Medicine and the Law Under the Roman Empire

Edited by Michael Peachin,Claire Bubb

ISBN13: 9780192898616

Imprint: Oxford University Press

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Format: Hardback

Published: 01/06/2023

Availability: Not yet available

What happens when we juxtapose medicine and law in the ancient Roman world? This innovative collection of scholarly research shows how both fields were shaped by the particular needs and desires of their practitioners and users. It approaches the study of these fields through three avenues. First, it argues that the literatures produced by elite practitioners, like Galen or Ulpian, were not merely utilitarian, but were pieces of aesthetically inflected literature and thus carried all of the disparate baggage linked to any form of literature in the Roman context. Second, it suggests that while one element of that literary luggage was the socio-political competition that these texts facilitated, high stakes agonism also uniquely marked the quotidian practice of both medicine and law, resulting in both fields coming to function as forms of popular public entertainment. Finally, it shows how the effects of rhetoric and the deeply rhetorical education of the elite made themselves constantly apparent in both the literature on and the practice of medicine and law. Through case studies in both fields and on each of these topics, together with contextualizing essays, Medicine and the Law Under the Roman Empire suggests that the blanket results of all this were profound. The introduction to the volume argues that medicine was not contrived merely to ensure healing of the infirm by doctors, and law did not single-mindedly aim to regulate society in a consistent, orderly, and binding fashion. Instead, both fields, in the full range of their manifestations, were nested in a complex matrix of social, political, and intellectual crosscurrents, all of which served to shape the very substances of these fields themselves. This poses forward-looking questions: What things might ancient Roman medicine and law have been meant or geared to accomplish in their world? And how might the very substance of Roman medicine and law have been crafted with an eye to fulfilling those peculiarly ancient needs and desires? This book suggests that both fields, in their ancient manifestations, differed fundamentally from their modern counterparts, and must be approached with this fact firmly in mind.
  • Roman law
  • Classical history / classical civilisation
List Price: £100.00