Sora'nus4. Another native of Ephesus, who lived later, and who (according to Suidas) wrote Γυναικείων βιβλία τέσσαρα, Βίους Ἰατρῶν, καὶ Αἱοέσεις, καὶ Συντάγματα, βιβλία δέκα, and other works. Now it is quite possible that Suidas may be correct in stating that there were two physicians of the name of Soranus, both of whom were natives of Ephesus; but at any rate those modern writers who have attempted to distinguish them by assigning to each his proper writings, have decidedly failed, as is evident since the publication of the treatise Περὶ Γυναικείων Παθῶν, in 1838. For instance, Fabricius considers that the elder Soranus (No. 3) is the physician belonging to the sect of the Methodici who is frequently quoted by Caelius Aurelianus. and who wrote a work, " De Coenotetis," consisting of at least two books; and he thinks that the younger Soranus (No. 4) is the author who is frequently quoted by Aetius, to whom belongs the short fragment Περὶ Μήτρας καὶ Γυναικείου Αἰδοίου, which is still extant. It is, however, now quite clear, first, that the fragment in question forms part of the published treatise " De Morbis Mulierum ;" 2. that the writer of this work belonged to the sect of the Methodici (see Dietz's Notes at pp. 4, 21); 3. that this is the work frequently quoted by Aetius; and 4. that the writer of this work was also the author of a work Περὶ Κοινοτήτων, consisting of at least two books. Upon the whole, therefore, it seems more probable that Dietz (note to Sor. p. 23) and Dr. Ermerins (Observ. Crit. in Sor. appended to his ed. of Hippocr. De Vict. Rat. in Morb. Acut. p. 372) are correct in supposing that the two physicians of the name of Soranus, mentioned by Suidas as being natives of Ephesus, were, in fact, one and the same individual. The only objection to this hypothesis, of which the writer is aware, arises from the fact that in the treatise " De Morbis Mulierum " the names of several physicians occur who lived later than the time of Soranus; and this difficulty would of course be insuperable if the text in these passages were genuine and correct. But the text of the whole treatise is at present in a very unsatisfactory state, and contains many words, &c., that are undoubtedly spurious; so that (until the whole question has been thoroughly examined by some future editor of Soranus) we are quite justified in believing the passages in question to be interpolations. (See Ermerins, l.c. p. 371, &c.) If, therefore, we suppose that there was only one physician of the name of Soranus who was born at Ephesus, the date assigned by Suidas to the son of Menander will agree tolerably well with that which we gather from other sources; he is quoted by Caelius Aurelianus rather as a predecessor than as a contemporary ; he lived at least as early as Archigenes, who used one of his medicines (ap. Aet. 2.2. 55, p. 277); he was tutor to Attalus [ATTALUS, Vol. I. p. 412]; and he was dead when Galen wrote his work " De Methodo Medendi," i. e. about A. D. 178. (Gal. De Meth. Med. 1.7. vol. x. p. 53.) But, after all, it must be confessed that the exact chronology of Soranus is not quite satisfactorily made out. He belonged to the sect of the Methodici (Pseudo-Gal. Introd. 100.4, vol. xiv. p. 684), and was one of the most eminent physicians of that school. Besides the few particulars mentioned above, nothing is known of the events of his life, except that he passed some time in Aquitania for the purpose of treating some skin diseases which were very prevalent there at that time. (Marcell. Empir. De Medicam. 100.19, p. 321.)
WorksThe following medical works are still extant under the name of Soranus : --
- 1. Περὶ Γυναικείων Παθῶν, De Arte Obstetricia Morbisque Mulierum 2. Περὶ Μήτρας καὶ Γυναικείου Αἰδοίου, De Utero et Pudendo Muliebri 3. Περὶ Σημείων Καταγμάτων, De Signis Fracturarum 4. Περὶ Ἐπιδέσμων, De Fasciis 5. Βίος Ἱπποκράτους, Vita Hippocratis 6. In Artem Medendi Isagoge
EditionsThe treatise Περὶ Γυναικείων Παθῶν was first published in Greek in 1838. Regim. Pruss. 8vo. It was partly prepared for the press by F. R. Dietz, and finished after his death by J. F. Lobeck. It is a valuable and interesting work, consisting of one hundred and twenty-two chapters, with a few lines of the hundred and twenty-third, and the titles of thirty-eight more. 1 As has been intimated above, the text is at present in a very corrupt state, and contains numerous interpolations. Dr. Ermerins has published some valuable " Observationes Criticae in Sor. Eph. De Arte Obstetr. Morbisque Mul." at the end of his edition of Hippocr. De Vict. Rat. in Morb. Acut. Lugd. Bat. 8vo. 1841; and a new edition of the work is at this present time (1848) being prepared by Dr. Bell of Paris. With respect to the medical contents of the work the reader may consult a dissertation by H. Häser, " De Sorano Ephesio, ejusque Περὶ Γυν. Παθῶν Libro nuper reperto," Jenae, 1840, 4to.; another by J. Pinoff, entitled " Artis Obstetriciae Sor. Eph. Doctrina ad ejus Librum Περὶ Γυν. Παθῶν nuper repertum exposita," Vratisl. 1840, 8vo.; and four interesting articles by the same Dr. Pinoff in the first and second volumes of Henschel's " Janus," Breslau, 1846, 1847, 8vo.
Περὶ Μήτρας καὶ Γυναικείου Αἰδοίου is, in fact, merely an extract from the preceding work (of which it forms the fourth and fifth chapters), containing one of the best anatomical descriptions of the female organs of generation that have come down to us from antiquity. It has been preserved by Oribasius (Coll. Medic. 24.31, 32).
EditionsIt is to be found in Greek in Goupyl's edition of Rufus Ephesius, Paris, 1554, 8vo., and in the first volume of Ideler's " Physici et Medici Graeci Minores," Berol. 1841, 8vo. There is a Latin translation in different editions of Oribasius, in that of Theophilus De Corp. Hum. Fabr. Paris, 1556, 8vo., and in F. Paulini " Universa Antiquorum Anatome," Venet. 1604. fol.
EditionsThe fragment Περὶ Σημείων Καταγμάτων was published with a Latin translation by Cocchi in his collection of " Graecorum Chirurgici Libri," Florent. 1754, fol.
Translationsthe Greek text is inserted in Ideler's Phys. et Med. Gr. Min.
EditionsThe short piece Περὶ Ἐπιδέσμων is to be found in Greek and Latin in the twelfth volume of Chartier's edition of Hippocrates and Galen, Paris, 1679, fol.
Βίος Ἱπποκράτους is of little value in itself, but is interesting as being the only ancient account of that great physician that remains, except what is told us by Suidas and John Tzetzes. It may perhaps have formed part of the collection of medical biographies mentioned by Suidas as being written by the younger Soranus.