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Technological Wonder in Herodotus’ Histories

From the book Medicine and Paradoxography in the Ancient World

  • Maria Gerolemou


Taking as a starting point the assumption that health in antiquity was an acquired good, this chapter aims to examine the concept of the artificially cured or improved human body in Herodotus; this is a product of human techne, specifically of health technology. A defining point for the category of this type of body is the concept of the wondrous (θῶμα). As a technological wonder which emphasizes human agency, the cured or improved body threatens to replace the natural body and the thauma of nature. In effect, however, there is no substantial difference between the natural and the technological body or, consequently, the natural and the technological wonder; since the latter, the technological, mimics the former, the natural, the only difference that could be observed is the unaccountable behavior of the natural body which opposes the technological predetermined design of the artificial body.

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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