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Kyle Harper

Plagues are outbreaks of infectious disease, either in the specific sense of outbreaks of the disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis or in the generic sense of an epidemic, regardless of its microbial agent.The word “plague” is ambiguous both in English and in the classical languages. In English, “plague” can indicate the specific disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. The disease is often called “bubonic plague” after the most notable clinical course, marked by the appearance of painful swellings (buboes) at the site of infected lymph nodes. The word “plague” can also mean a pestilence or epidemic, in the generic sense of a sudden increase in the prevalence of any disease (whether the plague or otherwise, e.g., typhoid fever or malaria) associated with high levels of morbidity and mortality. The classical terms are just as ambiguous, but in their own ways. It is helpful to remember that ancient ideas about disease were not centred on germ theory, the notion that some diseases have specific microbiological agents. The primary Greek term for plague, .



Jane Draycott

Disability, both physical and mental, was prevalent in the classical world, and a considerable amount of information about disabled people in antiquity can be found in literary, documentary, archaeological, and bioarchaeological evidence. This can facilitate a better understanding of disability and the disabled in classical antiquity.Physical and mental disabilities were widespread in classical antiquity, and it is possible to acquire a considerable amount of information about ancient disabled people using literary, documentary, archaeological, and bioarchaeological evidence. Doing so can facilitate a better understanding of disability and the disabled in classical antiquity. Yet it is important from the outset of any historical enquiry into disability to differentiate between impairment and disability. According to the World Health Organisation, the term impairment refers to the health condition (whether mental or physical), whereas the term disability refers to the interaction between the person with the health condition and personal and environmental factors. Thus, someone may live with an impairment, but that impairment may or may not be a disability, depending upon the situation in which they find themselves. This differentiation is useful for approaching disability in classical antiquity, as not all people living with impairments were equally or even necessarily disabled by them: for example, a learning difference was far more disabling to a young male member of the Roman senatorial class hoping to embark upon a political career than it was to a young male farmer, or even a young female member of the Roman senatorial class (e.g., the case of Atticus Bradua’s difficulties learning to read and the extreme steps his father .


Cornelius Celsus, Aulus  

Rebecca Flemming

Celsus was a Latin encyclopaedist of the early Roman Empire. Only the eight medical books of his Artes survive, but agriculture, rhetoric, and military matters were also encompassed in his work. The overall enterprise was aimed at synthesising and ordering bodies of useful technical knowledge for a Roman elite audience, knowledge often with Greek origins. Celsus selected, adapted, and reorganised this learning, rendering it into Latin. The extant books follow the tradition division of the medical art into regimen, drugs, and surgery, and are prefaced by an important critical history of ancient medicine.

Aulus Cornelius Celsus was author, probably in the reign of the emperor Tiberius (14–37ce), of a Latin encyclopaedic work entitled Artes, comprising five books on agriculture, eight on medicine, seven on rhetoric, and an unknown number on military matters. He also wrote on philosophy, though whether this was within or beyond the borders of his encyclopaedic enterprise is uncertain. The sources are unclear and the fit of such texts into an overall project aimed at summarising useful bodies of knowledge for Roman gentlemen is debatable.