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Largus, Scribo'nius

a Roman physician, whose praenomen is unknown, and who sometimes bears the agnomen Designatianus. He lived at Rome in the first century after Christ, and is said to have been physician to the emperor Claudius, and to have accompanied him in his expedition to Britain. He himself mentions Messalina, the wife " Dei nostri Caesaris" (c. 11.60, p. 203). He was a pupil of Tryplion (c. 44.175. p. 222) and Apuleius Celsus (100.22.94, p. 208c. 45.171, p. 221).


He appears to have written several medical works in Latin (Praef. p. 188), of which only one remains, entitled Compositiones Medicae, or De Compositione Medicamentorum. It is dedicated to C. Julius Callistus, at whose request it was written, at a time when Largus was away from home (perhaps in Britain), and deprived of the greater part of his library (Praef.). It consists of nearly three hundred medical formulae, several of which are quoted by Galen (De Compos. Medicarum. Sec. Loc. vol. xii. pp. 683, 738, 764, vol. xiii. pp. 67, 280, 284, &c.), and is interesting, as tending to illustrate the Materia Medica of the ancients, but in no other point of view. It has been supposed that the work was originally written in Greek, and translated into Latin by some later author, and that it is this version only that we now possess; but there does not seem to be any sufficient reason for this conjecture.


It was first published at Paris, 1529, fol. appended by J. Ruellius to his edition of Celsus. Another edition was published in the same year at Basel, 8vo. The best edition is that of J. Rhodius, Patav. 1655, 4to., containing an improved text, copious and learned notes, and a "Lexicon Scribonianum." The last edition is that by J. Mich. Bernhold, Argent. 1786, 8vo., containing the text of Rhodius, but omitting his notes and " Lexicon Scribon."

The work of Scribonius Largus is also contained in the collections of medical authors published by Aldus, Venet. 1547, fol. and H. Stephens, Paris, 1567, fol. C. G. Kühn published in 1825, 4to. Lips., a specimen of Otto Sperling's " Observationes in Scribonium," from a MS. at Copenhagen.

Further information

See Haller's Biblioth. Medic. Pract., and Biblioth. Botan. ; Sprengel, Hist. de la Méd. ; Fabric. Biblioth. Lat. ; Choulant, Handb. der Bücherkunde für die Aeltere Medicin.


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