Pharmacy and Drug Lore in Antiquity: Greece, Rome, Byzantium

1st Edition

John Scarborough

Published January 28, 2010
Reference - 384 Pages
ISBN 9780754659549 - CAT# Y236864
Series: Variorum Collected Studies


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Professor Scarborough brings together here fourteen of his essays on ancient drugs and pharmacy, dealing with aspects of a pharmacology and medical botany that incorporate magic, astrology, and alchemy, as well as the expected theoretical constructs of elements, qualities, and humors. Clinical application of salves for burns was a skill of long standing, as one essay demonstrates, and another suggests Hippocratic pharmacology's sophistication, as does consideration of the herbal lore in Theophrastus' remarkable Enquiry into Plants. A major concern among Greek, Roman, and Byzantine medical practitioners was toxicology and the fundamental collection of data on poisonous plants and animals, and two studies take up snakes, spiders, insects, and related creatures with suggested antidotes in the difficult poems of Nicander of Colophon, while another focuses on Dioscorides' perceptive analysis of the effects of the opium poppy. Aloe in the drug commerce of the early Roman Empire is considered along with the life and career of Criton, a personal physician to Trajan, and some of Galen's pharmacology as reflected in his commentaries on Hippocrates. The collection concludes with two studies that explicate early Byzantine pharmacology and how garden lore in Byzantine times contributed to practical pharmacy.

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