Advertisement

Obesity Surgery

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 112–116 | Cite as

Greco-Roman and Byzantine Views on Obesity

  • Niki Papavramidou
  • Helen Christopoulou-Aletra
Historical Note

This paper focuses on the Greco-Roman views on obesity with certain extensions to the Byzantine era. The writers reported hereby are Aulus Cornelius Celsus (circa 25 BC), Dioscorides Pedanius (40–90 AD), Soranus of Ephesus (98–138 AD) whose writings on the subject survived through Caelius Aurelianus (5th c. AD), Claudius Aelianus (3rd C. AD), Oribasius (324–400 AD), Aetius of Amida (circa 450 AD), Alexander Trallianus (6th c. AD), Paulus Aegineta (7th c. AD), and Theophilus Protospatharius (9th C. AD). All of the authors treat the subject of etiology, clinical manifestations and treatment, while the Hippocratic and Galenic views seem to be taken into consideration. The most important observation made on the basis of the studied texts is the emersion of the notion of the “Mediterranean diet” that was advised as an extremely successful conservative way to treat obesity.The Greco-Roman and Byzantine writers continue the long tradition of treating obesity and set the foundations for modern methods of treatment.

Key words

Greco-Roman Byzantine Mediterranean diet history of obesity 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Christopoulou-Aletra H, Papavramidou N. Methods used by the Hippocratic physicians for weight reduction. World J Surg 2004; 28: 513–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Papavramidou N, Papavramidis S, Christopoulou-Aletra H. Galen on obesity: etiology, effects and treatment. World J Surg 2004; 28: 631–5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Polychronopoulos E, Eftychiades A, Panagiotakos DB et al. Obesity in Byzantine and in modern era from a public health perspective. Cent Eur J Public Health 2004; 12: 228–30.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Celsus. De medicina. Book 2, ch. 1, sect. 5. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1971: 89.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Celsus. De medicina. Book 2, ch. 10, sect. 5. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1971: 157.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Celsus. De medicina. Book 1, ch. 3, sect. 16. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1971: 57–9.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Celsus. De medicina. Book 1, ch. 3, sect. 17–8. Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1971: 59.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Celsus. De medicina. Book 1, ch. 3, sect. 19–20. Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1971: 59–61.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Spandagos V, Spandagou R, Travlou D. The physicians and pharmacologists of Ancient Greece. Athens: Aithra 1996: 189.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dioscorides Pedanius. De material medica. Book 5, ch. 141. Athens: Georgiadis 2003: 808–9.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Dioscorides Pedanius. De material medica. Book 2, ch. 71. Athens: Georgiadis 2003: 45.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ibid. ch. 182. pp 293–4.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Spandagos V, Spandagou R, Travlou D. The physicians and pharmacologists of Ancient Greece. Athens: Aithra 1996: 218–20.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Caelius Aurelianus. On acute and on chronic diseases. Book 5, Ch. 11. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1950: 993–1001.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Soranus. On women. Book 4. Athens: Kaktos: 109–111.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kroh P. Dictionary of ancient writers, Greeks and Latin. Thessaloniki: University Studio Press 1996: 36.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bevegni C, Adami GF. Obesity and obesity surgery in ancient Greece. Obes Surg 2003;13: 808–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Spandagos V, Spandagou R, Travlou D. The physicians and pharmacologists of Ancient Greece. Athens: Aithra 1996: 239–40.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Oribasius. Synopsis ad Eustathium. In: Bussemaker-Daremberg eds. Oeuvres d’Oribase. Vol. 5, book 5, ch. 44. Paris: L’imprimérie nationale 1873: 243.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ibid. ch. 40. page 239.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ibid. ch. 40. page 237.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ibid. ch. 40. page 238.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kroh P. Dictionary of ancient writers, Greeks and Latin. Thessaloniki: University Studio Press 1996: 33.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Aetius of Amida, Olivieri A, ed. Aetii amideni libri medicinales I–IV. Book 4, Lipsia: BG Teubneri 1885: 394–5.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Aetius of Amida. Olivieri A, ed. Aetii amideni libri medicinales I–IV. Book 4, Lipsia: BG Teubneri 1885: 376–7.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Paulus Aegineta. Adams F, ed. The seven books of Paulus Aegineta. Vol. 3, book 1, London: Syndenham Society of London 1844: 80–1.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kroh P. Dictionary of ancient writers, Greeks and Latin. Thessaloniki: University Studio Press 1996: 48.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Galen. On the natural faculties. Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1991: 17–9.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Alexandre Tralliani. Therapeutica: medici libri duodecim graeci et latini. Liber 7, Basiliae: Swiss 1556: 320–3.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Theophilus Protospatharius. Comments in the Hippocratic Aphorisms by Theophilus Protospatharius and Damaskius. In: Thesaurus Linguae Graecae [Cd–Rom] Vol. 2. California: 1992–5: 258.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Galen. De Temperamentis. Book II, Vol. I. Hildesheim, New York: G. Olms 2001: 607–11.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Pilkington TRE. Diet and disease, Obesity. J Biosoc Sci 1976;8: 201–4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Nestle M. Mediterranean diets: historical and research overview. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;61(6 suppl): 1313s–1320s.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Keys A, Keys M. How to eat well and stay well the Mediterranean way. New York: Doubleday & Company 1975.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Keys A, Aravanis C, Blackburn H et al. Seven countries: a multivariate analysis of death and coronary heart disease. Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1980.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Simopoulos A. The Mediterranean food guide. Nutrition today 1995; 30: 54–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Sapala J. Is the fast food industry becoming the next tobacco industry? Obes Surg 2002; 12: 1–2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niki Papavramidou
    • 1
  • Helen Christopoulou-Aletra
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Division for the History of Medicine, School of MedicineAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.History of Medicine, School of MedicineAristotle University of Thessaloniki, GreeceThessalonikiGreece

Personalised recommendations