The Tools of Asclepius

Surgical Instruments in Greek and Roman Times


With The Tools of Asclepius Lawrence Bliquez offers the first comprehensive treatment in English of the instruments and paraphernalia employed by Greco-Roman surgeons since John St. Milne’s Surgical Instruments in Greek and Roman Times (1907).
Introductory sections cover topics ranging from literary and archaeological sources to the design, materials and production of instruments and the training and practice of the doctors-surgeons who used them. Summaries of Hippocratic and Hellenistic surgery lead to the meat of the book: tools used during the Roman Empire. These are presented by category (e.g. Cutting Instruments) broken into subcategories (Scalpel, Lithotome, etc.). A substantial appendix deals with biodegradable items, such as suppositories. Much new material is featured and the book is richly illustrated.

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Lawrence J. Bliquez, Ph.D, Stanford University (1968), is Emeritus Professor of Classics at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is the author of numerous publications on historical and archaeological subjects focused on Greco-Roman Antiquity, in particular on Greco-Roman surgery and surgical tools, including Roman Surgical Instruments and Other Minor Objects in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples (Von Zabern, 1994).
"It is an important resource, particularly for those interested in the history of medicine; anyone working on medical texts, whether in translation or not, knows the difficulties any mention of the tools inevitably throws up. Those more interested in the archaeological artefacts and their associated technologies should also find much of interest, and may be amazed at the variety and the complexity of surgeries carried out in the ancient world." Lesley Bolton, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2015.12.14. ''Dans l’ensemble, cet ouvrage sera donc extrêmement utile aux archéologues désireux d’identifier les objets qu’ils mettent au jour, ainsi qu’aux traducteurs de textes médicaux grecs et latins.'' Valérie Gitton-Ripoll, L'Antiquité Classique 86, 2017.
Anyone, lay or professional, interested in the history of medicine (in particular surgical intervention) in the ancient world.
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