Past Event

Kristi Upson-Saia - Dental Distress in the Ancient Mediterranean

February 16, 2024
4:10 PM - 6:10 PM
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Online and In-person: Hamilton Hall (Room 603), Columbia University, 1130 Amsterdam Avenue, New York

Event Description

Although we have seen an uptick in scholarship on ancient health and healing in recent years, scholars have devoted little attention to dental ailments and tooth pain. That said, in this talk Kristi Upson-Saia will argue that dental ailments were among the most distressing health concerns faced by the vast majority of people in the ancient Mediterranean. To make this case, she will survey bioarcheological studies to discern the prevalence and kinds of dental pathologies people experienced. She will then survey ancient medical sources to further expand our understanding of the health risks posed by dental ailments, as well as to get a sense of the health risks involved in ancient dental treatments. And, finally, she will discuss a curious medical debate about the degree to which physicians should alleviate their patients’ pain when treating dental ailments. Taking a cue from Roy Porter’s call for more scholarship that takes the perspective of sick and suffering people—what Porter calls “medicine from below”—this talk will be keenly attuned to everyday people’s experiences of dental distress in the ancient Mediterranean.

Event Speaker

Kristi Upson-Saia, David B. and Mary H. Gamble Professor in Religion at Occidental College

Event Information

Open to Columbia University affiliates. Please email Melody Wauke at [email protected] to register. Hosted by the Department of Classics at Columbia University.