, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 109–113 | Cite as

Aretaeus of Cappadocia and the first description of diabetes

  • Konstantinos Laios
  • Marianna KaramanouEmail author
  • Zenia Saridaki
  • George Androutsos
Historical note


The name Aretaeus of Cappadocia has been linked with diabetes more than that of any other physician of antiquity, his texts forming a sophisticated synthesis of the previous knowledge on this disease copiously supplemented by his own observations. Gifted with a unique faculty for observing pathologic phenomena, he was able to elaborate upon earlier texts enriching them with his own original findings and numerous thoughtful reflections. Among the many diseases he dealt with, Aretaeus has bequeathed to us an outstandingly vivid and accurate description of diabetes.

Key words

Aretaeus of Cappadocia Diabetes Galen Soranus of Ephesus Diarrhea urinosa Dipsakon 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Peumery JJ 1987 Histoire illustrée du diabète. De l’Antiquité à nos jours. Les Éditions Roger Dacosta, Paris; pp, 19–25.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Buck AH 1917 The growth of medicine. Yale University Press, New Haven; pp, 44–146.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Deichgräber K 1971 Aretaeus von Kappadozien als medizinischer Schriftsteller. Academie-Verl, Berlin.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Adams F (ed) 1856 The extant works of Aretaeus the Cappadocian. The Sydenham Society, London; 2.0,–,–,– Scholar
  5. 5.
    Mauroudēs A 2000 Archigenis Philippou Apameus Life and Work of a Greek Doctor in Imperial Rome. Academy of Athens public, Athens.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Oberhelman M 1993 On the Chronology and Pneumatism of Aretaios of Cappadocia. In: Haase W, Temporini H Rise and decline of the Roman world. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin; pp, 941–966.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Rufus d’ Ephèse 1879 De renum et vesicae morbis. In: Daremberg C, Ruelle CE (eds) Oeuvres de Rufus d’Ephèse. Baillière, Paris; 6.1.1–6.10.2.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Galenus 1821 (re-edition 1965) Claudii Galeni opera omnia. Kühn CG (ed.). Leipzig; 7.80.18–7.81.6, 8.394.11–18.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Moraux P, 1985 Anecdota Graeca minora vi: Pseudo-Galen, de signis ex urinis. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 60: 68–74.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Drabkin IE 1950 (ed. and trans.) Caelius Aurelianus. On Acute Diseases and On Chronic Diseases. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Skoda F 1994 Le diabète dans la médecine grecque ancienne. In: Conso D, Fick N, Poulle B Mélanges of-ferts à F. Kerlouégan. Belles lettres, Paris; pp, 603–610.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Dunglison R 1848 Medical Lexicon: A Dictionary of Medical Science. Lea and Blanchard, Philadelphia; pp, 282.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nutton V 2004 Ancient Medicine. Routledge, London and New York; p, 294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Temkin O 1994 The Falling Sickness: A History of Epilepsy from the Greeks to the Beginnings of Modern Neurology. Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore; pp, 37–64.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Hellenic Endocrine Society 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Konstantinos Laios
    • 1
  • Marianna Karamanou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zenia Saridaki
    • 2
  • George Androutsos
    • 1
  1. 1.History of Medicine Department, Medical schoolUniversity of AthensGreece
  2. 2.Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology, Medical schoolUniversity of CreteHeraklionGreece

Personalised recommendations