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Classicism Conference


A conference organised by David Arnold and Peter E. Pormann (University of Warwick) with the support of the Wellcome Trust and the University of Warwick


Speakers will include: David Arnold, Guy Attewell, David Hardiman, Helen King, Pauline Koetschet, Elaine Leong, Vivienne Lo, Anne-Marie Moulin, Vivian Nutton, Peter E. Pormann, Volker Scheid, Miri Shefer, Fabrizio Speziale and Ronit Yoeli Tlalim The term ‘classical’ has come to be applied to a number of medical traditions around the world, from ancient to modern times and from Europe and the Middle East to South Asia and East Asia. The conference will bring together scholars from different backgrounds to consider what is meant by the term ‘classical’ when applied to medicine. Among the main questions to be examined are: does ‘classical’ denote adherence to a set of written, canonical sources (and, if so, how do those sources acquire their authority)? Does it indicate certain kinds of training or understandings of the body and disease-causation (perhaps in conscious contrast to non-‘classical’ concepts of healing)? Does ‘classical’ signify certain ways in which medicine is practised (and on whom)? How does it reflect and inform the social standing of the practitioners, and how do they defend their traditions in the face of criticism (as from modern, western medicine)? As well as addressing these questions in relation to specific times and places, the participants will also consider how concepts of medical classicism have spread and how effectively a concept of ‘classical medicine’ enables us to make comparisons and recognise connections between one medical tradition and another.

£10.00 per day - £5.00 concessions To register please contact Elizabeth Witchell at the Warburg Institute: For further information please contact David Arnold ( or Peter E. Pormann (

Conference Programme

Available here