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CLAS 3239 | Ancient Medicine: The Classical Roots of the Medical Humanities: Unit 3: Plagues

Welcome to Ancient Medicine: The Classical Roots of the Medical Humanities, a course designed to introduce you to the main themes and ideas in the medical literature produced by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

About Plagues

Writings from various time periods that explore instances of mass illness--and the human response. These sources include biblical and poetic accounts of divinely-sent plagues and rituals of religious expiation, classical and early medieval descriptions of historical plagues, and stylized, allegorical representations of plagues in literature. These readings offer rich, diachronic perspectives on epidemic illnesses, a problem which was particularly vexing in the ancient world, and which is scantily addressed in the Hippocratic Corpus.

Biblical and Poetic Accounts of Plague

Thucydides: The Athenian Plague

Procopius: The Justinian Plague

Boccaccio, Decameron: The Plague in Florence

Edgar Allan Poe: The Masque of the Red Death

Walter Burkert: Guilt and Causality