Working Groups

Ancient and Medieval Sciences

The Ancient and Medieval Sciences Working Group meets monthly to discuss a colleague’s works-in-progress or to discuss readings on the history of ancient and medieval sciences that are of particular interest to participants.  Meetings are usually held at the Consortium offices in Philadelphia from 6:00 to 7:30 on second Thursdays.  Scholars located anywhere can also participate online.

  • Nahyan Fancy

    Nahyan Fancy is Associate Professor of History at DePauw University. His research interests are in medieval Islamic science and medicine, and medieval Islamic intellectual history.


  • Darin Hayton

    Darin Hayton is Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at Haverford College. His research concerns the history of science in Early Modern Europe, Central Europe, and the late Byzantine Empire.


Upcoming Meetings

  • September 14, 2017


  • October 12, 2017


  • December 14, 2017


  • January 11, 2018


  • February 8, 2018


  • March 8, 2018


  • April 12, 2018


Past Meetings

  • May 11, 2017
    • M. Osborn, “Anglo-Saxon Ethnobotany: Women's Reproductive Medicine in Leechbook III” in Health and Healing from the Medieval Garden (2015), 145–161.
    • C.M. Guardiola-Griffiths, “Homegrown: From the Woman’s Workplace to the Medieval Garden” La corónica 44 (2015): 39–65.
  • April 13, 2017


    • L. Voigts, “Anglo-Saxon Plant Remedies and the Anglo-Saxons” Isis 70 (1979): 250–68.
    • P. Rusche, “The Sources for Plant Names in Anglo-Saxon England and the Laud Herbal Glossary” Health and Healing from the Medieval Garden (2015), 128–144.


    • M. D’Aronco, “Gardens on Velum: Plants and Herbs in Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts” Health and Healing from the Medieval Garden (2015), 101–127.
  • March 9, 2017
    • Wiston Black, “‘I will add what the Arab once taught’: Constantine the African in Northern European Medical Verse,” in Herbs and Healers from the Ancient Mediterranean through the Medieval West (Ashgate, 2012), 153–185.
    • K. Reeds and T. Kinukawa, “Medieval Natural History,” in Cambridge History of Science—Medieval Science (CUP), 569–589
  • February 9, 2017
    • U. Engelhardt, “Dietetics in Tang China and the first extant works of materia medica,” Innovation in Chinese Medicine, E. Hsu (ed.), (CUP, 2001), 173–191.
    • D. Harper, “Ancient and Medieval Chinese Recipes for Aphrodisiacs and Philters.” Asian Medicine 1.1(2005): 91–100.
    • R. Sterckx, “The Limits of Illustration: Animalia and Pharmacopeia from Guo Pu to Bencao gangmu,” Asian Medicine 4(2008): 357–394.
  • December 8, 2016
    J. Stannard, “Aspects of Byzantine Materia Medica,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers (1984): 205-211
    J. Scarborough, “Herbs of the Field and Herbs of the Garden in Byzantine Medicinal Pharmacy,” Byzantine Garden Culture (2002), 177-188
    A. Touwaide, “Latin Crusaders, Byzantine Herbals,” Visualizing Medieval Medicine (2006), 25-50
  • November 10, 2016

    The group discussed three articles:

    E. Savage-Smith, “Magic-Medicinal Bowls” in Science, Tools & Magic (1997), pp. 72–105

    E. Lev, “Reconstruction of the Inventory of materia medica used by members of the Jewish Community of Medieval Cairo …” in Journal of Ethnopharmacology (2006): 428–444

    L. Chipman, “Recipes by Hippocrates, Galen and Hunayn in the Epidemics and in Medieval Arabic Pharmacopoeias” in Epidemics in context (2012), pp. 285–301

  • October 13, 2016

    The group read three articles on ancient pharmacology:

    “Mithradates’ Antidote: A Pharmcological Ghost” by Laurence M. V. Totelin, Early Science and Medicine, Vol. 9, No. 1 (2004), pp. 1-19

    “Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Court of Cleopatra VII: Traces of Three Physicians” by John Scarborough, in Arsdall, Anne Van, and Graham, Timothy, eds. Medicine in the Medieval Mediterranean: Herbs and Healers from the Ancient Mediterranean through the Medieval West: Essays in Honor of John M. Riddle, Routledge, 2012.

    “A recipe for a headache: Translating and interpreting ancient Greek and Roman remedies” by Laurence M.V. Totelin, in Imhausen, Annette, and Pommerening, Tanja, eds. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde : Writings of Early Scholars in the Ancient Near East, Egypt, Rome, and Greece : Translating Ancient Scientific Texts, De Gruyter, 2011.

  • April 14, 2016

    The group discussed Peter Dear's "Afterword" for the Palgrave Handbook of Literature and Science and Mary Baine Campbell's chapter on "Literature" from The Cambridge History of Science: Volume 3, Early Modern Science (2006), edited by Katharine Park and Lorraine Daston.

  • March 10, 2016

    We read the first two chapters from David Wootton's recent book, The Invention of Science, L. Daston’s review (from the Guardian), and A. Wulff’s review (from the Financial Times).

  • November 12, 2015

    The group discussed Kleber Cecon's "Chemical Translation: The Case of Robert Boyle’s Experiments on Sensible Qualities," Annals of Science, Vol. 68, No. 2, April 2011, pp. 179-198, as well as Pamela Smith's "In the Workshop of History: Making, Writing, and Meaning," West 86th, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Spring-Summer 2012), pp 4-31.

Group Membership