Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities - Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

International Conference: Caelius Aurelianus: Medicine and Medical Tradition

Organised by Chiara Thumiger, Krystal Marlier Sept 14, 2023 – Sept 15, 2023 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Unter den Linden 6, Room 2249a 10117 Berlin


This event is part of the DFG-funded research project “Mental Health in Late Antique Medicine: Caelius Aurelianus on Mental Disorders” based in the Department of Classics at the CAU University in Kiel, Germany.

PI: Chiara Thumiger (Cluster of Excellence Roots, CAU Kiel; Visiting scholar, HU Berlin)

The objective of this conference is to explore in a new light the work and influence of the late antique medical writer Caelius Aurelianus. Caelius Aurelianus is the author of a major treatise De morbis acutis et chronicis (On Acute and Chronic Diseases) as well as of the Gynaecia and Medicinales Responsiones which only survive in fragments. It has been several decades since the last dedicated conference on him and his work; it is now time to propose a reevaluation of his figure as a medical thinker, author, and doxographical source, take stock of the scholarly status quaestionis and envisage future lines of inquiry.

This conference is an occasion to discuss key aspects of his work, his significance in the history of medicine, and his status in contemporary scholarship. We are delighted to have gathered a rich and varied combination of experts in ancient medicine and history, history of philosophy and science, ancient languages and literature, and archaeology of the North African context.

Topics of discussion include the practice of medicine, nosology, pathology, medicine and emotions, emotions and therapeutic techniques;  medical traditions, sects, doctrinal diagreements and the Methodist school; the language, style, and narratology of Caelius’ text; questions of authoriality and reception.



Schedule to be released mid-August 2023

Confirmed speakers and provisional topics:

Marke Ahonen (University of Helsinki, Finland)
Caelius Aurelianus on Sleep Paralysis

Lesley Bolton (University of Calgary, Canada)
Death and Dying in Caelius Aurelianus

Jean-Christophe Courtil (Université Toulouse 2-Jean Jaurès / Institut Universitaire de France)
Is Sex Good or Bad for Health? Controversies Over the Usefulness of Intercourse in Caelius Aurelianus

Lutz Alexander Graumann (University Hospital, Justus-Liebig-University Gießen, Germany)
A tale of ‘talus’: some observations on anatomical terminology in Caelius Aurelianus

Arthur Harris (Needham Research Institute and Darwin College, England)
Debating Health in Caelius Aurelianus’ De Salutaribus Praeceptis

David Kaufman (Transylvania University, USA)
Irrational Emotions, Emotional Blindness, and Madness in Caelius Aurelianus

George Kazantzidis (University of Patras, Greece)
Hallucinations of Madmen in Caelius Aurelianus: Tradition and Innovation (De morbis chronicis 1.150-152)

Nicolas Lamare (Université de Picardie Jules Verne, France) & Chiara Thumiger (ROOTS, CAU, Kiel, Germany)
The Doctor of Sicca Veneria: Caelius Aurelianus in Context

David Leith (University of Exeter, England)
Beyond the Koinotētes: Individual Diseases and Pre-Methodist Therapeutics in Caelius’ Acute and Chronic Diseases

Krystal Marlier (CAU, Kiel, Germany)
Benevolent Deception and Other Therapeutic Techniques: Case Studies in Caelius Aurelianus’ Acute and Chronic Diseases

Domenico Pellegrino (Università di Messina, Italy)
Una dottrina in evoluzione: la teoria metodica delle comunità nella diaphonia di Celio Aureliano

Caroline Petit (University of Warwick, England)
Resounding Silence? Potential Subtexts in Caelius Aurelianus

Susan Prince (University of Cincinnati, USA)
Hydrophobia and the Methodist: How Caelius Aurelianus Fits a Disease to his Scholastic Doctrines

Gabriel A. F. Silva (University of Lisbon, Portugal)
Caelius Aurelianus as a Source for the Portuguese Renaissance Medicine

Anna Maria Urso (Università di Messina, Italy)
Tra medicina e filologia. Il contributo di Robert Constantin all’editio Rovilliana di Celio Aureliano


→Please find poster and programme HERE.


Please register in advance by contacting Chiara Thumiger and Krystal Marlier at

This workshop is generously sponsored by the DFG and is hosted by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.


It will also be possible to connect on Zoom, please contact the organisers
for the link.