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CALL. 20.03.2018: The Words of Medicine: Technical Terminology in Material and Textual Evidence from


The goal of the conference is to improve our understanding of the Greco-Roman medicine and its technical vocabulary through the comparative analysis of its textual and material aspects – its verba and realia. The conference hopes to involve a wide range of specialist fields, including classics and history of textual transmission, papyrology, archaeology and material culture, epigraphy, history of science and of medical practices, and submissions from scholars in any of these fields of expertise are warmly encouraged.



LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: North-West University (Potchefstroom, South Africa)




We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers on technical medical terminology from the Greco-Roman World, with the ultimate intention of participation in a peer-reviewed edition of the proceedings.

Possible areas of interest would involve, but are not restricted to

  • the examination of technical terms in all the sources related to them, e.g., literary passages, papyri, inscriptions and tituli picti, available archaeological discoveries attesting to medical practice;

  • the connection word(s)-object(s), with particular attention to the realia hidden under the verba, aiming at a likely reconstruction of the concrete reality of ancient medicine;

  • the identification of the several degrees of technicality when dealing with medical issues (e.g. communication among specialists, between doctors and patients, among non-specialists in everyday situations);

  • the socio-linguistics of medical vocabulary; the focus on the persons behind and through their “words of medicine” in order to analyze the medical knowledge of both laymen interested in medicine and actual practitioners to reach a better acquaintance of their socio-cultural context;

  • the (re)use of medical terms, as well as medical metaphors and images by Greek and Latin poets and authors up to Late Antiquity.

Titles with short abstracts (500 words), accompanied by brief academic biographical details of each author (max. 150 words), may be submitted to Isabella Bonati at:

The abstract proposal should state the focus of the paper and the way(s) in which it contributes to the knowledge on the topic.

Extended abstract submission deadline: 20 March 2018

Notification of acceptance/feedback: 30 March 2018

Participation confirmation deadline for all presenters: 1 May 2018

For general and specific enquiries, please, contact Isabella Bonati at:

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