Weekly study3 hours
Health and Wellbeing in the Ancient World
What did being healthy in ancient Rome or Greece look like? How can we tell what wellbeing meant in ancient times? This course will help you investigate the health of people in ancient Greece and Rome, using both literary and archaeological evidence to uncover details of real life in ancient societies.
Explore ancient life through primary evidence
This course is designed to challenge simplistic approaches which apply modern distinctions to the ancient world. Instead you’ll go back to the start and look at the primary evidence on which all modern assumptions are based. You’ll examine different objects closely, learning what each item can tell us about life in ancient times.
Understand ancient theories by examining the body
On the course we’ll divide the body up into organs and systems, using each as a starting point to explore ancient theories of the structure and function of the human body, and other aspects of ancient life.
We’ll discover ancient Greece and Rome in full, from the public to the personal, and from army and urban life to the lived experience of women and children. Using the evidence on the hair and face, the eyes, the digestive system, the organs of reproduction and the feet you’ll explore topics with which our society still wrestles, including the location of the ‘self’; the relationship between mind and body; identity; food and drink; sanitation; sexuality, ageing and gender.
Improve your critical and analytical abilities
Through the course you’ll develop some of the skills needed in the study of classics and history including:
- Improving your ability to critically analyse primary sources
- Learning to analyse complex problems based on fragmentary evidence
- Developing your ability to engage with contemporary interpretations and scholarly debates.
For a taste of what will be covered in this course, read this post from Lead Educator, Helen King.
- What is health ? Ancient and modern perspectives on health and disease
- Medicine, religion and magic
- Using online resources
- Vision: theories of sight, approaches to eye disease, including drugs and surgery
- Body modifications
- Diet and digestion
- Human waste: using evidence from toilets and sewers
- Conception and birth: theories and practices
- Ideal bodies and disabled bodies
- The health of the army: recruiting and treating soldiers
Learning on this course
You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...
- Develop confidence in exploring the variety of fields that constitute classical studies.
- Explore and become familiar with open-access resources for classical studies.
- Develop the ability to critically analyse primary sources.
- Apply and gain skills in analysing complex problems based on fragmentary evidence.
- Engage with contemporary interpretations and scholarly debates.
Who is the course for?
There are no special requirements for this course, but an interest in the ancient world or classics might be useful.
Who developed the course?
The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.
LocationMilton Keynes, UK
World rankingTop 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020
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