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Theo'philus THEOPHILUS

4. THEOPHILUS PROTOSPATHARIUS (Πρωτοσπαθάριος), the author of several Greek medical works, which are still extant, and of which it is not quite certain whether some do not belong to Philaretus [PHILARETUS] and Philotheus [PHILOTHEUS]. Every thing connected with his titles, the events of his life, and the time when he lived, is uncertain. He is generally called "Protospatharius," which seems to have been originally a military title given to the colonel of the bodyguards of the emperor of Constantinople (Spatharii, or Σωματοφύλακες); but which afterwards became also a high civil dignity, or was at any rate associated with the government of provinces and the functions of a judge. (See Dr. Greenhill's Notes to Theoph., or Penny Cyclopedia, art. Theophilus, and the references there given.)

With respect to the personal history of Theophilus, if, as is generally done, we trust to the titles of the MSS. of his works, and so endeavour to trace the events of his life, we may conjecture that he lived in the seventh century after Christ ; that he was the tutor to Stephanus Atheniensis [STEPHANUS, p. 907]; that he arrived at high professional and political rank; and that at last he embraced the monastic life. All this is, however, quite uncertain; and with respect to his date, it has been supposed that some of the words which he uses belong to a later period than the seventh century ; so that he may possibly be the same person who is addressed by the title " Protospatharius" by Photius (Epist. 123, 193, pp. 164, 292, ed. Lond. 1651) in the ninth. He appears to have embraced in some degree the Peripatetic philosophy ; but he was certainly a Christian, and expresses himself on all possible occasions like a man of great piety : in his physiological work especially he everywhere points out with admiration the wisdom, power, and goodness of God as displayed in the formation of the human body.


Five works are attributed to him, of which the longest and most interesting is an anatomical and physiological treatise in five books, entitled Περὶ τῆς τοῦ Ἀνθρώπου Κατασκευῆς, De Corporis Humani Fabrica..

I. Περὶ τῆς τοῦ Ἀνθρώπου Κατασκευῆς (

The Περὶ τῆς τοῦ Ἀνθρώπου Κατασκευῆς, De Corporis Humani Fabrica., contains very little original matter, as it is almost entirely abridged from Galen's great work, "De Usu Partium Corporis Humani," from which however Theophilus now and then differs, and which he sometimes appears to have misunderstood. In the fifth book he has inserted large extracts from Hippocrates "De Genitura," and " De Natura Pueri." He recommends in several places the dissection of animals, but he does not appear ever to have examined a human body : in one passage he advises the student to dissect an ape, or else a bear, or, if neither of these animals can be procured, to take whatever he can get, "but by all means," adds he, "let him dissect something." (5.11.3.)


Latin Editions

The work was first published in a Latin translation by J. P. Crassus, Venet. 1536, 8vo., together with Hippocrates "De Medicamentis Purgantibus." This translation was several times reprinted, and is inserted by H. Stephens in his " Medicae Artis Principes," Paris, 1567, fol. The MS. which Crassus used is probably lost, as none of those which are now known to exist agrees with his translation.

Greek Editions

The original text was first published by Guil. Morell, without Latin translation, preface, or notes, Paris, 1555, 8vo., from a MS. at Paris, which appears to be more defective than that used by Crassus, though even that was not quite complete. Morell's edition is now become scarce, and was inserted by Fabricius in the twelfth vol. of his "Bibliotheca Graeca," together with the Latin translation by Crassus. Two long passages which were missing in the fourth and fifth books were published from a MS. at Venice by Andr. Mustoxydes and Demetr. Schinas in their collection, entitled Συλλογὴ Ἀποσπασμάτων Ἀνεκδότων Ἑλληνικῶν, Venet. 1817. 8vo.

The last and most complete edition is that by Dr. Greenhill, Oxon. 1842, 8vo., containing a corrected text, the Latin version by Crassus, various readings, notes, and indices.

II. Περὶ Οὔρων (

His treatise Περὶ Οὔρων, De Urinis, in like manner contains little or nothing that is original, but is a good compendium of what was known on the subject by the ancients, and was highly esteemed in the Middle Ages.


Latin Editions

It first appeared in a Latin translation by Pontius (or Ponticus) Virunius (or Virmius) in several early editions of the collection known by the name of the " Articella." It was first published in a separate form in a new Latin translation by Albanus Torinus, Basil. 1533, 8vo., together with the treatise "De Pulsibus," which version was reprinted in 1535, Argent. 8vo., and is inserted by H. Stephens in his "Medicae Artis Principes."


The Greek text was first publisted without the name of Theophilus, under the title of " Iatrosophistae De Urinis Liber Singularis." Paris. 1608, 12mo., with a new Latin translation by Fed. Morell; which edition was inserted entire by Chartier in the eighth vol. of his edition of Hippocrates and Galen. The best edition is that by Thom. Guidot, Lugd. Bat. 1703 (and 1731) 8vo., containing an improved text, a new Latin version by the editor, and copious and learned prolegomena and notes. The Greek text only, from Guidot's edition, is inserted by J. L. Ideler in the first volume of his " Physici et Medici Graeci Minores," Berol. 1841, 8vo.

III. Περὶ Διαχωρημάτων (


A short treatise Περὶ Διαχωρημάτων, De Excrementis Alvinis, was first published by Guidot in Greek with a Latin translation by himself, at the end of his edition of the " De Urinis; " and the Greek text alone is republished by Ideler in his "Phys. et Med. Graeci Min."

IV. Commentary on the
of Hippocrates

A Commentary on the Aphorisms of Hippocrates, which is sometimes attributed to a person named Philotheus, is noticed under that name, p. 331.

V. Περὶ Σφυγμῶν (


A short treatise Περὶ Σφυγμῶν, De Pulsibus, was first published by F. Z. Ermerius in his "Anecdota Medica Graeca" (Lugd. Bat. 1840, 8vo.), with a Latin translation by the editor, various readings, and a few notes.

It appears to be quite different from the work on the same subject by Philaretus, which has been sometimes attributed to Theophilus [PHILARETUS].

Furher Information

See Penny Cyclop. art. Theophilus, and the references there given, from which work the present article has been abridged.


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