site logo

Fees In Ancient Times

The professional incomes of doctors in ancient Greece and Rome varied

greatly as at the present day. A few were paid very large fees, but the

rank and file did not make more money than was equal to keeping them in


Seleucus paid Erasistratus about L20,000 for curing his son Antiochus.

Herodotus mentions that the AEginetans (532 B.C.) paid Democedes, from

the public treasury, L304 a year; the Athen
ans afterwards paid him L406

a year, and at Samos he received L422 yearly. Pliny says that Albutius,

Arruntius, Calpetanus, Cassius and Rubrius each made close upon L2,000 a

year, and that Quintus Stertinius favoured the Emperor by accepting

about L4,000 a year when he could have made more in private practice.

The surgeon Alcon made a fortune of nearly L100,000 by a few years'

practice in Gaul. Pliny states that Manlius Cornutus paid his doctor

L2,000 for curing him of a skin disease, and Galen's fee for curing the

wife of a consul was about L400 of our money.