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Dr Caroline Petit

petit2018.jpgAssociate Professor of Classics and the History of Medicine

On leave 2021/2022. Visiting Professor at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Email: C dot C dot L dot Petit at warwick dot ac dot uk agostino at carolinepetit dot net
Personal website & Blog:

H2.35, Humanities Building, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL


Dr Caroline Petit is a classicist with special interest in ancient medical texts, especially Galen and the Galenic corpus. She was trained in classical philology and French literature in Paris and completed her Doctoral thesis at the same university in 2004. Since 2000 she has taught Classics, ancient history and the history of medicine at the universities of Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), Exeter and Manchester where she held Wellcome Trust research fellowships (2004-2007 and 2007-2010 respectively). Before joining Warwick in October 2012, Dr Caroline Petit also held a honorary fellowship at the Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL and a research fellowship at the Institute of Classical Studies, London.

Dr. Caroline Petit is an associate member of the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance

Research interests

My interests lie in the textual transmission, translation and interpretation of ancient medical texts; in the history of rhetoric; and in the long history of ancient medical texts and the many ways they have been appropriated up to modern times.

In the past I have also been involved as a translator in others' projects such as an anthology of black bile (with Patrick Dandrey), the works of a 17th c. stand-up comedian, Bruscambille (with Hugh Roberts and Annette Tomarken) and the history of Hermogenes’ spurious Progymnasmata (with Mike Edwards).

Distinctions: the book arising from my doctoral thesis (Galien. Oeuvres, tome III. Le médecin: Introduction, Les Belles Lettres, 2009) won me two awards (Prix Lantier de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, 2010; Prix Raymond Weil de l'Association pour l'encouragement des études grecques en France, 2010). My new book, Galien de Pergame ou la rhétorique de la Providence: médecine, littérature et pouvoir à Rome (2018) was awarded the quinquennal Médaille de Chénier de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres (2019).

In November 2020 I was awarded the Wilhelm Friedrich Bessel Research Prize of the Humboldt Foundation.

Since 2018, I am the Discipline representative for Medicine & Science at the Renaissance Society of America.

Recent projects include a Wellcome Trust University Award (2013-2018), on ‘Medical Prognosis in Late Antiquity’. It will deliver the first critical edition of several spurious texts from the Galenic corpus devoted to various aspects of diagnostic and prognostic.

A smaller project, 'Rethinking Ancient Pharmacology' (BA-Leverhulme 2017-2019) explored the multifaceted treatise On Simple Drugs by Galen.

I have organised the following conferences:

*The Challenges of Reconstructing Ancient Greek Rhetoric, 2014

*Galen’s Newly Discovered Peri alupias in Context, 2014

*Pseudo-Galenic Texts: The Formation of the Galenic Corpus (Warburg Institute, London), 2015

*Rethinking Ancient Pharmacology: The Transmission and Interpretation of Galen’s treatise On Simple drugs (British School at Rome), 2017 - with M. Martelli and L. Raggetti

*Rethinking Ancient Pharmacology 2: Scribes, scholars, and editorial activity around Galen's treatise On simple drugs (Warburg Institute, London), 2019 - with M. Martelli and L. Raggetti

For more information on my past and present work, see my above-mentioned website and blog ; see also my page on Academia (with many articles and chapters to download).

Teaching and supervision

  • Medicine in the Ancient World (module leader)
  • Rhetorics (module leader)
  • Greek Literary Texts (contributes)
  • Receptions (contributes)

I am keen to supervise students in the following areas of ancient history and literature: medicine; sciences and techniques; intellectual history; rhetoric.

I would be happy to sponsor excellent PhD candidates for a Wellcome PhD scholarship (please note the scheme is highly competitive) for a dissertation in Medical Humanities (preferably with a focus on ancient medicine, or its reception, esp. in the Renaissance).

Currently supervised students: Manuela Marai (PhD, Galen on pharmacology); Simone Mucci (PhD, Galen's De antidotis);

Past supervised dissertations:

Maria Karolidou (MAR, Themistius, passed 2020, Distinction); Matt Smith (MAR, Dreams - passed 2019, Distinction).Andree Bagley (Children in medicine in the Roman world), PhD (passed 2016); Andrew Ballantine (Early philosophy & Hippocratic corpus) MAR (passed 2016).

Selected publications

Books (authored)

Books (edited):

*(2021) Revisiting Medical Humanism in Renaissance Europe. Special issue of Arts et Savoirs

*(2021) Pseudo-Galenica. The Formation of the Galenic Corpus from Antiquity to the Renaissance, Warburg Colloquia 34, London (with S. C. R. Swain and K.-D. Fischer)

* (2020) Galen's Treatise On simple drugs: Interpretation and Transmission, special issue of Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences(with M. Martelli and L. Raggetti)

* (2018) Galen's De indolentia in Context. A Tale of Resilience, Leiden, Brill Studies in Ancient Medicine *OPEN ACCESS* BMCR review here

Articles and chapters:

View more publications


  • M.A. and M.Phil in Classics and French (Paris IV - Sorbonne)

  • PhD in Classics (Paris IV- Sorbonne)

Office hours

on leave in 2021/22


Undergraduate modules

Greek and Roman Medicine (module leader)

Rhetorics (module leader)

Greek Literary Texts (contributes)

Receptions (contributes)

Postgraduate modules

Dept PG induction (convenor)


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