Late Antique Medicine: Advice for Love and Old Age

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Late Antique Medicine: Advice for Love and Old Age
Late Antique Medicine: Advice for Love and Old Age

Keeper of Knowledge

For more than 1000 years, Byzantine physicians preserved the knowledge of antiquity and expanded it with clinical experience. It was not until the fall of Byzantium that this treasure made its way to the West - and changed the medieval world.

The year 1453 is considered by historians to be the turning point in history: Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium, was conquered by Ottoman troops. After more than a millennium, the once mighty empire was history - and Europe entered a new era. Because collections of antique and late antique writings now reached the West in different ways. New horizons opened up for the sciences and especially medicine. Although the knowledge of Hippocrates or Galen was never completely forgotten, it even had a significant influence on medieval medicine. But now there was a veritable abundance of it, thanks to generations of Byzantine scholars.

When the Roman Empire split in two in AD 395, the world of medicine also split: in the new kingdoms of the West, only a small number of aristocrats had access to the precious ancient texts, many went to the The turmoil of the migration period was lost or was simply not transferred to the new forms of writing – books called codices instead of the scrolls that were common in antiquity. Although the scriptors of the monasteries copied some works, it was only in the Eastern Roman Empire that the knowledge of physicians such as Hippocrates and Galen remained alive, was taught, applied and expanded on a daily basis…

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