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

Malleable Texts, Fluid Authorships: Galenic Medicine and Late Antiquity

Workshop of research project A03 "The Transfer of Medical Episteme in the ‘Encyclopaedic’ Compilations of Late Antiquity" of Collaborative Research Center 980 "Episteme in Motion" in cooperation with Academy research project "Galen of Pergamum. The Transmission, Interpretation and Completion of Ancient Medicine" at Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and of University of Warwick

Poster Malleable Texts


(Poster as PDF)

July, 7-8 2022


Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Unter den Linden 8
10117 Berlin

For an overview of the whole research project see here


Research on ancient pharmacological texts has increased dramatically in recent years. Several important projects and doctoral theses are underway, promising to deliver ground-breaking results in the next decade. In this scholarly context, various projects at the Humboldt-Universität and the university of Warwick seem to address converging questions on the changing nature of pharmacological texts across time and space. Authorship becomes more fluid, with the same text receiving various attributions; texts undergo changes of size, ordering, format, as they get adapted for new audiences. As texts become repackaged, manuscripts and papyri offer privileged evidence of those changes. Early translations of Greek works into Latin, Syriac and then Arabic result in epitomes and other reworked, shortened texts. Yet the transmission of ancient Greek pharmacology is often made difficult to apprehend due to missing links and medieval, fragmentary evidence. This workshop therefore proposes to offer complementary perspectives on those shifts, through communications on Greek, Latin and Arabic evidence. Themes that will be addressed include language, style, authorship, dating, transmission, manuscripts.


Please register in advance by contacting Sara von Seggern




Thursday, 7 July

09.00-09.15 Philip van der Eijk (HU Berlin) and Caroline Petit (Warwick/HU Berlin), Introduction and welcome

Session 1: Transformations of Galenic medicine in late antiquity 4th-7th c.

09.15-10.00 Maria Börno (HU Berlin), ‘Galen in Oribasius' proems’

10.00-10.45 Maximilian Haars (Marburg), ‘Galenic pharmacology in Oribasius' Collectiones medicae XV’

10.45-11.15 Coffee break

11.15-12.00 Krystal Marlier (Kiel/HU Berlin), ‘Doxography in Therapeutics: A Case Study in Caelius Aurelianus’


Session 2: Galenic pharmacology in late antiquity and beyond (4th-9th c. AD)

14.00-14.45 Simone Mucci (Warwick), ‘Late-antique direct and indirect transmission of Galen's De antidotis’

14.45-15.30 Manuela Marai (Warwick/FU Berlin), ‘Compound remedies after Galen’

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

16.00-16.45 Dana Zaben (Toledo): ‘The Arabic Tradition of Galen's On Simple Drugs: the case of Book I’

16.45-17.30 Sara Solá Portillo (Malaga), ‘The two available Arabic translations of On simple drugs Book VI’


Friday 8 July

Session 3: The Galenic tradition at Alexandria in Greek and Arabic sources

09.00-09.45 Caroline Petit (Warwick/HU), ‘Diagnostic and Prognostic in Alexandria. The case of the Ad Antonium de pulsibus attributed to Galen’

09.45-10.30 Oliver Overwien (HU) ‘Medical tree diagrams in late antique Alexandria and beyond’

10.30-11.00 Coffee break

11.00-11.45 Annette Heinrich (HU), ‘Tradition of Medical ἐπιστήμη Beyond Galen: presentation of kidney diseases in late antique encyclopaedic works – Conceptual development or linear tradition?’

11.45-12.30 Ignacio Sánchez (Warwick), ‘Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq’s Kitāb al-Karma: On Vines, Wines, and How to Forget Galen on The Title Page’


14.00-14.45 Lucia Raggetti (Bologna), ‘The Humours and the Dyes: A Stream of Tradition in the Arabic Summaries on Urine Attributed to Galen’

14.45-15.00 Conclusions


This workshop is supported by the Collaborative Research Center ‘Episteme in Motion’ (SFB 980), the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation, the Humboldt-Universität Berlin, the Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Warwick. It is hosted by the project ‘Galen of Pergamum: The Transmission, Interpretation and Completion of Ancient Medicine’ of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences.