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Di'ocles Carystius

Διοκλῆς Καρύστιος), a very celebrated Greek physician, was born at Carystus in Euboea, and lived in the fourth century B. C., not long after the time of Hippocrates, to whom Pliny says he was next in age and fame. (H. N. 26.6.) He belonged to the medical sect of the Dogmatici (Gal. de Aliment. Facult. 1.1, vol. vi. p. 455).

Some persons have attributed to Diocles the honour of first explaining the difference between the veins and arteries; but this does not seem to be correct, nor is any great discovery connected with his name.


Diocles wrote several medical works, of which only the titles and some fragments remain, preserved by Galen, Caelius Aurelianus, Oribasius, and other ancient writers.

Letter to King Antigonus

The longest of these fragments is a letter to king Antigonus, entitled Ἐπιστολὴ Προφυλακτική, A Letter on Preserving Health, which is inserted by Paulus Aegineta at the end of the first book of his medical work, and which, if genuine, was probably addressed to Antigonus Gonatas, king of Macedonia, who died B. C. 239, at the age of eighty, after a reign of forty-four years. It resembles in its subject matter several other similar letters ascribed to Hippocrates (see Ermerins, Anecd. Med. Graeca, praef. p. xiv.), and treats of the diet fitted for the different seasons of the year.


It is published in the various editions of Paulus Aegineta, and also in several other works : e. g. in Greek in Matthaei's edition of Rufus Ephesius, Mosquae, 1806, 8vo.; in Greek and Latin in the twelfth volume of the old edition of Fabricius, Biblioth. Graeca; and in Mich. Neander's Syllogae Physicae, Lips. 1591, 8vo.; and in Latin with Alexander Trallianus, Basil. 1541, fol.; and Meletius, Venet. 1552, 4to. &c.


There is also a German translation by Hieronymus Bock, in J. Dryander's Practicirbüchlein, Frankfort, 1551, 8vo.

Further Information

Further information respecting him may be found in the different histories of medicine, and also in Fabricius, Biblioth. Graeca, vol. xii. p. 584, ed. vet.; A. Rivinus, Programma de Diode Carystio, Lips. 1655, 4to.; C. G. Gruner, Bibliothek der Alten Aerzte, Leipz. 1781, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 605; C. G. Kühn, Opuscula Academ. Med. et Philolog. Lips. 1827, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 87. In these works are quoted most of the passages in ancient authors referring to Diocles; he is also mentioned by Soranus, de Arte Obstetr. pp. 15, 16, 67, 99, 124, 210, 257, 265; and in Cramer's Anecd. Graeca Paris. vol. i. p. 394, and vol. iv. p. 196.


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239 BC (1)
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