Fenwick Scholar Program

Date of Award


Project Type


First Advisor

Guido Majno

Second Advisor

John D.B. Hamilton


The topic of this thesis is Hippocratic Pharmacology. While I intended to examine drugs and their efficacy in therapeutics, I soon realized the gravity of this undertaking: John Riddle and John Scarborough have been working on this for decades; my year's work would accomplish little. Instead, I found that work needed to be done in investigating the theoretical assumptions which the Corpus authors held about drug use: how did they believe these medicines worked? What were their underlying concepts? The methodological difficulty in answering these questions is evident at once. I decided to pursue this topic in two ways: first, to examine explicit statements by various authors about pharmacology (of which there are few), and second, to look at the prescriptions themselves and work backward to the theory at their foundation. This implied some debatable assumptions, yet was feasible. The following are the results of this form of investigation.