Bodies in Stone III

Calloway Scott // In the previous post, I concentrated on the dedication of “anatomical ex-votos” within the healing sanctuaries of the Greek god Asklepios. These more-or-less realistic coroplastic representations of body parts were offered to the god of healing (as well as other divinities like Apollo and Aphrodite) as offerings of thanks for successful cures….

Bodies in Stone II

Calloway Scott // In Part I, I made a case for the way ancient Graeco-Roman healing temples created a sense of community for sick suppliants through the careful collection and display of “patient narratives” within sanctuary space. Here I want to take a look at another facet of this community building, the dedication of anatomical…

Bodies in Stone I

Calloway Scott // In an earlier post, I sketched the rise and characteristic features of Hippocratic medicine in the 5th century BCE. There I was interested in the peculiar forms of technical authority the Hippocratic practitioner developed over the bodies of his patients. I noted that the creation of such technical authority created a specific set…

De atra bile: An (auto)biography of cancer

Calloway Scott // Look at a recent history of cancer and you might learn something like the following: in the ancient world, cancers were rare. This is owing to shorter lifespans of the population and more limited environmental, occupational, and habitual exposure to carcinogens. It is also very probable that you will learn that the…

The Invention of “Greek” Medicine

Calloway Scott // Early histories of medicine in the west typically traced the “invention” of scientific medicine to the “Greek miracle” of the Classical era (500-323 BCE). That this historiographic narrative—offering contemporary medical method and thought a compelling and authoritative origin—suited a wide variety of 19th and early 20th century interests is hardly surprising. Positivist histories of…

Ancient Medicine, Future Bodies

Calloway Scott // I want to make a case for looking back to the Corpus Hippocraticum—the Hippocratic Corpus—as a valuable site for thinking about the medical humanities and its future. The 60 odd medical treatises which make up the Corpus are really the works of many hands working at different times and places over the course…