Current externally-funded projects
- Plato and his Readers in sixteenth-century Italy. (M. VanHaelen). Funded by the Leverhulme trust (2017-18).
- Token Communities in the Ancient Mediterranean (C. Rowan) ERC Starting Grant (2016-2021).
- Nemesius' On the Nature of Man: Edition, Translation, and Study of the Arabic Version (S. Swain). AHRC Research Grant (2012-2017).
- A Literary History of Medicine: The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians by Ibn Abi Usaybi'ah (d. 1270) (S. Swain, E. Savage Smith). Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award (2013-2017).
- Galen's Commentary to the Hippocratic Epidemics, Book Six: An Edition and Translation of the Extant Arabic Translation (U. Vagelpohl). Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship (2012-2018).
- Medical Prognosis in Late Antiquity (C. Petit). Wellcome Trust University Award (2013-2018).
- Facilitating Access to Latin inscriptions in Britain's Oldest Public Museum through Scholarship and Technology(A.E. Cooley). AHRC Research Grant (2013-2016). Follow our blog 'Reading, Writing Romans'
Numismatics and epigraphy are key subdisciplines of Classics, and we are currently supporting the work of several specialists in these areas (Kevin Butcher, Suzanne Frey-Kupper, Stanley Ireland, Marguerite Spoerri; Alison Cooley, Abigail Graham). Our work on the reception of Classical antiquity in the medieval and Renaissance periods also involves several members of the department. It has two particular focusses. Some of us (Simon Swain, Uwe Vagelpohl) work on the development of Greek thought and science in medieval Islam. Humanism in Italy is the particular expertise of Maude Vanhaelen. Several members of staff have interests in early modern and modern responses to the Classics (Alison Cooley, Zahra Newby). Last but not least, Ancient Medicine and its Reception forms a major cluster in our research (Caroline Petit, Simon Swain and Uwe Vagelpohl).
Please contact individual members of staff if you would like to know more about our projects: search for email addresses.
Ancient medicine is a booming area in Classics and ancient history. In the last two decades, the field has changed beyond recognition with the publication of new reference tools such as critical editions and translations and many new studies on the historical, linguistic, philosophical and social aspects of ancient medicine. At Warwick, we (Caroline Petit, Simon Swain, Uwe Vagelpohl) specialise in the following aspects of the history of medicine:
- Galen and his legacy:
The life and work of Galen of Pergamum (129-c.216 AD) are currently the focus of much scholarly attention. Galen’s work and legacy are fundamental to our understanding of the history of medicine (both ancient and in the long term). But Galen is also a towering figure in imperial literature and philosophy. He offers a wealth of information on Greco-Roman society of the imperial period and therefore now features prominently in studies on the Roman empire. Warwick offers expertise on the literary and linguistic features of Galen’s texts (C. Petit). See our ‘Recent publications’.
Research at Warwick also includes other important medical authors of the Roman period, e.g. S. Swain’s studies on Rufus of Ephesus and ancient physiognomy and C. Petit’s work on the pseudo-Galenic Introduction, or the Physician. In addition, C. Petit has a strong commitment to the study of the Latin tradition of Galen’s works, while U. Vagelpohl and S. Swain work on the Arabic tradition (see: ‘Reception of ancient medical texts...’ and ‘Greco-Arabic research’).
- Edition, translation and commentary of Galenic and Pseudo-Galenic texts:
Galen’s works (and the many other works attributed to him throughout history) have long been difficult to access: many texts lack reliable editions and translations into modern languages. This situation is now improving. Landmark editions and translations of Galenic material have been produced by Warwick members of staff, including the Physician (2009) by C. Petit.
Current editorial projects the first critical edition, translation and commentary of Galen’s On Simple Drugs (C. Petit, arising from earlier funding provided by the Wellcome Trust), and the first critical edition and translation of the Arabic version of Galen’s commentary on the Hippocratic Epidemics, Books 1-2 (U. Vagelpohl, S. Swain).
Members of the department were able to acquire funding from the Wellcome Trust that will enable us to publish a number of other such texts: five pseudo-Galenic works (De urinis/De urinis compendium/Ad Antonium de pulsibus/Compendium pulsuum/Prognostica de decubitu infirmorum ex mathematica scientia), to be edited and translated by C. Petit; and Book 6 of Galen’s commentary on the Hippocratic Epidemics by U. Vagelpohl. See the ‘Warwick Epidemics’ page, and below on ‘Medical Prognosis in Late Antiquity’.
- Reception of ancient medical texts in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance:
In the West: The reception of ancient medical texts in the medieval and early modern period is a complex and demanding topic in which Warwick has considerable expertise, not least thanks to V. Nutton’s long-standing research in this area. C. Petit regularly publishes on Latin translations (ancient, medieval and early modern) of medical, especially Galenic, texts. Recent and current research on medieval and Renaissance readers of ancient medical texts include studies on Simon of Genoa (C. Petit), Guillaume de Baillou (C. Petit) and Prospero Alpini (C. Petit).
In the East: See ‘Graeco-Arabic research’ (S. Swain, U. Vagelpohl).
CURRENT EXTERNALLY-FUNDED PROJECTS AT WARWICK:
- AHRC Research Grant (2012-2017) Nemesius’ On the Nature of Man: Edition, Translation, and Study of the Arabic Version(S. Swain)
- Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award (2013-2017) A Literary History of Medicine: The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians by Ibn Abi Usaybi’ah (d. 1270) (S. Swain, E. Savage Smith)
- Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship (2012-2018): ‘Galen’s Commentary to the Hippocratic Epidemics, Book Six: An Edition and Translation of the Extant Arabic Translation’ (U. Vagelpohl)
- Wellcome Trust University Award (2013-2018): ‘Medical Prognosis in Late Antiquity’ (C. Petit):
This five-year project is funded through a Wellcome University Award (2013-2018). C. Petit will complete a thorough exploration of late antique evidence on diagnostic and prognostic tools and theories in order to assess the Hippocratic and Galenic legacy in this crucially transformative period for the history of medicine. The project outcomes will include a monograph on Medical Diagnosis and Prognosis in Late antiquity and the first critical editions of five texts of dubious authorship and date, presumed to be late antique takes on prognostic strategies such as uroscopy, sphygmology and astro-medical observation (see above).
The project will also include conferences that highlight several key issues at stake in the project:
*late antiquity as a period of transformation and transition of the Hippocratic and Galenic legacy towards the various trends of medieval medicine (Islamic, Byzantine, Western)
*the insufficiently explored correspondences between various ancient predictive strategies (medical, divinatory, astronomical, astrological…)
*the formation and the development of the Galenic corpus after Galen’s death, through the case of several texts once ascribed to Galen, now deemed inauthentic
For general information about numismatics at Warwick, click here. Specific research projects include:
- Publication of coins of Asia Minor
Museums form the largest repository of ancient coins in existence, but all too often their holdings are unpublished, making access to the information they have to offer less than easy for the numismatist. The project being undertaken by Stanley Ireland of Warwick and Richard Ashton of London is designed to put into print the coins minted by the Greek cities of Asia Minor, currently held in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. This is being carried out using an innovative database which allows the easy entry of data, its organisation, and eventually its accessing either in printed form or electronically over the web.
So far, they have published Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Volume V, Ashmolean Museum Oxford, Part IX, Bosporus-Aeolis (Oxford 2007), and are currently preparing for the same series Volume V, Ashmolean Museum Oxford, Part XI, Caria-Commagene.
- The metallurgy of Roman silver coinage
This a long term collaborative project between Kevin Butcher (Warwick) and Matthew Ponting (Liverpool) investigating the metallurgy and fineness of Roman silver coinage using ICP and lead isotope analysis.
The first major stage of the project covers the period from AD 64 to AD 193 and received AHRC funding for three years, 2006-2009. A further period is currently funded by the AHRC. In the past the project has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust (twice), the British Academy (twice), the Society of Antiquaries, the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, the UK Numismatic Trust and the American University of Beirut Research Board (three times). It draws on material from the collections of several leading museums, such as the British Museum, London, and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the Muenzkabinett Winterthur in Switzerland, Yale University Art Gallery, and several regional collections in the United Kingdom. These analyses will provide the framework for a complete reinterpretation of monetary policies in the Roman world.
A number of articles on the subject have already appeared, several more are in preparation and the final results and commentary will be published as a series of monographs.
Griechische Muenzen in Winterthur, vol. III
Prof. Kevin Butcher, Dr. Marguerite Spoerri (Warwick) and Dr. Haim Gitler (Israel Museum, Jerusalem) are collaborating on a project financed by the Swiss canton of Winterthur to produce the third and final volume of the important collection of Greek coins in the Muenzkabinett Winterthur, Switzerland, which comprises issues of Eastern Asia Minor, the ancient Levant, Eastern parts of the Greek world, Egypt and Northern Africa (Project Co-ordinator: Benedikt Zaech, Curator, Muenzkabinett Winterthur).
Coin finds from Eretria
Dr. Marguerite Spoerri is studying the Roman, Byzantine, medieval and modern coin finds from Eretria, Greece. The purpose of this project is to publish the finds of the Swiss excavations in Eretria, but also to have a broader look at the coin circulation of a small Greek polis during Roman times. This project is funded by the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece.
Re-examination of coin hoard IGCH 2307
Dr. Marguerite Spoerri is undertaking a re-examination of the coin hoard IGCH (M. Thompson - O. Mørkholm – C.M. Kraay, An Inventory of Greek Coin Hoards, New York, 1973) 2307. This hoard was found in Morocco in 1907 and consisted of a large number of denarii of the Mauretanian king Juba II (25 BC – 24 AD). The purpose of this project is to undertake a die study of the coins that can be securely attributed to this hoard. This is the first detailed study of Mauretanian coins since the catalogue of J. Mazard (Corpus nummorum numidiae mauretaniaeque, Paris, 1955) and is intended to resolve issues connected with the organisation of the coinage, its chronology, etc. As parts of the hoard are currently in several different museums, this project involves major coin collections from around the world: British Museum in London (90 ex.), Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris (82 ex.), Münzkabinett in Winterthur (72 ex.), American Numismatic Society in New York (24 ex.), Staatliche Münzsammlung in Berlin (26 ex.) and Musée des Antiquités in Algiers (ca. 100 ex.).
- Coin finds from the canton of Neuchatel, Switzerland
Dr. Marguerite Spoerri is participating in the publication of the coin finds form the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel (medieval and modern periods; Roman coin hoard of Dombresson). This project is funded by the Swiss Academy of Humanities.
- Historia Numorum
With Keith Rutter and John Morcom, Suzanne Frey-Kupper prepares the volume Sicily and the Adjacent Islands of Historia Numorum which is the standard reference catalogue of Ancient Greek coins. Please click here for further information.
The department has a Taught MA programme [Ancient Visual and Material Culture], including a stream incorporating the Postgraduate City of Rome course at the BSR [Visual and Material Culture of Ancient Rome] and short courses at the BSA [Visual and Material Culture of Ancient Greece], in which students have the opportunity to specialise in epigraphy.
- Current research projects and collaborative work
Alison Cooley is currently preparing a new edition of the Latin inscriptions in the Ashmolean Museum, in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents and the Ashmolean Museum. This will include about 450 inscriptions, and will replace the last corpus of the collection, published in 1763 by R. Chandler, Marmora Oxoniensia.
Alison Cooley is also joint series editor, with Prof. A.K. Bowman, of Oxford Studies in Ancient Documents (Oxford University Press). The series includes the following recent volumes: M. Cottier, et al, eds, The Customs Law of Asia (2008); Benjamin Kelly, Petitions, Litigation and Social Control in Roman Egypt (2011); Nikolaos Papzarkadas and Paraskevi Martzavou, eds, Epigraphical Approaches to the Post-Classical Polis (2012); Polly Low and Peter Liddel, eds Inscriptions and their uses in Greek and Latin Literature (2013); Chrisopher Eyre, The Use of Documents in Pharaonic Egypt (2013)
Suzanne Frey-Kupper is part of the collaborative working group investigating with Jonathan Prag, Filippo Battistoni, Alessia DiMartino, Lorenzo Campagna and others the Taormina Financial Documents. She is focussing on coin denominations, metrology and aspects on finances arising from the inscriptions. The studies on these extraordinary documents from Hellenistic Sicily will be published in a volume of the OUP series of Oxford Studies and Ancient Documents (see above).
Recent publications in epigraphy
The Res Gestae divi Augusti was rightly dubbed ‘queen of inscriptions’ by Theodore Mommsen. A substantial new commentary on the inscription by Alison Cooley was published by CUP in May 2009. Listen to our podcast, 'The first emperor and the queen of inscriptions: Augustus in his own words'.
The Cambridge Manual to Latin Epigraphy by Alison Cooley (CUP) has two main aims. Firstly, to enable readers to appreciate both the potential and the limitations of inscriptions as historical source material, by considering in detail the diversity of epigraphic culture in the Roman world, and how this has been transmitted to the 21st century. Secondly, to provide students with guidance for deciphering inscriptions in their raw state and handling specialist epigraphic publications. This work has been completed thanks to a research leave grant from the AHRC in 2010.
‘Women beyond Rome: trend-setters or dedicated followers of fashion?’ in Women and the Roman City in the Latin West, eds E. Hemelrijk and G. Woolf (Brill, Mnemosyne Supplement, 2013) pp.23-46 (Alison Cooley)
‘Writing up the baths: reading monumental inscriptions in Roman baths’, in Written Space in the Latin West: 100 BC to AD 300, eds R. Laurence and G. Sears (Bloomsbury, 2013) pp.185-98 (Alison Cooley)
Pompeii and Herculaneum: A sourcebook (A.E. Cooley and M.G.L. Cooley) (Routledge, 2013)
"The word is not enough: A new methodology for assessing monumental epigraphy. A case study from Imperial Ephesos", American Journal of Archaeology (2013) (Abigail Graham)
‘Paratextual perspectives upon the SC de Pisone patre’, in The Roman Paratext: Frame, Texts, Readers, ed. L. Jansen (Cambridge University Press) 143-55 (Alison Cooley)
Graeco-Arabic research began at Warwick some 15 years ago with a project grant from the Leverhulme Trust to study the transmission into Arabic of Polemon of Laodicea’s Physiognomy. Polemon, friend and courtier of the emperor Hadrian, was one of the most brilliant and richest of the sophists, the great rhetorical performers and teachers, of the early Roman empire. The purpose of the project was to bring together classicists and Arabists to edit, translate, and study the different surviving versions of his account of how character is related to physical characteristics and movement – and how his personal enemies exemplify his theories. The volume arising from the project was published by OUP in 2007 as Seeing the Face, Seeing the Soul. Polemon’s Physiognomy from Classical Antiquity to Medieval Islam.
Polemon’s Physiognomy touches on medicine and esp. in terms of its Arabic readership, for physiognomy (firâsa) came to be built into the medical texts of Medieval Islam. With the arrival in Warwick in 2006 of Dr Peter Pormann on a Wellcome Trust University Award fellowship, serious study of the transmission of Greek medicine into Arabic began with Pormann’s project to edit and translate al-Kaskari’s “Medical Compendium” and to write a broad monograph on public health provision in the Abbasid period. Simon Swain then proposed and led the application to Wellcome for the project now known as the “Warwick Epidemics” project: an edition, translation, and study of Galen’s commentaries on the Hippocratic Epidemics Bks 1-2. The work started with Peter Pormann as co-I and two postdocs, Bink Hallum and Uwe Vagelpohl, but the balance of the labour underwent significant shifts (including Pormann’s appointment to a chair at Manchester in 2012 and the transfer there of his own Wellcome projects) and the commentary on Bk 1 will appear with the Corpus Medicorum Graecorum in Berlin in late 2014 under the sole name of Uwe Vagelpohl, while Bk 2, which will go to press in 2015, will be credited to Uwe Vagelpohl with Simon Swain.
In tandem with the physiognomy work ran a project directed by Simon Swain and funded by AHRC to edit, translate, and study the so-called “Oxford Anthology” (2007–2011). The unique Oxford manuscript at the centre of this project contains a fascinating combination of metaphysical, ethical and medical texts, with a large amount of material of Greek origin. The volume arising was published by CUP under the name of the postdoc, Dr Elvira Wakelnig, in 2013 with the title, A Philosophy Reader from the Circle of Miskawayh. Text, Translation and Commentary.
At this time the Leverhulme Trust awarded Simon Swain a Major Research Fellowship (2007-2010) to study a manual of estate management largely lost in Greek but preserved in an Arabic translation (and from this in Hebrew) and well known as a representative of its type in the Islamic Middle Ages, Bryson’s “Management of the Estate”. Bryson’s book is a compact treatment of the four main concerns of members of the property owning class: first, the management of their estates as capital, problems of investment and return, balancing the books, and making money through trade (for Bryson had not had the pleasure of reading Moses Finley’s The Ancient Economy); second, treatment of their human property, the slaves, and the best way of securing productive labour from slaves by looking after them in a moderate disciplinary regime; third, the choice of the wife and the necessity of sharing property and money with her within a loving and reciprocal relationship; and finally an extraordinary, prescriptive section on the upbringing of the couple’s son, who is to be supervised in all his activities day and night in order to ensure he shall display the correct attitude towards money, marriage, and peers. Bryson’s textbook is certainly from or before the time of Musonius Rufus (i.e. late 1st c. AD), since Musonius’ famous remarks about reciprocity in marriage are drawn from it, and it is therefore likely that Bryson – a ‘Neopythagorean’ pseudonym - was a reasonably well known intellectual in his own day. The publication of the work by CUP (Economy, Family, and Society from Rome to Islam. A Critical Edition, English Translation, and Study of Bryson’s Management of the Estate, 2013) makes this text available with an English translation and detailed studies.
Simon Swain’s work on the political thought of the 4th c. orator and courtier Themistius (Themistius, Julian, and Greek Political Theory under Rome. Texts, Translations, and Studies of Four Key Works, CUP 2013) includes two Arabic texts, one of them being Themistius’ “Letter to Julian, On Government and the Management of the Kingdom”. This work developed from the Bryson project, for it appears that Themistius made use of Bryson in the earlier part of his Letter. The Themistius volume in turn has led to a major AHRC project to edit, translate, and study a work well read in medieval times, Nemesius of Emesa’s “On the Nature of Man”. The project is being conducted in conjunction with Dr Peter Starr (Istanbul) and with the help of Father Samir Khalil SJ (Beirut). Nemesius’ book is an ‘anthropology’, a compendious account of the relation between the soul and the body, the senses, the workings of the mind, its emotional responses, the key faculties of the body, and the ways in which we respond to fate while retaining free will. The text is a major part of the Christian heritage in the East and two of the four major manuscripts belong to the Coptic church while a third is in Christian hands in Aleppo. The fourth major copy, however, is contained in a famous manuscript housed in Damascus, which is a collection made by a mid-12th c. Muslim reader for his own edification. All of these copies are now inaccessible owing to the present troubles in Syria and Egypt but had fortunately been obtained in advance by the project team. The readership of Nemesius was clearly both Muslims and Christians and we shall be following this aspect of the story carefully as the project develops. As with so much Greco-Arabic work, the late 9th c. translation offers important corrections to the Greek text. This first edition will, we hope, be of use and interest to Arabists and classicists alike.
Two further projects in the area of Greco-Arabic research are currently underway alongside the Nemesius. First is the joint Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award held by Simon Swain and Emilie Savage Smith (Oxford) for their work on the major medical biographer, Ibn Abi Usaybi‘a, whose great 13th c. “The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians” contains a good deal of Greek material in its early chapters and not least the only systematic biography of Galen. The Warwick Epidemics project has also embarked on a new phase with the current Wellcome History of Medicine Fellowship held by Uwe Vagelpohl. The aim is to edit and translate Galen’s commentary on Bk 6 of the Hippocratic Epidemics. Given the loss of some of the original in Greek and the very poor transmission of the Greek text, this part of the project will have repercussions on our knowledge of one of Galen’s major works that are just as significant as the results of first two volumes produced by the Warwick project.
Graeco-Arabic research at Warwick has two interrelated strands. Medical history is a natural part of such work and is led by Peter E. Pormann. Simon Swain also has medical history interests. This work is the basis of our membership of Warwick’s Centre for the Hisory of Medicine. The second strand is research by Simon Swain and Elvira Wakelnig on the reception of Greek philosophy and ethics.
- The “Oxford Anthology”
This is a three-year project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (November 2007–October 2010) which will edit, translate, and study a unique collection of mainly Greek philosophical and medical material anthologized in a manuscript kept in the Bodleian Library.
The need to undertake a proper study of the “Anthology” has been recognized for some time, since the text is closely related to a famous collection of Greek biographical, doxographical, and philosophical-medical material called the “Cabinet of Wisdom”. The “Cabinet” comes from the circle of a major intellectual working in 10th c. Baghdad and is one of a number of texts by leading 10th/early 11th c. figures which record the salon culture of this period where the scientific and medical ideas of the day were discussed and disseminated. Study of the “Anthology” will deepen our understanding of the movement sometimes called ‘the Islamic renaissance’, and will advance our knowledge of how the elite used and developed Platonic philosophy and other Greek learning in this crucial period.
The project is led by Simon Swain. The postdoctoral researcher is Dr Elvira Wakelnig who studied at Vienna, Bamberg, and Erlangen before moving to a research fellowship at the Warburg and assisting Prof. G. Endreß on the Glossarium Graeco-Arabicum at Bochum. Dr Wakelnig has published a number of articles on Islamic philosophy and is the author of a major study on the philosopher al-Āmirī, Feder, Tafel, Mensch. Al-Āmirī’s Kitāb al-Fuṣūl fī l-Ma‘ālim al-ilāhīya und die arabische Proklos-Rezeption im 10. Jh. Text, Übersetzung und Kommentar (Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Science. Texts and Studies, Vol. 67) (Leiden 2006).
- “Bryson’s Oikonomikos Logos”
This is a three-year project funded by a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship awarded to Simon Swain. Bryson’s book survives mainly in an Arabic epitome and is a unique example of a genre of ancient literature going back to Xenophon’s famous Oikonomikos. In the later period the genre came to be assoicated with Neopythagorean thinkers. The text will be presented with an English translation and accompanied by a full study of its origins and legacy. Bryson’s importance lies not only in his original development of ancient economic and social theory but also in his thinking on the relationship between husband and wife and his instructions on how to raise children. The work has major implications for the development of Greek ethics in the ‘second sophistic’ period. Its legacy in Islam is no less interesting, since it was used by thinkers like the 10th c. philosopher and historian Miskawayh, by Islam’s most distinguished theologian Ghazali (d. 1111), and even by the ‘Shaykh al-Islam’, Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328). The project hopes to communicate the importance with which the Greek inheritance is held in medieval and modern Islam.
- Warwick Epidemics: The Wellcome Trust has recently awarded funding to Peter Pormann and Simon Swain for a major 3-year project to edit, translate and study the Arabic versions of Galen’s commentaries on Bks 1 and 2 of Hippocrates’ Epidemics. Two research assistants will carry out the bulk of the editing and translation, and Swain and Pormann will join them in writing the studies which will form a key part of the publication arising from the Project. The Epidemics are among the most famous books of the Hippocratic corpus because they present the ‘case notes’ of practising physicians. Galen’s commentaries on Epidemics survive complete only in the Arabic translation of Hunayn ibn Ishaq (d. 873). Hunayn was a leading court physician and wrote the first extant textbook of opthalmology. The famous introductory work of the late medieval Italian medical schools, the Isagoge, is a reworking of another of his books under the Latinized form of his name, Johannitius. He is particularly well known in the field of Greco-Arabic for his polished translations of Galen. The initial phase of our project, which is now funded by Wellcome, will edit and translate Galen’s Arabic commentaries on Epidemics 1 to gain experience of Hunayn’s technique by comparing the largely extant Greek text. This will enable us to edit with confidence the commentaries on Bk 2 where the Greek is virtually all lost. At present Hunayn’s text is partially available in a German translation by Franz Pfaff. Regrettably this is not altogether reliable, and moreover Pfaff did not use the best MS. We hope in future to be able to secure funds to edit further tranches of the Arabic Galen of the Epidemics commentaries. The project will be of interest to historians of ancient and medieval medicine, scholars and the general public in Western countries and in the Middle East who pay attention to the common roots of medical and scientific learning in the Christian and Islamic worlds, and to all those who are interested in science and medicine as vehicles for the movement of ideas between cultures and languages.
The Department of Classics has developed research specialisms in Classical humanism and intellectual history of the Italian Renaissance (Maude Vanhaelen). Since 2000, there have been successful collaborations with other institutions in the UK and overseas, as well as the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance in Warwick which has well established links with the Warburg Institute in London and the Newberry Library in Chicago.
The Reception of Platonism in Renaissance Italy
This major research project, jointly hosted by the Departments of Classics and Italian, is conducted by Maude Vanhaelen and is funded by the RCUK for five years. The project explores the history of the transmission of ‘Platonism’ in Renaissance Italy (i.e. the sacred wisdom of Plato and his Neoplatonic commentators, as well as the Neoplatonic commentators on Aristotle). A full contextualisaion of the first 1484 Latin translation of the Platonic Corpus, by the Florentine humanist Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) will determine how the Renaissance revival of Plato echoed or modified ancient and medieval doctrines, and their cultural reception. As well as exploring Renaissance readings of Platonic, Neoplatonic and Aristotelian texts, this project will review the impact of sources that lie outside the traditional of Renaissance philosophy – in Jewish and Arabic mysticism, Hermetic, astrological and magical texts.
Maude Vanhaelen is currently preparing a critical edition and translation of Ficino’s Commentary on Plato’s Parmenides, one of the primary vehicles of the Neoplatonic interpretation of the Parmenides in the Latin West. She also exploring the immediate reception of Ficino’s interpretation, including the controversy that opposed Ficino to Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.