Asclepiades of Bithynia

Asclepiades (c. 124 or 129 – 40 BC) was a Greek physician born at Prusa of Bithynia in Asia Minor and flourished at Rome, where he established Greek medicine near the end of the 2nd century BCE. He travelled much when young, and seems at first to have settled at Rome as a rhetorician. In that profession he did not succeed, but he acquired great reputation as a physician.

Discarding the humoral doctrine of Hippocrates, he founded his medical practice on a modification of the atomic or corpuscular theory, according to which disease results from an irregular or inharmonious motion of the corpuscles of the body. His ideas were likely partly derived from the atomic theory of the philosopher Democritus. His remedies were, therefore, directed to the restoration of harmony. He trusted much to changes of diet, massages, bathing and exercise, though he also employed emetics and bleeding. He recommended the use of wine, and every way strove to render himself as agreeable as possible to his patients. Asclepiades advocated humane treatment of mental disorders, and had insane persons freed from confinement and treated them with natural therapy, such as diet and massages.

The medical writers Galen and Aretaeus, both of whom lived in the second century A.D., credit Asclepiades of Bithynia with being the first individual to perform an elective (non-emergency) tracheotomy,

His pupils were very numerous, and the school formed by them was called the Methodical. He is said to have died at an advanced age.


* Vallance, J.T. The Lost Theory of Asclepiades of Bithynia. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-824248-4

Further reading

* cite encyclopedia
last = Stannard
first = Jerry
title = Asclepiades
encyclopedia = Dictionary of Scientific Biography
volume = 1
pages = 314-315
publisher = Charles Scribner's Sons
location = New York
date = 1970
isbn = 0684101149

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