Article ID: CBB221976383

The Epidemics: organising information on communal diseases (2020)


By contrast with Galen’s life in a world of books of many kinds, medicine in the fifth century b.c. was still largely dependent on oral transmission of information. Few books are cited or alluded to in the Hippocratic Corpus. The "Constitutions in Epidemics" 1 and 3, however, are unusual in being constructed from a multitude of records, not all of them written by the author. They presuppose a situation in which case notes were being written down, stored and consulted in a specific place, an iatreion, in order for the writer to create his own explanatory synthesis. The difficulties both practical and intellectual in this process should not be underestimated. Although there are traces in the Corpus of later attempts by others to produce similar accounts, they have not survived in full, and, as the second part of the paper shows, studies of widespread disease in a chronological and local context are rare throughout Antiquity and down to the sixteenth century. This only confirms the remarkable achievement of this early author.

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Authors & Contributors
Lorusso, Vito
Jouanna, Jacques
Roselli, Amneris
Börno, Maria
Coughlin, Sean Michael Pead
Technai, An International Journal for Ancient Science and Technology
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Galenos: Rivista di Filologia dei Testi Medici Antichi
Medicina Historica
Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura
Fabrizio Serra Editore
Le Monnier
Hippocratic medicine
Ecdotics; source study (methodology)
Linguistics; philology
Critical editions
Hippocrates of Cos
Time Periods
Mediterranean region

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