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About Early Medicine

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Early Medicine is the Library’s blog on medicine and health from the ancient world to the end of the 17th century. Health and medicine are understood very broadly in the blog, encompassing human and animal health, experiences of illness, the social and cultural impact of disease and disability, and many other subjects. Early Medicine focuses on Europe, but also explores extra-European contexts and influences.


Early Medicine ranges across disciplines, with contributions by art historians, literary scholars, historians, archaeologists and others. Articles engage as much as possible with primary source material, especially our rich digital content. We consider the unique features of manuscripts and early printed books, and also discuss the holdings of other library and archive collections.

Over time, a series of themes will be explored in Early Medicine. We hope that the thematic content will be especially useful to undergraduate and postgraduate students studying early medicine and health, and will also engage wider audiences. Alongside the specific themes are articles discussing a very broad range of other subjects, from individual items in the Library’s early collections, to summaries of research projects, to reports on conferences and exhibitions. The blog also publishes announcements and news items in the field of early medicine.

Early Medicine is intended to become a hub for the subject field, and to promote new research questions and discoveries. We hope that an international community of regular contributors and readers will grow around the blog. Dr Elma Brenner is Early Medicine’s commissioning editor, and she is assisted by Dr Richard Aspin (assistant commissioning editor) and an Advisory Committee. We welcome your comments, suggestions and ideas.

Early Medicine Advisory Committee