CfP: Galen’s Simples and Therapeutics in the Early Modern Period. Theories, Traditions, and Transformations 1400-1750

Galen’s Simples and Therapeutics in the Early Modern Period. Theories, Traditions, and Transformations 1400-1750


Edited by: Fabrizio Bigotti & John Wilkins


Series: Palgrave Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Medicine – Springer Nature


Expected release: 2024.


Contributions are invited from scholars working on any aspect of early modern medicine dealing with the theories, uses, consumption, marketing, and visualisation techniques of simples in the period 1600-1750. The editors particularly welcome contributions on the embodiment of classical therapeutics in a variety of disciplines such, alchemy and 'chymistry', including corpuscular approaches to the question of the properties of drugs and foods. Equally welcome are contributions on the transformation of Galen's rationale across the Mediterranean and beyond, as derived from local adaptations, informal knowledge (e.g. magic and domestic medicine) and commercialisation. The volume would be the first to address the topic across such a broad spectrum in the early modern period, and would directly challenge current assumptions about the survival of Galenism beyond 1600.


Proposals of 350 words and a curriculum vitae should be sent to the editors with the subject: EM Galen's Simples.


Deadline: 28 February


The knowledge associated with the use of the Simples is Galen's most enduring medical legacy, surviving the demise of his humoral pathology and anatomy. The bulk of Galen's pharmacological rationale was expounded in his works Simple Medicines and On the Capacities of Foods, which were transmitted over the centuries in Greek, Syriac, Arabic and then Latin translations. They constituted the bedrock on which Western pharmacology and nutrition were built. Along with Dioscorides, Galen represented the main source for the theorisation of the action of simples on the body. His works offered for the first time a systematic analysis of the properties of plants, minerals and animal products and their effects on the human body and contain what is possibly the first attempt at theorising the intensive spectrum of simples and foods in relation to the time taken to react within the body.


Over recent years a variety of contributions have been devoted to Galens pharmacology, especially by Armelle Debru (ed.), Galen on Pharmacology, 1997, by authors in Brills Companion to the Reception of Galen, 2019 and most recently by Vivian Nutton in his seminal book Renaissance medicine 2022. These complement the classic contribution of Michael R. McVaugh on the development of drug theory and intensity of substances at Montpellier and in Arnauld of Villanova. Despite this, an overall approach to early modern Galenic pharmacology and therapeutics is still lacking, especially so for the period 1600-1750 which witnessed a substantial development, both in terms of visualisation and quantification of drugs and foods properties.



Palgrave Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Medicine (PSMEMM) - Springer Nature

The series focuses on the intellectual tradition of western medicine as related to the philosophies, institutions, practices, and technologies that developed throughout the medieval and early modern period (500-1800). Partnered with the Centre for the Study of Medicine and the Body in the Renaissance (CSMBR), it seeks to explore the range of interactions between various conceptualisations of the body, including their import for the arts (e.g. literature, painting, music, dance, and architecture) and the way different medical traditions overlapped and borrowed from each other. The series particularly welcomes contributions from young authors. The editors will consider proposals for single monographs, as well as edited collections and translations/editions of texts, either at a standard length (70-120,000 words) or as Palgrave Pivots (up to 50,000 words).



The submission results will be communicated by mid-March 2023.