Byzantine medicine and medical practitioners in the West: the case of Michael Dishypatos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

415 Downloads (Pure)


It seems to be generally assumed that, after about 1200, Byzantium lost its former ascendancy in the field of medical practice. The abundant evidence for Greek physicians practising in the West during the fifteenth century, however, challenges this view. Many contemporary documents speak of these émigré physicians in most complimentary terms and they often obtained the patronage of the wealthy and influential. This article concentrates on one of them, Michael Dishypatos, who was tried for sorcery at Chambéry in 1417. Although the trial document attributes to Dishypatos practices which are hardly compatible with good medical practice, it is argued that his condemnation was the result of political intrigue rather than dissatisfaction with his professional conduct. On the contrary, his very presence in the Duchy of Savoy, in the service of the Duke and of a wealthy bourgeois, Jean Lageret, is further evidence that Byzantine medicine still commanded high respect in the West in the last years before the fall of Constantinople.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-20
JournalRevue des Etudes Byzantines
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Cite this