Intestinal Obstruction. A Paradigm of Earlier Influences on the Medicine of Late Byzantinum

John Lascaratos, Spyros Marketos


The study and analysis of aetiology, symptomatology and treatment of in­testinal obstruction, based on the texts of Byzantine physicians from the early until the late epoch, prove that the way in which this illness is con­ceived is substantially unchanged throughout this period. The texts of Byzantine historians and chroniclers present three fatal instances of this disease (ileus or chordapsus, according to the terminology of Byzantine medicine). These are the cases of the Emperor Tiberius I Constantine (578­582), Patriarch Anastasius (730-754) and Empress Theodora (1042 and 1055-1056); the causes of their death remained unknown in the broader medical and historical bibliography. Intestinal obstruction is one of the diseases which probably supported earlier researchers in their opinion of a substantially 'static condition' of Byzantine medicine.

Key words: Byzantine Medicine - Ileus - Intestinal obstruction 

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