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Erasistratus of Chios


Erasistratus lived from 310 BC until 250 BC and is considered to have founded the school of Alexandria. The school of Alexandria is known for its research in anatomy. Among the famous anatomist of this school are Erasistratus himself and Herophilus. Being located in Egypt here the ancient Egyptian knowledge of anatomy available In the library of Alexandria merged with the modern knowledge of the Greek civilization started by Hippocrates of cos.


Guillemot paining of erasistratus


The anatomy knowledge was mainly gathered because of the burial rituals in Egypt, which allowed the dissection of animals and humans. Erasistratus works have not survived but later anatomist made many references to him. A discovery he is credited of is amongst others the description of the nerve system, the brain and the Heart. Erasistratus described the heart, as a pump and not the centre of human emotion, which was the common, believe in this time. After Erasistratus the knowledge of anatomy remained the same for more the 300 years after.


The Antiochus disease


A funny story is when Erasistratus discovered the Antiochus disease. Erasistratus was the house physician of Seleucas, the king of Syria, and was called when his oldest son Antiochus was ill. Erasistratus examined him but did not find anything. Erasistratus noticed the symptoms and reaction of Antiochus every time his beautiful stepmother Stratonice came to see him. These reaction did not appear when other women came to see him. Erasistratus told this to the king, who then decided to divorce and allow Antiochus to marry her. Antiochus recovered from his love-sickness completely. This is the first recording of a mental cause for an illness in ancient history.


Erasistratus Erasistratus Erasistratus