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History of Medicine in the Ancient World


This module is devoted to the study of ancient Greek and Roman medical ideas and techniques, from Homer to Late Antiquity and the reception of ancient medical knowledge in Byzantium, the medieval West, the Islamic world and, finally, Renaissance Europe. While emphasis will be laid upon medical texts of antiquity, such as the multifaceted Hippocratic Collection, the remarkable achievements of Alexandrian anatomists, and the works of Galen, Dioscorides and Soranus, the module aims at presenting medicine in the wider context of ancient societies and cultures, from classical Athens to the Roman Empire. You will also discover how such common ‘modern’ notions as pharmacy, surgery or obstetrics were formed in classical antiquity, and how ancient debates (for example on the formation of the embryo or vivisection) echo modern ethical concerns.

Module tutor: Dr. Caroline Petit (C.C.L.Petit{at}

This module is available in 2019/20

Lectures are on Thursdays 4-6pm, Oculus 0.04

See Moodle page for further information