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(ĕrəsĭs`trətəs), fl. 3d cent. B.C., Greek physician, b. Chios. He was the leader of a school of medicine in Alexandria, and his works were influential until the 4th cent. A.D. He considered plethora (hyperemia) to be the primary cause of disease. As opposed to the then current belief in the humorshumor,
according to ancient theory, any of four bodily fluids that determined human health and temperament. Hippocrates postulated that an imbalance among the humors (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile) resulted in pain and disease, and that good health was achieved
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, he suggested that air carried from the lungs to the heart is converted into a vital spirit distributed by the arteries. He developed a reverse theory of circulation (veins to arteries). Studying from dissections, he observed the convolutions of the brain, named the trachea, and distinguished (as did his contemporary Herophilus) between motor and sensory nerves. He also devised a catheter and a calorimeter.



Born circa 304 B.C. on the island of Chios; died circa 250 B.C. (according to some sources, 240 or 280 B.C.) in Alexandria or possibly on the island of Samos. Greek physician.

A student of Theophrastus’, Erasistratus became one of the two principal members of the Alexandrian school of medicine, the other being Herophilus. Erasistratus made a series of anatomical and physiological discoveries through vivisection and the dissection of corpses. He was particularly interested in the brain, in which he sought the source of all human activity. He described the dura mater, the pia mater, the external appearance of the cerebellum, and the nerve tracts proceeding from the brain; he distinguished between motor and sensory nerves. Erasistratus also described gastric peristalsis, the lacteal vessels of the mesentery, the epiglottis, and the trachea. He introduced the term “parenchyma” to designate the belly of a muscle and the soft part of certain internal organs. Erasistratus discovered the function of the cardiac and venous valves; he thought, however, that the veins contained blood and the arteries air. He is credited with introducing the term “artery” (literally, “carrying air”).

Erasistratus believed that intemperate eating and an excess of blood in the veins were the causes of disease; for this reason, the therapy he prescribed generally involved a dietary regimen, bloodletting, or the use of laxatives or emetics. He is said to have invented the catheter. Erasistratus’ works, which are no longer extant, are known from the works of Galen and Caelius Aurelianus.


Kovner, S. G. Ocherki istorii meditsiny, fase. 3: Istoriia drevnei meditsiny. Kiev, 1888. Page 146.


References in periodicals archive ?
The heyday of neuro-anatomy dawned when Herophilus and Erasistratus commenced human dissection (probably even vivisection) of condemned criminals, under patronage of the Ptolemaic pharaohs in the newly established city of Alexandria (332 BC).
3) Erasistratus, for example, against whose ideas Galen wrote, did not deny that phlebotomy worked; he just thought that its dangers outweighed its advantages and that the same somatic effects could be achieved more safely, for example, by starvation.
In 200 BC, Erasistratus was probably the first to carry out dissections to look for changes due to disease.
9) omits any reference to Herophilus and Erasistratus in third-century BC Alexandria; when these two figures are mentioned, on pages 29 and 37, no reference is made to Heinrich von Staden's magisterial Herophilus: The Art of Medicine in Early Alexandria (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).
They valued the male and the female at 10,000 drachmas, as Antiphon says in his speech against Erasistratus.
The first documented dissections for the study of disease were performed by Alexandrian physicians Herophilus and Erasistratus in about 300 BC.
His most admired speeches are the one concerning Herodes, the one against Erasistratus concerning the peacocks, the one on the Impeachment, which he wrote in his own defence, and the one against the general Demosthenes for an illegal proposal.
Erasistratus de Ceos es considerado una de las primeras personas conocidas en la cultura occidental en estudiar e investigar sobre la anatomia humana a traves de la diseccion anatomica durante el siglo III antes de Cristo.
Yet, for a brief period, two scientist-physicians in Hellenistic Alexandria during the third century BC, Herophilus and Erasistratus, performed such dissections.
The resident scholars and those affiliated by correspondence (Archimedes) or as legatees (Galen and Ptolemy) were the originators of axiomatic geometry and what we now refer to as protoscience: for example, Euclid, Herophilus, Erasistratus, Apollonius, Heraclides, Hipparchus, and Aristarchus.
In this treatise Galen mentions several well-known physicians and philosophers, Empedocles, Hippocrates, Herophilus, Erasistratus, and Chrysippus, as well as the Stoics in general, and, in his elegant preface, the poet Parthenius.
Together with his contemporary, Erasistratus (310-250 B.