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Syllabus Diagnostics and Therapeutics in Antiquity - 39055
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Last update 16-08-2017
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 1st degree (Bachelor)

Responsible Department: history

Semester: 2nd Semester

Teaching Languages: Hebrew

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Dr. Orly Lewis

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: Upon request

Teaching Staff:
Dr. Orly Lewis

Course/Module description:
The course will explore the means used by Greek and Roman physicians in diagnosing and treating their patients.
Through the close reading of primary sources (in translation) we shall examine not only the methods and tools used by these physicians, but also the theories and ideas underlying and guiding the practical methods.
We shall discuss, for example:
- How physicians examined the pulse of their patients.
- The classification of types of pulse and types of pain.
- The role and experience of the patient in the diagnostic process.
- The aims of treatment.
- The use of therapeutic measures such as surgery, drugs and change in regimen (Greek: diata – "diet") to treat their patients.

Course/Module aims:
- The main aim of the course is to instruct students regarding medical practice in Greece and Rome, in particular as regards diagnostic and therapeutic methods.
- The theory underlying these practices will be emphasised as well. Thus, a further aim is the discussion of key ideas concerning body and soul in antiquity.
- Gaining experience in reading and analysing primary sources (in translation) – independently and in class.

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
- Describe the main diagnostic methods used by physicians in ancient Greece and Rome.
- Describe the main therapeutic methods used by physicians in ancient Greece and Rome.
- To discuss the role and experience of the patient during the encounter with a physician.
- To explain key concepts and terms in ancient ideas concerning body and soul; and explain the role which such concepts played in the medical practice.
- To analyse the content and historical context of primary sources in the field of ancient medicine (in translation).

Attendance requirements(%):
No more than two absences.

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: - Presentations by the teacher to introduce new topics.
- Joint reading of primary sources in class.
– Discussion of primary sources based on independent reading at home according to guidelines given in class or on the Moodle (in some cases there will also be some secondary literature to read).
- Short student presentations (10 minutes) (presenting one or more of the sources).

Course/Module Content:
Preliminary Remarks: Medicine in Greece and Rome

Introduction: The medical theory
- The parts of the body.
- The functions of the soul.
- Blood and air in the body.
-Theory of mixtures.
- The importance of age/ season/ gender etc. in medical practice
- Humours.
- Causes of diseases.

Diagnostic Methods:
- Introduction: General diagnostic guidelines recorded by ancient physicians; the aims of the diagnostic process; patient and physician – objective vs. subjective symptoms.
- Pulse: kinds of pulse; measuring the pulse; clinical-diagnostic significance of the pulse.
- Urine and other excrements: kinds of excrements which were examined and how; their clinical significance.
- Case histories: a focus on particular cases.

Therapeutic Methods:
- Introduction.
- Surgery: kinds of surgery, aims of surgery.
- Pharmacology: means of applying drugs; the aims.
-"Diet" (diaita)- Regimen: change of habits and life style (sleep, bathing, eating, sex, exercise); different perspectives of the method.

Required Reading:
Selected passages in translation (English) from the writings of Hippocrates, Galen and other medical writers.
A number of articles/chapters in secondary literature.

Additional Reading Material:
A list will be uploaded to the Moodle.

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 10 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 90 %
Assignments 0 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
No knowledge in Greek or is required.
The material in the course will be read in English. The discussion will be in Hebrew.
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.