Karenberg, A. (2017). The worlds of gods in medicine. Z. Rheumatol., 76 (7). S. 630 - 636. HEIDELBERG: SPRINGER HEIDELBERG. ISSN 1435-1250

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A number of designations for diseases, medicines and human body structures derive from classical mythology. To date, these eponyms have not been systematically investigated. This paper provides an overview of this fringe component of medical vocabulary, looks at the history of several terms and formulates hypotheses as to why such creative etymologies have come into being. In addition to relevant texts on ancient mythology, a variety of medical textbooks from the early modern period were analyzed. Between the 16th and the 20th centuries some 30 figures from Greek and Roman literature made their way into the terminology of medical sciences. A few of these expressions can be encountered in clinical use (e. g., Caput Medusae, Proteus, Oedipus complex) and remain official anatomical (atlas, Achilles tendon) or pharmaceutical nomenclature (atropine, morphine). The choice of these designations has often been similarity of form or analogies in function. Classical eponyms have gained acceptance on account of their succinctness, conciseness and scholarly veneer. Finally, this vocabulary shares its origin with other relevant terminology. In clinical classes, mythological designations can serve as a point of departure for digressions into literary, art and medical history in order to provide an understanding of cultural traditions and enhance education.

Item Type: Journal Article
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-219933
DOI: 10.1007/s00393-017-0320-6
Journal or Publication Title: Z. Rheumatol.
Volume: 76
Number: 7
Page Range: S. 630 - 636
Date: 2017
Place of Publication: HEIDELBERG
ISSN: 1435-1250
Language: English
Faculty: Unspecified
Divisions: Unspecified
Subjects: no entry
Uncontrolled Keywords:
RheumatologyMultiple languages
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/21993


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