Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dioscorides (AD 40 - 90)

Pedanius Dioscorides was born in Anazarbus which was part of the Roman province of Cilicia.

He was a Greek surgeon who served in Emperor Nero’s (AD 54-68) Roman Army and who, in the course of his military travels, complied what some consider to be the best description of medical botany to his name.

His great herbal was probably written around 60-78 BC, and mentioned 850 plants, animals, and minerals with discussion of their medical and non-medical uses. De Materia Medica described more than 600 plants with medical uses, 90 of which are still in use.

As an army physician, Dioscorides concentrated on soldier’s medicine, particularly wounds, But De Materia Medica also included a great deal of herbal folk wisdom.

De Materia Medica remained a standard reference for centuries and until the early 1600s, books on medical botany were little more than commentaries on Discorides’s work.

Until his classification was supplanted by that of Carolus Linnaeus in the 18th century, he stood as the foremost authority on pharmacy for more than sixteen hundred years.

He was recognized not only by later Roman and Byzantium writers but also by Islamic scholars.
Dioscorides (AD 40 - 90)
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