“Practical Knowledge and Medical Practice in Ancient Mediterranean Cultures” is the title of the International Conference, taking place in Berlin, on 2-3 November 2015.
The Project A03 (“The Transfer of Medical Episteme in the ‘Encyclopaedic’ Compilations of Late Antiquity”), as part of the SFB 980 “Episteme in Motion”, is organizing an international conference on the topic of practical knowledge and actual practices in medical traditions of different ancient cultures.
The heads of project, Prof. Philip van der Eijk and Prof. Markham J. Geller, welcome speakers from the US, the UK, Europe and Germany who will address in multi-discipline presentations the different healing practices (diagnosis, bloodletting, surgery and other forms of treatment, incantations) and the role of the “practitioners”. Furthermore, the papers will shed light on the ways in which this practical medical knowledge was gained and transferred via experts, institutions and procedures.
To focus this meeting on the theme of Medical Practice will serve as a reminder that – whatever elaborate theories ancient experts might have held – this was not all that mattered in the day-to-day needs of their profession. Given the paucity of written evidence and archaeological remains, we tend to know more about the intellectual underpinnings of ancient medicine than about actual medical procedures. Since theory and practice were of equal importance in the constitution and transmission of medical knowledge, it is worthwhile to try and tease out whatever information is available about the reality of medical treatments. The conference presentations will address the different healing practices (diagnosis, bloodletting, surgery and other forms of treatment, including incantations) and the ways in which this practical medical knowledge was gained and transferred via experts, institutions and procedures. The multi-perspective and comparative approach to Mesopotamian, Greek, Byzantine, Jewish-Talmudic, Chinese, Persian and Syriac medical traditions will help to sharpen the understanding of practical medicine in the Mediterranean across different periods and in varying socio-cultural contexts.
Admission is free. For organisational reasons participants are kindly requested to register – please contact: [email protected]
A detailed description and the conference programme are published online at the SFB webpage: