Caelius Aurelianus

5th Century AD

Caelius Aurelianus was a Roman physician, translator, and writer. He translated several works of Soranus of Ephesus (2nd century AD) on chronic and acute diseases. He separated the problems of the voice from those of speech. According to Caelius, a voice disorder included hoarseness, high pitches, an inability to cry out easily, or weaknesses. On the other hand, he said, a speech disorder involves the tongue.

Caelius recommended several therapies for tongue paralysis. First, he recommended tongue exercises involving the extension and contraction of the tongue. For total paralysis, he recommended that the person imagine what he is trying to say. He reasoned the airflow from the lungs could stimulate the person to say the words he or she was imagining. Caelius also recommending speech sound exercises in which the person practiced saying one sound at a time, after imagining that sound. The next phase after successfully sounding out these building blocks of what would be phonemes, the patient can use all the sounds to produce whole words.


Drabkin, I. E. (ed.) (1950). Caelius Aurelianus: On acute diseases and on chronic diseases. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Drabkin, M. F. & Drabkin I E (1951). Caelius Aurelianus Gynaecia, fragments of a Latin version of Soranus' Gynaecia from a thirteenth century manuscript. Bulletin of the History of Medicine. Supplements 13: 1-136.