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'Choose Your Master Well'. Medical Training, Testimonies And Claims To Authority

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Chapter Summary

Medicine was a public trade and those a doctor had to persuade were generally laymen. Several scholars have underlined that being associated with a known doctor, e.g. because he was your master, was a means to acquire authority. This chapter explores the ways in which a doctor could use his master's name to enhance his authority and back his claims to being a qualified physician. This is looked at in two contexts: when applying for the position of public physician, and in medical treatises. It argues that the influence of teachers was widely recognised in Greek society. This meant that using the name of one's master to defend one's skills was accepted by both colleagues and laymen and could therefore be used in very different contexts. Sometimes this argument had to be confirmed by testimonies, in which case fellow-pupils or patients treated during a pupil's apprenticeship could come in useful.

Keywords: authority; doctor; Greek society; master; medical training; medical treatises; medicine; physician; testimonies



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