Medicine as Ars in the Roman World. Its Advance from Sacral to Secular Approach, its Trading and Public Diffusion. Socio-political Considerations and their Legal Consequences

Giovanna Coppola

Abstract


The close linkage between empiric knowlegde and its magic religious background in the archaic period appears clearly as a main feature cha-racterizing the medical ars at its beginning, at least till it advances to a full secular approach during the fifth and fourth century B.C. The medi-cal knowlegde, which had been a privileged inheritance of the ruling class underwent a rapid transformation with the rise of the Roman Empire and its hegemonic politics that reached its climax during the Punic wars. As it was spread to all social classes it achieved an ever increasing im-portance leading to its specialisation and trading. This socio-political change had repercussions on the legal field: indeed conventiones concerning medical service came into effect. As far as ac-tion was concerned, doctors were permitted to avail themselves of the co-gnitio extra ordinem in order to get the rewards they were entitled to. The application of the legal tool cognitio was however a device embedded in a set of other remedies aiming at granting rewards and incentives i.e. pri-vilegia and salarium. Their development over the period of the Roman Em-pire was linked with a growing monopoly run by the supreme authority. 

Key words: Ars - Medicine - Advance - Roman world


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