Aretaeus of Cappadocia

Aretaeus of Cappadocia

Aretaeus (polytonic|Ἀρεταῖος), is one of the most celebrated of the ancient Greek physicians, of whose life, however, few particulars are known. There is some uncertainty regarding both his age and country, but it seems probable that he practised in the first century after Christ, in the reign of Nero or Vespasian. He is generally styled "the Cappadocian" (polytonic|Καππάδοξ).

He wrote in Ionic Greek a general treatise on diseases, which is still extant, and is certainly one of the most valuable relics of antiquity, displaying great accuracy in the detail of symptoms, and in seizing the diagnostic character of diseases. In his practice he followed for the most part the method of Hippocrates, but he paid less attention to what have been styled "the natural actions" of the system; and, contrary to the practice of the Father of Medicine, he did not hesitate to attempt to counteract them, when they appeared to him to be injurious. One disease he described was later known as Celiac Disease and is common in the world today.

The account which he gives of his treatment of various diseases indicates a simple and sagacious system, and one of more energy than that of the professed Methodici. Thus he freely administered active purgatives; he did not object to narcotics; he was much less averse to bleeding; and upon the whole his Materia Medica was both ample and efficient. It may be asserted generally that there are few of the ancient physicians, since the time of Hippocrates, who appear to have been less biased by attachment to any peculiar set of opinions, and whose account of the phenomena and treatment of disease has better stood the test of subsequent experience. Aretaeus is placed by some writers among the Pneumatici because he maintained the doctrines which are peculiar to this sect; other systematic writers, however, think that he is better entitled to be placed with the Eclectics.

His work consists of eight books, two "De causis et signis acutorum morborum", two "De causis et signis diuturnorum morborum", two "De curatione acutorum morborum", and two "De curatione diuturnorum morborum". They are in a tolerably complete state of preservation, though a few chapters are lost.

The work was first published in a Latin translation by JP Crassus, Venet. 1552, 4to., together with Rufus Ephesius. The first Greek edition is that by J Goupylus, Paris, 1554, 4to., which is more complete than the Latin version of Crassus. In 1723 a magnificent edition in folio was published at the Clarendon press at Oxford, edited by J Wigan, containing an improved text, a new Latin version, learned dissertations and notes, and a copious index by Maittaire. In 1731, the celebrated Boerhaave brought out a new edition, of which the text and Latin version had been printed before the appearance of Wigan's and are of less value than his; this edition, how­ever, contains a copious and useful collection of annotations by P Petit and DW Triller. The useful edition by CG Kühn, Lips. 1828, 8vo., included Wigan's text, Latin version, dissertations, etc., together with Petit's Commentary, Triller's Emendations, and Mait­taire's Index. An edition by FZ Ermerins was published in Utrecht in 1847.

A more recent standard edition is by Karl Hude (1860-1936) in the "Corpus medicorum graecorum" (2nd ed., Berlin, Akademie-Verlag, 1958). The four books "De causis et signis" have now been issued in an annotated bilingual edition in Greek and French (Arétée de Cappadoce, "Des causes et des signes des maladies aiguës et chroniques", trans. R.T.H. Laennec, ed. and comm. Mirko D. Grmek, pref. by Danielle Gourevitch, Geneva, 2000).


The medical opinions of Aretaeus have been discussed by such scholars as Johann Albert Fabricius, Albrecht von Haller, and Kurt Sprengel. Aretaeus has been treated more recently in a couple of short monographs:
* Karl Deichgräber, "Aretaeus von Kappadozien als medizinischer Schriftsteller", Berlin, 1971.
* Fridolf Kudlien, "Untersuchungen zu Aretaios von Kappadokien", Mainz, 1964.For Aretaeus' influence on Giambattista Morgagni, the father of anatomical pathology, see:
* Giorgio Weber, "Areteo di Cappadocia: interpretazioni e aspetti della formazione anatomo-patologica del Morgagni", Florence, 1996

External links

* [ Aretaeus' complete works in Greek and English] (edition of Francis Adams, 1856) at the Digital Hippocrates project



Further reading

*cite encyclopedia
last = Kudlien
first = Fridolf
title = Aretaeus of Cappadocia
encyclopedia = Dictionary of Scientific Biography
volume = 1
pages = 234-235
publisher = Charles Scribner's Sons
location = New York
date = 1970
isbn = 0684101149

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Aretaeus Of Cappadocia — ▪ Greek physician flourished 2nd century AD       Greek physician from Cappadocia who practiced in Rome and Alexandria, led a revival of Hippocrates teachings, and is thought to have ranked second only to the father of medicine himself in the… …   Universalium

  • Aretaeus of Cappadocia — (c. 150 AD)    A classical physician of the pneumatic school who has been credited with making an early conceptual distinction between illusions and hallucinations. Thus Aretaeus s work would seem to have foreshadowed the distinction between… …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • Аретей из Каппадокии — др. греч. Ἀρεταῖος ὁ Καππαδόκης …   Википедия

  • Coeliac disease — Classification and external resources Biopsy of small bowel showing coeliac disease manifested by blunting of villi, crypt hyperplasia, and lymphocyte infiltration of crypts ICD 10 …   Wikipedia

  • Diabetes mellitus — Diabetes redirects here. For other uses, see Diabetes (disambiguation). Diabetes mellitus Classification and external resources Universal blue circle symbol for diabetes.[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Samuel Gee — Samuel Jones Gee (September 13, 1839 – August 3, 1911) was an English physician and paediatrician. In 1888, Gee published the first complete modern description of the clinical picture of coeliac disease, and theorised on the importance of diet in …   Wikipedia

  • Soap — For other uses, see Soap (disambiguation). A collection of decorative soaps, often found in hotels …   Wikipedia

  • History of bipolar disorder — This article is an expansion of a section entitled History of bipolar disorder from within the main article: Bipolar disorder Varying moods and energy levels have been a part of the human experience since time immemorial. The words depression… …   Wikipedia

  • Endocrinology — (from Greek gr. ἔνδον, endon , within ; gr. κρῑνω, krīnō , to separate ; and gr. λογία, logia ) is a branch of medicine dealing with disorder of the endocrine system and its specific secretions called hormones.Function of endocrine organs,… …   Wikipedia

  • Migraine — This article is about the disorder. For other uses, see Migraine (disambiguation). Migraine Classification and external resources The pain of a migraine headache can be debilitating. ICD 10 …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.