Welcome back tot he Dittrick Museum Blog!
Today, we would like to mention some newsworthy events upcoming in February. Mark your calendars, Clevelandites!
FROM THE TIGRIS TO THE TIBER: A CASE OF BABYLONIAN ‘ASTRO-MEDICINE’ IN PLINY THE ELDER
The Departments of Classics and History are sponsoring a talk on ancient “astro-medicine” (free and open to the public) on Wednesday, February 19 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM in Mather House 100
Maddalena Rumor, Doctoral Candidate, Freie Universität, Berlin, will present and compare two texts – a puzzling late Babylonian Kalendertext written on a cuneiform tablet in Uruk by a scholar named Iqīšâ (late fourth century BCE), and a passage from the Natural History of Pliny the Elder (first century CE) concerning fever therapies. While at a first glance these two testimonies seem to have nothing in common, a closer examination of them reveals that Pliny was commenting on the specific tradition of pairing animal products with calendric/zodiac information as found in Iqīšâ’s text, and thus each is useful for the interpretation of the other.
This finding represents the only identified direct proof of the sharing of astro-medical knowledge between the lands of cuneiform writing and the Greco-Roman world. As such, it has far-reaching implications for the history of ancient medicine and/or astrology.
HANDERSON MEDICAL HISTORY LECTURE: JAN VAN RYMSDYK, ANATOMY ARTIST EXTRAORDINARY
The Dittrick Museum will present a lecture and reception, free and open to the public, Thursday, February 20th, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
Lucy Inglis Lucy Inglis (Museum of London) presents Jan Van Rymsdyk, the best anatomical artist of the eighteenth century. His work on two pioneering medical treatises, A Set of Anatomical Tables and The Gravid Uterus, marked the birth of modern obstetrics. Yet Van Rymsdyk’s life has been overlooked. A portrait painter by ambition, a botanical artist of some repute, he was also a skilled engraver and mezzotint worker. This lecture and companion exhibit explores his life, work and legacy.
William Smellie (1697-1763) and William Hunter (1718-1783) both published landmark book’s on obstetrics in which accurate illustrations were essential. Smellie wanted his advances in the use of forceps to continue after his death. Hunter wanted his scientific discoveries on why women died in childbirth to ensure his fame. They both needed Van Rymsdyk. He worked fast, with pinpoint accuracy, and his images had a strange allure. For all their gruesome reality; in them he managed to combine the Enlightenment ideal of beauty and truth. William Hunter said, “the magic of Jan Van Rymsdyk is that he ‘represents what was actually seen, it carries the mark of truth, and becomes almost as infallible as the object itself”.