roman world


Summary: A historical and cultural entity dispersed across a wide geographical area under the political domination and influence of ancient Rome, bringing to the conquered people the Roman civilization and culture from 753 B.C. to the beginning of the imperial rule under Augustus in 27 B.C. The early city built on seven hills grew to conquer Sicily, Sardinia, Carthage, Gaul, Spain, Britain, Greece, Asia Minor, etc., and extended ultimately from Mesopotamia to the Atlantic. Roman medicine was almost entirely in Greek hands, but Rome, with its superior water system, remains a model of sanitation and hygiene. (From A. Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, 2d ed pp196-99; from F. H. Garrison, An Introduction to the History of Medicine, 4th ed, pp107-120)

Top Publications

  1. Schultheiss D, Mattelaer J, Hodges F. Preputial infibulation: from ancient medicine to modern genital piercing. BJU Int. 2003;92:758-63 pubmed
  2. Hajdu S. Greco-Roman thought about cancer. Cancer. 2004;100:2048-51 pubmed
  3. Charlier P. [What paleopathology reveals about the fate of individuals with malformations in greco-roman antiquity]. Rev Prat. 2004;54:921-5 pubmed
  4. Weidmann W, Bühler K. [Consolation as medical intervention and its history of ideas]. Wurzbg Medizinhist Mitt. 2006;25:339-62 pubmed
    ..Finally, some essential features of general conceptions of consolation are presented. ..
  5. Todman D. Epilepsy in the Graeco-Roman world: Hippocratic medicine and Asklepian temple medicine compared. J Hist Neurosci. 2008;17:435-41 pubmed publisher
    ..This analysis of the practices of Hippocratic and Temple medicine in relation to epilepsy reveals some clear differences and also some overlapping features. ..
  6. Buccellato A, Catalano P, Coletti F, Pantano W. [The female world in the Necropolis in Castellaccio (Rome, IV cent. B.C., IV A.C.)]. Med Secoli. 2011;23:41-64 pubmed
    ..In all three period stand out graves of infants and women, of extreme interest from the ritual point of view and supplied with rich grave goods. ..
  7. Hall J. Review essay: empires, ancient and modern. Br J Sociol. 2011;62:542-50 pubmed publisher
    ..Concluding thoughts are offered about the USA. ..
  8. Scarborough J. Dioscorides of Anazarbus for moderns--an essay review. Pharm Hist. 2007;49:76-80 pubmed
  9. Lofrano G, Brown J. Wastewater management through the ages: a history of mankind. Sci Total Environ. 2010;408:5254-64 pubmed publisher
    ..This review has been written in the belief that historical research showing the collective experience and "philosophy of sanitation" can provide inspiration to face future challenges. ..

More Information


  1. Petit C. Hippocrates in the pseudo-Galenic Introduction: or how was medicine taught in Roman times?. Stud Anc Med. 2010;35:343-59 pubmed
  2. Peters S. [The hospitalized legionnaire at the Rhine front at the outset of the Roman Principate]. Wurzbg Medizinhist Mitt. 2010;29:158-93 pubmed
  3. Redfern R, DeWitte S. Status and health in Roman Dorset: the effect of status on risk of mortality in post-conquest populations. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2011;146:197-208 pubmed publisher
  4. Mumcuoglu K, Zias J, Tarshis M, Lavi M, Stiebel G. Body louse remains found in textiles excavated at Masada, Israel. J Med Entomol. 2003;40:585-7 pubmed
    ..The comparison of the tarsus of this specimen with the legs of present day third instar nymphs of body and head lice revealed that the leg found within the archaeological debris belongs to a body louse. ..
  5. Carlioz A, Wolyniak J, Le Coz P. Is there such a thing as Latin bioethics?. Med Health Care Philos. 2012;15:461-7 pubmed publisher
  6. Franzin Garrec M. [Cardiology according to Galen]. Soins. 2003;Spec No 1:25-6 pubmed
  7. Jolivet V. [A space for women in the Etruscan and Roman houses (VI-I cent. B.C.)?]. Med Secoli. 2011;23:65-100 pubmed
  8. Heikura P. [The Justinianic Plague]. Duodecim. 2002;118:821-6 pubmed
  9. Mazzocchin G, Orsega E, Baraldi P, Zannini P. Aragonite in Roman wall paintings of the VIII(a) Regio, Aemilia, and X(a) Regio, Venetia et Histria. Ann Chim. 2006;96:377-87 pubmed
    ..On the basis of the obtained results some considerations about the period in which the different kinds of white pigments were used are proposed. ..
  10. Yarmohammadi H, Zargaran A, Vatanpour A, Abedini E, Adhami S. An investigation into the ancient abortion laws: comparing ancient Persia with ancient Greece and Rome. Acta Med Hist Adriat. 2013;11:291-8 pubmed
    ..Accordingly, they brought laws against abortion, even in cases of sexual abuse. Furthermore, abortion was considered to be a murder and punishments were meted out to the mother, father, and the person performing it. ..
  11. Brean A. [The brothers of Jumiege--the peripheral nervous system in early French mythology]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2002;122:789-91 pubmed
    ..This indicates that the existence of the peripheral nervous system, and therefore also in part the knowledge contained in the early anatomical works, quite early may have been more or less known outside academic circles. ..
  12. Marmion V, Wiedemann T. The death of Claudius. J R Soc Med. 2002;95:260-1 pubmed
  13. Künzl E. [Aesculapius in the valetudinarium, or: the hitherto existing interpretation of Roman military hospital is furthermore valid]. Wurzbg Medizinhist Mitt. 2005;24:99-109 pubmed
    ..The finds from Novae show--besides other archaeological arguments--that the traditional identification of the Roman valetudinarium is correct. ..
  14. Váradi A. [Preliminary data of life and health insurance in the Roman Law (The collegium funeraticium and the collegium tenuiorum)]. Orv Hetil. 2007;148:2477-81 pubmed
    ..This way we can prove that the Roman law is a still existing basis for the development in contractual law. ..
  15. Józsa L. [Childbirth and baby care portrayed on the Byzantine sacral artworks]. Orv Hetil. 2007;148:2483-90 pubmed
  16. Nunes B, Benchimol J. [Animals and the primitive: the others of our culture]. Hist Cienc Saude Manguinhos. 2007;14 Suppl:279-90 pubmed
    ..It examines longstanding notions and the disputes that these 'others' have stirred among thinkers in philosophy, anthropology, and other areas of knowledge. ..
  17. Belcastro G, Rastelli E, Mariotti V, Consiglio C, Facchini F, Bonfiglioli B. Continuity or discontinuity of the life-style in central Italy during the Roman Imperial Age-Early Middle Ages transition: diet, health, and behavior. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2007;132:381-94 pubmed
  18. Leven K. [Emperor, comet and catastrophy - the <Justinianic> plague and the end of antiquity]. Praxis (Bern 1994). 2008;97:1287-91 pubmed publisher
    ..The present paper outlines, from the point of view of medical history, some recent tendencies of research, including those which bring in scientific evidence. ..
  19. Olivares Romero J. [Elucidation on a dystonic emperor]. Neurologia. 2009;24:488-96 pubmed
  20. Papavramidou N, Papavramidis T, Demetriou T. Ancient Greek and Greco-Roman methods in modern surgical treatment of cancer. Ann Surg Oncol. 2010;17:665-7 pubmed publisher
  21. Hyam J, Paterson D, Aziz T, Green A. Depiction of the neuroscientific principles of human motion 2 millennia ago by Lucretius. Neurology. 2011;77:1000-4 pubmed publisher
    ..Lucretius was the first commentator to introduce into Epicurean poetry the concept of such a mechanism consisting of a logical order of processes which are still consistent with modern concepts. ..
  22. Sapart C, Monteil G, Prokopiou M, van de Wal R, Kaplan J, Sperlich P, et al. Natural and anthropogenic variations in methane sources during the past two millennia. Nature. 2012;490:85-8 pubmed publisher
  23. Nothaft C. Roman vs. Arabic Computistics in Twelfth-Century England: A Newly Discovered Source (Collatio Compoti Romani et Arabici). Early Sci Med. 2015;20:187-208 pubmed
  24. Rutgers L, van der Borg K, de Jong A, Poole I. Radiocarbon dating: Jewish inspiration of Christian catacombs. Nature. 2005;436:339 pubmed
  25. Sakai T, Ikeda R, Tsukisawa M. [Galen " On the anatomy of nerves": Translation from the Greek text and discussion]. Nihon Ishigaku Zasshi. 2003;49:403-54 pubmed
    ..Furthermore we can estimate how Galen developed the preceding understanding of the nervous system made by Marinus on the basis of his own observations. ..
  26. Retief F, Cilliers L. The history and pathology of crucifixion. S Afr Med J. 2003;93:938-41 pubmed
  27. Bieganowski L. [State of ophthalmology in ancient Rome]. Klin Oczna. 2004;106:126-33 pubmed
    ..However, some civilian physicians like Antyllus--a famous surgeon who also performed the couching of the cataract, and Rufus of Ephesus--an author of a great description of the anatomy of the eye ae still remembered. ..
  28. Pesenti T. [The "divisiones librorum Ypocratis" in the Articella commentaries]. Med Secoli. 2002;14:417-37 pubmed
    ..The text of the "divisio" by Marsilio Santasofia of Padua is edited and discussed. ..
  29. Modlin I, Kidd M, Lye K. Perspectives and reflections on integrated digestive surgery. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2002;16:885-914 pubmed
  30. Compton M. The Association of Hygieia with Asklepios in Graeco-Roman Asklepieion medicine. J Hist Med Allied Sci. 2002;57:312-29 pubmed
  31. Eknoyan G. Rufus of Ephesus and his "Diseases of the Kidneys". Nephron. 2002;91:383-90 pubmed
    ..Like many of his contemporaries, Rufus wrote several monographs on selected topics and organs. That he chose diseases of the kidneys as the subject of one of his monographs makes him especially pertinent to the history of nephrology. ..
  32. Androutsos G. Hermaphroditism in Greek and Roman antiquity. Hormones (Athens). 2006;5:214-7 pubmed
    ..In this paper, such subjects are discussed as legends about the nativity of Hermaphroditus, son of Hermes and Aphrodite, the social status of these bisexual beings, and their fate in Greek-Roman antiquity. ..
  33. Lazzeri D, Agostini T, Figus M, Nardi M, Spinelli G, Pantaloni M, et al. The contribution of Aulus Cornelius Celsus (25 B.C.-50 A.D.) to eyelid surgery. Orbit. 2012;31:162-7 pubmed publisher
    ..An analysis of how previous authors have influenced Celsus' description of eyelid surgery and reflections on how modern his ideas (or those of his time) were are presented in the paper. ..
  34. Martelli M. Greek alchemists at work: 'alchemical laboratory' in the Greco-Roman Egypt. Nuncius. 2011;26:271-311 pubmed
    ..The second part gives a general overview on the alchemical instruments described in the Corpus alchemicum. ..
  35. Buckley S, Evershed R. Organic chemistry of embalming agents in Pharaonic and Graeco-Roman mummies. Nature. 2001;413:837-41 pubmed
    ..We focused on examples of the 'classic' mummy-making culture of the Pharaonic or dynastic period, from which we can begin to track the development of mummification chronologically. ..
  36. Cenerini F. [How Augustae women are perceived in everyday life]. Med Secoli. 2011;23:101-21 pubmed
  37. Cavenaile R. [Anaesthesiology in Graeco-Roman antiquity]. Med Secoli. 2001;13:25-46 pubmed
    ..The article presents a short history of anaesthesiology in Graeco-Roman antiquity, studying philosophical, historical and medical sources from Iliad to the Roman Imperial Age. ..
  38. Muñoz Sanz A. [Marcus Aurelius Antonius (121-180AD), philosopher and Roman emperor, and Galen's plague]. Enferm Infecc Microbiol Clin. 2012;30:552-9 pubmed publisher
    ..There were several kinds of animals affected (anthropozoonoses). In this sense, this infection resembles more the previous Athens plague (430BC) or the epidemic of Justinian (552AD) than that of Galen's. ..
  39. Vasileiou V, Armeni A, Pierris A, Georgopoulos N. Macrosomia and ambiguous genitalia: a long overdue answer to the citizens of Frusino. Hormones (Athens). 2012;11:215-21 pubmed
    ..Mutations of the WT1 gene are considered as the most probable diagnosis, resulting in genital ambiguity and macrosomia due to additional altered insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and IGF-II action. ..
  40. Laskaris J. Error, loss, and change in the generation of therapies. Stud Anc Med. 2005;31:173-89 pubmed
    ..Different conceptions of gender account for their application to both sexes in later texts. ..
  41. Sajadi M, Sajadi M, Tabatabaie S. The history of facial palsy and spasm: Hippocrates to Razi. Neurology. 2011;77:174-8 pubmed publisher
    ..In doing so, he accurately described the clinical hallmarks of a condition that we recognize as Bell palsy. ..
  42. Pataricza D. [Monsters of Phlegon--hermaphrodites, sex-changers and other strange beings in Phlegon's marvellous stories]. Orvostort Kozl. 2010;56:153-69 pubmed
    ..A part of the most probable factors among these were the same as today: malnutrition, viruses, alcohol, vitamin deficiencies etc., but lead poisoning has also be taken into account as a principal cause. ..
  43. Menken M. A philosophical basis for medical education. Lessons from the ancient world. Pharos Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Med Soc. 2004;67:19-22 pubmed
  44. Stahl A, Tourame P. [From teratology to mythology: ancient legends]. Arch Pediatr. 2010;17:1716-24 pubmed publisher
    ..The significance of the monsters of legend, their genesis, their persistence through the ages is complex. By approaching teratology, we added a new field of exploration of real monsters of antiquity and Middle Ages. ..
  45. Manca P, Farina V, Gadau S, Lepore G, Genovese A, Zedda M. Phenotypic features of the domestic pigs bred in the Roman settlements of Pompeii and Caralis. Ital J Anat Embryol. 2004;109:105-14 pubmed
    ..In conclusion, our data show that pigs from Caralis bear much resemblance to wild boars, whereas those from Pompeii appear to be improved, so sharing some phenotypic features of modem improved breeds. ..
  46. Moog F, Karenberg A, Moll F. The catheter and its use in late antiquity and the early middle ages. J Urol. 2005;174:439-41 pubmed
    ..As one of the oldest and most important instruments at the disposal of physicians, the history of the catheter should be known to every urologist. ..
  47. Nicholson N, Selden N. Poets, doctors, and the rhetoric of money. Neurosurgery. 2009;64:179-87; discussion 187-8 pubmed publisher
    ..The portrayal of physicians in ancient poetry and sculpture may inform modern neurosurgery and organized medicine about strategies by which we may best serve our patients and elevate our profession. ..
  48. Butrica J. Some myths and anomalies in the study of Roman sexuality. J Homosex. 2005;49:209-69 pubmed
    ..C.), a puer delicatus who is prized for a masculine appearance rather than a feminine one (I.D.), and the Warren Cup, which glorifies a world of exclusively male-male sexuality (I.E.). ..
  49. Richlin A. Eros underground: Greece and Rome in gay print culture, 1953-65. J Homosex. 2005;49:421-61 pubmed
    ..Antiquity also played a large, though decreasing, role in formations of homoerotic fantasy during this period. ..
  50. Scotson J. Medical theories on the cause of death in crucifixion. J R Soc Med. 2006;99:386-7 pubmed
  51. Gourevitch D. The galenic plague: a breakdown of the imperial pathocoenosis. Pathocoenosis and longue durée. Hist Philos Life Sci. 2005;27:57-69 pubmed
    ..A.D.), when a new 'pestilence' or 'plague' (smallpox?) devastated the whole empire, from Mesopotamia to the Danube at least. ..
  52. Cilliers L, Retief F. Medical practice in Graeco-roman antiquity. Curationis. 2006;29:34-40 pubmed
    ..Its gradual demise in the Christian era lowered the curtain on original medical endeavours during antiquity. ..
  53. Knight M. Curing cut or ritual mutilation? Some remarks on the practice of female and male circumcision in Graeco-Roman Egypt. Isis. 2001;92:317-38 pubmed