Vivian Nutton is Emeritus Professor of the History of Medicine at University College London, and a Fellow of the British Academy. An event on ‘New light on ancient medicine’ was held on 17 May 2011.
The whole article can be downloaded as a PDF file.
Published in British Academy Review, Issue 18 (Summer 2011).
Panel discussion held on 17 May 2011 (venue: The British Academy). Since 2000, new discoveries have radically changed the traditional picture of medicine as practised in ancient Greece and Rome. Archaeological finds have provided new contexts for ancient healing, and the Vlatadon MS has brought to light new Greek texts of the ancient doctor, Galen of Pergamum, 129-c.216, which have wider implications for the transmission of ancient medicine and philosophy. Studies of medieval Arabic or Latin translations have also revealed new or forgotten treatises from the period of the Roman Empire, which in turn often discuss much earlier Greek writings that are otherwise lost. A project to edit some 60 unpublished papyri from Greco-Roman Egypt also shows how ancient doctors applied their theoretical learning. The speakers will discuss some of the most important of these new finds, including new material on the Hippocratic Oath.
The long-term enterprise to decipher, reconstruct and publish the papyri found at Oxyrhynchus represents a collaboration between the British Academy, which adopted it as a Major Research Project in 1966, the Egypt Exploration Society, which funds the publication, the AHRB, which has given the project a five-year grant, the host institutions (Oxford University and University College London), and the numerous individual scholars and students who contribute to the research. Here Professor Peter Parsons FBA, Regius Professor of Greek at the University of Oxford, and Chairman of the Project, describes the unique finds arising from the rubbish dumps of Oxyrhynchus.
Marina Warner has always been interested in the ways the borders between real and imaginary worlds have been breached and blurred. On 11 May 2011, she discussed how the impalpable has been seen or embodied in different eras, cultures and art forms. The following is an edited extract from her conversation with Hermione Lee.