Ancient Medicine CLASSIC5087

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course provides an introduction to the major ancient medical schools and authors from the Hippocratic corpus to Galen. It will also briefly cover the reception of ancient medicine in Late Antiquity, Byzantium and the Arabic world. It helps the students to develop an interest in medical history and explore approaches to health and healing in a variety of social and cultural settings.


1x1hr lecture; 1x1hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours/PGT options in Classics and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level

Excluded Courses

Ancient Medicine Honours




Extended essay (4,000 words) - 70%

Presentation of 10 minutes - 30%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ introduce students to the main themes and concepts in the history of ancient medicine

■ analyse key sources, textual and archaeological, for the study of ancient medicine

■ relate ancient medicine to its historical, social, and philosophical contexts

■ explore broader historical issues such as the continuity of tradition and cultural transfers

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ identify the key ancient medical theories and concepts of disease

■ explain the major challenges in the interpretation of primary evidence in the field of medical history

■ assess the public role of practising physicians and medical authors in their communities

■ critically discuss notions of continuity, transmission, and transformation of medical theories and practices

■ produce sustained arguments in both written and oral form on a variety of textual and archaeological sources relating to medical literature, thought, and visual culture.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.