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Biographies (10)

Doctors

Herophilus (4th-3rd cen. BC)

CHALKIDON (Ancient city) TURKEY
He was the founder of scientific anatomy. He went to Alexandria where he found the opportunity to study the human boby by making systematic incisions in corpses laid in the Museum. He also wrote many medical books.

Herophilus, (Herophilos), one of the most celebrated physicians of antiquity, who is best known on account of his skill in anatomy and physiology, but of whose personal history few details have been preserved. He was a native of Chalcedon in Bithynia (Galen, Introd. vol. xiv.) (1) and was a contemporary of the physician Philotimus, the philosopher Diodorus Cronos, and of Ptolemy Soter, in the fourth and third centuries B. C., though the exact year both of his birth and series, and death is unknown. He was a pupil of Praxagoras (Galen, De Meth. Med. i. 3. vol. x.), and a fellow-pupil of Philotimus (Galen, Ibid.), and settled at Alexandria, which city, though so lately founded, was rapidly rising into eminence under the enlightened government of the first Ptolemy. Here he soon acquired a great reputation, and was one of the first founders of the medical school in that city, which afterwards eclipsed in celebrity all the others, so much so that in the fourth century after Christ the very fact of a physician having studied at alexandria was considered to be a sufficient guarantee of his ability. (Amm. Mare. xxii. 16.) Connected with his residence here an amusing anecdote is told by Sextus Empiricus (Pyrrhon. Instit. ii. 22. 245, ed. Fabric.) of the practical method in which he convinced Diodorus Cronus of the possibility of motion. That hilosopher used to deny the existence of motion, and to support his assertion by the followingl dilemma :-- " If matter moves, it is either in the place where it is, or in the place where it is not; but it cannot move in the place where it is, and certainly not in the place where it is not; therefore it cannot move at all." He happened, however, to dislocate his shoulder, and sent for Herophilus to replace it, who first began by proving by his own argument that is was quite impossible that any luxation could have taken place; upon which Diodorus begged him to leave such quibbling for the present, and to proceed at once to his surgical treatment. He seems to have given his chief attention to anatomy, which he studied not merely from the dissection of animals, but also from that of human bodies, as is expressly asserted by Galen ( De Uieri Dissect. c. 5. vol. ii.). He is even said to have carried his ardor in his anatomical pursuits so far as to have dissected criminals alive,--a well-known accusation, which it seems difficult entirely to disbelieve, though most of his biographers have tried to explain it away, or to throw discredit on it; for (not to lay much stress on the evident exaggeration of Tertullian, who says (De Anima, c. 10) that he dissected as many as six hundred), it is mentioned by Celsus (De Medic. i. praef.), quite as a well-known fact, and without the least suspicion as to its truth; added to which, it should be remembered, that such a proceeding would not be nearly so shocking to men's feelings two thoulsand years ago as it would be at present. He was the author of several medical and anatomical works, of which nothing but the titles and a few fragments remain. These have been collected by C. F. H. Marx, and published in a dissertation entitled " De Herophili Celeberrimi Medici Vita, Scriptis, atque in Medicina Meritis," 4to. Gotting. 1840. Dr. Marx attributes to Herophilus a work Peri Aition, De Causis; but this is considered by a writer in the British and Foreign Medical Review (vol. xv.) to be a mistake, as the treatise in question was probably written by one of his followers named Hegetor. He owes his principal celebrity (as has been already intimated) to his anatomical researches and discoveries, and several of the names which he gave to different parts of the human body remain in common use to this day; as the " Torcular lIerophili," the " Calamus Scriptorius," and the " Duodenum." He was intimately acquainted with the nervous system, and seems to have recognised the division of the nerves into those of sensation (aisthetika), and those of voluntary motion (proairetika), though he included the tendons and ligaments under the common term neuron, and called some at least of the nerves by the name of poroi, meatus. He placed the seat of the soul(to tes psuches hegemonikon) in the ventricles of the brain, and thus probably originated the idea, which was again brought forward, with some modification, towards the end of the last century, by Sommering in his treatise Ueber das Organ der Seele, §§ 26, 28, Konigsberg, 1796, 4to. The opinions of Herophilus on pathology dietetics, diagnosis, therapentics, materia medica, surgery, and midwifery ( as far as they can be collected form the few scattered extracts and allusions found in other authors), are collected by Dr. Marx, but need not be here particularly noticed. Perhaps the weakest point in Herophilus was his pharmaceutical practice, as he seems to have been one of the earliest physicians who administered large doses of hellebore and other drastic purgatives, and who (on the principle that compound diseases require compound medicines) began that strange system of heterogeneous mixtures, some of which have only lately been expelled from our own Pharmacopoeia, and which still keep their place on the Continent. He is the first person who is known to have commented on any of the works of Hippocrates ( see Littre, Ocuxres d'Hippocrate, vol. i.), and wrote an explanation of the words that had become obscure or obsolete. He was the founder of a medical school which produced several eminent physicians, and in the time of Strabo was established at Men-Carus, near Laodiccia, in Phrygia. (Strabo, xii. 3., ed. Tauchn.) Of The physicians who belonged to this school perhaps the following were the most celebrated: Andreas, Apollonius Mus, Aristoxenus, Baccheius, Callianax, Callimachus, Demetrius, Dioscorides Phacas, Gaius or Caius (Cael. Aurel. De Morb. Acut. iii. 14), Heracleides, Mantias, Speusippus, Zeno, and Zeuxis, several of whom wrote accounts of the sect and its opinions.
  A further account of Herophilus may be found in Haller's Biblioth. Anatom., and Biblioth. Medic. Pract.; Le Clerc's and Sprengel's Histories of Medicine; Dr. Marx's dissertation mentioned above, and a review of it (by the writer of the present article) in the British and Foreign Medical review, vol. xv., from which two last works the preceding account has been abridged.
(1) In another passage (De Usu Part. i. 8. vol. iii.) he is called a Carthaginian, but this is merely a mistake (as has been more than once remarked), arising from the similarity of the names Chalkedonios and Karchedorios.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Herophilos. Physician and scientist from Chalcedon, who was active in Alexandria in the 3rd century BC. He had studied medicine on the island of Hippocrates, Kos, and was to become the greatest physician in Alexandria.
  By dissecting animals and human corpses, he learnt a lot about anatomy. He was especially fascinated with the human brain, and concluded that it was the centre for thinking and the nervous system, something Aristotle would have disagreed on.
  Herophilos also found a difference between the veins and the arteries, and said that the pulse is the result of the contractions and expansions of the arteries. He did not, however, see the connection with the heart.
  In order to measure the pulse he invented a clepsydra: a portable water clock. He also named the cornea, retina and the duodenum.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the In2Greece URL below.


Historians

Amelesagoras

Amelesagoras or Melesaloras, as he is called by others, of Chalcedon, one of the early Greek historians, from whom Gorgias and Eudemus of Naxos borrowed (Clem. Alex. Strom. vi.; Schol. ad Eurip. Alcest. 2; Apollod. iii. 10.3, where Heyne has substituted Melesagoras for Mnesagoras). Maximus Tyrius (Serm. 38.3) speaks of a Melesagoras, a native of Eleusis, and Antigonus of Carystus (Hist. Mirab. c. 12) of an Amelesagoras of Athens, the latter of whom wrote an account of Attica; these persons are probably the same, and perhaps also the same as Amelesagoras of Chalcedon.

Philosophers

Thrasymachus, 5th cent. B.C.

(Thrasumachos). A native of Chalcedon, was a Sophist, and one of the earliest cultivators of the art of rhetoric. He was a contemporary of Gorgias. He is one of the speakers in Plato's Republic.

Xenocrates

   (Xenokrates). A philosopher, born at Chalcedon in B.C. 400. He first attached himself to ?schines, but afterwards became a disciple of Plato, who took much pains in cultivating his genius, which was naturally heavy. Plato, comparing him with Aristotle, who was also one of his pupils, called the former a dull ass who needed the spur, and the latter a mettlesome horse who required the curb. His temper was gloomy, his aspect stern, and his manners little tinctured with urbanity. These material defects his master took great pains to correct, frequently advising him to sacrifice to the Graces; and the pupil, patient of instruction, knew how to value the kindness of his preceptor. He compared himself to a vessel with a narrow orifice, which receives with difficulty, but firmly retains whatever is put into it. So attached was Xenocrates to his master that when Dionysius, in a violent fit of anger, threatened to find one who should cut off his head, he said, "Not before he has cut off this,"pointing to his own. As long as Plato lived, Xenocrates was one of his most esteemed disciples; after his death he closely adhered to his doctrine; and in B.C. 339 he took the chair in the Academy as the successor of Speusippus. Aristotle, who, about this time, returned from Macedonia, in expectation, as it should seem, of filling the chair, was greatly disappointed and chagrined at this nomination, and immediately instituted a school in the Lyceum, in opposition to that of the Academy where Xenocrates continued to preside till his death. Xenocrates was celebrated among the Athenians, not only for his wisdom, but also for his virtues.
    So eminent was his reputation for integrity that when he was called upon to give evidence in a judicial transaction, in which an oath was usually required, the judges unanimously agreed that his simple asseveration should be taken, as a public testimony to his merit. Even Philip of Macedon found it impossible to corrupt him. When he was sent, with several others, upon an embassy to that king, he declined all private intercourse with him, that he might escape the temptations of a bribe. Philip afterwards said that of all those who had come to him on embassies from foreign States, Xenocrates was the only one whose friendship he had not been able to purchase. During the time of the Lamiac War, being sent an ambassador to the court of Antipater for the redemption of several Athenian captives, he was invited by the prince to sit down with him at supper, but declined the invitation in the words of Odysseus to Circe. This pertinent and ingenious application of a passage in Homer, or, rather, the generous and patriotic spirit which it expressed, was so pleasing to Antipater that he immediately released the prisoners. It may be mentioned as another example of moderation in Xenocrates, that when Alexander, to mortify Aristotle, against whom he had an accidental pique, sent Xenocrates a magnificent present of fifty talents, he accepted only thirty minae, returning the rest to Alexander with this message: that the large sum which Alexander had sent was more than he should have been able to spend during his whole life. So abstemious was he with respect to food that his provision was frequently spoiled before it was consumed. His chastity was invincible, and Lais, a celebrated Athenian courtesan, attempted, without success, to seduce him. He was an admirer of the mathematical sciences, and was so fully convinced of their utility that when a young man who was unacquainted with geometry and astronomy desired admission, he refused his request, saying that he was not yet possessed of the handles of philosophy. In fine, Xenocrates was eminent both for the purity of his morals and for his acquaintance with science, and supported the credit of the Platonic School by his lectures, his writings, and his conduct. He lived until B.C. 316, when he lost his life by accidentally falling, in the dark, into a reservoir of water.
    The philosophical tenets of Xenocrates were truly Platonic, but in his method of teaching he made use of the language of the Pythagoreans. He made Unity and Diversity principles in nature, or gods; the former of whom he represented as the father, and the latter as the mother, of the universe. He taught that the heavens are divine, and the stars gods; and that, besides these divinities, there are terrestrial demons of a middle order, between the gods and man, which partake of the nature both of mind and body, and are therefore, like human beings, capable of passions and liable to diversity of character.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Xenocrates (396-314BC)

  One of Plato's pupils and successors, who was reputed to be a poor, but very well-spoken man. He spoke so well, it was said, that a drunk young man, Polemon, was so impressed by Xenocrates' speaches that he immediately became sober for the rest of his life, started studying under the philosopher and eventually became his successor as headmaster of the Academy.
  Xenocrates divided philosophy into logic, physics and ethics and is also credited with having made the first attempt to separate mind, body and soul. He stated that reality is a combination of perception, knowledge and opinion.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the In2Greece URL below.


Xenocrates (396-314 BCE)

, , 396 - 314
  Greek philosopher who defended the philosophy of Plato against the criticism of Aristotle.
  As head of the Academy in the fourth century, Xenocrates held forth the quasi-Pythagorean view that the Platonic Forms, including even the individual human soul, are all numbers.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the Philosophy Pages URL below.


Apollonius

Apollonius of Chalcedon or Chalcis, or, according to Dion Cassius (lxxi. 35) of Nicomedia, was invited by the emperor Antonmus Pius to come to Rome, for the purpose of instructing his son Marcus in philosophy.

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