death, diseases, teaching

The Chameleon in the Classroom

This is a story of illness and magic from the fourth century CE. Even though Constantine had converted the Roman Empire to Christianity, paganism didn’t just lie down and die. One of the most famous pagan intellectuals was Libanius, a distinguished orator who taught rhetoric to famous Christian figures such as Basil the Great and… Continue reading The Chameleon in the Classroom

dissection, Galen, Hippocrates, teaching

Where’s Hippocrates?

While we're thinking about Vesalius and dissection, here's a question. Do you know the ‘Where’s Wally?’ series (in the US and Canada, ‘Where’s Waldo?’)? Readers are faced with a busy scene and are asked to find Wally, distinguished by his red-and-white striped shirt, bobble hat and glasses. When I've taught fourth-year medical students about the… Continue reading Where’s Hippocrates?

death, dissection, Galen, teaching

Fun with pigs

  Finally, I understand what it is about dissection… Among other things, I’ve been a visiting professor at a medical school. As a recently-founded medical school, this one does not teach through human dissection. Instead, students learn their anatomy through books, computer simulations, models, and ‘surface anatomy’. The rationale is not just about the difficulty… Continue reading Fun with pigs

food, teaching

Roman Medicine: Those Cabbages…

I'm a great fan of the British TV comedy series, Plebs, which follows the adventures of two young Roman men and their slave in the big city. In one episode, one of the many interesting remedies of ancient medicine was featured, although not in a standard role! The series is built on finding entertaining parallels between its… Continue reading Roman Medicine: Those Cabbages…