Academic Year 2019/2020 - 2° Year - Curriculum Educatore nei servizi per l'infanzia
Teaching Staff: Gaetano Maria ARENA
Credit Value: 6
Scientific field: L-ANT/03 - ROMAN HISTORY
Taught classes: 36 hours
Term / Semester:

Learning Objectives

  • to outline the history of ancient medicine with the help of multiple testimonies from the Mediterranean area and spread over a wide period of time between the Archaic age and the Late Antiquity, chronological coordinates within which the Western medical thought unwinds from an initial phase with a magic-superstitious character to a terminal phase of a markedly scientific-philosophical type: giving wide space to the direct use of the sources achieves a twofold educational objective, as it contributes to the development in the learners both of the ability to understand the space-time and cause-effect links and of the ability to establish interdisciplinary links through the historical research methodology;
  • to present the main nosological, diagnostic and therapeutic theories developed by ancient physicians in relation both to individual pathologies, to epidemic diseases, and to the promotion of well-being and health from early childhood to adulthood up to old age;
  • to define the spaces and techniques of intervention of the specialists in relation both to the progress of medical knowledge, to the relationship with the patient, whose figure experienced increased interest with the advent of Christianity, and to the relation to protection and medical-health assistance provided to specific types of patients, such as children, but also the elderly and the disabled;
  • to describe and compare the position of the physician in the Hellenistic and Roman-imperial periods, highlighting similarities and differences in social, economic and legal terms, in order to give students both the ability to autonomously rework and deepen the contents learned, and the ability to appropriately use the technical vocabulary of the discipline, as well as the ability to adequately use expressive means.

Course Structure

Frontal lessons.

Detailed Course Content

  • sources and research methods: treaties, inscriptions, medical prescriptions in the papyri, archaeological and paleopathological remains
  • “Homeric”, folk and sacerdotal medicine
  • scientific medicine and evolutionary stages: Hippocrates; the Hellenistic age and the medical “sects”; the Imperial period and the figure of Galen; the Late Antiquity
  • health and illness, care and healing: environment and climate; pathologies and diagnosis; epidemics; hygiene and therapies (dietetic, pharmacological and surgical); tools, medicines and places of recovery
  • medical specialties: obstetrics and gynecology; ophthalmology; dentistry; psychiatry
  • the doctor-patient relationship: the professional ethics; legal liability and penalties; the awareness and cooperation of the patient; the triad physician-disease-patient in Christian mentality
  • social and economic status of the doctor: slave, freed and free; court, municipal and military physician; the woman and the practice of medicine

Textbook Information

I. Andorlini-A. Marcone, Medicina, medico e società nel mondo antico, Firenze Le Monnier Università 2004, pp. 1-232.

V. Boudon-Millot, Galeno di Pergamo. Un medico greco a Roma, Roma Carocci Editore 2016, pp. 9-263.

G. Arena-M. Cassia, Marcello di Side. Gli imperatori adottivi e il potere della medicina, Acireale-Roma Bonanno Editore 2016, pp. 139-170; 203-254.

G. Arena, Scribi e "cavie" umane fra i servi di Galeno: usi e abusi di un medico illustre, in C. Giuffrida-M. Cassia-G. Arena (a cura di), Roma e i 'diversi'. Confini geografici, barriere culturali, distinzioni di genere nelle fonti letterarie ed epigrafiche fra età repubblicana e Tarda Antichità, Milano Le Monnier Università 2018, pp. 156-171.