Dreams, Drugs, and Fumigations: Doctoring in Ancient Athens
April 26, 2022 @ 7:30 pm CDT Central Time
102 Hanson Hall of Science
Rock Island, IL 61201 United States
Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
AIA Society: Western Illinois (Monmouth)
Lecturer: Susan Rotroff
In ancient Athens, as today, people got sick. Suffering from anything from epidemic disease and accidents to chronic illness and passing indisposition, they required treatment. Much of what we know about that treatment comes from texts, particularly the body of medical lore known as the Hippocratic Corpus, which began to be written down in the 5th century BC. But the practice of medicine also left an archaeological trail, from the well-known healing sanctuaries to simple artifacts associated with medical treatment. This lecture examines some of this evidence, focusing particularly on objects preserved in the trash-heaps of Athens (and other cities) — including the equipment of a family of healers who lived just to the south of the city’s agora (public square) — to shed a more intimate light on the practice and practitioners of the healing arts.