Disability History and the Ancient World

(ca. 3000 BCE - 700 CE)


21 May 2018
Published!: New monograph by Christian Laes 'Disabilities and the Disabled in the Roman World - A Social and Cultural History'! This book, the first monograph on the subject in English, explores the medical and material contexts for disability in the ancient world, and discusses the chances of survival for those who were born with a handicap. Find out!

16 May 2018
New: DISABILITY IN AFRICA: RELIGIOUS, ETHICAL & HEALING RESPONSES, to and by People with Disabilities, Deafness, or Mental Debility: a bibliography through four millennia, with introduction and partial annotation.

16 January 2018
Recently published: Edited by Cordula Nolte, Bianca Frohne, Uta Halle, Sonja Kerth 'Premodern Dis/Ability History - A Companion'

9 January 2017
Recently published: New book edited by Christian Laes Disability in Antiquity! This volume is a major contribution to the field of disability history in the ancient world with contributions from leading international scholars.

5 January 2017
CALL for PAPERS: MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE in BIBLE and TALMUD- EABS/ISBL, BERLIN- August 2017 https://eabs.net/site/medicine-in-bible-and-talmud/

August 2016
Forthcoming, 2017: Disability in Antiquity, edited by Christian Laes! 

June 2016
New site on stories and histories of mental health ancient world to contemporary: http://chiara-thumiger.net/#home-section

May 2016
Recently published: monograph by J. Kuuliala  'Childhood Disability and Social Integration in the Middle Ages'                                                            

February 2016
Recently published: monograph by Irina Metzler 'Fools and idiots? Intellectual disability in the Middle Ages'                                                             

11 November 2015
Recently published: monograph by Lisa Trentin 'The Hunchback in Hellenistic and Roman Art'

2-3 November 2015
International Conference Berlin: Practical Knowledge and Medical Practice in Ancient Mediterranean Cultures

27 March 2015
Christian Laes' monograph Beperkt? wins the NKV-Homerusprice with a favourable review of the jury! http://www.nkv.nl/nieuws/christian-laes-wint-nkv-homerusprijs-2015

31 January 2015
NKV-Homerusprice shortlist: Christian Laes' book about disabilities in Roman antiquity is nominated.

10 January 2015
Updated bibliography Online!

11 November 2014
Prostheses in Antiquity: Call for papers.

11 May 2014
Recently published: first monograph regarding disabilities in Roman antiquity. Beperkt? Gehandicapten in het Romeinse Rijk, by Christian Laes.

23 January 2014
New site on the history of intellectual/ developmental/ learning disability launched: http://www.historyoflearningdisability.com

6 December 2013
Coming very soon (March 2014). First monograph on Disabilities in the Roman world:                                                                  http://www.davidsfonds.be/publisher/edition/detail.phtml?id=3320

6 November 2013
Another first-class contribution to disability studies with the Ph. D. dissertation Parcere Personis, Dicere de Vitiis? Deformitas in the epigrams of Marcus Valerius Martialis: Congratulations Bert Gevaert! (Ph. D. Brussel, 2013)

30 August 2013
Upcoming workshop 'Mental Diseases in Ancient Medicine', October 2014 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: http://www.classicsmedicine.org/news/workshop-mental-diseases-2014

17 August 2013
Upcoming conference at the School of Mission and Theology, Stavanger, Norway May 2014: http://www.mhs.no/?537

5 August 2013
Third version bibliography online

4 August 2013
Upcoming Ph. D. Defence, 6 november 2013:
Parcere Personis, Dicere de Vitiis? Deformitas in the epigrams of Marcus Valerius Martialis (Ph. D. Brussel, 2013) - Bert Gevaert

August 2013
Release of the website by our colleague in disability studies Danielle Gourevitch http://www.dgourevitch.fr/

26 June 2013
We are saddened to announce you the death of our fellow researcher Prof. D.P.M Weerakkody (1945-2013). We offer his family and friends our sincerest condolences.

15 June 2013

Published: The first volume  to systematically study the subject of disabilities in the Roman world http://www.brill.com/disabilities-roman-antiquity

14 June 2013
Release of the Brill volume: Mental Disorders in the Classical World by W.V. Harris. http://www.brill.com/mental-disorders-classical-world

16 February 2013
Another fine contribution to disability studies: Congratulations Jenni Kuuliala! Disability and Social Integration. Constructions of Childhood Impairments in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Canonisation Processes (Ph. D. Tempere, 2013)

8 January 2013
Also forthcoming, April 2013: http://www.brill.com/mental-disorders-classical-world

8 January 2013

Forthcoming, May 2013: http://www.brill.com/disabilities-roman-antiquity

7 January 2013
Once more we can inform you about a new book:  

Dents, Dentistes et Art Dentaire uncovers dental techniques and representations of the mouth and teeth in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Ancien Régime. The book is composed after the sixth conference regarding history of medicine in ancient societies under the direction of Franck Collard and Evelyne Samama.

F. Collard and E. Samama (dir.), Dents, Dentistes et Art Dentaire, Histoire, pratiques et représentations - Antiquité, Moyen Age, Ancien Régime (Paris 2012).

24 December 2012
Second version bibliography online

23 September 2012
Upcoming symposium at the University of Bremen (Germany):

Disability in Pre-Modern Societies: Sources, Problems, and Approaches. November 23rd/24th 2012. symposiumNov2012.pdf

24 May 2012
It does not often happen that we can announce the appearance of a book volume which is dedicated to the study of disabilities in antiquity. Congratulations to our colleagues for this fine volume, which includes papers on Greek, Roman and early Middle Ages, as well as on Buddhism. The bibliography on our website will be expanded shortly!

R. Breitwieser (ed.), Behinderungen und Beeinträchtigungen/ Disability and Impairment in Antiquity (Oxford, 2012)

23 May 2012
The The
oretical Archaeology Group calls for papers for a proposed TAG session, Disability and Archaeology: Critical Perspectives and Inclusive Practices. The 34th Annual Meeting of the Theoretical Archaeology Group will be held at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, from the 17th-19th of December 2012. You can view the conference website at:


24 March 2012
Website online!