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date: 21 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter looks at Greek and Roman surgical instruments. The survival of Greco-Roman surgical instruments falls into two divisions: tools available in Hippocratic times (fifth to fourth century bce), and instruments at the disposal of surgeons, mostly Greek, from the late Republic through the Empire (first century bce to fifth century ce). From the former, most survivals are cupping vessels from graves. The texts suggest the Hippocratic physician often created his tool on the spot or had a tool prepared for an immediate need, whereas most of an Imperial surgeon’s repertoire consisted of instruments professionally made and sold by smiths. The various kinds of instruments are described, explained, and illustrated: cupping vessels, scalpels, phlebotomes (for phlebotomy), lithotomes (for bladder stones), needles, probes, cauteries, hooks, forceps, saws, drills, chisels, files, levers, tubes, douches, specula, and abortives.

Keywords: Antyllus, cauteries, Celsus, chisels, cupping vessels, drills, forceps, Heliodorus of Alexandria, Leonides of Alexandria, needles, scalpels, specula, tubes

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