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Aetius of Amida, Books on Medicine

05.07.2018 - 06.07.2018

Workshop organised by project A03 „The Transfer of Medical Episteme in the ‘Encyclopaedic’ Compilations of Late Antiquity“ (Head: Prof. Dr. Philip van der Eijk)


Aetius of Amida (6th–7th century CE) is the creator of a large medical encyclopaedia in 16 books, which has survived in its entirety. Not all books exist in a printed edition, though. It is written in Greek and consists almost exclusively of excerpts taken from earlier Greek medical writers (such as Galen). His encyclopaedia is not only a locus of preservation for the fragments of otherwise lost works, but also a major testimony to the transfer of medical ideas in late antiquity. In Teilprojekt A03, we are studying Aetius’ methods of copying, abbreviation, compilation and reconfiguration of earlier medical material. We are also preparing critical editions and annotated translations of parts of his voluminous work.

In this third dedicated workshop, we will aim to finalise the annotated translation of book I of Aetius’ work (to go to press later this year), and to take the translation of book II (with the commentary) further on its way towards publication. Book I consists of a summary of Galen’s theory of simple medicines, followed by a discussion of drugs derived from plants. Book II contains the second part of the materia medica, namely remedies of mineral and animal origin, and concludes with drugs listed by their effect (e.g. ‘cooling to the second degree’). Together the two books form the whole of Aetius’ pharmacology. Topics we would particularly like to discuss are the translation of specific medical terms, their actual meaning, and whether this meaning remains stable in the course of the transfer of medical knowledge, or changes over time. We also hope to present our findings so far.

Participants: Irene Calà (HU Berlin), Sean Coughlin (HU Berlin), Philip van der Eijk (HU Berlin), Ricarda Gäbel (HU Berlin), Eric Gowling (Glasgow University), Alessia Guardasole (CNRS Paris), Matteo Martelli (University of Bologna), Laurence Totelin (Cardiff University), Christine Salazar (HU Berlin).


Zeit & Ort

05.07.2018 - 06.07.2018

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Institut für Klassische Philologie
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin

Weitere Informationen

Those wishing to attend the workshop should contact Sean Coughlin (sean.coughlin@hu-berlin.de) or Christine Salazar (salazach@hu-berlin.de).