[HEAL 215] Ancient Medicine

This course addresses various aspects of Greco- Roman medical systems: what constitutes a “healthy” body; how genetics and environment affect health status; what diseases affect humans; the relationship between symptom and cause of disease; what treatment styles are practiced/recommended; the importance of case studies, family history, and environmental factors in determining a course of treatment; and women’s [reproductive] medicine [including theories of how reproduction happens in humans and suggestions for midwives]. Students engage with large selections of the Hippocratic Corpus, Aristotle, Soranus, and Galen; and shorter selections of other relevant authors [e.g., Pliny the Elder]. Throughout, students are asked to use the Greeks and Romans as a way to interrogate contemporary medical epistemology: what do we “know” about the body, disease, and treatment, and how do we know it? How do we define “health?” What socio-cultural assumptions do we make about the nature of illness and people who suffer with illness?

Course Title

Ancient Medicine

Course Code

HEAL 215



Fulfills Requirements



Prerequisite: none.


Also listed as Also listed as Greek, Latin, and Ancient Mediterranean Studies 215.
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