Documenta Ophthalmologica

, Volume 94, Issue 1–2, pp 151–159 | Cite as

Unknown ancient Greek ophthalmological instruments and equipment

  • John Lascaratos
  • Spyros Marketos


Discoveries of some ancient medical instruments and equipment found in the Hellenic world have been published in magazines of general interest and in a rare Greek medical journal, yet none caught the attention of ophthalmologists. Among these instruments are two forms of the famous ‘Kenteterion’, dating from the Hellenistic period, used for the couching of cataract. These were found on the island of Milos in the last century. Two magnifying lenses of the Archaic period from the recent Cretan excavations gave us the opportunity to discuss the problem of their medical use. The two drop-bottles from the excavations on Cyprus and at Tanagra, which are also described, seem to be of medical, and possible ophthalmological, use.

Key words

drop-bottles kenteterion magnifying lenses 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Milne JS. Surgical instruments in Greek and Roman times. Chicago, Ares Publ., 1976. 3.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bliquez LJ. Two lists of Greek surgical instruments and the state of surgery in Byzantine times. Dumbarton Oaks Papers 38: 187–204.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lascaratos J, Marketos S. The cataract operation in ancient Greece. Histoire des Sciences Medicales 17: 317–322.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jackson R. Doctors and diseases in the Roman Empire. London. British Museum Press, 1988. 66–113.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bliquez LJ. Greek and Roman Medicine. Archaeology 34: 10–17.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Michaelides D. A Roman surgeon’s tomb from Nea Paphos. Report of the Department of Antiquities Cyprus, Nicosia, Zavallis Press, 1984. 315–332.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Anagnostakis A. Trois compte — gouttes antiques. Bulletin de Correspondance Hellenique, 3: 400–401.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Sines G, Sakellarakis Y. Lenses in Antiquity. American Journal of Archaeology 91: 191–196.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    King HC. Glass and lenses in Antiquity. The Optician 136: 221–224.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Anonymous. Concerning Ancient Surgical Instruments. Iatriki Melissa of Athens 18: 273–276.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hirschberg J. The History of Ophthalmology. Vol. 10, Bonn, J.P. Wayenborgh, 1991. 290–295.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Pentogalos G. Medical Schools in Greece. Salonica, University of Salonica, 1991. 106–107.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Pentogalos G, Lascaratos J, Tsirou M. Andreas Anagnostakis as historian. Athens, Pentogalos, 1983. 1–20.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Meyer-Steineg T, Sudhoff K. Geschichte der Medizin im Überblick mit Abbildungen. Jena, Gustav Fischer, 1922. 84–87.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Anagnostakis A. Studies on the Optics of the Ancients. Athens, Petros Perris, 1878. 1–27.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Anagnostakis A. Studies on the Optics of the Ancients. Bulletin de Correspondance Hellenique 1: 264.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Charamis S. Les lunettes etaient-elles, connues des ancients. Arch d’Ophtalm 28: 648–651.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hirschberg J. The History of Ophthalmology. Vol. I, Bonn, J.P. Wayenborgh, 1982. 158–162.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gavrielides A. Concerning eye-glasses from the most ancient times until today. Iatrika Chronica 8: 453–463 and 9: 553–566.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Lascaratos
    • 1
  • Spyros Marketos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of the History of Medicine, The Medical SchoolNational Athens UniversityAthensGreece

Personalised recommendations