Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of this Version

January 2003


One of the most enduring metaphors of Western medicine has been its conception of illness as an invasive enemy against which the patient and doctor must join forces to do battle. Indeed, the more invisible and mysterious the processes of disease, the more vividly do people seem to invoke the metaphor. So it is not surprising to find that in antiquity, when the etiology and control of disease was considerably more elusive than it is today, the notion of the body as a battlefield pervaded the medical treatises both implicitly and explicitly.1


Postprint version. Published in Andreia: Studies in Manliness and Courage in Classical Antiquity, Mnemosyne: Bibliotheca Classica Batava. Supplementum 238, edited by Ralph M. Rosen and Ineke Sluiter (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2003), pages 95-114. The author has asserted his right to include this material in ScholarlyCommons@Penn.



Date Posted: 25 September 2006