Greek Rational Medicine: Philosophy and Medicine from Alcmaeon to the Alexandrians

By James Longrigg | Go to book overview

Preface

The Greeks invented rational medicine. In an effort to ensure that this outstanding achievement was accorded proper recognition within our classical curriculum at the University of Newcastle, I set up ten years or so ago a course on the history of Greek medicine. It is, I believe, the only one of its kind offered within classics departments in the United Kingdom. In teaching this course it soon became apparent that my students required some assistance in disentangling the highly complex relationship between philosophy and medicine in the classical period. This book has been written with the modest hope that it might prove to be of some assistance here. Since the majority of my students have little or no knowledge of classical Greek, I have also taken the opportunity to translate and quote at some length a good many passages from our original sources of evidence. Although, in this latter respect, it has been suggested that a choice of less familiar source material would enable me to invest this book with a greater degree of novelty, I decided, however, only selectively to follow this advice. My reasons for doing so are threefold. In the first place, some of the more familiar passages illustrate the points at issue far more effectively than any alternative would do. (This, after all, is largely why these texts are familiar.) Again, I thought it would seem rather perverse to seek to illustrate inter-relationships between philosophy and medicine without reference in detail to such texts as Ancient Medicine (De vetere medicina) and Sacred Disease (De morbo sacro). And, of course, not all who read this book (it is hoped) will be specialists in this subject.

Papers based upon research in progress for this work have been presented at the Wellcome Institute in London, and at the

-viii-

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Greek Rational Medicine: Philosophy and Medicine from Alcmaeon to the Alexandrians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface viii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Pre-Rational and Irrational Medicine in Greece and Neighbouring Cultures 6
  • 2 - Ionian Natural Philosophy and the Origins of Rational Medicine 26
  • 3 - Philosophy and Medicine in the Fifth Century I 47
  • 4 - Philosophy and Medicine in the Fifth Century II 82
  • 5 - Post-Hippocratic Medicine I 104
  • 6 - Post-Hippocratic Medicine II 149
  • 7 - Early Alexandrian Medical Science 177
  • Appendix 220
  • Notes 227
  • Bibliography 260
  • Index Locorum 278
  • General Index 287
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