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Obes Surg. 2007 Jan;17(1):112-6.

Greco-Roman and Byzantine views on obesity.

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Division for the History of Medicine, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.


This paper focuses on the Greco-Roman views on obesity with certain extensions to the Byzantine era. The writers reported hereby are Aulus Cornelius Celsus (circa 25 BC), Dioscorides Pedanius (40-90 AD), Soranus of Ephesus (98-138 AD) whose writings on the subject survived through Caelius Aurelianus (5th c. AD), Claudius Aelianus (3rd C. AD), Oribasius (324-400 AD), Aetius of Amida (circa 450 AD), Alexander Trallianus (6th c. AD), Paulus Aegineta (7th c. AD), and Theophilus Protospatharius (9th C. AD). All of the authors treat the subject of etiology, clinical manifestations and treatment, while the Hippocratic and Galenic views seem to be taken into consideration. The most important observation made on the basis of the studied texts is the emersion of the notion of the "Mediterranean diet" that was advised as an extremely successful conservative way to treat obesity. The Greco-Roman and Byzantine writers continue the long tradition of treating obesity and set the foundations for modern methods of treatment.

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