Manfred Horstmanshoff

History of Medicine, Leiden
Fellowship: 01.10.2011–30.09.2012


Manfred (H.F.J.) Horstmanshoff studied Classics at Leiden University and majored in Ancient History. He took his MA in 1971. During his studies he worked as a research-assistant at the Department of Ancient History. From 1969 until 1976 he taught Classics at several grammarschools. In 1989 he took his Ph.D. at Leiden on a thesis »De pijlen van de pest. Pestilenties in de Griekse wereld (800-400 v.C.)« [»The Arrows of Plague. Pestilences in the Greek World (800-400 B.C.)«], focused on the social and religious consequences of epidemics. He has taught Ancient History at Leiden University since 1976. In 2006 he was appointed to a special chair in the History of Ancient Medicine.


Fields of Research

His research is centred on the history of ancient medicine in all its aspects, and at all times in its social and cultural context. Attention to the patient’s history belongs in this context. What did it mean to be ill in Graeco-Roman Antiquity? How did patients and doctors communicate? How can we grasp the different rationalities that were active in ancient medicine? He is also interested in the history of ideas. Medical anatomical and and physiological concepts, ideas and terminology play an important role as they ›dripped down‹ into literature and society up to the Early Modern Era. As a Fellow of Morphomata he will study patient’s history in a comparative perspective: »Seeing Patients«.


Publications (Selection)

  • »The ancient physician: craftsman or scientist?« Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 45 (1990) 176-197.
  • »Epidemie und Anomie,« Medizinhistorisches Journal 27 (1992) 43-65.
  • Pijn en balsem, troost en smart. Pijnbestrijding en Pijnbeleving in de Oudheid, (ed.), [14 contributions on several aspects of ancient medicine, 5 articles by Horstmanshoff] Erasmus Publishing, Rotterdam, 1994.
  • (ed., with Ph. J. van der Eijk and P.H. Schrijvers), Ancient medicine in its socio-cultural context. Papers read at the Congress held at Leiden University, 13-15 April 1992, Clio Medica 27-28, 2 volumes, Amsterdam, Rodopi, 1995 (one article by Horstmanshoff: »Galen and his patients,« vol. I, 83-99).
  • (ed. with S. Kottek), From Athens to Jerusalem. Medicine in Hellenized Jewish Lore and in Early Christian Literature. Papers of the Symposium in Jerusalem, 9-11 September 1996, Erasmus Publishing, Rotterdam 2000 (one article by Horstmanshoff).
  • (ed.), The Four Seasons of Human Life. Four Anonymous Engravings from the Trent Collection, Edited with Translation and Full Commentary by H.F.J. Horstmanshoff a.o., Trent Collection, Duke University, Durham, N.C., Erasmus Publishing, Rotterdam 2002.
  • (with Ralph M. Rosen), »The Andreia of the Hippocratic Physician and the Problem of Incurables« in: Andreia. Studies in Manliness and Courage in Classical Antiquity, ed. by Ralph M. Rosen and Ineke Sluiter, 2003, Brill, Leiden [etc.], 95-114.
  • (ed. with M. Stol), Magic and Rationality in Ancient Near Eastern and Graeco-Roman Medicine, Brill, Leiden/Boston, 2004, 407 pp. (one article by Horstmanshoff, 325-342).
  • Patiënten zien. Patiënten in de antieke geneeskunde, [Seeing Patients. Patients in Ancient Medicine], Leiden, 2006 (inaugural lecture,
  • »Verzwijgen of adverteren? De geheimhoudingsplicht van de arts in Griekse medische teksten,« Ethische Perspectieven, Peeters, Leuven, 19 (2009) 280-294.
  • (ed.), Hippocrates and Medical Education. Selected papers presented at the XIIth Iinternational Hippocrates Colloquium, Universiteit Leiden, 24-26 August 2005, Brill, Leiden, 2010 (Preface by Horstmanshoff, pp. XI-XVIII).