Byzantine Medicine - 500 A.D. to 1400 A.D.


This article describes about the Byzantine Medicine which was the era of medicine present in 500 AD to 1400 AD. Also read about the various entities and saints who played a important role in the era of Byzantine medicine.

The era of medicine after the decline of Greek medicine and the Roman Empire between 500 A.D. to 1400 A.D. in the Medical World came to be known as the era of Byzantine Medicine. Byzantine doctors derived their knowledge from Greek Medicine and also from the Roman sources.

Paul of Aegina's Compendium

Byzantian physicians made many good contributions to medicine like that of compiling of works into textbooks of which the much better known is the Paul of Aegina's Compendium.

Constantinople was the center hub of activities of the medical world and the major contributions was by the First Byzantine Physician by name Vienna Dioscurides
He composed a Compendium of all the Materia medica which describes nearly 600 plants and their possible medical use.

Oribasius - the great compiler of medical resources

Oribasius was another great compiler of medical resources and made revisions where older methods were incorrect. Many of his works were translated into Latin by other Byzantine physicians and in English and French in the later ages of Enlightenment and Age of Reason.

The last of well renowned Byzantine Physicians was Actuarius, whose work on Urine made the foundation of further studies in the field.

The era of Byzantine Medicine was the first to bring in the concept of Hospitals in Medical Services. The then Hospitals were set up by individual churches or the state. The concept came again from the Greek and Roman medicine but differed from it as the Hospitals in Greek and Roman Medicine were meant more for Military use and a place to die in a peaceful manner.

Hospitals flourished by the 8th and 9th century A.D. although the first hospital was built in the 4th century A.D. and was built by the Basil of Caesarea. Many of the Hospitals had a specific hierarchy of the Chief Physician (archiatroi), professional nurses (hypourgoi) and the orderlies (hyperetai).

Modern times education in Medicine bears its roots in Byzantine Medicine and Constantinople where professional education in Medicine had been given in the times.

Hospitals were always built near and around churches and when the doctors failed, the patients were asked to pray.

Saints Cosmas and Damien were the patron saints of medicine and doctors.

Role of Christianity in the flourishing of Byzantine Medicine


Christianity played a key role in propagating the ideas of charity, making medicine accessible to all and even to the poor and simple living people.

The decline of Byzantine medicine came in since the latter part of 12th century because of the European turmoil on both the fronts and also due to constant war and plague in Constantinople.


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Comments

Author: Partha Kansabanik04 Aug 2016 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

I have read this article. The article is basically on medical history of Byzantine empire after the period (birth) of Christ. This type of article has very limited readers.
After reading this article, I have found various factual inaccuracies. One such example is mentioned. The author has stated that: "The era of Byzantine Medicine was the first to bring in the concept of Hospitals in Medical Services. The then Hospitals were set up by individual churches or the state. The concept came again from the Greek and Roman medicine but differed from it as the Hospitals in Greek and Roman Medicine were meant more for Military use and a place to die in a peaceful manner." According to the author, the concept of hospital came during Byzantine empire, which is factually not correct. I would request the author to go through an article published by DP Aggarwal and Pankaj Goyal, Lok Vigyan Kendra, Almore (www.indianscience.org): Hospitals in ancient India. In the article, it is clearly stated that famous Chinese traveller, Fa-hien provided details of charitable dispensaries and hospitals in the kingdom of Chandragupta. Evidence of hospitals is also available in Pallava kingdom. The link of the article is indicated below:-
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277817197_Hospitals_in_Ancient_India
In addition, evidences are also available in Kautilya's Arthashastra regarding hospitals in ancient India (before the birth of Christ).



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