A groundbreaking reassessment of many aspects of Greek culture and city life. Acclaimed historian Robin Lane Fox puts remarkable classical works in a wider context and upends our understanding of medical history by establishing that they were written much earlier than previously thought.
... in part a very erudite detective story in which the author uses the tools of archeology and philology to shed light on a 'remarkable doctor and thinker' ... these textual investigations are likely of more interest to Lane Fox’s fellow classicists than they are to the general reader, who’ll tend to be far more absorbed in the other major narrative strand that runs through the book: the excavation of the early, groping history of medicine as a craft ... thanks to Lane Fox’s patient scholarship, we feel like we’re visiting dozens of sickbeds and holding the hands of dozens of frightened people ... in addition to its more abstruse arguments, it brings the human dimensions of that world alive. You’ll finish it with the strong urge to send your doctor a bottle of wine and a note of heartfelt thanks.
Fox adds fact and understanding to the general public’s knowledge and misunderstanding of medicine in classical Greece. Many questions remain but he finds answers not just by literary examination but also archaeology .. The reader does not need medical or philosophical knowledge to follow this clear and interesting text. It makes a good introduction to the Greek world in general. The book has a detailed and informative list of illustrations and useful maps.
Lane Fox’s emphasis is less on philosophical wranglings or the fortune of chancers than on detailed observation, the path that takes him to the gold-rush island of Thasos and the controversy over who was the Hippocrates who got the credit for so many doctors’ work ... Scholars will argue over how persuasive is Lane Fox’s long argument for the earlier date, based on vocabulary, on the types of diseases (no war wounds) and on inscriptions and remains (“the most massive erect penis to survive in Greek sculpture”).