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Technologies of knowledge: pharmacology, botany, and medical recipes

Totelin, Laurence Marie Victoria 2016. Technologies of knowledge: pharmacology, botany, and medical recipes. Oxford Handbooks Online 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935390.013.94

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Abstract

This article presents an overview of the main questions in the history of Greek and Roman pharmacology and botany. It presents the actors in the transmission of pharmacological and botanical knowledge in antiquity and discusses how they established their authority through claims to expertise and effective treatments. It shows that much of that transmission occurred orally, and that attitudes toward the written word in general, and recipes in particular, were ambivalent. Next the article examines the question of efficacy from a cross-cultural and anthropological point of view. It notes that the notion of efficacy is culturally bound and asks whether it is possible to use ancient texts for bioprospecting, that is, to find “new” remedies. It calls for more collaborative studies involving historians, scientific archaeologists, and (ethno)-pharmacists.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
Uncontrolled Keywords: botany, pharmacology, recipes, efficacy, orality, literacy, bioprospecting
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Last Modified: 20 Nov 2017 11:35
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/90431

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