The Legacy of Ancient Medicine

Published: February 16, 2017

CLASSICS 144 has been added as a spring term class, meeting Tuesday and Wednesday, 12-1:30 pm. “The Legacy of Ancient Medicine will be taught by Alain Touwaide, Visiting Professor, and Scientific Director, Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions.

According to a widely diffused opinion, ancient medicine (particularly Greek medicine) provided the  foundations of the Western art of healing. However exact this idea might be, it does not explain why and how ancient medicine could have been the source of present-day medicine. This class will investigate such topics as how ancient medicine was transmitted through the centuries in Byzantium, the medieval West, the Arabic World and the Renaissance, how it was assimilated into–and/or determined–medieval and Renaissance medicine and science, or whether it can be considered the source of modern medicine and, if so, why and how. To approach these and other similar questions, the class will examine the whole history of medicine through the Mediterranean basin from the most remote Antiquity to the dawn of modern medicine and even later, passing through Late Antiquity, Byzantium, the Arabic World and beyond, the medieval West and the Rensiaacne. It will study such components as transmission of knowledge, translation(s), adaptation(s), criticism or rejection of classical medicine; also it will examine the teaching of medicine, apprenticeship and professionalization, and will analyze discoveries traditionally considered as fundamental to the development of modern medicine.