Professor Jim McKeown will present “Medicine and Superstition in Ancient Greece” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Hosted by Winchester Academy, the program is free and open to the public.
McKeown’s talk will focus on bizarre tales of ancient Greece that he collected for his book, “A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the Cradle of Western Civilization.”
Much that the ancient Greeks believed about medicine still holds true today, but there were also many absurdities. Sometimes the distinction is obvious: few modern medicines contain bat’s blood, the gall of a wild boar or the roots of plants picked by a virgin at midnight with her left hand. At other times, however, the distinction is not so clear, and it is this gray area between fact and fantasy that McKeown likes to explore.
While hoping to maintain a certain academic integrity, he also hopes that his talk will entertain. “It should be fun,” he says. “The only person who might not like it is someone who takes antiquity too seriously.”
McKeown has been professor of classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the past 24 years. He received his doctorate at Cambridge where he taught for 12 years before coming to Madison.
He has written numerous books on erotic Latin poetry, but more recently has devoted his time to bringing to light the strange and bizarre aspects of ancient life. He has also published “A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the World’s Greatest Empire.” More of these works are in progress, including one on ancient medicine.
Winchester Academy programs are funded by sponsors and tax-deductible donations. McKeown’s program is sponsored by Jim Johnson.
For more information about Winchester Academy, check www.winchesteracademywaupaca.org or contact Executive Director Ann Buerger Linden at 715-258-2927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.