Skip to main content

Essays

First Assessed Essay:

Deadline: Mon. 14 November 2016

The bibliographical information indications provide a starting point; for further help with locating the pertinent literature, please contact the module convener.

Please write a ca. 2,500 wds essay on one of the following topics (N. B.: the bibliography is by no means limitative):

Essay topics and their indicative bibliography:

Please answer one of the following questions in a 2,500 words essay (+ or – 500 words), using ancient evidence as a basis for discussion.

1. What role did the notion of analogy (gr.: analogia) play in early medical arguments?

Hippocrates, Nature of Child/Generation (see in Hippocratic Writings, Penguin, or Loeb series)

J. Jouanna, Hippocrates, The John Hopkins University Press, 2001

G.E.R.Lloyd, Polarity and Analogy: Two Types of Argumentation in Early Greek Thought, Cambridge, 1966

V. Nutton, Ancient Medicine, London, 2013 (2nd edition)

P. J. van der Eijk, Medicine and Philosophy in Classical Antiquity: Doctors and Philosophers on Nature, Soul, Health and Disease (Cambridge: CUP, 2005)

2. How 'Hippocratic' is the so-called Hippocratic collection?

Hippocrates, Sacred Disease and Airs, Waters and Places (see in Hippocratic Writings, Penguin, or Loeb series); on ancient medicine (see M. Schiefsky's edition)

J. Jouanna, Hippocrates, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999

V. Langholf, ‘Structure and Genesis of Some Hippocratic Treatises’, in H.F. J. Horstmanshof/M. Stol (eds), Magic and Rationality in Ancient Near Eastern and Graeco-Roman Medicine, Leiden, 219-275

I. M. Lonie, ‘Literacy and the development of Hippocratic medicine’, in F. Lasserre and Ph. Mudry, Formes de pensée dans la collection hippocratique, Genève, 1983, 145-161

I. M. Lonie, ‘Cos versus Cnidus and the Historians’, History of Science 16 (1978), 42–75

V. Nutton, Ancient Medicine, London, 2013 (2nd edition)

3. To what extent does epilepsy (called 'sacred disease' in classical Greek) highlight the ambivalence of early Greek medicine?

Hippocrates, Sacred Disease (see in Hippocratic Writings, Penguin, or Loeb series)

Hippocrates, Prognostic and Regimen book IV (see in Hippocratic Writings, Penguin, or Loeb series)

M. J. Geller, ‘West meets East: Early Greek and Babylonian Diagnosis’, in M. Horstmanshof/M.Stol (eds), Magic and Rationality in ancient near Eastern and Graeco-Roman medicine, Leiden, Brill, 11-62

J. Jouanna, Hippocrates, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999

G.E.R. Lloyd, In the Grip of Disease, 2003

G.E.R. Lloyd, Magic, Reason and Experience. Studies in the origins and development of Greek science, 1979

V. Langholf, Medical Theories in Hippocrates. Early Texts and the ‘Epidemics’, Berlin, 1990, ch. IV

M. Stol, Epilepsy in ancient Babylonia, 1993

4. Why is it interesting to compare the work of Herodotus with some works from the Hippocratic collection?

Herodotus, Histories Hippocrates, Airs, Waters and Places (see in Hippocratic Writings, Penguin, or Loeb series)

C. Chiasson, ‘Scythian Androgyny and Environmental Determinism in Herodotus and the Hippocratic Airs, Waters and Places’, Syllecta Classica 12, 2001, 33-73

C. Dewald/J. Marincola (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Herodotus, 2006

J. Jouanna, Greek Medicine from Hippocrates to Galen: Selected papers, Leiden, 2012 (see esp. paper on Airs Waters and Places)

J. Jouanna, Hippocrates, 1999

V. Nutton, Ancient Medicine, London, 2013 (2nd edition)

J. Romm, ‘Continents, Climates, and Cultures: Greek Theories of Global Structure’, in K. A. Raaflaub/R.J.A. Talbert (eds), Geography and Ethnography. Perceptions of the World in Pre-Modern Societies, 2010, 215-235

R. Thomas, Herodotus in Context: Ethnography, Science and the Art of Persuasion, CUP, 2000

5. In what respects does medicine for women stand out in ancient therapeutics?

Dioscorides, De materia medica (tr. Lily Beck, 2005)

J. M. Riddle/ J.W. Estes/J.C.Russell, ‘Ever since Eve.. Birth Control in the Ancient World’, Archaeology 47, 1994, 29-35

J. M. Riddle, Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance, Cambridge, Mass./London, 1992

J. Scarborough, ‘The Pharmacology of Sacred Plants, Herbs, and Roots’, in C.A. Faraone/D. Obbink (eds), Magika Hiera: Ancient Greek Magic and Religion, Oxford, 1991, 138-174

H. von Staden, ‘Women and Dirt’, Helios 19, 1992, 7-30

L. Totelin, Hippocratic Recipes. Oral and Written Transmission of Pharmacological Knowledge in fifth- and fourth-century Greece, Leiden, Brill, 2009

6. What does the spread of healing cults tell us about the "medical marketplace" in 5th c. B. C. Greece?

E. J. and L. Edelstein, Asclepius. Collection and Interpretation of the Testimonies, 1998

M.A.Gorrini, ‘The Hippocratic Impact on Healing Cults: The Archaeological Evidence in Attica’, in P. J. van der Eijk (ed.), Hippocrates in Context, Leiden, 2005, 135-156

R. Hägg (ed.), Ancient Greek Hero Cult…1995, esp. paper on Asclepius by J. R. Riethmüller

J. Jouanna, Hippocrates, 1999

V. Nutton, Ancient Medicine, 2013

B. Wickkiser, Asklepios, Medicine and the Politics of Healing in Fifth-Century Greece, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008

7. What role do plague narratives play in Greek literary works? (take examples from at least two literary genres)

Homer, Iliad/Odyssey;

Sophocles, Plays

Thucydides, Hist. of the Pelop. War II, 47-55…

D. Gourevitch, Limos kai Loimos. A study of the Galenic Plague, Paris, 2013

M. D. Grmek, Diseases in the Ancient Greek World, 1991

H. King, Greek and Roman Medicine, Bristol, 1993 (see section on Thucydides especially)

J. Longrigg, ‘The great plague of Athens’, History of Science 18-3, 1980, 209-225

R. Mitchell-Boyask, Plague and the Athenian Imagination: drama, history, and the cult of Asclepius, Cambridge, 2008

Second Assessed Essay

Deadline : Tues. 14 February 2017 (week 6!)

Please answer one of the following questions in a 2,500 words essay (+ or – 500 words), using ancient evidence as a basis for discussion. Once again, please note the bibliography is by no means limitative: it provides a starting point for your research!

1. What made anatomy so crucial in imperial medical literature and practice?

Galen, On Prognosis (V. Nutton ed., tr. & comm.), CMG V, 8, 1, Berlin, 1979

Galen, On his own books (in P. N. Singer ed/tr. Galen. Selected Works, Oxford, 1987)

Galen, On the usefulness of the parts of the body, tr. M. T. May (2 vols.)

Galen, On anatomical procedures, tr. P. Singer

M. Gleason, ‘Shock and Awe: the performance dimension of Galen’s anatomical demonstrations’, in C. J. Gill et alii (eds), Galen and the World of Knowledge, Cambridge, 2009, p. 85-114

V. Nutton, Ancient Medicine, 2nd ed. 2013 (esp. ch. 15-16)

J. Rocca, (chapter on) "Anatomy", in R. J. Hankinson (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Galen, 2008

2. How can we access patients’ voices in ancient texts, and why does it matter?

C. A. Behr, Aelius Aristides and the Sacred Tales, Amsterdam 1968 = reprint in P. Aelius Aristides, The Complete Works, vol. II (1981)

R. Flemming, Medicine and the making of Roman women, Oxford, 2000

Galen, On Prognosis (V. Nutton ed., tr. & comm.), CMG V, 8, 1, Berlin, 1979

Galen, On the method of healing books I-X (3 vols in Loeb ed.)

W. V. Harris/B. Holmes (eds), Aelius Aristides between Greece, Rome and the Gods, 2008

S. Mattern, Galen and the Rhetoric of Healing, 2008

G. Petridou/C. Thumiger (eds), Homo Patiens. Approaches to the Patient in the Ancient World, Leiden, 2015 (several chapters are relevant!)

3. Based on ancient texts such as Galen’s On avoiding distress, what could be the strategies to cope with personal distress and anxiety?

Galen, On avoiding distress (in the following)

Galen, Psychological Writings (P. N. Singer ed. & tr., with contributions by V. Nutton et alii), Cambridge, 2013 (contains substantial introductions and notes to all texts)

M. Nussbaum, The Therapy of Desire, 1994

Plutarch, Seneca,... consolationes

R. Sorabji, Emotion and Peace of Mind. From Stoic Agitation to Christian Temptation, 2000

4. To what extent can we say that Galen’s works are autobiographical?

Galen, On Prognosis (V. Nutton ed., tr. & comm.), CMG V, 8, 1, Berlin, 1979

Galen, Psychological Writings (P. N. Singer ed. & tr., with contributions by V. Nutton et alii), Cambridge, 2013

V. Nutton, ‘Galen and Medical Autobiography’, Proc. Cambridge Philol. Soc. 198, 1972, p. 50-62

N. Humble/K. Sidwell, ‘Dreams of glory : Lucian as autobiographer’, in B. McGing/ J. Mossman (eds), The Limits of Ancient Biography, The Classical Press of Wales, 2006, 213-226

5. Was there a consensus, or controversy among ancient physicians about surgical treatments?

Celsus, On medicine (Loeb, 3 vols.) - esp. books VII-VIII (vol. 3)

Hippocrates, Fractures/Joints; In the surgery

L. Bliquez, The tools of Asclepius. Surgical Instruments in Greek and Roman Times, 2015

R. Jackson, 'Holding on to health? : bone surgery and instrumentation in the Roman Empire', in H. King (ed.) Health in Antiquity (= chapter 5)

J. Jouanna, Hippocrates, ...

V. Nutton, Ancient Medicine, 2nd ed. 2013


6. To what extent are dreams relevant to ancient medicine, in theory and in practice?

Artemidorus of Daldis, Oneirocritica

Hippocrates, Regimen book IV

W. V. Harris, Dreams and Experience in Classical Antiquity, 2009

B. Holmes/K.D. Fischer (eds), The Frontiers of Ancient Science. Essays in Honour of H. Von Staden, 2015 (several relevant chapters) 

S. M. Oberhelman (ed.), Dreams, Healing and Medicine in Greece, 2013 (several relevant chapters)

Oberhelman, S. M., ‘The Diagnostic Dream in Ancient Medical Theory and Practice’, Bulletin for the History of Medicine 61-1,1987, 47-60

Oberhelman, S. M., ‘Dreams in Graeco-Roman medicine’, ANRW, II, 37, 1, 121-156

7. For the ancients, are mental disorders diseases of the mind, or diseases of the body?

W. V. Harris (ed.), Mental Disorders in the Classical World, 2013 (several relevant chapters)

S. W. Jackson, Melancholia and Depression from Hippocratic times to Modern Times, 1986

M. Nussbaum, The Therapy of Desire, 1994

P. E. Pormann (ed.) Rufus of Ephesus on Melancholy, 2008 (texts by Rufus + studies by various scholars)

C. Thumiger, ‘Mental insanity in the Hippocratic texts: a pragmatic perspective’. Mnemosyne, 2014, 1-24

J. P. Wright & P. Potter (eds), Psyche and Soma. Physicians and Metaphysicians on the Mind-Body problem from Antiquity to the Enlightment, 2000