Literary and documentary evidence for lay medical practice in the Roman Republic and Empire

Draycott, J. (2016) Literary and documentary evidence for lay medical practice in the Roman Republic and Empire. In: Petridou, G. and Thumiger, C. (eds.) Homo Patiens: Approaches to the Patient in the Ancient World. Series: Studies in ancient medicine (45). Brill: Leiden, pp. 432-450. ISBN 9789004305557 (doi:10.1163/9789004305564_019)

Draycott, J. (2016) Literary and documentary evidence for lay medical practice in the Roman Republic and Empire. In: Petridou, G. and Thumiger, C. (eds.) Homo Patiens: Approaches to the Patient in the Ancient World. Series: Studies in ancient medicine (45). Brill: Leiden, pp. 432-450. ISBN 9789004305557 (doi:10.1163/9789004305564_019)

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Abstract

The majority of surviving ancient medical literature was written by medical practitioners and produced for the purpose of ensuring the effective diagnosis and treatment of their patients, suggesting an audience of medical professionals ranging from instructors to students. This has led historians to concentrate on the professional medical practitioner and their theories, methods and practices, rather than on lay medical practitioners, or even patients themselves. This chapter seeks to redress this imbalance, and examine the ancient literary and documentary evidence for lay medical theories, methods and practices in the Roman Republic and Empire in an attempt to reconstruct the experiences of lay medical practitioners and their patients. The Roman agricultural treatises of Cato, Varro and Columella, papyri and ostraca from Egypt, and tablets from Britain are investigated, and it is established that the individual’s personal acquisition of knowledge and expertise, not only from medical professionals and works of medical literature, but also from family members and friends, and through trial and error, was considered fundamental to domestic medical practice.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Draycott, Jane
Authors: Draycott, J.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Classics
Publisher:Brill
ISBN:9789004305557
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Koninklijke Brill NV
First Published:First published in Homo Patiens: Approaches to the Patient in the Ancient World: 432-450
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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