Demetrios Pepagomenos

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

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

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

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

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



  1. Karasszon 1988, p. 441.
  2. Graindor et al. 1978, p. 35.
  3. 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. 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).


  • Bury, John Bagnell; Hussey, Joan Mervyn (1966). The Cambridge Medieval History (Volume 4, Issue 2). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
  • Copland, James (1845). A Dictionary of Practical Medicine: Comprising General Pathology. New York, New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers.
  • Dvorjetski, Esti (2007). Leisure, Pleasure, and Healing: Spa Culture and Medicine in Ancient Eastern Mediterranean. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. ISBN 90-04-15681-X.
  • Fryde, Edmund B. (2000). The Early Palaeologan Renaissance (1261-c. 1360). Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. ISBN 90-04-11714-8.
  • Garland, Lynda (2007). "Mazaris's Journey to Hades: Further Reflections and Reappraisal". Dumbarton Oaks Papers. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. 61: 183–214. ISSN 0070-7546.
  • Geanakoplos, Deno John (1976). Byzantine East and Latin West: Two Worlds of Christendom in Middle Ages and Renaissance: Studies in Ecclesiastical and Cultural History. Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books. ISBN 0-208-01615-5.
  • Graindor, Paul; Grégoire, Henri; Société Belge d'Études Byzantines; Centre National de Recherches Byzantines; Byzantine Institute of America (1978). Byzantion. 48. Brussels, Belgium: Fondation Byzantine.
  • Karasszon, Dénes (1988). A Concise History of Veterinary Medicine. Budapest, Hungary: Akadémiai Kiadó. ISBN 963-05-4610-8.
  • Lambros, Spyridon (1912). Παλαιολόγεια καὶ Πελοπονησιακά. 1. Athens, Greece.
  • Mazaris; Seminar Classics 609 (1975). Mazaris' Journey to Hades: Or, Interviews with Dead Men about Certain Officials of the Imperial Court. Buffalo, New York: Department of Classics, State University of New York at Buffalo.
  • Porter, Roy; Rousseau, George Sebastian (2000). Gout: The Patrician Malady. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-08274-6.
  • Sarton, George (1953). Introduction to the History of Science (Volume 2, Part 2). Baltimore, Maryland: Pub. for the Carnegie Institution of Washington by the Williams & Wilkins Company.
  • Schmalzbauer, Gudrun (1971). "Eine bisher unedierte monodie auf Kleope Palaiologina von Demetrios Pepagomenos" (PDF). Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik. 20: 223–240. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-20.
  • Taton, René (1966). History of Science: Ancient and Medieval Science. New York, New York: Basic Books Incorporated.

Further reading