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.
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“.