Chapter

Introduction

J. T. Vallance

in The Lost Theory of Asclepiades of Bithynia

Published in print October 1990 | ISBN: 9780198242482
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680489 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242482.003.0001
Introduction

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At the end of the second century, a Greek doctor in Rome named Asclepiades was making radical changes to the practice of medicine and described traditional Greek medicine to be a ‘preparation for death’. He was highly successful, as anyone who advocates the therapeutic benefits of ‘passive exercise’ is bound to be. His medical ideas were grounded on an extraordinary and mysterious theory which this book is attempting to reconstruct out of contradictory accounts of it which were offered in later antiquity. Answers to various questions on where his ideas may have come from have important implications in the understanding of Hellenistic philosophy as well as medicine. At the same time, they relate to one of the most intriquing doctrinal disputes in ancient science.

Keywords: Asclepiades; therapeutic benefits; Hellenistic philosophy; medicine; doctrinal disputes

Chapter.  1887 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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