Andromachus (physician)

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Andromachus (Greek: Ἀνδρόμαχος; 1st century) was the name of two Greek physicians, father and son, who lived in the time of Nero.

  • Andromachus the Elder, was born in Crete, and was physician to Nero, 54-68 AD. He is principally celebrated for having been the first person on whom the title of "Archiater" is known to have been conferred, and also for having been the inventor of a very famous compound medicine and antidote, which was called after his name Theriaca Andromachi, which long enjoyed a great reputation. Andromachus has left us the directions for making this strange mixture in a Greek elegiac poem, consisting of 174 lines, and dedicated to Nero. Galen has inserted it in two of his works,[1] and says that Andromachus chose this form as being more easily remembered than prose, and less likely to be altered. Saladino d'Ascoli, a 15th-century Italian physician, insists that indeed Andromachus, and not Galen (as asserted in the Antidotarium Nicolai [2]) was the creator of this theriac.[3] Some persons suppose him to be the author of a work on pharmacy, but this is generally attributed to his son, Andromachus the Younger.
  • Andromachus the Younger, the son of Andromachus the Elder, may also have been an imperial physician. Nothing is known of the events of his life, but he is generally supposed to have been the author of a work on pharmacy in three books,[4] which is quoted very frequently and with approbation by Galen, but of which only a few fragments remain.


  1. ^ Galen, De Antid. i. 6, and De Ther. ad Pis. c. 6. vol. xiv. pp. 32-42
  2. ^ Antidotarium Nicolai in Mesue cum expositione mondini... Venecia, per Joannem & Gregorium de gregorijs fratres: 14 octubre 1497, 288v: "Triaca magna galieni: tiriaca dicitur domina medicinarum: galieni quia ab eo composita fuit"
  3. ^ Saladino d'Ascoli, "Compendium Aromatariorum", In: Mesue cum expositione mondini super canones vniuersales. ac etiam cum expositione Christophori de honestis in antidotarium eiusdem... Venecia, per Bonetum Locatellum Bergomensem. 1 abril 1495, fol. 324r: "Tyriaca magna Galieni quia Galienus eam composuit. Dico quod non est verum salua pace Nicolai quia Andromachus singularis medicus eam composuit."
  4. ^ Galen, De Compos. Medicam. sec. Gen. ii. 1. vol. xiii. p. 463


  • Vivian Nutton, (2004), Ancient Medicine, pages 177–8. Routledge
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "Andromachus". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.