United Kingdom, London

Illness, Health and Healing in Ancient Greece

when 24 July 2017 - 11 August 2017
language English
duration 3 weeks
credits 7.5 ECTS
fee GBP 1850

This module offers an introduction to the study of health and disease in ancient Greece, focusing on a selection of texts from the diverse Hippocratic Collection.

Prominent Hippocratic ideas about the body and disease, debates about the nature of medicine, and rhetorical techniques used to establish authority are explored in the context of Greek myth in tragic drama, such as Sophocles' 'Philoctetes'; in philosophy, such as the work of Empedocles and Heraclitus; and in ancient temple healing.

The module also introduces students to the reception of ancient Greek medical ideas, exploring the relationship between descriptions of plague in ancient Athens, ancient Rome and late-Renaissance London, and the power of Hippocratic ideas about women in the Victorian period in Britain.

The module aims to provide students with the tools to engage critically with the study of ancient Greek medicine and to identify and examine ways in which ancient Greek medicine interacts with a broad intellectual landscape.

Course leader

Dr James Cross is a tutor in Classical Civilisation, and Coordinator for the UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate for the Humanities (UPCH). He is working on a book based on his PhD thesis on the rhetoric of the Hippocratic Collection in context (for

Target group

This is a level one module (equivalent to first year undergraduate). No prior subject knowledge is required for this module, but students are expected to have a keen interest in the area.

Course aim

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

Have gained knowledge of key ideas about health and disease in the Hippocratic Collection as well as in ancient Greek myth, philosophy and religion;

Have gained an understanding of the ways in which the Hippocratic Collection relates to its wider cultural context
Be able to identify and evaluate a number of ways in which ancient Greek medicine influenced the development of later cultural and medical ideas;

Have developed their ability to analyse connections between texts of different genres and periods;

Have developed their ability to formulate an argument and present it in different formats such as through oral presentation and written work.

Credits info

7.5 ECTS
7.5 ECTS / 4 US / 0.5 UCL

Fee info

GBP 1850: Students joining us for six weeks (two modules) will receive a tuition discount of £400.
GBP 1000: UCL offers accommodation in a vibrant area in the heart of London which costs £1000 per 3-week Session.

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