Paul of Aegina (Byzantine Greek Physician)

Paul of Aegina Demographics:
  • Name - Paul of Aegina or Paulus Aegineta
  • Other Names - Iatrosophistes & Periodeutes
  • Birth - 625? (Island of Aegina)
  • Death - 690?
  • Occupation - 7th-century Byzantine Greek physician.
Paul of Aegina Basic Facts:
  • Wrote the medical encyclopedia Medical Compendium in Seven Books.
  • Very little is known about his life.
  • The exact time when he lived is not known.
  • He quotes Alexander of Tralles and is quoted by Yahya ibn Sarafyun.
  • Said to have travelled a great deal, including a visit to Alexandria for studies.
  • Reported to have been educated at the University of Alexandria.
  • Known as a highly skilled physician especially regarding surgery & gynaecology.
Paul of Aegina Medical Compendium in Seven Books:
  • Latin: De Re Medica Libri Septem.
  • A compilation mostly from earlier medical writers.
  • During his time, the Medical Compendium contained the sum of all Western medical knowledge.
  • The sixth book on surgery was referenced widely in Europe & the Arab world, throughout the Middle Ages.
  • The 6th book also has a special place in surgical history, as many of the comments are based on personal observation. [see quote below]
Paul of Aegina Other Works:
  • "De Mulierum Morbis"
  • "De Puerulorum Vivendi Ratione atque Curatione"
Paul of Aegina Quote:
"It will often happen in eating that fishbones or other objects may be swallowed and get caught in some part of the throat. If they can be seen they should be removed with the forceps designed for that purpose. Where they are deeper, some recommend that the patient should swallow large mouthfuls of bread or other such food. Others recommend that a clean soft sponge of small circumference to which a string is attached be swallowed, and then drawn out by means of the string. This should be repeated until the bone or other object gets caught in the sponge and is drawn out. If the patient is seen immediately after eating, and the swallowed object is not visible, vomiting should be brought on by means of a finger in the throat or irritation with the feather, and then not infrequently the swallowed object will be brought up with the vomit."
Quote about Paul of Aegina:
"... he had special experience in women's diseases, and had devoted himself to them with great industry and success. The midwives of the time were accustomed to go to him and ask his counsel with regard to accidents that happen during and after parturition. He willingly imparted his information, and told them what they should do. For this reason he came to be known as the Obstetrician." ~ Arab writer, Abul Farag

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John Duns Scotus (Philosopher, Theologian, Franciscan Monk) ca 1266 – 1308

John Duns Scotus Demographics:
  • Name - John Duns Scotus
  • Other Names - Doctor Subtilis
  • Born - ca 1266 (Duns, Berwickshire, Scotland)
  • Died - ? December 8, 1308 (Cologne)
  • Burial Place - Church of the Franciscans, Cologne.
  • Occupation - Member of the Franciscan Order, philosopher & theologian.
John Duns Scotus Early Life & Education:
  • Little is known for certain of Scotus' life.
  • Probably born ~1266; birthplace possibly at Duns, in Berwickshire, Scotland.
  • Ordained as a priest in Northampton, England (1291).
  • A Merton College (Oxford) note (Codex 66) documents that Scotus "flourished at Cambridge, Oxford and Paris."
John Duns Scotus Later Life:
  • He was the mentor to William of Ockham.
  • Lectured at the University of Paris in Autumn of 1302.
  • Scotus was expelled from the University of Paris for siding with Pope Boniface VIII in his feud with Philip the Fair of France regarding the taxation of church property.
  • He returned to the University of Paris in 1304 to continue lecturing.
  • He later moved to the Franciscan studium at Cologne (? October 1307), where he died the next year.
  • The Scotus sarcophagus (Church of the Franciscans, Cologne) bears the Latin inscription:
  • Scotia me genuit. Anglia me suscepit. Gallia me docuit. Colonia me tenet.
  • Translation. "Scotland brought me forth. England sustained me. France taught me. Cologne holds me."
John Duns Scotus Other Facts:
  • Founder of Scotism, a special form of Scholasticism.
  • Known also as "Doctor Subtilis" on account of the subtle distinctions & nuances of his thinking.
  • The term dunce (via Dunse) comes from descriptions, by detractors, of Duns Scotus and his followers - meaning incapable of scholarship.
Duns Scotus & Religion:
  • He had considerable influence over prevailing Roman Catholic thought.
  • Duns Scotus believed that the truths of faith could not be comprehended through the use of reason.
  • From this belief Duns Scotus considered that philosophy should not be a servant to theology, but act independently.
  • Scotus developed a complex argument for the existence of God.
  • He was also an adherent of, and argued for, the Immaculate conception of Mary.
John Duns Scotus Works:
  • Only four works have been identified as authentic:
  • Commentaries on Porphyry's Isagoge, on Aristotle's Categories, On Interpretation (in two different versions), and on Sophistical Refutations.
  • These works are known as the parva logicalia.
  • Historians date these works to around 1295, when he was working in Oxford.

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