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Revealing Galen's Simples

  • Schedule
Page from the Galen Palimpsest in natural color and after processing to reveal the under text (2015).
Page from the Galen Palimpsest in natural color and after processing to reveal the under text (2015).

Saturday, April 30, 2016; 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM

An article published in the New York Times on June 1, 2015, described the discovery of a Syriac manuscript that contained the oldest known translation of Galen's On the Mixtures and Powers of Simple Drugs. The text of this manuscript was erased in the eleventh century. Scientists and scholars from around the world are working to recover it. This symposium will feature the manuscript itself and presentations by imaging specialists, Syriac scholars, and historians of medicine working to reveal the secrets of this challenging manuscript.

The weekend of our conference will be extremely busy on the Penn campus and some roads may be closed because of an athletics event. We earnestly advise you to walk or take public transport to the campus rather than driving. 

  • Saturday, April 30, 2016; 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM

    9:00-9:30 am Coffee 

    Session 1: Galen, Greek Medicine, and the Syriac Palimpsest
    (session chair: Will Noel) 
    Watch Session

    • 9:30-10:00 Ralph Rosen (Penn, Classical Studies) and Peter Singer (London), 
      Galen and the Greek Medical Tradition
    • 10:00-10:30 William Noel (Penn, Kislak Center), 
      New Science meets Old Science: Ancient Manuscripts and Digital Technology
    • 10:30-10:45 Discussion

    10:45-11:00 am Coffee

    Session 2: Galen's Simples Revealed
    (session chair: Michael Toth, R. B. Toth Associates)
    Watch Session

    • 11:00-11:10 Michael Toth (R. B. Toth Associates), Digitization and Access
    • 11:10-11:40 Renee Wolcott (Philadelphia), The Syriac Galen Palimpsest
    • 11:40-12:10 Roger Easton (Rochester), Imaging the Syriac Galen Palimpsest
    • 12:10-12:40 Siam Bhayro (Exeter), Discovering Galen's Simples
    • 12:40-1:00 Discussion

    1:00-2:30 pm Lunch (on your own)
    Galen Palimpsest on display in the Lea Library

    Session 3: New Discoveries
    (session chair: Ralph Rosen)
    Watch Session

    • 2:30-2:50 Michael Toth (R. B. Toth Associates), The New Program, the New Leaves
    • 2:50-3:10 Peter Pormann (Manchester), 
      The Final Frontier: Galen's Syriac Versions and Graeco-Arabic Translation Technique
    • 3:10-3:30 Robert Hawley, Irene Calà, and Jimmy Daccache (Paris), 
      The Textual Interest of the Syriac Versions of Galen's Simples

    3:30-4:00 Discussion, Coffee

    Session 4: Digitizing Galen
    (session chair: Keith Knox)
    Watch Session

    • 4:00-4:20 Douglas Emery (Penn, Kislak Center), Open Galen: The Digital Manuscript
    • 4:20-4:40 William Sellers (Manchester), Working with the Data
    • 4:40-5:00 Corneliu Arsene (Manchester), Revealing the Palimpsest

    5:00-5:30 pm Discussion and Closing Remarks (Ralph Rosen)