Date: Wednesday, 15 February 2023
Time: 11:00am EDT
Hybrid Format: The in-person portion of this talk will take place at the Center for Hellenic Studies, in House A. Online attendees can register via Zoom.
Disease, Illness, and the Medical Marketplace in Ancient Greece (500-300 BCE)
Grounded in social history, the talk explores the emergence of medical pluralism—the interwoven professional and cultural systems or “marketplaces” that evolved to manage health and disease—in Greek communities across the ancient Mediterranean. Here are the surgeons, the physicians who dissected animals to better understand human anatomy, the midwives; here too are the pharmaceutical “root-cutters”, and the ritual specialists who treated illness with purifications and incantations. Competing with these practitioners were also divine healers, deities like Asklepios, Paiania, Apollo, and the Heros Iatros (“Physician Hero”), and their health-giving sanctuaries in which incubation and temple medicine were practiced. Drawn from my second book project, this paper illuminates the breadth of healthcare options from c.500–300 BCE, investigating different healing figures along with the approach or “brand” of healthcare that they typified, and how at least some chronic diseases were addressed in Greek communities of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE.
Jessica Lamont is an Assistant Professor of Classics and History at Yale University, where she also serves as an Affiliate in the Program in the History of Science and Medicine. She received her PhD in Classics at Johns Hopkins University in 2016. A social and cultural historian of the ancient Greek world, Lamont’s research focuses on Greek religion, magic, medicine, epigraphy, and material culture from c.750–300 BCE. At the CHS she will be working on her second book project, Health and Healing in Ancient Greece.