Aurelius Cornelius Celsus.
Forgan Smith (building 1), The University of Queensland, St Lucia
Venue: Forgan Smith (building 1), The University of Queensland, St Lucia.

Non-members are welcome. A donation of $10 per person includes entry in the lucky door prize and afternoon tea.

Celsus and the Earliest Printed Latin Medical Text

This is the third in a series on the theme of Science and Technology: Ancient Greek Astronomy and Astronomers (I); A Window on the Past: Science, Technology and the Ancient World (II).

Cornelius Celsus was the author of the earliest reasonably comprehensive medical and surgical text in Latin to have come down to us from the first century A.D. In 1487 AD this text was the first Latin medical book to be printed.

In his talk John Ratcliffe will briefly outline the history and problems of the manuscript tradition prior to the first printed edition and briefly describe what little is known of Celsus' biography. The talk will conclude with an explanation of one of the great conundrums which faced Renaissance and later surgeons concerning the meaning of Celsus' use of the word 'fibula' when this object was used in the repair of wounds.

Dr Ratcliffe has had a wide and varied medical career prior to taking up the study of Classics and Ancient History in 2001. He had first worked as a generalist and then as surgeon from 1964 until 1976 when he undertook training as a diagnostic radiologist specialising in children’s diseases. During this earlier time he worked for six months as a surgeon in a children’s hospital in Saigon during the war and later as a part time surgeon in a mine hospital in Zambia. From 1976 until 2001 he was a diagnostic paediatric radiologist, first in Manchester, UK, and latterly in Brisbane. Subsequent to taking up Classics and Ancient History, he acquired the MA and then the PhD in late 2014. Studies of Celsus and his book the De Medicina were the topics for John’s thesis. John now holds the position of Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland.