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December 5, 1986

Symposium on Byzantine Medicine

Author Affiliations

University of Wisconsin Waukesha

JAMA. 1986;256(21):3029-3030. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380210125043

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The Symposium on Byzantine Medicine is made up of 21 papers that were originally delivered in 1983 at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, DC. Unlike many scholarly compilations, which incorporate a variety of studies to elaborate on a general theme, this assemblage of articles can be read with a decided sense of continuity and understanding because of the organizational skill of its editor, John Scarborough.

The first six presentations relate the Byzantine physician to the society and institutions within which he worked from the time of Galen (129-c 210 AD) to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Vivian Nutton, Barry Baldwin, and John Duffy show that, despite the influence of the faith healers of the early church, Byzantine medical practitioners maintained a position of respectability in all levels of society. While a skilled medical encyclopedist such as Oribasius (c 320-c 400 AD) could be highly regarded