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Belief and medicine

Belief - the Temple of Asklepios and Ancient Greece

Educational objective

Students will gain an understanding of what happened in the Temple of Asklepios and the related medical practices.

Classroom activity - design a website

Students should research all the information contained on the Brought to Life website about the Temple of Asklepios and about the treatments that patients underwent within the temple.

Based on this information they should pick the main ‘selling points’ of the temple and use these to market and promote the temple with the aim of creating a must-see website that will increase use of the temple. The website can be plotted out on paper, starting with the opening screen, ‘Welcome to the Temple of Asklepios’, and then laid out page by page in a form that will ultimately resemble a family tree, with the opening screen at the top and the various sub-screens, which might give details of opening hours, treatments offered, tales of prayers answered, etc., descending from it.

Extension activities

Students could create a press release to accompany their website. The press release should include the who, what, where, when and why of the website, including details of when it will be launched, where it can be found (e.g. www.prayersansweredtoday.com) and what it has to offer. In essence, it should make the case for visiting the website, explaining why it will bring greater benefit to the user than merely spending another couple of hours on a favourite networking site.

Students could present their website ideas in a Dragon’s Den-style environment, with a fellow student acting as the high priest of the temple and sitting in judgment of the various suggestions.

Curriculum links

  • Ancient Greece and the Temple of Asklepios
  • Ideas of causes and cures in the ancient world
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    Belief - the theory of the four humours

    Educational objective

    This will serve as an introduction to or summary of the theory of the four humours. It will give students an understanding of where the theory emerged and how it worked and was implemented.

    Classroom activity - balance in the body

    Prepare a list of common ailments or problems either on cards or ready to be written up in class.

    Ask your students to use the Brought to Life website to research the theory of the four humours. Ask them to come up with their own representation of the humours. This could be the seasons or the elements, or something they have invented. They should represent these humours on their own cards.

    Present the students with different ailments (previously prepared) and ask them to explain the condition through the theory of the humours, i.e. where the imbalance lies. Ask them to suggest how they might treat it. For instance, if they are using the seasons to represent the humours they may suggest that to cure a cold, which is associated with winter, you would try and restore the balance with more ‘summer’, which could be in the form of heat and a hot drink.

    Extension activities

    Looking at other beliefs that are included on the website, present students with the same illnesses and examine how in different time periods these would have been dealt with differently.

    Curriculum links

  • The theory of the four humours and resulting treatments
  • Ideas of causes and cures in the ancient world