Join our email listserv and receive monthly updates on the latest titles.

Hopkins Fulfillment Services

Patients and Healers in the High Roman Empire

, 208 pages

3 halftones

January 2015



Availability Text

Usually ships 2-3 business days after receipt of order.

Patients and Healers in the High Roman Empire

Patients and Healers in the High Roman Empire offers a fascinating holistic look at the practice of ancient Roman medicine. Ido Irsaelowich presents three richly detailed case studies—one focusing on the home and reproduction; another on the army; the last on medical tourism—from the point of view of those on both sides of the patient-healer divide. He explains in depth how people in the classical world became aware of their ailments, what they believed caused particular illnesses, and why they turned to certain healers—root cutters, gymnastic trainers, dream interpreters, pharmacologists, and priests—or sought medical care in specific places such as temples, bath houses, and city centers.

The book brings to life the complex behavior and social status of all the actors involved in the medical marketplace. It also sheds new light on classical theories about sickness, the measures Romans undertook to tackle disease and improve public health, and personal expectations for and evaluations of various treatments.

Ultimately, Israelowich concludes that this clamoring multitude of coexisting forms of health care actually shared a common language. Drawing on a diverse range of sources—including patient testimonies; the writings of physicians, historians, and poets; and official publications of the Roman state—Patients and Healers in the High Roman Empire is a groundbreaking history of the culture of classical medicine.

Ido Israelowich is a senior lecturer in classics at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of Society, Medicine, and Religion in the Sacred Tales of Aelius Aristides.

"An original, innovative, and provocative history of ancient medicine in the High Roman Empire from the patient's point of view. Israelowich combines different materials—medical writings, papyri, inscriptions, juridical and literary texts, and archaeological sources—into a fascinating mosaic."

"Patients and Healers is a substantial piece of scholarship, worthy of careful study for anyone interested the subject. Its focus on the perceptions and motives of the patient with emphasis on inscriptions and ex-voto dedications distinguishes this book from other general studies on health care under the Empire."

"A comprehensive study of the medical market and the interactions between patients and healers in the Roman Empire."

"Israelowich's book best succeeds in clearly and methodically drawing out the structure of a medical world in which many of the basic tenets of medicine were still being debated, and in including in his discussion all of the healing institutions that functioned together in the Roman world, be they religious, traditional, or philosophical."

"... [T]his is a good piece of work which will continue to raise important questions and deserves a wide readership."

Related Books