Project: An Atlas of Ancient Medicine

This project’s task will be to investigate some of the most meaningful aspects of medicine in Greco-Roman Antiquity. It will try to draw an atlas of ancient medical practice and of the spread and circulation of medical knowledge.


Outlook 1: Places, spaces, artifacts

  1. Places: from villages to metropoleis.
  2. Spaces_1: the iatreion in literary, epigraphical, archaeological testimonies and remains.
  3. Spaces for the preservation of knowledge: libraries, repositories, archives. From the grammatophylakeion of Kos to Roman libraries.


Outlook 2. Writing: genesis, reworking, transmission, circulation of medical knowledge

  1. Non-Hippocratic medicine until the 4th century BC: the ‘losers’. Archaic medicine, the Italic ‘school’, the physiologoi, religious, magical and folk medicine; inscriptions from medical sanctuaries.
  2. Reception of the authorial tradition, especially of the Hellenistic period; re-elaboration of the models in later didactic and isagogic writings.
  3. Transmission of Hippocratic exegesis in the course of the Roman expansion into the Ancient Near East: Galen’s commentaries; the pharmacological and alchemical tradition and its legacy.
  4. Galen as a source: philosophical theories, sociological value.
  5. Byzantine reception of Hippocratic and Galenic medicine, and the passage from Antiquity to Renaissance; link to the project of an electronic catalogue of the Latin translations of Galen (Marche Polytechnic University).


Outlook 3: Archaeology and technology

  1. Spaces_2: the Asclepieia as centres for medical practice and the preservation of specialist knowledge.
  2. 3D-reconstruction: the abaton.
  3. 3D-reconstruction: the library of the Asklepieion in Pergamon; the portico and the inscriptions of the sanctuary in Lebena; the entrance of the Epidaurian Asklepieon with the stelai bearing miracle inscriptions of medical argument.


This 5-year project, which links the activities of many scholars, all of them members of the former Italian PRIN group focused on ancient medicine, will be implemented in its entirety only after adequate financial means have been allocated. Specialists from the following institutions will be participating: University of Naples «L’Orientale», University of Florence, University of Siena, University of Parma, Marche Polytechnic University, University of Messina, University of Rome Tor Vergata, University of Palermo, University of Reims. International cooperation is also envisaged.