DFG grant awarded to ROOTS member Chiara Thumiger

Celio Aureliano, De morbis acutis et chronicis, Amsterdam, Wetstein, Rudolph & Gerard, 1722

Congratulations to Chiara Thumiger, member of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS and research associate in the Subcluster “Knowledge ROOTS” (link), for her new project grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG) on ‘Mental Health in Late Antique Medicine: Caelius Aurelianus on Mental Disorders’.

The investigation that Chiara will conduct as a PI in the next three years concentrates on the history of concepts, representations and methods of management of mental health and mental disorder in Antiquity. This research is pursued by focussing on the work of Caelius Aurelianus, a fifth-century AD North African (Numidian) medical writer belonging to the Methodist tradition. Caelius Aurelianus produced a major nosological work in Latin, which contains extremely rich material for a history of ancient medical thought on mental health.

The aim is to comprehensively analyse the development of medical ideas about mental health in the work of this important author, who has not yet received the focused scholarly attention that he deserves. The project will explore the diseases of mental import that Caelius Aurelianus describes (the classic ones – phrenitis, mania, furor and melancholia – as well as those that rather show his innovative approaches) and highlight the larger theoretical questions that he poses when it comes to mental and bodily health, to the causation of mental diseases, and to therapeutical possibilities. It is expected that this research will decisively contribute to current historiographies of ancient medical cultures, filling an important gap in the studies of ancient medicine.

In the framework of this project, a call for a doctoral research position (m/f/d) has just been posted (deadline: 31 Dec 2020): link
An interview with Chiara is available here: link and you can contact her at: cthumiger@roots.uni-kiel.de


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