Mathias Roth 1818 – 1891

Mathias Roth1818 – 1891 MD Pavia 1839 was a Hungarian refugee who converted to homeopathy in Hungary. He was an Orthopaedic Surgeon and a homeopath who practiced at 16a Cavendish Street and in Wimpole Street and Brighton.

Mathias Roth was a Physician at the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square, and a member of the Hahnemann Medical Society.

Lajos Kossuth asked Mathias Roth to be his envoy to Britain, and while he was traveling, the war in Hungary was lost. Roth stayed in Britain for the rest of his life.

Mathias Roth was a colleague of James John Garth Wilkinson ‘… I knew Dr. Roth the elder, a Hungarian disciple of Ling’s Swedish Kinetic treatments. His son married a daughter of John Bright MP, [John Bright (1811-1889)] who was a patient of mine…’ (Swedenborg Archive K125 [44] Letter dated 8.10.1896 from Garth Wilkinson to John Marten).

Mathias Roth was a colleague of Matthew James Chapman and the Staff of the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square which included John Anderson, James Chapman, Edward Charles Chepmell, Paul Francois Curie, Robert Ellis Dudgeon, Thomas Engall, Robert Hamilton, Joseph Hands, Amos Henriques, Charles Hunt, Henry Kelsall, Joseph Laurie, Henry Victor Malan, James John Garth Wilkinson, David Wilson, George Wyld, William Leaf, Christian Karl Josias Bunsen, Thomas Egerton 2nd Earl of Wilton, Robert Grosvenor, Thomas Roupell Everest, Charles Powell Leslie, James More Molyneux, David Wilson, William Henry Ashurst, William Thomas Berger, W A Case, J M Douglas, G H Flatcher, John Fowler, Joseph Glover, Sydney Hanson, Thomas Higgs, T H Johnstone, John Miller, Chas Pasley, Frederick Sandoz, W Stephenson, Samuel Sugden, Allan Templeton, Major Tyndale, William Warne, A Wilkinson, S Wilson and many others.


In 1850, Mathias Roth wrote the first book in English on the Swedish Movement, and he also translated a essay by Per Henrik Ling on the techniques and their effects. Mathias Roth, who also advocated the Russian Bath, insisted that movement cure therapists be instructed in anatomy and physiology, and he was quite opposed to corsets and stays.

Hungarian immigrant, Mathias Roth, a homeopathic medical practitioner, championed the cause of this form of medical gymnastics be cause of its held therapeutic values for homeopathic ‘medicine’ and perceived wider benefits.

Thus, commenced the battle of the two systems with Roth fervently lobbying the Army, the Government and Government Boards, Royal Commissions, School Boards, politicians and Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools (HMIs) by alluding to comparative situations in Sweden, Prussia, Switzerland, Russia and France.

He pointed out that the neglect of physical education and hygiene within the English education system was the principal cause in the decline in the general health of the nation. Roth’s vociferous arguments heralded the addition of medical health and social welfare to factors shaping developments in physical education.

Charles Fayette Taylor was an Orthopaedic Surgeon. He was born in Vermont and did not begin the study of medicine until he was 28 years old, and he graduated from the University of Vermont in 1856 and he then went to London to study. He studied under homeopath Mathias Roth in London who was an adherent of the Swedish Movement System of Per Henrick Ling 1776 – 1839.

George Herbert Taylor developed a system of exercise therapy, and later he learned of institutions in Stockholm that used similar methods. His brother Charles sailed to England in 1856 to study the Ling system of Swedish movements with Mathias Roth; and in 1858, George traveled to Sweden to observe them first hand with Lars Gabriel Branting who directed the Royal Gymnastic Central Institute at Stockholm, Sweden, having succeeded his own teacher, Per Henrick Ling.

Per Ling’s system continued to grow in popularity, and spread throughout Europe. It was brought to the United States by two brothers who learned the system from Mathias Roth, a student of Ling’s and a leader in the homeopathic movement. The founder of the famous Battle Creek Sanitarium, John Harvey Kellogg, was so convinced of the physical benefits of massage that it was included in the daily regimen for all the facility’s clients.

In 1871 Mathias Roth described how ‘fearful, dreadful, frightful, horrible and terrible impressions’ acted on the senses, which ‘were connected by the nerves with the various organs’ in which the effects of fear could be observed, notably the cardiovascular and respiratory systems: thus fear and terror caused ‘shortness of breath, irregularity of pulsation, palpitation of the heart, derangement of the circulation’.

Mathias Roth and his wife Anna had two daughters and five sons.

Mathias Roth wrote A Few Notes on Fear and Fright, and the Diseases They Cause and Cure, The Prevention and Cure of Many Chronic Diseases by Movements, On Paralysis in Infancy, Childhood, and Youth, and on the Prevention and Treatment of Paralytic Deformities, On the Neglect of Physical Education & Hygiene by Parliament & the Educational Department, On Hahnemann’s merits, errors and critics, old tales retold, The prevention of spinal deformities, especially of lateral curvatures, On the Various Modes of Treatment of Lateral Curvature of the Spine by Unprofessional and Professional Men, Abstract of a Paper on School Hygiene and Scientific Physical Education, The Physiological Effects of Artificial Sleep, Movements Or Exercises, According to Ling’s System, for the Due Development… , Mortality of Children in Manufacturing Towns, and many journal articles published in the Homeopathic literature and other periodicals.

Of interest:


Bernard M S Roth 1852 – 1915 FRCS FSA introduced the methods of Hugh Owen Thomas (father of orthopaedic surgery in Britain) to London. Bernard Roth is mentioned in The British Journal of Homeopathy in 1881.

David Didier Roth 1808 – 1885, homeopath, art collector, and inventor of calculating machines. (see comments)


Felix Ling Roth was a ship’s engineer who traded for tortoise shell and other exotic items up and down the Queensland Coast and around New Guinea. He served in the medical service of the Niger Coast Protectorate in West Africa from 1892 – 1989 and accompanied the British tropps that attacked Benin City.

Henry Ling Roth 1855 – 1925

Henry Ling Roth was the son of Dr Mathias Roth, surgeon of London. He was educated at University College School, London, and studied natural science and philosophy in Germany.

In the spring of 1876 he visited Russia and remained there until December 1877. Shortly afterwards his Notes on the Agriculture and Peasantry of Eastern Russia was published at London.

In 1878 he went to Australia, settled at Mackay in northern Queensland, and published in 1880 A Report on the Sugar Industry in Queensland. Papers on “The Climate of Mackay” and “On the Roots of the Sugar Cane” appeared in the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1881 and 1883.

He had an article in The Brisbane Courier for 1 April 1884, subsequently returned to England, and in 1888 was established in business at Halifax, West Yorkshire.

In 1890 he published The Aborigines of Tasmania, a careful and able gathering together of the available information relating to a vanished race. A second edition appeared in 1899. In 1896 Roth brought out another important book, The Natives of Sarawak and British North Borneo, largely based on the manuscript of Hugh Brooke Low. He spent much time in a wide range of ethnological studies and many of his papers were published in scientific journals.

In June 1900 Roth was appointed honorary curator of the Bankside museum, Halifax, then in a very neglected condition. Roth soon changed this, and in 1912 was appointed half-time keeper and later on he gave full time to the museum. He published in 1903 his Great Benin. Its Customs, Art and Horrors, and in 1906, The Yorkshire Coiners, 1767-1783, and Notes on Old and Prehistoric Halifax.

That Roth still retained his interest in Australia is indicated by his book on The Discovery and Settlement of Port Mackay, Queensland, which was published in 1908. His Oriental Silverwork, Malay and Chinese, appeared in 1910.

About this time he began publishing a long series of Bankfield museum notes, of which 23 numbers eventually appeared. In 1916 Sketches and Reminiscences from Queensland, Russia and Elsewhere, was privately printed.

His health was not robust and in August 1924 he resigned from the museum, but continued to help in its work when his health permitted. He died on 12 May 1925 and was survived by his wife and two sons.

Roth was a modest, unassuming man of endless industry. His work in anthropology was very largely based on the fieldwork of other men, but he had a talent for collating information and records, and his volumes on the Tasmanian aborigines and the natives of Sarawak and North Borneo remain standard books. His work as a whole has scarcely been fully appreciated; a list of his publications will be found in Man for July 1925.

Johann Joseph Roth 1804 – 1859 German homeopath who visited Samuel Hahnemann in 1831 in Kothen, in 1836 and 1842 in Paris. Johann Joseph Roth often stayed in Paris, and he met Samuel Hahnemann on his second visit, leaving a diary memoir of this meeting.

Reuter Emerich Roth 1858-1924 worked as an education in Sydney, helping to establish the Medical Gymnastics Department at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the St. John Ambulance Association, the Royal Life Saving Society and the New South Wales Division of the British Red Cross Society.

Another brother, Brigadier General Reuter Emerich Roth, C.M.G., D.S.O., M.R.C.S., had a distinguished career at Sydney, where he was the first medical inspector of schools. He was a medical officer during the Boer war and did remarkable work during the 1914-18 war at Gallipoli and in France.

Walter Edmund Roth 1861 – 1933 served as a Medical Officer in North West Queensland before being appointed as the first and then Chief Protector of the Aborigines 1898 – 1904.

Walter Roth was born in London, sixth child of Mathias Roth (a physician and naturalised Hungarian refugee) and his wife Anna Maria née Collins.

He was educated initially at the College Mariette, at Boulogne, and at Paris, France and later in Germany. Like his brothers Henry Ling Roth and Reuter Emerich Roth, at University College School. He studied biology at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was a contemporary of Sir Baldwin Spencer, and undertook medical training at St Thomas’s Hospital, London.

Roth came to Australia in late 1887 and in 1889 taught at Brisbane Grammar School and Brisbane Technical College before becoming the first director of the South Australian School of Mines and Industries (1889-90). In 1890 he was assistant master at Sydney Grammar School, then returned to London (1891) to complete his medical training (M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., 1892).

By mid 1892 Roth was serving as a locum for his brother Reuter in Sydney. He then practised medicine as surgeon to the Bonlia, Cloncurry and Normanton hospitals in north west Queensland from 1894, being appointed government medical officer at Normanton (1896-97).

He was interested in numismatics and published a series of articles for The Queenslander in 1895; his collection was eventually donated to the Australian Museum, Sydney….

In 1902 Roth was president of the anthropology section of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1904 he was elected to the anthropological societies of Berlin and of Florence and was appointed Queensland correspondent for the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (honorary fellow, 1931). The Royal Society of New South Wales awarded him the (W. B.) Clarke medal in 1909.

The Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology in Georgetown, Guyana has been named in his honour.

His published bulletins on Northern Queensland ethnography 1901 – 1906 laid the foundations for ethnography in Northern Queensland. In 1906, Walter served for twenty three years in the British Colonial Service in Guiana, as Medical Officer, Magistrate and Protection of Indians in the pomeroon District, and as Stipendiary Magistrate of the Demerera District, and on retirment, as curator of the museum which bears his name.

Walter published voluminously on the indigenous peoples of North Queensland and Guiana, including detailed descriptions of plants and their preparation for food, drinks and medicine. There are plant species in b0th countries named after him.

Vincent Roth, Mathias and Anna’s grandson wrote A Life in Guyana detailing the family history.

In 1871 Mathias Roth published a political journal in Hungary – was this our Mathias Roth’s father?

18 thoughts on “Mathias Roth 1818 – 1891”

  1. Thanks so much for your information. It is so interesting to read about one’s relatives from the past! I believe Mathias would be my great great grandfather and I’ve been using homeopathy for over 20 years with no knowledge of him!!! wild how things pass over unconsciously from generation to generation!

  2. Hi Andrea

    How nice to hear from you and I am pleased you discovered Mathias and what an interesting man he was.

    Such interesting times! He knew them all, of course, and he did so much to promote not just homeopathy, but the Swedish movement – he truly was a mover and shaker – and what an interesting family!

    Be very proud of them all.


  3. Mathias and Anna Maria had seven sons and two daughters.
    Johann Joseph Roth 1804-1859 was not a relative.
    Reuter EmerichRoth and Brigadier General Reuter Roth are one and the same person.
    Vincent Roth – A Life in Guyana. These are his journals edited by
    Michael Bennett.
    Andrea Roth. It would be interesting to know who her father and grandfather were so that she could be added to the family tree.

  4. Hello from France

    Mathias Roth had a brother who lived in Paris, David-Didier Roth (1800-1885). He was homeopath surgeon.
    He was also inventor of calculating machines during years 1840-1844. I would be very happy to get more informations about David-Didier Roth, to get a photo etc …I would be happy to be in touch with the Roth family. For the ones who could be interesting by the curious second passion of the brother of Mathias Roth, you can visit my web pages. (
    And please contact me if you have informations !
    Valéry Monnier

  5. Hi Monnier

    Thank you for adding this fascinating information to the Roth biography…

    This family just gets more and more interesting…

    Any further information you could add would be most appreciated.


  6. David (Didier) Roth was born in 1800 at Cassovia*1 in Hungary under the Hapsburg monarchy. At this time, anti-semitism was particularly strong but the Roth family seemed to benefit from special permissions. (Jews had to stay outside the town). His father died when he was 10. His mother, who had a private income, stayed in town and worked at a kosher restaurant. The young Roth left to study in Vienna. The medical school in Vienna was highly conservative and homeopathic medicine, commended by Samuel Hahnemann, was really not the flavour of the day. It was not authorized until nearly 1829. It was probably at that period that David Roth stood up for this new medical approach. In 1830, a cholera epidemic struck Austria. There was panic in the towns. The Jews were accused of poisoning the wells. In the circumstances, one can understand why Roth, a young medical graduate, would decide to leave Austria for a somewhat gentler country. He practised homeopathic medicine for a rich Parisian clientele for 30 years. During the 1840s, he was consulting physician to the Austrian Embassy in Paris.
    His editorial production was not negligible.! In 1832, he published his “Health Instructions against Cholera Morbus”, the fruit of his “Hungarian experience”. He said he had cared for a large number of patients there. Between 1836 and 1840, he published “Homeopathic Clinic”, an enormous compendium in 9 volumes recording nearly 5,000 clinical observations. His “History of irresistible musculature or normal chorea” earned him a medal from the Académie Nationale de Médecine in 1850. His talents for translation (English/French/German) made him an unavoidable publiciser of homeopathic thinking in Europe.

    Source: Brody, Judith.- An émigré physician : Dr David (Didier) Roth, homeopath, art collector, and inventor of calculating machines.- Journal of Medical Biography, 2000; 8; pages 215-219.

    But David-Didier was also inventor, Art collector !

    Bests regards

  7. Hi Monnier


    I found nothing about David Didier Roth when I was searching around Mathias Roth, but I am not surprised to discover another Roth so involved in homeopathy, as Mathias Roth’s name appears in association with many other people I have already done biographies on, including Ernst Louis Ambrecht, The Blackley Family, Christian Karl Josias Bunsen, George Henry Burford, James Compton Burnett, John Moorhead Byres Moir, Jules Adolphe Edouard Tallien of Cabarrus, Matthew James Chapman, Alexandre Charge, John Henry Clarke, Jean Barthelemy Arles Dufour, David Dyce Brown, A J Davet, Robert Ellis Dudgeon, Thomas Engall, Giles Forward Goldsbrough, Joseph Hands, Sydney Hanson, H A Clifton Harris, Frantz Hartmann, Amos Henriques, Clarence Granville Hey, Ethelbert Petrie Hoyle, James Johnstone, Henry Kelsall, Simon Nicolaievitch von Korsakoff, Lajos Kossuth, Christian Freidrich Langhammer, Joseph Laurie, Octavia Margaret Sophia Lewin, Per Henrik Ling, Edward M Madden, Henry R Madden, Henry Victor Malan, Edwin Awdas Neatby, Antoine Henri Petroz, Alfred Crosby Pope, Gottlieb Martin Wilhelm Ludwig Rau, J A Schubert, C T Knox Shaw, The Wielobycki Brothers, James John Garth Wilkinson, Paul Wolf, Dudley d’Auvergne Wright, George Wyld, and so many others.

    I am sure I will come across his name many more times!

    It is a rare homeopath who can be listed as influential as Mathias Roth!


  8. Hi Sue,

    Mathias and Anna Maria Roth were my great great great grandparents. Vincent Roth was my great grandfather. Henry Roth was my grandfather. I’m enjoying telling stories about our family to my four year old son. If you have any further information about our family please send it along.

    Mona Amo

  9. Hi Mona

    Thanks so much for your comment – it is I who would dearly love to hear any family stories you have on this most fascinating family, and this blog post of mine has attracted quite a bit of interest.

    I have just this minute shown it to a patient of mine who is Hungarian – and as she just left a minute ago, I noticed your comment!

    There is most certainly a real interest in this interesting family and their times…


  10. Hello Sue,
    its so very interessted to know more about our history life .Dr Mathias & Ana Maria were my great great grandparentes and Vincent Roth my grand father and his son Henry Roth, my dad.
    Mona is my niece.
    I was born in British Guyana in 1964, got married to a Brazilian in 1988, and am now living in São Paulo- Brazil.
    Must say its a great pleasure to comunicate with you.
    Dinah Estella Roth Giro.

  11. Hello Sue and also extended Roth Family.

    I have been recently started to research my family and found this site. My grandfather was Walter Roth, Vincent Roth’s younger brother/half-brother.

    My father was also born in Guyana and moved to the UK in 1961. I am slowly but surely connecting the dots to my family and would be grateful for any information available.

  12. Kia ora and greetings from New Zealand,
    My great grandfather was Dr Mathias Roth
    My grandfather was Dr. Walter Edmund Roth 1861-1933.
    My father Walter Edmund Roth was born in Guyana in 1914 his half-brother was Vincent Roth. Vincent did the family tree dated 20th Dec 1960 in Georgetown British Guyana.

  13. Hi, Roth family I was looking for a very long time to find out what became of this family, my name is Clive I grew up in Vincent’s house hold 149 regent road Bourda from the time I new myself to 1964 when I left for Mckenzie with my mother Jessica who worked for him and daughter Audrey and husband Michael at Beterverwagting. I can remember Dinah and Timothy Audrey’s kids also Betty’s son Mark and her husband Hugh Tilley. I would love to hear more about the family, my email is [email protected]

  14. Hello Sue,aunt Dainah and all outher roths out there.

    I am the son of Odete roth mann,grandson of henry roth and Cecilia juvencio,great grandson of Vincent roth,i live in Lethem Rupununi Guyana,i run a small pub,i am also a political and amerindian activist.

  15. Hi Sue,

    I`m so happy to have found your site on the Roth family.This family is indeed most fascinating. Dr.Mathias Roth was my great great grandfather, Walter Edmund Roth, my great grandfather,Vincent Roth was my grandfather and his son Henry Roth was my father.My parents Henry and Cecelia Juvencio Roth produced seven children, five girls and two boys. My father died in Brazil. At present I`m writing a book on Henry`s life when he lived for a number of years in the Rupununi before moving on to Brazil. I`m greatful for some fresh information from your blog post which i`ll surely use in my book.

  16. I am so interested to read more and to meet some other Roth families.

    My grandmother was Melodie Drew nee Toulmin-Roth. Her father was Bay Roth, nephew of Reuter Roth. Bays children went and lived with the Drew family in England when he lost the family fortune in Monaco, or so I believe.

    I would love to read more and see a family tree and try to connect us all together again.

  17. Hi sue and extended Roth Family.
    Mathias and Anna Maria Roth were my great great great grandparents. Vincent Roth was my great grandfather. Henry Roth was my grandfather. Henry Roth lived and died in Guyana and married a native Ameridian woman from the tribe Macuxi. Dainah Roth is my aunt and Mona Amo (Roth) my cousin. It is very fascinating to know my heritage. Thank you.
    Julie Ann Mann

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