Classics Notes – Mar. 1/12
- Soranus of Ephesus was around in the 1 c. AD. He was born in Asia Minor, studied in Alexandria, and
worked in Rome. He learned anatomy using skeletons. He went to Rome, which was an important
place for physicians. Gynecology means things that concern women. He wrote textbooks on
gynecology and on acute and chronic diseases. This was translated by Caelius in the 4 c. AD. This
textbook is divided into acute and chronic diseases. Acute diseases are further divided into acute
diseases with fever (phrenitis, lethargy, pleurisy, pneumonia) and acute diseases without fever
(apoplexy, spasm, diarrhea). These are then further divided into diseases characterized by stricture
or looseness. Chronic diseases are not further subdivided, but are organized a capite ad calcem (from
head to toe). Individual diseases are described, including their symptoms and treatment according to
the Methodist school and treatment according to other schools. Treatment is always based according
to corpuscles. In diseases that are characterized by stricture, the patient should lie in a warm room so
their body can be relaxed. Loose diseases should be treated using astringent measures, meaning the
room should be cold and dark (these things counteract excessive looseness).
- Fig 29 – The book of gynecology is meant for male physicians and midwives. This picture shows a
woman who is giving birth and she is sitting on a chair or birthing stool. She is supported by an
attendant. The midwife is sitting on a stool in front of the woman. She is feeling the fetus. Midwifery
is an old profession and these women are well educated.
- The gynecology book is divided into 2 parts – things about the midwife and things that the midwife is
faced with. Things about the midwife is divided into 2 sections – who is able to become a midwife and
which midwives are the best. Things the midwife is faced with is divided into – things that are with
nature (normal, physiology), which is further divided into theory and practice, and things that go
against nature (abnormal, pathology), which is further divided into treatment by regimen and
treatment by manual manipulation or dystocia (surgery and pharmacology).
- The midwife must be literate because she must be able to apply theory. She must be intelligent. She
must have a good memory in order to gain more knowledge because it is a life-long process (like in
Hippocratic medicine). She must love her work and persevere. She must be respectful and
confidential (this same idea is present in Hippocratic medicine). Her senses (eyes, hearing) must be
good in order to observe (she must use her senses like Hippocratic physicians). She must be on call.
She must have slim, long fingers, and short nails. She must keep her hands soft. She must know