Therapeutic approches and the "practical medicine"
Subproject by Dr. Christine Salazar
This project will look at the tendency – characteristic of late antique medicine – to focus increasingly on practical usefulness. While the actual reality of everyday medical practice remains forever beyond our grasp, visible only in its reflection in the surviving texts, some fields of medicine allow us to get closer to it than others. Writings about surgical procedures, dietetics, medical advice for travellers, and the preparation of remedies do provide a glimpse of what the doctor actually did, and here case studies can be used to explore the evidence. This will not be restricted to the three medical encyclopaedists, Oribasius, Aetius of Amida and Paul of Aegina, and other medical texts of the period, and even Christian hagiography, will also be considered. Another important practice-oriented subgenre are the writings concerned with so-called iobola, venomous creatures (especially reptiles, insects and arachnids) and how to either avoid them or treat their bites and stings. In all these writings we can observe how a body of knowledge that was considered essential was transmitted and at the same time continuously modified and adjusted.