Born in AD 40, Anazarbus, Cilicia, Pedanius Dioscorides was one of Ancient Greek medicine’s leading minds. A leading physician and pharmacologist, his work on the De materia medica would define medical terminology for centuries to come. He served in the Roman army as a physician during Emperor Nero’s reign, a position that allowed him to observe many plants and minerals’ medicinal properties.

His work detailed the benefits of over 600 plants, including cannabis and peppermint. He described over 1000 types of drugs, and his work would be influential for over a millennium. Dioscorides also described the properties of substances such as opium, lead, and honey. It would be illustrated in the Byzantine Empire and republished both in Greek and in English.

Artist: Rebecca Sgouros

Table with scrolls and herms on it

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Credit: Rebecca Sgouros and Open Past

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