Death and Desease in the Ancient City by Valerie Hope, Eireann Marshall

By Valerie Hope, Eireann Marshall

This cutting edge quantity attracts on fresh examine in archaeology, historic heritage and the historical past of drugs to debate how humans within the historic global understood and handled disease and dying within the city atmosphere.

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Extra resources for Death and Desease in the Ancient City

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296), a slide from sickness to violent injury. III The medicaI imagery of the fourth century is, of course, shaped by personal interest, and usually wielded by men with an axe to grind. Plato, with his sense of intellectual and moral superiority, regards the whole of practical politics as in need of his expert treatment, while Demosthenes and his contemporaries wrangle in a squabble for access to the patient which Galen would have had no trouble in recognising. If, however, one goes back to an earlier and less self-interested discourse, the picture is, I believe, rather different.

So, Froma Zeitlin (1990) has discussed the unusual nature of the city of Thebes, whose myths as they are explored in tragedy reveal the place as a kind of anti-Athens. As Zeitlin has shown, the tragedians suggest that certain types of destructive behaviour are endemic to Thebes. There are frequent references in the Theban plays of Euripides to the violent origins of the Theban people - they are descendants of the Sparti, the 'sown men' who sprouted up from the dragon's teeth planted in the Theban soil by Cadmus.

In fact, the author of Regimen confines himself to discussing only two peoples by name, the Libyans and the Pontics. Although the geographical information in Regimen differs from Airs, Waters, Places in some particulars, the text likewise makes no mention of 'the city' being more or less healthy than areas of lesser population density. Whole areas of terrain are subject to various conditions; city and countryside within the same area appear to share in these alike. Even when we turn to the katastaseis and case histories of the Epidemics, which are often specific to one particular city, no city/country distinction arises.

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