Why history?


As Western populations grow increasingly older, 'healthy ageing' is presented as one of today's greatest medical and societal challenges. However, contrary to what many policy makers want us to believe, the aspiration to live long, healthy and happy lives is not a problem specific to our times. On the contrary successful ageing has a long history.

The Histories of Healthy Ageing (HHA) conference is based on the assumption that 'healthy ageing' has informed the medical agenda since Antiquity. With 'healthy ageing' we refer to ways of thinking about and treating the body not only from a medical perspective, but also taking into account questions of what constitutes a happy and fulfilled life. In particular these latter issues were central to medicine before 1800 and relate to healthy living as much as to questions connected specifically to old age.

Thus whether we speak of classic ways of training the athlete's body, medieval religious rites, the pre-modern obsession with regimen (rules for living a healthy life), or the upper-class fancy to visit spas, at the root of it all was a wish for wellbeing, health and longevity.

Histories of




International Conference

Groningen, 21–23 June 2017




Coffee & Tea


13.30 – 14.15

Welcome by Raingard Esser (Groningen)


Keynote lecture on Airs & Places


Rina Knoeff (Groningen)

Opening Lecture


14.15 – 15.15


František Šimon (Šafárik University):

Six Res Non Naturales According to Celsus


Marieke Hendriksen (Utrecht):

Healthy Feet between Theory and Technique:

(Re)constructing Camper's Ideal Shoe


15.15 – 15.45



15.45 – 16.30

Keynote lecture on Emotional Balance


Irina Metzler (Swansea):

Old Age in Medieval Europe: Can We Learn from the Past?


16.30 – 17.30


James Kennaway (Groningen):

Guts and Nerves: The Connection between the Passions of the Soul and the Body in the Long Eighteenth Century


Tessa Storey (Royal Holloway, London):

“Quel che mangiar, e quel ch’usar dovete, Per viver sano”: Healthy Living Advice and the Wider Public in Early Modern Italy




Welcome Reception

This reception is offered to you by the University of Groningen, the Municipality of Groningen and the Province of Groningen




Opening Exhibition and museum visit

Gelukkig Gezond! Histories of Healthy Ageing




8.30 – 9.00


Coffee / Tea


9.00 – 9.45


Michael Stolberg (Würzburg):

Keynote Lecture on Excretion & Retention


9.45 – 10.45


Rebecca Fallas (Open University/Leeds):

Menopause in the Hippocratic Corpus and the Biological Works of Aristotle


Natalie Köhle (ANU, Canberra):

The Many Colours of Excrement:

Phlegm and Coproscopy in Medieval China


10.45 – 11.15




11.15 – 12.45

Semen, Menses, Milk and Sweat Panel

(Chair: Michael Stolberg)


Fabrizio Bigotti (Exeter):

"Medicina est additio et ablatio”:

Santorio on the Prolongation of Life


Sarah Toulalan (Exeter):

Old Age and Sex in Early Modern Europe:

"Exceedingly Hurtfull and Most Pernitious"


Ruben Verwaal (Groningen):

Crying Over Spilt Milk:

Chemistry, Drugs, and Breastfeeding in the Eighteenth Century


12.45 – 13.30



13.30 – 14.15

Keynote lecture on Food & Drink


Elizabeth Williams (Oklahoma):

Eating after the Climacteric: Food, Gender, and Ageing in Early Modern and Enlightenment Medicine


14.15 – 16.15

Practitioner's Session (Chair: Jane MacNaughton)


Paul Jutte (UMCG):

Technologica Orthopedica:

How 3D Technology Can Be Used to Improve Orthopedic Care


Erik Buskens (UMCG):

Noblesse Oblige


Gerjan Navis (UMCG):

Let Food be thy Medicine:

Histories of Nutrition and Healthy Ageing


16.15 – 16.45




16.45 – 17.45


Alexander Pyrges (Würzburg):

Old, Fat, and Healthy? Exploring the Connection between Corpulence and Ageing in Early Modern Medical Literature


Anthony Mahler (Zürich):

The Poet's Diet



Public Lecture


Robert Zwijnenberg (Leiden):

Healthy Ageing and the Importance of Art




8.30 – 9.00


Coffee & Tea


9.00 – 9.45


Onno van Nijf (Groningen):

Keynote lecture on Exercise & Rest


9.45 – 10.45


Melina Kostidi (Thessaly):

Greek Spas and Healthy Ageing: Nineteenth-Century Medical Texts on Thermal and Sea Baths


Megan Williams (Groningen):

"Sum mortalis, et senex, et laborans podagra":

Negotiating Healthy Aging in Early Modern Diplomacy


10.45 – 11.15




11.15 – 12.45

Narratives of Healthy Ageing


Jane Corrie (Glasgow):

An Exemplary Retirement: William Cullen and the Art of Ageing in Enlightenment Scotland


Felix Saure

The Shaking of His Own Body; the Fate of Charlotte Diede, and Aeschylos' Unwritten Verse. Wilhelm von Humboldt‘s Idealist Anthropology and His Thoughts About Age(ing)


Leonieke Vermeer (Groningen):

Healthy Through Writing?


12.45 – 13.45



13.45 – 14.30

Keynote Lecture on Sleeping & Waking


William MacLehose (UC London):

Diminution and Recreation:

Ageing and Restorative Sleep in Medieval Medicine


14.30 – 15.30


Catrien Santing (Groningen):

Tips and Tricks

for Sleeping and Waking in Regimen Literature


Siglinde Clementi (Bozen-Bolzano):

Healthy Body and Good Life as Unreacheable Ideals: The Case of the Trentino-Tyrolean Noblesman and Melancholic Osvaldo Ercole Trapp (1634–1710)


15.30 – 16.00




16.00 – 17.30

Visions of Healthy Ageing


Raf Praet (Groningen / Ghent):

Conceiving Health:

John Lydus and Late Antique Gynaecology


Leo Delfgaauw (Hanze / Groningen):

Topos of Ageing in Art


Cara Kiernan Fallon (Harvard):

Surfaces: Healthy Ageing and the Skin


17.30 – 18.00

Round Table


Comments and discussion with Rina Knoeff,

Jane MacNaughton, and Robert Zwijnenberg




Conference Dinner and Farewell Party

at Café Hammingh in the village of Garnwerd

© Histories of Healthy Ageing

Conference Organisers: Dr. Rina Knoeff (chair), Dr. James Kennaway, Ruben Verwaal, Prof. Catrien Santing, Rolf ter Sluis

Research Institute for the Study of Culture, University of Groningen,

Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 26, 9712 EK, Groningen, The Netherlands




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