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

By James Longrigg | Go to book overview

6

Post-Hippocratic medicine II

Medicine from Lyceum to Museum

Ubi desinit physicus, ibi medicus incipit.

(Prologue, Dr Faustus (after Aristotle); 1604 recension) 1

Post [Hippocratem] Diocles Carystius, deinde Praxagoras …artem hanc exercuerunt.

(Celsus, De medicina, Proem, 8)

Aristotle was born at Stagira on the north-east coast of Chalcidice in Thrace. He was thus an Ionian by descent for the peninsula had been colonised by settlers from Andros and Chalcis. His father Nicomachus was a member of the guild of the Asclepiadae and traced his descent from his namesake, the son of Machaon and grandson of Asclepius. He ultimately became court physician and friend of Amyntas II, King of Macedon, the grandfather of Alexander the Great. Aristotle’s mother Phaestis was also a member of an Asclepiad family. If we can trust Galen, 2 the Asclepiad families trained their sons from childhood in anatomy as well as in reading and writing. It is possible, therefore, that Aristotle himself had some such training and it is not unreasonable to assume that it was from his Ionian and Asclepiad background that he derived his wide-ranging interests in nature and, especially, in biology. Surprisingly, Aristotle did not join the hereditary profession of his family, but instead entered the Academy in his eighteenth year. There is no doubt, however, that he retained an interest in anatomy and medicine. Diogenes Laërtius (V, 25) lists two separate works by him on anatomy and Aristotle himself refers on about twenty occasions to a work entitled Anatomai, ‘Dissections’, in seven books, which was apparently an illustrated handbook with a zoological commen-

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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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