Thursday, June 28, 2018

Democedes of Croton (fl c 550 BC)

Croton was a scientific metropolis thanks to excellent medical school, run by Alcmaeon for some time. To this city – Democedes arrived to practice medicine for five years (c.530-525 BC).

Democedes of Croton, son of Calliphon, a priest of Asclepius in Cnidus, was one of the most famous physicians of the sixth century B.C., and practiced first in Aegina and Athens, then at the Court of Polycrates in Samos.

Democedes of Croton left bios native city to escape a harsh tempered father and went to Aegina. Within the first year after settling there, he excelled the rest of the physicians, although he had no equipment nor any medical implements. Soon the Athenians hired him away for 100 minas, only to be topped by Polycrates of Samos who offered two talents. Thus he came to Samos, and not least because of this man the physicians of Croton were well-respected.

His interests seem to have inclined to surgery rather than to medicine. Democedes once healed, without further trauma, a sprained ankle that Darius had received while hunting and that his Egyptian physicians were unable to treat. He treated Darius by Greek methods, replacing the violent manipulations of the Egyptians by milder remedies. At first he enabled Darius to sleep and shortly afterwards was able to restore completely the function of the ankle. He was richly rewarded and rose from a slave’s misery to become an influential personality at the Persian court, but his liberty was not restored.
Democedes of Croton (fl c 550 BC)
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