Patricia Baker publishes on doctors and their implements

Dr Patricia Baker from the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies has published a chapter entitled ‘Images of Doctors and their Implements: A Visual Dialogue between the Patient and the Doctor’ in a new book entitled Homo Patiens-Approaches to the Patient in the Ancient World (Leiden: Brill, 2016), edited by Georgia Petridou and Chiara Thumiger.

Homo Patiens-Approaches to the Patient in the Ancient World considers the patients of the Graeco-Roman world, their role in the ancient medical encounters and their relationship to the health providers and medical practitioners of their time. The volume makes a strong claim for the relevance of a patient-centred approach to the history of ancient medicine. Attention to the experience of patients deepens our understanding of ancient societies and their medical markets, and enriches our knowledge of the history of ancient cultures. It is a first step towards shaping a history of the ancient patient’s view, which will be of use not only to ancient historians, students of medical humanities, and historians of medicine, but also to any reader interested in medical ethics.

Patty’s chapter (pp.365-389) examines representations of cupping vessels to explore the meanings conveyed through them to perspective patients about the doctors, medical care and the quality of treatment in Greco-Roman societies. The context of the images is explored to determine how and where they were intended to be viewed and if there were regional and temporal differences in representation. It was found that the image was specific to Greek doctors trained in the Hippocratic tradition; whilst ancient doctors trained in other methods were depicted differently.

Further details of the book are available on the publisher’s webpage at: