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Soranus of Ephesus

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Soranus of Ephesus — the latter an ancient city in Ionian (Greek) Asia Minor, now western Turkey — gained lasting fame as a learned Greek scientific physician in the late 1st and early 2nd century CE (the 100s CE), specializing in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology.

Soranus appears to have begun his medical career in Alexandria, a major city and Mediterranean seaport of northern Egypt and a preeminent center of scientific medicine, where he possibly began or advanced his learning of anatomy. His extant writings indicate his knowledge of the anatomical studies of the uterus by the Alexandrian physician, Herophilus, and that of Alexandrian pediatric and obstetric medical and surgical practice. [1] (See esp. pp.xli, 11). Subsequently, he moved to Rome, practicing during the reigns of the emperors Trajan (98-117 CE) and Hadrian (117-138 CE).

Historians of medicine, both ancient and modern, reserve a place for Soranus among the great medical practitioners of the Greco-Roman world, setting him in a direct line that begins with Hippocrates, extends through the early anatomists Herophilus and Erasistratus, and culminates in Galen. In spite of his lofty reputation, Soranus’ medical writings have not survived intact into modern times, and nothing from Soranus' hand is free of alteration through epitomization, translation, or other fragmentation (section I). Most fully pre¬served in the original Greek are the first two books of his gynecological treatise, 'Gynaikeia’.[2]

  1. Soranus. (1991) Soranus’ Gynecology (translated by Temkin O, Guttmacher AF.) Johns Hopkins Press. ISBN 0801843200.
  2. Hanson AE, Green MH. (1994) [ Soranus of Ephesus: Methodicorum princeps. In, Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt: Rise and Decline of the Roman World. Edited By Hildegard Temporini, Wolfgang Haase. Berlin: Walter de Gruyer. ISBN 3110141841.