Classics Notes – Mar. 13/12
- Scribonius Largus. He collected plants. He arranged his book capite al calcem. He was interested in
what plants are effective against certain conditions.
- He believed medications were important for medicine. Influence of empiricist school – he thought
experience was important for medication and knowing what ones work. He kinds of goes against
Methodists, because they don’t believe so much in using medication.
- He felt it would be a crime not to use medications on patients because they are helpful.
- This is the 1 c. AD and he makes reference to Hippocratic oath. As a physician, they could not harm
their patients. To help, but not to harm. A roman attitude is also introduced – must treat everyone
equally – this is called humanitas. This is influenced by the idea of stoic philosophy – believed there
was one ruling principle in the world – pneuma or air, that holds everything together. Hippocrates is
seen as the father of medicine. The life of humans is sacred and it should not be destroyed. If people
won’t harm an embryo, they won’t harm a human. He believes that people should be given
medications, because withholding something that could be helpful is harmful to them.
- Dioscorides lived in asia minor and wrote about medications. He travelled around the Mediterranean
and described plants he saw. Empirical idea that you look at something yourself – he did his own
observations of plants – autopsia. He writes a scientific handbook of plants. He also used historia for
his information. He asked people about their experiences – oral history. He arranges the book by the
properties of plants. This arrangement was not seen as useful. He believes that drugs are part of all
kinds of medicine. His book is based on his own experiences, as well as oral history.
- Dioscorides is sitting on a chair. Heuresis – goddess of discovery – is also there. They thought the
root of the mandrake plant was very powerful. He talks about how to use this drug. Mandrake was
thought to be an anodyne – which takes pain away and can be used in surgery. It can also be used as
an abortive. Sometimes people would drink the juice of this plant prior to surgery, such as cutting or
cautery, because it would take away their pain. Dioscorides wrote a lot about medications and plants
that could be used as medications.
- Rufus of Ephesus – studied medicine in Alexandria and has good education in anatomy. He wrote the
first extant book on medical nomenclature. Medicine would be studied using a skeleton. They would
use a slave to examine external anatomy. They would dissect an animal to examine internal anatomy.
We learn about Hellenistic medicine from Rufus.
- Rufus of Ephesus (1 c. AD) wrote a book on the patient interview. He felt it is important to interview
a patient to determine their physical strength and to learn about what part is affected. We can learn