Galen (6.

Article

G. J. Toomer and Alexander Jones

Diocles (4), mathematician (c. 200 bce), wrote Περὶ πυρείων (On Burning-Mirrors), preserved in Arabic translation. This treats both spherical and parabolic mirrors (giving the first proof of the focal property of the parabola). The second part of the work is concerned with

(a) solving a problem of *Archimedes by means of intersecting conics;

(b) solving the problem of finding two mean proportionals (‘doubling the cube’) by intersecting conics;

(c) the same by means of a special curve (misnamed ‘cissoid’ in modern times).

Paraphrases of the last three are given by Eutocius (In Arch. 160 ff., 82 ff., 66 ff.).

Article

Diodorus (4) of *Alexandria (1), mathematician and astronomer (1st cent. bce), wrote a work, Analemma, on the construction of plane sundials by methods of descriptive geometry. Only the section on the determination of the meridian from three shadow-lengths survives, in Latin and Arabic versions, but later treatments of the subject are found in *Vitruvius, *Heron, and *Ptolemy (4)'s Analemma (see mathematics). The work was important enough for *Pappus (see Collection 4. 246) to write a commentary on it. The Diodorus who commented on *Aratus (1)'s Phaenomena (see Aratea) may be the same man.

Article

G. J. Toomer and Reviel Netz

Diophantus of *Alexandria (1) (date uncertain, between 150 bce and ce 280), mathematician, wrote an algebraic work on indeterminate equations, Ἀριθμητικά, in thirteen books, of which six survive in Greek and four more in Arabic. The latter are numbered, and then to go through every step of finding a single solution, in rational but not necessarily integer numbers. The method for finding more solutions is only implied by the example given. This procedure, using specific numbers, puts Diophantus in a tradition going back ultimately to Babylonian mathematics (see Heron), and may perhaps be compared to the use of particular diagrams for the sake of general arguments in Greek geometry (see mathematics). He does not recognize negative or irrational numbers as solutions. Books 1–3 contain linear or quadratic indeterminate equations, many of them simultaneous. Beginning with book 4 cubes and higher powers are found. The solutions often demonstrate great ingenuity. A small treatise by Diophantus on polygonal numbers is preserved and may be authentic, but a work on porisms to which he refers and which may be his own is lost.

Article

Dioscorides (2) (Pedanius Dioscorides) (1st cent. ce), of Cilician Anazarbus, wrote an extensive, five-book work on the drugs employed in medicine. Dioscorides studied under Areius of Tarsus and travelled extensively collecting information about the medicinal uses of herbs, minerals, and animal products. His travels took him to the Greek mainland, Crete, Egypt, and Petra, but he mentions plants from much further afield. In the Preface he describes his travels as leading to a ‘soldier-like life’, a statement that led later writers to conclude, probably falsely, that he was once a physician in the Roman army.Dioscorides' Περὶ ὕλης ἰατρικῆς (Materia medica, ‘Materials of Medicine’), bks. 1–5, lists approximately 700 plants and slightly more than 1,000 drugs, and includes a letter to Areius that serves as an introduction. His method was to observe plants in their native habitats and to research previous authorities on these subjects. Finally he related the written and oral data to his clinical observations on the effects the drugs had on and in the body. He also provided data on preparations, adulterations, and veterinary and household usages. Dioscorides boasted that his method of organization was superior to that of previous works. His scheme was first to organize by categories, such as whole animals, animal parts and products, minerals, and plants—the last subdivided into roots, pot-herbs, fruits, trees, and shrubs. Within each category he arranged drugs according to their physiological reaction on the body. This arrangement by drug affinities was not explained and, as a consequence, many later copyists of his text rearranged his system according to the alphabet thereby obscuring the genius of his contributions. Dioscorides' information aims at medical precision, and his account is relatively free of supernatural elements, reflecting keen, critical observation of how drugs react. His medical judgements were well regarded until the 16th cent. Manuscripts of the Materia medica in Greek, Latin, and Arabic are often beautifully illuminated and indicate that Dioscorides' original text was accompanied by illustrations.

Article

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).

Article

disease  

Robert Sallares

Disease, the main cause of death in antiquity, is a topic for which there are more sources than for most aspects of life in the ancient world, thanks principally to the Hippocratic corpus (see Hippocrates (2)), *Aretaeus, and the numerous works of *Galen. Additional information may be obtained from palaeopathology, the study of diseases found in human skeletal remains. Ancient medical literature concentrates on chronic and endemic diseases, rather than the major epidemic diseases. In fact the Greek word ἐπιδήμιος, in a medical context, means ‘endemic’ rather than ‘epidemic’.Malaria and tuberculosis are the most prominent diseases in ancient literature. Malaria occurred in antiquity in three forms, vivax, the commonest, falciparum, the most dangerous, and quartan, which has the longest periodicity. All three produce periodic fevers recurring every two or three days which were noticed easily, if not understood, by ancient doctors. The epidemiology of malaria in antiquity resembled that of recent times. In the highly seasonal Mediterranean climate malaria occurs mainly in the summer and autumn and affects adults at least as much as children, helping to explain its importance for ancient doctors. It depends for its transmission on certain species of mosquitoes, and was probably absent from some regions where these vectors did not occur. It is not necessarily associated with marshy environments. The chronology of the spread of malaria in the Mediterranean is disputed. All three types existed in Greece in the 4th cent. bce, but it is uncertain how long before that falciparum malaria had been present.

Article

Pupil of the astronomer *Conon (2). He continued a connection between the Alexandrian astronomers and *Archimedes which had begun with the latter's studies in *Alexandria (1); Archimedes dedicated several of his books to Dositheus. Observations by him on the time of appearance of the fixed stars (some of them made at places further north than Alexandria) and on weather-signs are recorded in the Parapegma of *Geminus and elsewhere.

Article

Paul Cartledge and Robert Sallares

The Mediterranean is a zone of intense earthquake activity because the plates carrying Africa and Europe are slowly moving together, according to the theory of plate tectonics. Notable earthquakes in antiquity include: *Spartac.464 bce, where several thousands may have perished; Helice in *Achaea373 bce, where the city was submerged under the sea; *Rhodes227/6 bce, when the Colossus statue collapsed; *Pompeii62 ce, which suffered severe damage. Some destructions of Mycenaean and Minoan palaces are also attributed to earthquakes. Earthquakes were associated with *Poseidon in mythology: Poseidon the Homeric ‘earth-shaker’ (ennosigaios) was fervently worshipped also as ‘earth-holder’ (gaiaochos) and ‘stabilizer’ (asphalios), in Sparta and elsewhere. King Agesipolis of Sparta was as distinctly unusual in his pragmatic approach to an earthquake in the Argolis in 388 bce (XenophonHell. 4. 7. 4–5) as Herodotus (7.