About this title The first edition of Ancient Medicine was the most complete examination of the medicine of the ancient world for a hundred years. The new edition includes the key discoveries made since the first edition, especially from important texts discovered in recent finds of papyri and manuscripts, making it the most comprehensive and up-to-date survey available. Vivian Nutton pays particular attention to the life and work of doctors in communities, links between medicine and magic, and examines the different approaches to medicine across the ancient world. The new edition includes more on Rufus and Galen as well as augmented information on Babylonia, Hellenistic medicine and Late Antiquity. With recently discovered texts made accessible for the first time, and providing new evidence, this broad exploration challenges currently held perspectives, and proves an invaluable resource for students of both classics and the history of medicine. He has published extensively on all aspects on medicine before the seventeenth century, and in particular on Galen and the Renaissance.
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In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Reviewed by: Ancient Medicine Gary B. Ferngren Vivian Nutton. Ancient Medicine.
Series of Antiquity. London: Routledge, Perhaps no modern student of Greek and Roman medicine is so well equipped as Vivian Nutton to produce a volume that covers the entire field of medicine in classical antiquity. His extensive studies on, e. Nutton begins in chapter 1 by asking how we know what we know about ancient medicine. Our evidence is incomplete, even spotty. There exist almost no medical texts in Latin. Fragments, mere titles, and summaries remain, but large tracts of ancient medical history are entirely unrepresented in the sources.
The modern scholar must supplement the evidence from texts with the abundance of epigraphic, papyrological, and archaeological materials that help to fill the gaps. Nevertheless, the history of classical medicine is one for which huge lacunae remain. The largest is that of women healers: in spite of much recent scholarship devoted to the study of women in antiquity, we know little about female involvement in ancient medicine pp.
Although acknowledging its usefulness, Nutton does not write from the point of view of social anthropology see p. A classically trained historian, his strengths are a broad knowledge of the ancient world and a mastery of ancient texts, both of which are essential to a proper evaluation of Greco-Roman medicine. His work is a history not of healing, but of medical theory and medical practice.
He traces the growth and development of medical practitioners, rightly in my view translating iatroi and medici as "physicians" rather than "healers. He understands, of course, that any attempt to reconstruct the world of ancient medicine must take into account the differences between ancient and modern disease categories, and he devotes an informative and perceptive chapter chap.
Nutton demonstrates that, in spite of enormous changes in [End Page ] cultural, political, linguistic, and geographical factors over time, ancient medicine was marked by many continuities that transcended conventional chronological boundaries.
Although rational-speculative medicine grew up in the classical world, it survived into the Christian world and readily adapted itself to its radically different perspectives. Nutton tries to be sensitive to chronology and avoids stereotyped approaches. He eschews the broad generalizations across the centuries that, in spite of frequent warnings against essentialism, remain common in the field. He does not privilege Hippocratic medicine, but describes the growth of medical astrology, number mysticism, and magical pharmacy pp.
No one has written more perceptively or in a more nuanced fashion on the social status of the physician than Nutton himself, and he devotes a chapter chap.
Chapter 13 provides an uncommonly sympathetic survey of the controversial medical sect of the Methodists. Nutton devotes two chapters chaps. Access options available:.
Read preview Synopsis Available for the first time in paperback, this first large-scale, sole-authored history of ancient medicine for almost 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. Excerpt 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.
Patterns of Disease. Before Hippocrates. Hippocrates, the Hippocratic Corpus and the Defining of Medicine. Hippocratic Theories. Hippocratic Practices.