GRC30010 Ancient Medicine and Society

Academic Year 2020/2021

In this module you will explore the different forms that healing could take in ancient Greek and Roman society. We will examine influential theories of medicine from the Hippocratic writers to Galen, as well as religious and magical healing practices. Seminars will focus on different views of doctors and patients that emerge from our sources, and address topics such as the social status of doctors at Rome, ideas about gender and the body in ancient medicine, whether or not ancient drugs worked, and strategies for living a healthy life in first-century Rome.

No prior knowledge of medicine (ancient or modern) is required and all sources will be studied in translation. The module is open to elective and international students, as well as programme students in Greek and Roman Civilization.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students will be able to:

• demonstrate an understanding of modern debates about ancient medicine;
• analyze a range of ancient source material;
• comment critically on modern research on key issues in the subject;
• produce well-argued essays drawing on primary and secondary source material.

Indicative Module Content:

Indicative Asynchronous Lectures:

Hippocrates and the Hippocratic Corpus
The Theory of the Four Humours
Religion and Medicine in Classical Greece
Anatomy and the Alexandrians
Medicine and the Hellenistic City
Greek Medicine at Rome
Medicine and the Roman Army
Gender and Theories of the Body
Galen and Galenic Medicine

Weekly online seminars will explore the themes of the lectures through group discussion.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning


Small Group


Seminar (or Webinar)


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module is taught via asynchronous lectures and weekly online seminars, which will allow for group discussion.

It is possible to complete this module entirely online. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: 1500 word essay Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Online quizzes Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: 1000 word commentary Unspecified n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be sent to students via Brightspace.

Name Role
Dr Helen Dixon Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Michael Lloyd Lecturer / Co-Lecturer