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Health and wellbeing in the ancient world
Health and wellbeing in the ancient world

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1 Vision in ancient times

How was vision understood in the ancient world? How well could people see, and how were problems with the eyes treated?

In this section you’ll think about the eyes – how vision was thought to work, and what impairments of vision were experienced by people in ancient Greece and Rome. You’ll also look at how colour was used, and why ordinary people feared the Evil Eye.

Stone carving showing the upper part of a female face with inlaid eyes, set into a wall.
Figure 1 Part of a female face with inlaid eyes

Activity 1

Do you know, or can you find, any stories about visual impairments in ancient Greece or Rome, either in myth or in reality?

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