Classics (Classical Civilisation) MA/MA(SocSci)

Ancient Medicine CLASSIC4070

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

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 options in Classics and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Essay (3,500 words) - 60%

Presentation of 15 minutes - 40%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ become acquainted with the main themes and concepts in the history of ancient medicine

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

■ investigate the interplay between medicine and society

■ 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

■ describe and evaluate 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

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.