Practical Knowledge and Medical Practice in Ancient Mediterranean Cultures

November 2-4, 2015, Berlin, Germany

International conference organised by the project A03 “The Transfer of Medical Episteme in the ‘Encyclopaedic’ Compilations of Late Antiquity” (Heads: Prof. Dr. Philip van der Eijk, Prof. Dr. Markham J. Geller)

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 organiza­tional reasons participants are kindly requested to register – please contact:

The conference is organised by Christine F. Salazar (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Lennart Lehmhaus (Freie Universität Berlin), Franziska Desch (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/TOPOI-BerGSAS).

The conference is funded by the Collaborative Research Center 980 “Episteme in Motion” and supported by the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation and the “Zentrum Alte Welt” of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften.

Posted: October 26, 2015