Galen was part of the urban, Hellenic, leisured class and culture that produced the Second Sophistic. In the regimen he prescribes for a healthy way of life, and in his stories about his patients, he shows allegiance to the masculine, intellectual, and aristocratic values of the gymnasium, contrasted with the harsh deprivation of the peasant’s countryside. He identified with the class of pepaideumenoi, and positioned medicine among the “liberal arts.” He wrote widely on ethics, logic, and language, though his views on Atticism are complicated. Galen privileged classical writers (the palaioi) over more recent ones, and Hippocrates and Plato were especially central to his intellectual identity. Public demonstrations (epideixeis) and more informal debates were important in his professional life. Galen’s ambivalent position in the Roman aristocracy—a well-connected part of the imperial project, committed to the idea of Hellenic superiority—also locates him in the Second Sophistic.
This article summarizes major research questions and scholarship on magic and science. It begins with a section on studies of magical tradition in past and present scholarship and some thoughts on magic and the methods used in studying magic. The next section studies ancient Jewish attitudes to medicine and healing. The article ends with a discussion of rabbinic approaches to the sciences.
This article examines the science and folklore of Greek and Roman methods of weather prediction, dividing techniques into astrometeorological practices (those that looked at the motions of the stars and planets to predict the weather) and “Theophrastan” practices (those that looked at signs on earth or in the atmosphere, from the behavior of animals to the colors of clouds). It includes some discussion of how and when the ancients thought about the causal links between both kinds of signs and the ensuing weather, and discusses the uses of weather prediction in agriculture and seafaring, and its place in ancient didactic literature.
Paul T. Keyser
It is most peculiar that there should be any such thing as Roman science, if by ancient science we mean the sort of thing Greeks did. The genius of Greek science is precisely its weak binding to specifically Greek tradition – making it more readily assimilated by other cultures. There is, however, almost no ancient analogue for assimilators of Greek science who created works of science in a language other than Greek. The genius of the Roman assimilators of Greek science stands on their desire to bring home and master the cultural products of their captives. Moreover, its practitioners shared a belief in the interpretability of the natural world (the Greek philosophers who denied that produced no science). Some practitioners absorbed data and theories from cultures such as Egypt and Babylon, creating the disciplines of alchemy and astrology. The works of M. Terentius Varro and M. Tullius Cicero, both extant and lost, more deeply assimilate and synthesise Greek science. Vitruvius stands for the transition to works composed in some way for the princeps, a genre sometimes practised by Greeks.
Laurence M.V. Totelin
This article presents an overview of the main questions in the history of Greek and Roman pharmacology and botany. It presents the actors in the transmission of pharmacological and botanical knowledge in antiquity and discusses how they established their authority through claims to expertise and effective treatments. It shows that much of that transmission occurred orally, and that attitudes toward the written word in general, and recipes in particular, were ambivalent. Next the article examines the question of efficacy from a cross-cultural and anthropological point of view. It notes that the notion of efficacy is culturally bound and asks whether it is possible to use ancient texts for bioprospecting, that is, to find “new” remedies. It calls for more collaborative studies involving historians, scientific archaeologists, and (ethno)-pharmacists.
This article initially considers the sociology of time in general. It presents a framework of four aspects of time—time frame, timing, temporality, and tempo—derived from the work of Barbara Adam, within which a sociology specifically applicable to the Greek and Roman world can be fruitfully developed. Calendrical time naturally sits within the notion of “time frame” but also evinces elements of “timing” and “temporality.” How calendars were developed so as to measure time is then discussed, with a particular focus on the increasing standardization of time, especially under the Roman Empire. Yet within that empire’s standardized Julian calendar, it is noted that local variations persisted.
Christine F. Salazar
This chapter discusses the wounds caused by warfare. Treating those who had been wounded in combat was a way of acquiring medical knowledge and of developing new surgical techniques. The majority of wounds—made by swords, spears, javelins, or arrows—will have been to the arms and legs. The most fatal were those penetrating the chest, abdomen, or head. The possible treatments for these wounds are reported. It can be stated that the medical treatment of casualties itself did not change very drastically in the roughly ten centuries between classical Greece and late antiquity, based on its reflection in medical literature. The main changes were arterial ligature, more adventurous surgery, and a trend toward polypharmacy from Hellenistic times onwards.