Articulating Illness in the Roman World

Manley, Jennifer (2011). Articulating Illness in the Roman World PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Manley, Jennifer
Thesis Title Articulating Illness in the Roman World
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-03
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Janette McWilliam
Tom Stevenson
Total pages 189
Total black and white pages 189
Subjects 21 History and Archaeology
Abstract/Summary This thesis examines representations of illness in Roman society of the late republic and early imperial period. It focuses on a genre largely ignored by modern scholars, that of the illness narrative. Illness was a context for social interaction, in which people could renegotiate and define their identities, roles and responsibilities. For example, although most health-care was provided either within the familia or the extended social network of friends, patrons and clients, illness provided members of the élite with the opportunity to articulate their experiences in accordance with the social value system. As the foundation of the Roman family, the paterfamilias was expected to become knowledgeable about the practice of medicine, placate disease-causing numina, and ensure that the members of his household were cared for, as was appropriate to their social status. The health-giving and caring aspect of the paterfamilias’ identity is known as the medicus-paterfamilias. The medicus-paterfamilias concept underpins the ways in which the Roman élite interacted with each other and their subordinates during illness. When the medicus-paterfamilias himself became ill, his power and status could be renegotiated or reinforced either within his familia or the broader social network. The medicus-paterfamilias was also an integral and defining aspect of the ideal father-figure. It was incorporated into the imperial ideology of Augustus and was subsequently maintained and redefined by later emperors, particularly the Flavians, who expressed their role as medici-patresfamiliarum through imperial benefaction and patronage. This study therefore explores what the representation of illness in various literary and epigraphical sources can tell us about Roman moral, social and political issues.
Keyword Illness

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Created: Tue, 31 May 2011, 17:27:28 EST by Ms Jennifer Manley on behalf of Library - Information Access Service