Rufus of Ephesus

Late 1st Century BC to Mid 1st Century AD

Rufus of Ephesus was a Greek physician who wrote at least 96 different treatises on a variety of subjects, including nutrition, pathology, anatomy, and patient care. He also wrote about social aspects of medicine including the treatment of slaves and the elderly.

Among his contributions were his description of the bubonic plague and gout and his studies of the anatomy of the eye, the brain, and the placenta. He was first to describe the liver in detail, although his description was based on a pig's liver.

Rufus created new medicines such as hiera, a strong cathartic containing bitter apple. His treatise On the Interrogation of the Patient was important because it explained how medical and family histories help diagnosis.

Rufus's writings included

The writings of Rufus were popular during the medieval period among Muslims in the East and the Christians of Byzantium. Some of his works survive only in Arabic.

Writings on Rufus of Ephesus

Eknoyan, G. (2002). Rufus of Ephesus and his Diseases of the kidneys. Nephron, 91, 383-390.

Edelstein, Ludwig and Nutton, Vivian (2003). Rufus of Ephesus. In Simon Hornblower & Anthony Spawforth (Eds.) The Oxford classical dictionary. NY: Oxford University Press.

Porman, Peter (Ed.) (2008). Rufus of Ephesus On melancholy. Including interpretative essays by Philip J. van der Eijk, Vivian Nutton, Peter E. Pormann, Thomas Rütten, Peter-Klaus Schuster, Simon Swain. Tubingen, Germany: Mohr Siebek.