A three-day conference on the history of medicine and pharmacology, Traditions of Materia Medica (300 BCE – 1300 CE), will take place (digitally) from 16-18 June 2021 at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

The theme of the conference is the transmission of pharmacology (in its many forms) before and after the writings of Galen of Pergamum. What approaches to drugs and medicines existed before Galen? How should we characterize them? And how was earlier pharmaceutical knowledge transferred, filtered, refined and challenged following the dissemination of Galen’s pharmacology?

The conference brings together scholars working on ancient Greek, Demotic, Coptic, Latin and Arabic pharmacology and medicine to discuss these questions. We will have talks on central but understudied authors and traditions, and we will discuss some ground-breaking methods of studying these traditions currently being developed in the history and philosophy of science, philology, botany, chemistry, archaeology, lexicography and digital humanities.

The programme is as follows:

16 June 2021

13:00     Introduction

13:10     David Leith, Exeter: Pharmacology in the Asclepiadean Sect

13:35     Irene Calà, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München: The Libri medicinales of Aetius Amidenus as Source for the Followers of Herophilus: Additional Fragments of Andreas of Carystus

14:00     Break

14:10     Caterina Manco, Paul Valéry – Montpellier: Galien lecteur du De materia medica de Dioscoride

14:35     Costanza de Martino, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: Philumenus’ Sources in De venenatis animalibus eorumque remediis

15:00     Break

15:10     Amber Jacob, New York University: A Demotic Pharmacological Compendium from the Tebtunis Temple Library

15:35     Anne Grons, Philipps-Universität Marburg: Materia Medica in Coptic Medical Prescriptions

16:00     Break

16:10     Manuela Marai, Warwick: Wound and Skin Infection Treatment in Galen: Potential Antimicrobial Substances for Drug Development

16:35     Effie Photos-Jones, Glasgow: What Do You Do With a Problem Like … Lithargyros

17 June 2021

13:00     Greeting

13:10     Laurence Totelin, Cardiff: Traditions of Ancient Euporista

13:35     Caroline Petit, Warwick: Towards a new edition of Galen’s treatise On Simple Drugs

14:00     Break

14:10     John Wilkins, Exeter: Materia Medica: A Study of Galen’s Inheritance of Materia Medica and His Theorising of It

14:35     P. N. Singer, Einstein Centre Chronoi Berlin: A Change in the Substance: Theory and its Limits in Galen’s Simples

15:00     Break

15:10     Krzysztof Jagusiak and Konrad Tadajczyk, Łódź: Sitz Baths (ἐγκαθίσματα) in the Galenic Corpus

15:35     Simone Mucci, Warwick: ἀρχιατροί, Antidotes and Hellenistic and Roman Rulers

16:00     Break

16:10     Maximillian Haars, Philipps-Universität Marburg: Annotated Catalogue and Index of Medicinal Plants and Herbal Drugs in the Galenic Corpus

16:35     Barbara Zipser, Royal Holloway University London, and Andreas Lardos, Zurich: New Approaches to Ancient Botanical Lexicography

18 June 2021

13:00     Greeting

13:10     Alessia Guardasole, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Paris: The Diacodyon (διὰ κωδυῶν) Remedy Throughout the Centuries

13:35     Petros Bouras-Vallianatos, Edinburgh: Pharmacological Substances from Asia in Late Antique and Byzantine Medical Works

14:00     Break

14:10     Matteo Martelli, Bologna: Minerals for Medicine and Alchemy: Dyes and Dry Pharmaka

14:35     Maciej Kokoszko, Łódź: A Few Words on a Certain Sweet Sauce, or On Dietetics and Materia Medica Included in De observatione ciborum by Anthimus

15:00     Break

15:10     Zofia Rzeźnicka, Łódź: Peeling / Scrubs in the Libri Medicinales of Aetius of Amida

15:35     Sean Coughlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: Alchemies of Scent: Experimental Approaches to Medicinal Perfumes

16:00     Break

16:10     Lucia Raggetti, Bologna: Aristotle and a Gem Shop on Peacock Alley

16:35     Closing Remarks

Abstracts for all talks can be found at https://www.sfb-episteme.de/en/veranstaltungen/Tagungen/traditions-of-materia-medica/Abstracts-and-Programme.html

The event is free and open to all interested parties, but advance registration is required as space is limited. To register, please visit the conference website, https://www.sfb-episteme.de/en/veranstaltungen/Vorschau/2021/A03_traditions-of-materia-medica.html, or email [email protected] with your name, affiliation and your research interests. Please register by 11 June 2021.

The conference is hosted by the Sonderforschungsbereich (SFB) 980 Episteme in Bewegung and the Institut für Klassische Philologie at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. It is organized by Sean Coughlin, Christine Salazar, Lisa Sherbakova, with Philip van der Eijk.