Ancient Medicine

Ancient Medicine

Ancient Medicine

Ancient Medicine


Available for the first time in paperback, this first large-scale, sole-authored history of ancient medicine for almost 100 years uses both archaeological and written evidence to survey the development of medical ideas from early Greece to late Antiquity.Vivian Nutton pays particular attention to the life and work of doctors in the communities, links between medicine and magic, and examines the different approaches to medicine across the ancient world.With many texts made accessible for the first time, and providing new evidence, this broad exploration challenges usual perspectives, and proves an invaluable resource for students of both classics and the history of medicine.


All quotations from Greek and Latin have been translated into English by me, unless otherwise stated, and ancient titles have been given in English throughout. Ancient names have been generally given in their most familiar form, without any attempt at total consistency between a Greek and a Latinate spelling. I have often indicated also the modern name or general location of an ancient place. The exact dates of many ancient writers are rarely known, and only approximations are often possible. I have tried to be consistent in indicating all dates BC, but I have added AD only to dates where there might be confusion in the mind of the reader, especially in chapters that crossed the boundaries between the Hellenistic and Roman worlds.

Two features in the notes should be mentioned here. Square brackets around the name of an author, e.g. [Aristotle], indicate that the work cannot be attributed with any degree of certainty (and usually with none) to that author. Hence, for reasons made clear in the text, I refer to writings in the Hippocratic Corpus always as by [Hippocrates].

Second, the two main blocks of ancient medical material are cited in two different ways. All references to Hippocratic texts are with an English title, their book and chapter heading, and the volume and page number in the standard edition of Emile Littré (Paris: Baillière, 1839-61). By contrast, in order to save space, I have cited Galen mainly by the volume and page number in the standard edition of K. G. Kühn (Leipzig: K. H. Knobloch, 1821-33), adding, where possible, the page number of an accessible English version. Where necessary, I have occasionally referred also to an improved text in a more recent edition, usually in the CMG series. Texts not in Kühn have been cited by title, section and page in the relevant modern edition.

I have generally used standard editions of other ancient texts, indicating where necessary the name of the editor. I have not provided full bibliographical references to papyri, usually indicated by P., and to inscriptions, e.g. I. Ephesos or Griechische Versinschriften. Those with Greek or Latin who wish to check these documents in their originally published form should consult the list of abbreviations in H. G. Liddell, R. Scott and H. S. Jones (1968) A Greek-English

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