Health and therapeutics in Thessaloniki: The Byzantine and Ottoman periods
Evangelia A. Varella
The earliest hospitals in Thessaloniki were established between the 4th and 7th centuries AD, and drugs used for therapy were those known to the greco-roman world. In middle-ages, the Byzantine Empire benefited from Eastern medical knowledge, as well. Thus, Simeon Seth of Antioch and Myrepsos of Alexandria, introduced new drugs in the 11th and 13th centuries. In Thessaloniki, wine was used as tonic and disinfectant; traditional drugs were enriched with essential oils. A medical encyclopeadia was compiled during the reign of Palaeologues (1261-1453).
During the early centuries of the Ottoman period (15th-16th c.), the Byzantine tradition was continued in the hospitals at Mont Athos and Meteores. In the 17th century Evliya Çelebi mentions a Greek Orthodox hospital in function next to the ruins of the Roman palace in Thessaloniki. A pesthouse was founded next to the White Tour in the 18th century.
There were a total of two Greek orthodox physicians, four pharmacists and about fourty drugists in Thessaloniki in the beginning of the 19th century. Denys Pyrrhus translated L.Brugnatelli's Pharmacopée Générale in 1818 in Istanbul. This is the first book on pharmacy printed in Greek and was widely circulated in Thessaloniki. In the 19th century, besides the iatrosophia, Greek pharmacists of Thessaloniki used Western medical and pharmaceutical books and their Greek translations. The hospital of the bishopric opened in 1896.
Greek physicians were educated in Istanbul, Greece, France, Italy, Austria or Germany. Greek drugstores, few in number were in the commercial center of the city. Drugs were mostly imported from Europe. There were a large number of Jewish physicians and pharmacists practising in Thessaloniki, and the new hospital of the Jewish community opened in 1908. In late 19th - early 20th centuries French, Italian and Russian hospitals served local patients, together with the Ottoman hospital Hamidiye that opened in 1904.
There were few civilian Muslim physicans and pharmacists in Thessaloniki. They were educated in Istanbul and Paris, and were obliged to confirm with the 1853 pharmeceutical regulation issued by the Ottoman government. They mostly referred to Dr. C.A. Bernard's military pharmacopoea (1844) and the Turkish translation of the 1866 French codex.
Key words : history of pharmacy, pharmacy in Greece, history of medicine, hospitals, drugs, therapeutics pharmacopoeia; Anahtar kelimeler: eczacılık tarihi, Yunanistan'da eczacılık, tıp tarihi, hastaneler, ilaçlar, farmakopeler, tedavi