Dionysios Pyrros the Thessalian (1774-1853), a polymath, priest, teacher and doctor, is the prototype scholar of the Balkan Enlightenment. Among his many publications, we distinguished a pharmacological treatise, “Pharmacopoeia General” (1818), which is the first written in vulgar Greek language and a medical and husbandry treatise, “Botany Practical” (1838), which includes coloured illustrations of plants drawn by the author.
The aim was to study natural prescriptions with nephrology-related pharmacological action or indications found in “Pharmacopoeia General” and “Botany Practical” and compare them in content and illustrative style with those in “de Materia Medica” by Dioscorides, as they appear in the Vienna and Neapolis manuscript copies and a modern edition in Greek by Max Wellmann, Berlin (1907).
Among the ten prescriptions based on plants in the “Pharmacopoieia General” nine were also described in the “Botany Practical”, with the same or similar indications. Ten out of twelve recipes with natural ingredients found in Pyrros’s works were also found in the ancient text. Furthermore, Pyrros follows the style of Dioscurides in referring to the plant names in different languages, including Ancient and Modern Greek, French, Italian, Turkish. However, his plant pictures were mainly original, not slavish copies.
Our findings underline a still existing significance of ancient medicine and the work of Dioscurides, at least in the Greek pharmacological bibliography of the early 19th century. “Pharmakopoieia General” and “Botany practical” are hybrid products in style, content, language of the transient period when Greece was trying to balance between Western, Ancient and Oriental medical traditions.
Keywords: Botany, Dioscorides Pedanius, Dionysios Pyrros the Thessalian, Pharmacology, Renal disease