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Arch Hellen Med, 32(2), March-April 2015, 224-229


The miraculous cures for diseases of Emperor Justinian I (482–565 AD)

N. Stavrakakis
Venizelion Hospital, Heraklion Crete, Greece

Miraculous medicine was widespread over the Byzantine Empire, and not only the people of low social classes but also the aristocracy up to the imperial court used to seek treatment with such methods. Doctors from the Orthodox Church (Anargyroi) were the major representatives of this kind of medicine and the cure usually came after healing prophetic dreams. This paper presents the miraculous treatment that Emperor Justinian I received when he suffered variously from plague, gout, venereal disease and urinary lithiasis. According to records, Emperor Justinian I suffered from serious illnesses and benefited from divine grace on at least four different occasions. In all cases the cure was miraculous. On the first occasion he experienced fatal plague, during the plague period 541–542, but managed to recover through the miraculous cures of Saint Kosmas and Saint Damian. On the second occasion, when he was diagnosed with arthritis, Saint Irene helped his healing, then when he was suffering from venereal diseases Saint Samson's wonders saved him and, finally, the Virgin Mary relieved him of kidney stones. Until the 12th century, individuals from all social classes used to seek miraculous cures. The instances of miraculous treatment of Emperor Justinian I are typical examples of divine intervention in the treatment of diseases.

Key words: Byzantine medicine, Emperor Justinian I, Miracles.

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