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March 10, 1962


JAMA. 1962;179(10):802-803. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050100056014

The A's in Greco-Roman medicine have it! Aesculapius, Aëtius (physician to Justinian I), Antyllus (Antyllian operation for aneurysm), and Aristotle span a period of almost 2,000 years, beginning with the dawn of Greek medicine and concluding with the fall of the Roman Empire. It is customary to identify historic greats before the Renaissance by a community or country of birth or residence. Aretaeus, a Greek, was born in Cappadocia, a Roman province in Asia Minor, several centuries after Hippocrates. Although the records are unclear as to his precise dates in the chronology of medicine, it is believed that he was a contemporary of Galen, the 2nd or 3rd century A.D.1 He studied in Alexandria whose fame as a medical center was already on the descendancy but still recognized as a great school of medicine.

Aretaeus was a prolific writer, but few translations of his original communications remain. De Causis