Welcome to Week 1 of Health and Wellbeing in the Ancient World.
In this exciting course you will engage directly with voices and objects from the ancient Greek and Roman worlds to find out what people in the past thought about their health, and to consider how healthy they would have been. You’ll be looking at the body from head to toe, exploring aspects including sight, digestion, reproduction and body image. You’ll also learn how to evaluate fragmentary evidence of different kinds, setting a variety of sources in context and bringing them together to make a better picture of the past.
In addition to the course materials here on FutureLearn, there are lots of links to external resources about health in the ancient world. These resources are entirely optional, but provide extra background reading around the topic.
The video introduces you to two ancient images of healthy bodies: two athletes wrestling and some female figures now known as the ‘bikini girls’. How can we use them as evidence for ancient health? This video will also help you start to think about how we – and the ancient Greeks and Romans – defined ‘health’.
This course was written by Helen King
, a Professor of Classical Studies at The Open University. Eleanor Betts
will be your Lead Educator. You can follow the educators visiting the profile pages – this will help you keep track of their comments throughout the course.
There will be plenty of opportunities to communicate with other learners, and you’ll be able to make comments at any point in the course – just click on the pink plus symbol (+) to open the comments section. You’ll also notice discussion points, which offer a more structured dialogue with your fellow learners on key topics. Please join in! Why not introduce yourself now by posting a comment below?
Please also make use of the ‘like’ and ‘reply’ features within the comments and discussion sections if you see a comment you like or if you have a question. This will assist the mentors in answering as many of your questions as possible, and the posts with the most likes are more likely to receive a response.
The comments sections can be a little overwhelming if there are lots of responses, so please don’t feel that you have to read all of them. It is recommended that you read the first page of the most recent comments, and then the first page of the most liked comments – this will help you keep up to date with the newest and most popular comments in the course.
Use the comments section below to introduce yourself. Have you come from a background of classical studies or healthcare? Do you think people are healthier today than they were in the ancient world?
When you’re ready, select ‘mark as complete’ and move onto the next step.
(Video and Text: © The Open University (Assets used: U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos, Andreas Vesalius, Bticho, National Cancer Institute, Capt. Sonie Munson, Riccardo Momoli, Kenton Greening, Mountain / Fingalo (Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany Licence/ Benson Kua (Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license) / Jos Dielis, istolethetv, Mike Baird (Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license / Roberta Dragan (Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license / tetraktys (Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license / sailko, Kentongreening, Prosopee, Rakesh Ahuja, MD, Jerzy Strzelecki, MichaelMaggs (Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)/ Peulle, BojanaIv, Sportfan123 (Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)/ Wellcome Library London, Science Museum/Wellcome Library London, (Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)/ Wellcome Library London (Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license))