Tre medical instruments: A. forceps / B.: Phlebotomon (?) / C.: Double Hook (removing tonsils) (Probably Roman period)


A. forceps

B. Phlebotomon (?)

C.  Double  Hook  (removing tonsils)

Real jewels though was a user tool to heal the pain and suffering. Rare finding.

Product Description

study – diligence: George Damianos
creation plans: Art and science
design material: brass
artist’s: Nikos and Panos
dimensions:A.: 14,5 cm B. 16,8cm C.: 14cm
edition year: 2016
prototype year: Probably Roman period
based on: A. & B. & C. National Arcaelogical museum, Athens
copyright all over the world: Art and science

art and science 1The aesthetic of ancient people is largely admired in places of worship and palaces. We rarely meet this aesthetic in small, usefull tools, as those of a chiropractor. In Egypt, Rome, China the doctor’s toolls were just usefull. But in ancient Greece were astonishing samples of art, always in the service of human need. Justifying the phrase of Thucidides “of our private establishments forms a daily source of pleasure and helps to banish the spleen”

A. forceps

Rare finding. Real jewels though was a user tool.

Perhaps the most elegant tool, actual artwork could keep on hand the doctor at any time if he lived. Verification of Thucydides: “a daily source of pleasure and helps to banish the spleen;”

Such a sample is exposed to Athens, National Archaeological Museum.

This particular type of instruments is relatively rare and found mostly in very rich instrumentaria.

B. Phlebotomon (?)

Rare finding. Real jewels though was a user tool.The end of the handle is decorated with the stylized head of a bird

The width of the instrument was determinated by the location of a body were the operation would take place and by the bleeding to be induced. Physicians use this type of instruments for all the sorts of surgigal operation, but primary to excise veins and varicose veins and to open absesses cysts. Galen (xiv 787) mentions it was used in dissecting open an imporforate vagina. Hippocrates (ii 258) mentions it was used dyring surgery on an empyema. It is worth noting that scholars consider the terms κατιάs, καθιάς and  κατειάδιον encountered in ancient literary sources to refer either to the phlebotomon or to some other instrument that is variation on the phlebotomon

C. : Double  Hook  (removing tonsils)

Better not ask what the children felt when they came across these medical tools or how many fainted only in their views.

Real jewels though was a user tool to heal the pain and suffering. Rare finding.

The hooks were used by physicians to immobilize the edges of wounds, tissue sections, blood vessels, et al. They were also used to hold flesh together, as well as to raise up small pieces of tissue for excision, as, for example occurs when removing tonsils, where the hook was used to drag them outward, before they were excised (Paul of Aegina VI., xxx).


  1. Hygeia, museum of cycladic art
  2. Boudon-Millot, Véronique, Alessia Guardasole, and Caroline Magdelaine, eds. La science médicale antique: Nouveaux regards; études réunies en l’honneur de Jacques Jouanna. Paris: Beauchesne, 2007.
  3. Michaelides, Demetrios, ed. Medicine and Healing in the Ancient Mediterranean World. Oxford: Oxbow, 2014.
  4. Nutton, Vivian. Ancient Medicine. 2d ed. New York: Routledge, 2013.
  5. Schwartz, S.I., J.E. Fischer, F. C. Spencer, G.T. Shires, and J.M. Daly. Principles of Surgery, 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998
  6. Scarborough, J. 1968. Roman Medicine and the Legions: A Reconsideration. Medical History 12: 254-61.



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