), a Greek medical writer, whose name is commonly but incorrectly spelt Aetius.
Historians are not agreed about his exact date.
He is placed by some writers as early as the fourth century after Christ; but it is plain from his own work that he did not write till the very end of the fifth or the beginning of the sixth, as he refers (tetrab.
1.24. p. 464) not only to St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, who died A. D. 444, but also (tetrab.
3.110, p. 357) to Petrus Archiater, who was physician to Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, and therefore must have lived still later; he is himself quoted by Alexander Trallianus (12.8, p. 346), who lived probably in the middle of the sixth century.
He was a native of Amida, a city of Mesopotamia (Photius, cod. 221) and studied at Alexandria, which was the most famous medical school of the age.
He was probably a Christian, which may account perhaps for his being confounded with another person of the same name, a famous Arian of Antioch, who lived in the time of the Emperor Julian.
In some manuscripts he has the title of κώμης ὀψικίου
, comes obsequii,
which means the chief officer in attendance on the emperor (see Du Cange, Gloss. Med. et Inf. Latin.
); this title, according to Photius (l.c.
), he attained at Constantinople, where he was practising medicine. Aetius seems to be the first Greek medical writer among the Christians who gives any specimen of the spells and charms so much in vogue with the Egyptians, such as that of St. Blaise (tetrab.
4.50, p. 404) in removing a bone which sticks in the throat, and another in relation to a Fistula. (tetrab.
3.14, p. 762.)
The division of his work Βιβλία Ἰατρικὰ Ἐκκαίδεκα
, Sixteen Books on Medicine
, into four tetrabibli (τετράβιβλοι
) was not made by himself, but (as Fabricius observes) was the invention of some modern translator, as his way of quoting his own work is according to the numerical series of the books. Although his work does not contain much original matter, it is nevertheless one (of the most valuable medical remains of antiquity, as being a very judicious compilation from the writings of many authors whose works have been long since lost.
The whole of it has never appeared in the original Greek; one half was published at Venice, 1534, fol. "in aed. Aldi," with the title Aetii Amideni Librorum Medicinalium tomus primus; primi scilicet Libri Octo nunc primum in lucem editi, Graecè:
the second volume never appeared.
Some chapters of the ninth book were published in Greek and Latin, by J. E. Hebenstreit, Lips. 4to. 1757, under the title Tentamen Philologicum Medicum super Aetii Amideni Synopsis Medicorum Veterum, &c.
; and again in the same year, Aetii Amideni Ἀνεκδότων ..... Specimen alterum.
Another chapter of the same book was edited in Greek and Latin by J. Maginus a Tengström, Aboae, 1817, 4to., with the title " Commentationum in Aetii Amideni Medici Ἀνέκδοτα Specimen Primum," etc.
Another extract, also from the ninth book, is inserted by Mustoxydes and Schinas in their " Συλλογὴ Ἑλληνικῶν Ἀνεκδότων
," Venet. 1816, 8vo.
The twenty-fifth chapter of the ninth book was edited in Greek and Latin by J. C. Horn, Lips. 1654, 4to.
; and the chapter (tetrab. i. serm. 3.164) " De Significationibus Stellarum,"
is inserted in Greek and Latin by Petavius, in his " Uraxologion," p. 421, ed. Paris.
Six books (namely, from the eighth to the thirteenth, inclusive), were published at Basel, 1533, fol., translated into Latin by Janus Cornarius, with the title " Aetii Antiocheni Medici de cognoscendis et curandis Morbis Sermones Sex jam primum in lucem editi," etc.
In 1535, the remaining ten books were translated and published at Basel, by J. B. Montanus, in two volumes, so that the three volumes form together a complete and uniform edition of the work. In 1534, 4to., a complete Latin translation was published at Venice by the Juntas. In 1542, Cornarius completed and published a translation of the whole work (Basil. fol.); which was reprinted at Basel, 1549, 8vo.; Venice, 1543, 1544, 8vo. ; Lyons, 1549, fol.; and in H. Stephens's " Medicae Artis Principes," Paris. 1567, fol.
Two useful works on Aetius deserve to be mentioned ; one by C. Oroscius (Horozco), entitled " Annotationes in Interpretes Aetii," Basil. 1540, 4to.; the other an academical dissertion by C. Weigel, entitled " Aetianarum Exercitationum Specimen," Lips. 1791, 4to.
See Freind's Hist. of Physic,
from whose work many of the preceding remarks have been taken; Cagnati Variae Observat.
4.18; Haller, Biblioth. Medic. Pract.
vol. i. p. 200 ; Sprengel, Hist. de la Médecine ;
Choulant, Handbuch der Bücherkunde für die Aeltere Medicin.