Theses Doctoral

Salus Patriae: Public Health and the Roman State

Wazer, Caroline

The Romans had a term for public health, salus publica, which was frequently invoked in a political context, but the concept is rarely discussed in historical studies of Roman political ideology, medicine, or infrastructure. This dissertation offers a diachronic analysis of the development of the term from the middle Republic to the beginning of the third century CE using four case studies: Senatorial responses to epidemic disease, the construction of aqueducts, the state recognition of medical authorities, and the healthcare of the military. While medical theory and hydraulic technology are relevant throughout, in each case changes in the abstract and concrete meaning of salus publica are more closely tied to broader political and social changes including the expansion of the empire, the self-presentation of the emperor, and the role of the individual citizen in the Roman state.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for Wazer_columbia_0054D_14246.pdf Wazer_columbia_0054D_14246.pdf application/pdf 3.98 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Harris, William V.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 7, 2017