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2. RUFUS EPHESIUS, so called from the place of his birth, is said by Abú-l-faraj (Hist. Dynast. p. 59) to have lived in the time of Plato; and called by John Tzetzes (Chil. vi. Hist. 44. 300, p. 104) physician to Cleopatra. Suidas places him in the reign of Trajan, A. D. 98-117, which date is adopted by most modern authors, and is probably correct, as Rufus quotes Zeuxis (ap. Gal. Comment. in Hippocr. "Prorrhet. I." 2.58. vol. xvi. p. 636) and Dioscorides (ap. Mai, Class. Auct. e Vatic. Codic. editi, vol. iv. p. 11), and is himself quoted by Galen.


Rufus wrote several medical works, some of which are still extant.

Περὶ Ὀνομασιας τῶν τοῦ Ἀνθρώπον Μορίων (

Rufus' principal surviving work is entitled Περὶ Ὀνομασιας τῶν τοῦ Ἀνθρώπον Μορίων, De Appellationibus Parlium Corporis Humani, which consists of two unequal parts, viz. the original treatise, and an extract from it : but whether both parts belong to Rufus, is doubtful. The first and fourth books together form the original work; and the second and third books, the extract, by help of which several passages might be corrected. They are generally reckoned as only three books, as the second is merely the alter primus. The work itself is chiefly interesting for the information it contains concerning the state of anatomical science at Alexandria, and before the time of Galen. Rufus considers the spleen to be absolutely useless (p. 59, ed. Clinch). He intimates that the nerves now called recurrent, were then recently discovered. "The ancients," says he (p. 42), "called the arteries of the neck καρωτίδες or καρωτικοί, because they believed, that, when they were pressed hard, the animal became sleepy and lost its voice; but in our age it has been discovered that this accident does not proceed from pressing upon these arteries, but upon the nerves contiguous to them." He shows that the nerves proceed from the brain, and he divides them into two classes, those of sensibility and those of motion (p. 36). He considers the heart to be the seat of life, and notices that the left ventricle is smaller and thicker than the right (p. 37).


This work was first published in a Latin translation by J. P. Crassus, together with Aretaeus, Venet. 1552, 4to.

Other Extant Works

The other extant works of Rufus are : an incomplete treatise, Περὶ τῶν ἐν Νέφροις καὶ Κύστει Παθῶν, De Renum et Vesicae Morbis; and A fragment, Περὶ τῶν Φαρμάκων Καθαρτικῶν, De Medicamntis Purgantibus.


These three works were first published in Greek by J. Goupyl, Paris, 8vo. 1554; and there is an edition (which is not of much critical value,) by J. Clinch, Greek and Latin, Lond. 1726, 4to. The last two were published in Greek, by C. F. de Matthaei, Mosq. 1806, 8vo., who supplied, from a MS. at Moscow, several passages that had never before been published: this edition is now become excessively scarce. The Latin translation by J. P. Crassus of these three works is inserted in the Medicae Artis Principes, by H. Stephens, 1567, fol. Paris.

Treatise on the Gout surviving in Latin translation

Besides these three works, an old Latin version of a treatise on the Gout, consisting of thirty-seven short chapters.


The treatise on the Gout has lately been published under the name of Rufus from a MS. in the Royal Library at Paris by M. E. Littré, in the "Révue de Philologie," vol. i. (1845). The work appears to be quite genuine, as it contains two chapters (30, 31) which agree very closely with a passage attributed to Rufus by Aetius (3.4.24, p. 593).

Treatise on the Pulse (Σύνοψις περὶ Σφυγμῶν) attributed to Rufus


A short treatise on the Pulse, Σύνοψις περὶ Σφυγμῶν, has been lately published in Greek, with a French translation, by M. Ch. Daremberg, 1846, 8vo. Paris, from a MS. in the Royal Library, which attributes it to Rufus, but probably without sufficient reason. It seems to be the same work which has appeared in an old Latin translation, among Galen's writings, and is called "Compendium Pulsuum Galeno adscriptum" [GALEN, p. 214.69], and which Ackermann attributes to one of the Arabistae (Hist. Liter. Gal. p. clxvi.). The real author's name is unknown, and with respect to his date it can only be stated that he lived certainly after Herophilus, and probably before Galen (see M. Daremberg's Introd.).

Greek Fragments

Some Greek fragments of the lost works of Rufus are to be found in Angelo Mai's collection of "Classici Auctores e Vaticanis Codicibus editi" (vol. iv. Rom. 1831), one of the most interesting of which is a passage respecting the plague, which appears to prove, beyond all doubt, that the glandular (or true) plague was known to the ancients some centuries earlier than was commonly supposed (see Littré, Oeuvres d'Hippocr. vol. iii. p. 4). There are also several fragments of his lost works preserved by Galen, Oribasius, Aetius, Rhazes, Ibn Baitar, &c. There is a dissertation by C. G. Kiihn, containing "Rufi Ephesii, De Medicamentis Purgantibus Fragmentum e Codice Parisiensi dscriptum," 1831, 4to. Lips.; and another by F. Osann, De Loco Rufi Ephesii Medici apud Oribasium servato, sive de Peste Libyca, 1833, 4to. Giess. A new and improved edition of (it is believed) all the extant works of Rufus, is at this present time (1848) being prepared by Dr. C. Daremberg of Paris.

Haller is inclined (Biblioth. Botran. vol. i. p. 108) to attribute to Rufus an anonymous fragment of one hundred and ninety Greek hexameter verses, Περὶ Βοτανῶν, De Viribus Herbarum, which was first published in the Aldine edition of Dioscorides, Venet. 1518, 4to. p. 231, &c., and which is inserted by Fabricius in his Bibliotheca Graeca (vol. ii. p. 629, ed. vet.), with Greek scholia, and a Latin translation and notes by J. Rentorf. Fabricius and others have been of the same opinion. Hermann (Orphica, Lips. 1805. 8vo. pp. 717, 750, 761, &c.), on metrical grounds, determines the writer to have lived some time between Manetho, the author of the Ἀποτελεσματικά, and Nonnus, the author of the Dionysiaca ; a date sufficiently indeterminate. Rufus certainly wrote a Greek hexameter poem, in four books, Περὶ Βοτανῶν, which is mentioned by Galen (De Simplic. Medicam. Temper, ac Facult. vi. praef. vol. xi. p. 796), who quotes a few verses (De Compos. Medicam. sec. Loc. 1.1, vol. xii. p. 425); but this is supposed by Choulant to have been quite a different work from the fragment in question, chiefly on the ground that so scientific and sensible a physician as Rufus would not have written any thing so full of popular superstitions and absurdities. The fragment treats of thirteen different plants, in as many chapters, in which, says Haller, Medicarum virium adest farrago verarum et falsarum.

Names of Lost Works

The names of several of his lost works have been preserved by Galen, Suidas, and especially by the Arabic writers, who appear to have been well acquainted with his books, and to have translated almost all of them into their language (see Wenrich, De Auctor. Graecor. Version. Arab. Syriuc. Armen. &c. p.221,&c.). Of these were five books Περὶ Διαίτης, De Victus Ratione, quoted by Oribasins, Suidas, and Ibn Baitar (vol. i. pp. 366, 378, 533, 2.390); Θεραπευτικά, De Methodo Medendi (Galen, De Simplic. Medicam. Temper. ac Facult. vi. praef. vol. xi. p. 796), from which work probably the fragments preserved by Aetius are taken; Περὶ Μελαγχολίας, De Melancholia (Galen, De Atra Bile, c. i. vol. v. p. 105; Ibn Baitar, vol. i. p. 89); Περὶ Διαίτης Πλεόντων, De Victu Navigantium (Suid.; or De Viatorum Vivendi Ratione, Wenrich); Πεὶ Τραυματικῶν Φαρμάκων, De Medicamentis Vulnerum (Suid.; or De Vulneribus, Wenrich); Περὶ Σύκων, De Ficubus 1 (Suid.; Oribas. Coll. Medic. 1.40, p. 213; or De Mariscis, Wenrich); Περὶ, Ἀρχαίας Ἰατρικῆς, De Vetere Medicina (Suid.); Περὶ Γάλκτος, De Lacte ; Περὶ Οἴνου, De Vino ; Περὶ Μέλιτος, De Melle (Suid.; Oribas. Coll. Medic. 2.61, 5.7, pp. 232, 266; Ibn Baitar, ii. p. 420, &c. Perhaps these three formed part of his work on Diet); De Morbis qui Articulis contingunt (Oribas. Coll. Medic. 8.47, p. 362).

The titles of twenty or ` thirty other treatises are enumerated in Wenrich, but many of them (as indeed some of those mentioned above,) appear to have been only the different chapters of some extensive work. Rufus was also one of those who commented on some of the works of Hippocrates, and he is said by Galen (Comment. in Hippoer. "Epid. VI." 1.10. vol. xvii. pt. i. p. 849) to have been a diligent student of them, and to have always endeavoured to preserve the ancient readings of the text (Comment. in Hippocr. "Prourhet. 1." 2.58, vol. xvi. p. 636).

Further Information

Further information respecting Rufus and his writings may be found in Fabricius, Bibl. Graec. vol. iii. p. 102, 13.385, ed. vet.; Haller's Bibl. Bolan., Anatom., and Medic. Pract. ; Sprengel's Hist. de la Med. ; Choulant's Handb. der Bücherkunde für die Aeltere Medicin ; and the Penny Cyclopaedia, from which some of the preceding remarks are taken.


1 * Probably wrongly rendered by Fabricius, "De Ficosis Tumoribus sive Excrescentiis."

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