Medicine and Society in Ptolemaic Egypt


Current questions on whether Hellenistic Egypt should be understood in terms of colonialism and imperialism, multicultural separatism, or integration and syncretism have never been closely studied in the context of healing. Yet illness affects and is affected by nutrition, disease and reproduction within larger questions of demography, agriculture and environment. It is crucial to every socio-economic group, all ages, and both sexes; perceptions and responses to illness are ubiquitous in all kinds of evidence, both Greek and Egyptian and from archaeology to literature. Examing all forms of healing within the specific socioeconomic and environmental constraints of the Ptolemies’ Egypt, this book explores how linguistic, cultural and ethnic affiliations and interactions were expressed in the medical domain.

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Biographical Note

Philippa Lang, Ph.D. (2001) in Classics, University of Cambridge, is Associate Professor of Classics at Emory University. She has published on Hellenistic medicine and classical philosophy, and is the author of two commentaries for Brill's New Jacoby.

Review Quotes

"The book offers an important contribution to the study of both ancient medicine and social history (…) An excellent and well-written piece of work, which contributes immensely to our understanding of how disease could have been understood and experienced by the inhabitants of Ptolemaic Egypt." Michaela Senkova, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2013.09.48


For both specialists and non-specialists interested in the history of Greek medicine, Ptolemaic period Egypt, and medical anthropology.

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