Ancient Greek Medical Inventions

Michael Lahanas

Medizinische Erfindungen im antiken Griechenland

Herophilos (or Herophilus) of Chalcedon (about 280 BC) is said to have constructed a portable waterclock used to measure the pulse of patients.

The waterclock of Herophilos (Mitteilung zur Geschichte der Medizin)


Syringe (Greek “pyulkos”, Latin “pyulcus”, i.e. “pus puller”) first description by Hero of Alexandra. The cylinder-and-pistol syringe was created about 280 BC by Ctesibius. Used to drain pus out of pimples, boils, and infected wounds.

The Spoon of Diokles (Diocleus cyathiscus) (κυαθίσκος του Διοκλέους )


John Stewart Milne Surgical Instruments in Greek and Roman Times. Claredon Press: Oxford, 1907

Celsus’ de Medicina is essentially a Latin translation of a Greek text by Aufidius, a Sicilian; Farrington 1949 p. 127.

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