Who is Aulus Cornelius Celsus?November 30, 2020
Aulus Cornelius Celsus is a Roman scholar and doctor of medicine, thought to have lived between 25 BC and AD 50.
Celsus, who is accepted as writing one of the most important medical books of ancient times, is known for his extensive medical studies.
The mentioned medical book, De Medicina, is considered to be the only part of a large encyclopedia written by Celsus. De Medicina is one of the best known main sources of medical information in the Roman world in terms of diet, pharmacy, surgery and related information. The volumes of his encyclopedia containing missing parts are thought to be in the fields of agriculture, law, rhetoric, and military arts. It has classified human skin disorders.
Our knowledge of Celsus derives solely from the medical section of an encyclopedia he compiled under the name Ârtes (“Arts”). Although it is not known exactly where and when Celsus was born, the son of the Cornelli family, an aristocratic family, it is believed that he was born in Narbonne in the south of today’s France and lived during the reign of the emperor Tiberius (25 AD 50 BC).
The eight-chapter De Medicina (“On Medicine”) of this comprehensive work on rhetoric, philosophy, law, military, agriculture and medicine was discovered by Pope Nicholas V (1397-1455) and published in 1478. In the presentation part of this work, Celsus deals with the history of medicine and mentions eighty famous names of past ages. The first of the following eight chapters includes topics such as health information, nutritional knowledge, pharmacy, surgery, etc., the second chapter an overview of diseases, and the third and fourth chapters examine different diseases. The fifth and sixth chapters, in which drugs and their doses are discussed, are followed by the seventh chapter devoted to general surgery. In the last section, information on tissue information is given.
In De Medicina, one of the most renowned scientific works in Europe of the Renaissance period, heart and mental diseases were discussed; fever, pain, rash, and blistering were highlighted as sure signs of inflammation. In addition, plastic surgery operations performed on the face with skin pieces taken from other parts of the body have been described, and various surgical techniques, from ligation of a bleeding artery to removing stones from the bladder, have been described in detail.
While Celsus was praised as the ” Hippocrates of the Novel” due to the rich content of his work , he was also considered as an encyclopedia whose contribution was limited to summarizing and conveying the knowledge of Greek medicine on the other hand. The fact that the name of Celsus was not mentioned by any author of the period strengthens this second argument, but the fact that his work was so valuable that it was compulsory to be taught in medical schools in Europe until the end of the 19th century with over 50 editions is an important proof of Celsus’ contribution to science.