Demetrios Pepagomenos

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Demetrios Pepagomenos or Demetrius Pepagomenus (Greek: Δημήτριος Πεπαγωμένος, 1200–1300[1]) was a Byzantine Greek savant who resided in Constantinople.[2] He became a physician, a veterinary physician, and a naturalist.[3]


Court physician[edit]

During the 13th century, Demetrios Pepagomenos became the court physician of Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologos (r. 1259–1261) and was commissioned by the Byzantine emperor to compose a work on gout.[4] In his Σύνταγμα περὶ τῆς ποδάγρας, Pepagomenos considered gout a diathesis caused by a defective elimination of excreta.[3] Although Demetrios Pepagomenos is credited for providing a general description of gout, it was John Chumnus (utilizing Pepagomenos's work) who specifically established a proper diet for treating the condition.[5]

Veterinary physician[edit]

As a veterinary physician, Demetrios Pepagomenos wrote a treatise on feeding and nursing hawks (specifically gyrfalcon[6]) entitled Περὶ τῆς τῶν ἰεράκων ἀνατροφῆς τε καἰ θεραπεὶας.[3] He also wrote a treatise on the care and treatment of canines entitled Cynosophion although it is presumed that this particular work was perhaps written by Caelius Aurelianus, a 3rd-century author and translator.[6]

Translation and publication of works[edit]

In 1517, Demetrios Pepagomenos's works on gout were translated and published in Latin by the great post-Byzantine humanist, Marcus Musurus, in Venice.[7] They were also published in Paris in 1558.[8]

In Mazaris[edit]

Demetrios Pepagomenos is lampooned in a 15th-century satire, Mazaris' Journey to Hades, as a doctor who poisoned himself. Mazaris says he had two sons: the older, Saromates ("Lizard Eyes"), also a doctor, and Theodosios the Little Stinker, a social climber.[9] When Emperor Manuel II Palaeologos (r. 1391–1425) visited the Morea in 1415, Pepagomenos was a doctor in his retinue. He was left at Mystras to serve as court doctor to Theodore II Palaiologos, Despot of the Morea (r. 1407–1443).[10] In that capacity, he attended the childbed of Cleofe Malatesta Palaiogina in 1433. At her subsequent death, he delivered a funeral oration.[11]

Pepagomenos may have been the copyist of the medical manuscript Paris gr. 2256.[12] He was the recipient of letters from John Eugenikos,[13] and a correspondent of Cardinal Bessarion.[14]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Karasszon 1988, p. 441.
  2. ^ Graindor, Grégoire & Société Belge d'Études Byzantines; Centre National de Recherches Byzantines; Byzantine Institute of America 1978, p. 35.
  3. ^ a b c Sarton 1953, p. 1095.
  4. ^ Fryde 2000, p. 354; Taton 1966, p. 450; Bury & Hussey 1966, p. 291; Porter & Rousseau 2000, p. 20.
  5. ^ Bury & Hussey 1966, p. 291; Dvorjetski 2007, pp. 415–416.
  6. ^ a b Karasszon 1988, p. 115.
  7. ^ Geanakoplos 1976, p. 31.
  8. ^ Copland 1845, "Gout - Pathological Conditions", p. 48.
  9. ^ Mazaris & Seminar Classics 609 1975, pp. 34, 38.
  10. ^ Garland 2007, pp. 191, 199, 212, 213 (Note #68).
  11. ^ Schmalzbauer 1971, pp. 223–240.
  12. ^ Mazaris & Seminar Classics 609 1975, p. 108 (Note #34.26).
  13. ^ Lambros 1912, p. 158.
  14. ^ Garland 2007, p. 213 (Note #68).


Further reading[edit]