Aretaeus of Cappadocia medical

30-90 AD

Aretaeus was a well-regarded Greek physician whose writings on diseases offer detailed examples of symptoms of many diseases that are recognizable today. For example he gave descriptions of diabetes, pneumonia, pleurisy, tuberculosis, tetanus, diphtheria and paralysis.

Diabetes is a wonderful affection, not very frequent among men, being a melting down of the flesh and limbs into urine. Its cause is of a cold and humid nature, as in dropsy. The course is the common one, namely, the kidneys and the bladder; for the patients never stop making water, but the flow is incessant, as if from the opening of aqueducts. The nature of the disease, then, is chronic, and it takes a long period to form; but the patient is short-lived, if the constitution of the disease be completely established; for the melting is rapid, the death speedy. Moreover, life is disgusting and painful; thirst unquenchable; excessive drinking, which, however, is disproportionate to the large quantity of urine, for more urine is passed; and one cannot stop them either from drinking or making water.

In his practice Artetaeus followed Hippocrates, but in some instances argued against him.

Writings by Artetaeus, digitalized on Digital Hippocrates website:

Artetaeus (1972) The Cappadocian. From Digital Hippocrates Retrieved on February 27, 2010.