Erasistratus of Chios
(c. 304 bc–259 bc) Greek anatomist and physician
Erasistratus, who was born on the Greek island of Chios, came from a distinctly medical background and studied in Athens, Cos, and Alexandria. Following Herophilus he became the leading figure in the Alexandrian School of Anatomy.
It is possible with Erasistratus, unlike his contemporaries, to make out at least the outline of his physiological system. Every organ and part of the body was served by a ‘three-fold network’ of vein, artery, and nerve. Indeed he believed the body tissues were a plaiting of such vessels, which at their extremities became so fine as to be invisible. The veins carried blood and the nerves and arteries transported nervous and animal spirits respectively.
As an atomist he rejected all attractive and occult forces seeking instead to explain everything in terms of atoms and the void. He thus accounted for the bleeding of severed arteries by assuming the escaped pneuma left a vacuum that was filled by blood from adjoining veins.
One of the most interesting aspects of his thought was his unusual rejection of the humoral theory of disease which, formulated by the Hippocratics and authorized by Galen became the sterile orthodoxy of Western medicine for 2000 years. Instead he seems to have argued for a more mechanical concept of disease, attributing it to a ‘plethora’ of blood, vital spirit, or food, which produces a blocking and inflammation of the various vessels.
His objection to the humoral theory found little support and with the passing of Erasistratus the great innovative period of Alexandrian medicine came to an end.

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chios — Χίος Satellite image of Chios Location …   Wikipedia

  • Erasistratus — of Chios (304 BC 250 BC) was a Greek anatomist and royal physician under Seleucus I Nicator of Syria. Along with fellow Greek Philosopher Herophilus, he founded a school of anatomy in Alexandria. Alexandria was an Egyptian city that fostered the… …   Wikipedia

  • History of medicine — All human societies have medical beliefs that provide explanations for birth, death, and disease. Throughout history, illness has been attributed to witchcraft, demons, astral influence, or the will of the gods. These ideas still retain some… …   Wikipedia

  • History of biology — For the video game, see History of Biology (video game). The frontispiece to Erasmus Darwin s evolution themed poem The Temple of Nature shows a goddess pulling back the veil from nature (in the person of Artemis). Allegory and metaphor have… …   Wikipedia

  • List of ancient Greeks — This an alphabetical list of ancient Greeks. These include ethnic Greeks and Greek language speakers from Greece and the Mediterranean world up to about 200 AD. compactTOCRelated articles NOTOC A*Acacius of Caesarea bishop of Caesarea… …   Wikipedia

  • Ancient Greek medicine — The Hippocratic Corpus, is a collection of around seventy early medical works from ancient Greece strongly associated with the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates and his teachings. The first known Greek medical school opened in Cnidus in 700 BC …   Wikipedia

  • Dissection — This article is about the biological examination process. For other uses, see Dissection (disambiguation). Dissection of a human cheek from Gray s Anatomy (1918). Dissection (also called anatomization) is usually the process of disassembling and… …   Wikipedia

  • Peripatetic school (The) — The Peripatetic school1 Robert W.Sharples THE HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL AND OF ARISTOTLE’S WRITINGS The history of Peripatetic philosophy after Aristotle falls into two phases, divided by the renewal of interest in the works we now possess after… …   History of philosophy

  • Kea (island) — Ceos redirects here. For the management occupation, see CEOs. Keos redirects here. For the radio station, see KEOS. Kea Κέα Kea Island …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”