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The Society for Ancient Medicine and Pharmacology is an affiliate of the Society for Classical Studies.

The Rootcutter is coming!

THE ROOTCUTTER, the blog for the Society for Ancient Medicine and Pharmacology, invites pitches for paid essays for an inaugural series that addresses connections between ancient and modern medicines. Essays should explore any aspect of ancient medicine broadly construed (e.g., including, but not limited to healing in the Mediterranean, Middle East, pre-modern China, India, and pre-Colombian South America), ideally through engagement with a clear and accessible primary source (e.g., image, object, short excerpt). Our intended audience includes historians and scientists, healthcare professionals and consumers, researchers and students. We hope that these essays will create a robust framework for applying key insights from classical reception studies to the history of medicine in antiquity and its relationship to modern medical theories and practices. Details can be found here.

The Rootcutter on the SCS Blog!

The Rootcutter has been featured on the SCS Blog, which outlines some of the rationale behind its inaugural series "The Best Doctor is also a Historian." Details about the blog and how to submit pitches can be found here.

Aileen Das (University of Michigan) and Jay Crisostomo (University of Michigan)

April 22 @ 4-5pm EST via Zoom (Sign up to receive the Zoom link here.)

This pedagogy workshop is aimed at (past, current, and would-be) instructors of ancient medicine, science, and technology courses who would be keen to integrate material from the pre-modern Middle East. Popular and more academic narratives often equate ancient medicine with Greco-Roman medicine and frame its study as an originist history of a monolithic western medical tradition. When these narratives introduce content from the pre-modern Middle East, such as from Assyria or the medieval Islamicate world, they define the contribution of Middle Eastern knowledge-makers in terms of their anticipation or preservation of a western science. This workshop will discuss ways of foregrounding the theories and actors of pre-modern Middle Eastern science, technology, and medicine without rendering them subservient to a hegemonic "western tradition". Moreover, we will review a range of primary and secondary source materials that we utilize in our own teaching of these subjects. Questions or concerns can be addressed to Co-sponsored by the Society for Ancient Medicine and the UC Davis Early Science Workshop.

Click here for a transcript of the event.

A list of resources mentioned during the conversations can be found here.

Disability in the Ancient World

Hannah Silverblank (Haverford), Debby Sneed (CSULB) and Bet Hucks (U. Heidelberg)

March 22 @ 12:30–2pm EST via Zoom

This workshop is aimed at instructors (faculty and graduate student alike) who are, have, or are planning on teaching a course on ancient medicine or related areas. The goals of the workshop are twofold and intertwined. The first goal is to offer frameworks for thinking about, identifying, and incorporating disability in the ancient world into medicine courses. Assuming that “being (dis)abled” is a set of value-judgements contingent on time, culture, place, environment, and ideology, how might we define “disability” in the ancient world? What research methodologies and models of embodiment provide meaningful ways of understanding lived experiences of disabilities and disablement? What sorts of medical, material, and social evidence for disability accommodations emerges from various parts of the ancient Mediterranean? What, if any, are the lessons these ancient responses can impart to contemporary perspectives and practices as classicists? This last question is central to the second aim of the workshop. What are the best pedagogical practices we as instructors can employ for ensuring our classrooms are as accessible as possible (with respect to both the physical and digital classroom)? In this way we hope to wed both our concern for the past with an awareness of the issues of the future. Our three panelists will provide various approaches into teaching ancient source material as well as pedagogical principles like UDL (Universal Design in Learning), which should aid instructors in designing courses that are conceptually adept for the subject and grounded in disability justice-informed accessibility. Co-sponsored by Society for Ancient Medicine and the University of Cincinnati Department of Classics

Routledge Studies in Ancient Disabilities is a series dedicated to the investigation of new perspectives, the application of new approaches, and the promotion of period-based and cross-cultural investigations of disability throughout antiquity. Extending beyond the core disciplines of ancient history, archaeology and classical studies, the series aims to provide a forum for scholars with diverse backgrounds, including bioarchaeology, biblical studies and contemporary disability studies, to explore the evidence for disabilities within communities extending from the Bronze Age to late Antiquity. Encouraging cross-disciplinary studies, the series aims to bring questions of disability and impairment into dialogue with those concerning status, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and other lived experiences, as well as to consider how successive generations have received, appropriated, or reworked these forms of identity. Ultimately, the series seeks to expand the geographical, cultural, and chronological scope of work on ancient disabilities and broaden our understandings of physical impairment and mental and intellectual disabilities (and related conditions).

For further information about contributing to the series, please contact Dr Emma-Jayne Graham at

Current Issues in Ancient Medicine (CIAM) makes available to a wide readership, both in print and digitally on Open Access, the results of current research on ancient medicine from antiquity to the Renaissance. The series publishes, in the major languages of global scholarly communication, not only monographs and collective volumes, but also critical editions, translations, and commentaries, all peer-reviewed by an international committee of readers. In the variety of its approaches, ranging from philology to the history of science and the history of ideas, this series reflects and speaks to the varied interests of the contemporary reader in ancient medicine.

Editors | Éditrices | Herausgeberinnen Brigitte Maire & Nathalie Rousseau Editorial Board | Comité scientifique | Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Arsenio Ferraces Rodríguez, Klaus-Dietrich Fischer, Valérie Gitton-Ripoll, Alessia Guardasole, David R. Langslow, Marie-Hélène Marganne, Matteo Martelli, Anna Maria Urso Contacts | Kontakte | |


This webinar series was part of the course ARCH 1765: Pandemics, Pathogens, and Plagues in the Greek and Roman Worlds taught by Tyler Franconi throught the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology at Brown University. All talks have been posted on youtube and are available to the public. For full descriptions, and further information, visit the class website.

History, Biology and the Antonine Plague, Kyle Harper (University of Oklahoma)

Watch a recording of Kyle Harper’s talk here:

The Economic Impact of the Antonine Plague, Andrew Wilson, University of Oxford

Watch a recording of Andrew Wilson’s talk here:

Quisquamne regno gaudet? Politics and Plague in Seneca’s Oedipus, Hunter Gardner, University of South Carolina

Watch a recording of Hunter Gardner’s talk here:

Palaeogenetic Insights into the First Plague Pandemic (541-750), Marcel Keller, University of Tartu

Watch a recording of Marcel Keller’s talk here: