Dioscorides of Anazarbus


cAD40–cAD90 resident in the Eastern Roman Empire, Dioscorides was a Greek‐speaking physician who wrote the long‐influential Materia Medica (in Greek) in five books.

Keywords: pharmacology and medicine, Roman; drugs, Greco‐Roman; herbals, Roman

Further Reading

Berendes J (1902/1983) Des Pedanios Dioskurides aus Anazarbos Arzneimittellehre. Stuttgart: Verlag von Ferdinand Enke/Schann, Liechtenstein: Sändig Reprint Verlag. [Still the most reliable translation into a modern European language; the commentary is fulsome, reflecting the excellent pharmacology in Germany at the turn of the twentieth century.]

Mazal O (1981) Pflanzen Wurzeln Säfte Samen: Antike Heilkunste in Miniaturen des Wiener Dioskurides. Graz: Akademishe Druck‐u. Verlagsanstalt. [A selection of colour plates, with commentary, of the famous Vienna Codex of ad 512.]

Riddle JM (1974) Dioscorides. In: Gillispie CC (ed.) Dictionary of Scientific Biography (1970–1980), vol. IV pp. 119–123. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. [Full account of manuscript development and the history of the Materia Medica to the Renaissance.]

Riddle JM (1985) Dioscorides on Pharmacy and Medicine. Austin: University of Texas Press. [The only modern study that commands the manuscripts, especially Latin and less so Greek; Riddle's overviews are superb, and it is here that he develops his theory of the undescribed ‘drug affinity system’ employed by Dioscorides.]

Scarborough J and Nutton V (1982) The Preface of Dioscorides’ Materia Medica: Introduction, Translation, Commentary. Transactions and Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia ns 4: 187–227. [Translation rendered from the Wellman text.]

Wellman M (ed.) (1906–1914) Pedanii Diocuridis Anazarbei De materia medica libri quinque 3 vols. Berlin: Weidmann. (Reprinted 1958.) [This is the best edited Greek text, with full apparatus criticus.]

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How to Cite close
Scarborough, John(Jan 2002) Dioscorides of Anazarbus. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003612]