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Diagnosing and Treating Disease in Byzantine Hospitals

Strand Campus , London

17 Mar lecture Part of CHS Late Antique & Byzantine Seminar Series (Spring)

We are delighted to welcome Dr Petros Bouras-Valliantos to King’s College London, a former King’s PhD student, who presents his book 'Diagnosing and Treating Disease in Byzantine Hospitals' where he sheds light on medical practices during the Byzantine era. 

In this talk, Dr Petros Bouras- Valliantos discusses his research focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of disease in Byzantine hospitals (xenōnes). He uses evidence from the corpus of surviving Byzantine hospital recipe books (xenōnes), including all the edited and unedited examples. He also references important non-medical sources such as charters of medical institutions, legal sources, epistolography and archaeological evidence. Petros will pay particular attention to the role of uroscopy in the diagnosis and prediction of disease and also examines the field of therapeutics. He will investigate drug therapy, and if it was allied with dietetics and surgery, the impact of Arabic versus classical pharmacology, the introduction of expensive exotic substances such as the Black Death and will also explore the recipes for women’s diseases.

About Dr Petros Bouras-Valliantos

Dr Petros Bouras-Vallianatos studied pharmacy and ancient and Byzantine history, before obtaining his PhD in 2015 from King’s College London. After holding a Wellcome Research Fellowship at the University of London, he was appointed to a permanent post in the School of History, Classics & Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh in 2019. He is currently working on a five-year Wellcome funded project, Making and Consuming Drugs in the Italian and Byzantine Worlds (12th-15th c.). His first monograph, Innovation in Byzantine Medicine: The Writings of John Zacharias Aktouarios (c.1275–c.1330), will be published by Oxford University Press in 2020. He has published widely on Byzantine medicine and pharmacology, cross-cultural medical exchanges in the Eastern Mediterranean, the reception of the classical medical tradition in the Middle Ages, and Greek palaeography, including the first descriptive catalogue of the Greek manuscripts at the Wellcome Library in London. He has recently co-edited Greek Medical Literature and its Readers: From Hippocrates to Islam and Byzantium (Routledge, 2018) and Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Galen (Brill, 2019).


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