Greek Diet, Health, and Medicine in the Roman world:
Integration and Analysis of the Archaeological and Literary Material
An international conference organised and funded through the Leventis Initiative on the Impact of Greek Culture University of Exeter, Devon, UK
9 – 11 September 2015
Concepts and attitudes towards diet, health, and medicine in the Roman world were heavily influenced by Greek beliefs and practices. Later Greek and Roman medical writers such as Galen built upon a Greek foundation and followed existing traditions. Yet did Greek concepts of health and medicine spread to all regions of the Roman Empire?
The study of diet, health and medicine in the Roman world, from an archaeological perspective, has grown exponentially in the last few decades with the increased study of archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological remains as well as advances in isotopic analysis. Nevertheless, the impact of Greek concepts on Roman beliefs and practices has never been fully explored, and at present, there has been no amalgamation of the literary and archaeological evidence. How do we assess Greek influence archaeologically? Can the claims of both Greek and Roman authors concerning health be reconciled with the existing bioarchaeological and material evidence?
This conference will examine the impact of Greek thought on Roman notions of diet, health and medicine from both the literary and archaeological perspectives with the goal of forming a more holistic understanding of the activities taking place to maintain good health amongst both the elite and non-elite members of Roman society.