Cephalic Deformation in Ancient Greek Medicine and through Artistic Works

Document Type: Original Article


1 History of Medicine Department, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

2 1st Department of Ophthalmology, University of Athens

3 Department of Anatomy, Medical School, University of Athens

4 History of Medicine Department, University of Athens

5 Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens


Ancient Greek medical literature and ancient Greek art are two valuable sources, in order to be understood the concept of cephalic deformities and especially hydroceph-aly in Greek antiquity. Ancient Greek physicians considered hydrocephaly as a wider pathological phenomenon, than its definition by modern medicine. This difference probably is a result of the profound attachment of ancient Greek physicians to the theory of the four humors. On the other hand, ancient Greek artists represented human figures having the characteristics of many cephalic deformities among them also hy-drocephaly as we conceive it today either as the only pathological characteristic of the figure or as a secondary one.