Medical Coins: the most enduring heritage of health history

Pearn, John H. (2006). Medical Coins: the most enduring heritage of health history. In: 40th International Congress of the History of Medicine, Budapest, Hungary, (1-16). 26-30 August 2006.

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
pearn_medical_coins.pdf Article Full Text application/pdf 1.16MB 186
Author Pearn, John H.
Title of paper Medical Coins: the most enduring heritage of health history
Conference name 40th International Congress of the History of Medicine
Conference location Budapest, Hungary
Conference dates 26-30 August 2006
Convener International Society of the History of Medicine
Publication Year 2006
Year available 2010
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN not found
Start page 1
End page 16
Total pages 16
Language eng
Abstract/Summary Coins and commemorative medals constitute one special repository of the history of medicine. The numismatic record has proved to be the most enduring, albeit one of the most selective, records of the progress of history. Matters of health, and especially those of medicine, have been central to the endeavours and indeed the survival of many cultures and societies. Many such themes in the national histories and later international history of medicine are preserved in the numismatic record. Coins and medallions thus constitute one record of the chronology of the profession of medicine, a repository parallel to and a reflection of that more traditional history to be found in oral and written accounts. Medical numismatics is built upon the metonymic use of symbols to denote positive health, the cure of disease, convalescence and rehabilitation. The Greek medical pantheon is featured on contemporary Greek coins from the fourth to the first century B.C.E. Therein also are portrayals of the Aesculapean serpent, used metonymically to denote health and the cure of disease. Effigies of healer gods - Apollo, Chiron, Asklepios and Hygieia are to be found particularly on coins struck at the great healing shrines at Pergamum, Epidaurus and Kos. Numismatic synechdochee is a common theme on ancient Greek and later Roman coins. The moneyers of the day engraved a variety of symbols on their dies - the Aesculapean serpent, the patera, the cock, the Delphic omphalus, the Aesculapean dog were some of the symbols used to denote the parent deity. Some of the earliest numismatic themes portray woundworts. Such included the now extinct herb, silphium (prob. Ferula sp.), from Cyrene in North Africa; and selinon (Apium graveolens), the wild celery from the eastern Mediterranean and central Europe. Today, in the twenty-first century, coins continue to be used as the pragmatic medium by which medical and health themes are promoted. In the last decade alone, Australia has minted and issued six coins portraying health and medical themes.
Subjects 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
219999 History and Archaeology not elsewhere classified
Keyword Medical History
Q-Index Code EX

Version Filter Type
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Mon, 29 Mar 2010, 13:43:50 EST by Ms Marianne Sato on behalf of Herston Health Sciences Library