Power and knowledge : astrology, physiognomics, and medicine under the Roman Empire / Tamsyn S. Barton

  • First paperback edition.
  • Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press c1994
Physical description
xiv, 254 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
  • 047210425X


  • Power and Knowledge charts a history of three ancient scientiae in the Roman Empire - astrology, medical prognosis, and physiognomy (the art of discerning character or destiny from a person's physique). Drawing on contemporary approaches in social theory and the philosophy of science, Tamsyn Barton argues that the ancient sciences are best understood in terms of rhetoric, as their practitioners are involved in sociopolitical struggles and their disciplines are rooted in Greco-Roman cultural norms and practices. Barton provides original readings of an array of texts in order to undermine the distinction between "science" and "psuedo-science" in the study of ancient culture. These include Galen's treatises on pulses and urines, the physiognomical works of Polemo, the astrological writings of Dorotheus of Sidon and Firmicus Maternus, and the "handbooks" used in master-pupil relationships. Barton's study represents the first serious investigation by a modern scholar of this rich variety of ancient writings. Barton examines the cultural prestige enjoyed by each of the sciences in specific contexts, especially in early Imperial society. She also maps the relation of scientific knowledge to social and political power, demonstrating how each discipline employed internal strategies of analysis and elaboration designed more to preserve knowledge among the elite than to disseminate it. The conclusions drawn about power and knowledge in the ancient scientiae have implications for the relations between science and politics in any society, and resonate with modern debates as well. Power and Knowledge will interest students of ancient civilizations, historians of science and medicine, students of rhetoric, cultural historians, and anyone interested in the social construction of knowledge.

Summary holdings does not include live availability details. Select a library name for the full Holdings display.

Location of copy Shelfmark Online location Holdings Notes
Birkbeck, University of London Library: Contact the Library 509.37 BAR
University of Birmingham Libraries: Main Library, Collection Q127.R7 B37
British Library: Lending Collection 95/10187
British Library: General Reference Collection, St Pancras Reading Rooms YC.1995.b.2567
British School at Rome: British School at Rome 276.B.1
University of Cambridge Libraries: Trinity Hall: Jerwood Library 509.37 BAR
University of Cambridge Libraries: Whipple Library: Main Library L1.BAR 3
University of Cambridge Libraries: Classical Faculty Library: Main Library F 37 2
University of Cambridge Libraries: University Library: South Front, Floor 4 340:5.c.95.613
Cardiff University Libraries: Arts & Social Studies Library: 2 week Q127.R6.B2
Durham University Library: Bill Bryson Library, Level 3 509.37 BAR
University of Exeter Library: Forum Library 133.3 BAR
University of Glasgow Library: University Library Level 5 Medicine Z250 2002-B
Institute of Classical Studies Library: Institute of Classical Studies, Main Library 127C
Institute of Classical Studies Library: Institute of Classical Studies, Main Library 127C
University of Leeds Library: Brotherton Library, West floor 2 Ancient History H-0.062 BAR
University of Leicester Library: David Wilson Library, Floor 1 Blue Zone 509.37 BAR
University of Liverpool Library: Sydney Jones Library Q127.R8.B29 10
The London Library: London Library S. Science (Gen.)
University of Manchester Library: Main Library: Blue Area Floor 2 509.37
Newcastle University Libraries: Philip Robinson Library: Robinson Books Level 3 509.37 BAR
University of Nottingham Libraries: Hallward Library
University of Oxford Libraries: Brasenose College Library G/QE 26
University of Oxford Libraries: Bodleian Library: Lower Gladstone Link Open Shelves (UBHU) M96.E07120
University of Oxford Libraries: Corpus Christi College Library 509.37 Ba
University of Oxford Libraries: Christ Church Library: Library of Congress sequence Q 127.R7 BAR 1994
University of Oxford Libraries: Sackler Library: Lower Ground Floor 600 Bar
University of Oxford Libraries: Somerville College Library 509.1 12
University of Reading Library: University Library: 3rd Floor 509.37-BAR
Royal Holloway, University of London: Royal Holloway library Davison General One Week 509.37 BAR
University of St Andrews Library: Main Library Q127.R7B2
Science Museum Library: Science Museum Library, Wroughton 5"-":93 BARTON
Swansea University Libraries: Singleton Park Library : Main Q127.R7 B37 1994
Trinity College Dublin Library: Ussher Library 937 N46
University of Wales Trinity Saint David: Lampeter Campus Library: Main Collection 509.37 BAR
UCL Library Services: UCL Main Library ANCIENT HISTORY R 76 BAR
Warburg Institute Library: Warburg Institute, Main FFK 120
University of Warwick Library: Learning Grid (Uni. House) Q127.R7 B37
University of Warwick Library: Main Library Q127.R7 B37
University of Warwick Library: Main Library Q127.R7 B37
University of Warwick Library: Main Library Q127.R7 B37
Wellcome Library: History of Medicine AJA.AA1