Profile: David Leith

Researcher

My main interests lie in Graeco-Roman medicine, especially of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. One important strand of my research looks at the ways in which medicine and philosophy interacted and influenced each other. I also have continuing interests in how Greek papyri from Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt can contribute to our understanding of ancient medicine.
Most recently, I have been working on the Greek physician Asclepiades of Bithynia, the first major medical authority to be based in Rome, around the end of the second and the early first centuries BC. He played an important role in giving Greek medicine an intellectual and cultural respectability in its new Roman context, but he is also of interest for his deep engagement with Hellenistic philosophy, in particular Epicurean atomism, which he adopted, but also deliberately modified, in developing his own theory of human physiology and pathology.

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Painting Plants In Roman Egypt

The illustrated herbal is a genre of pharmacological book known in Graeco-Roman antiquity from at least the first century BCE. The encyclopaedist Pliny the Elder (Natural History 25.8), for example, mentions a number of writers of herbals who provided pictures of the plants above descriptions of their medicinal effects.

Category: Arts

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