Project on Latin and Medicine for Latin learners with the web

This is a small project that a Latin II class of mine started a few months ago dealing with the role of classical languages in the history of medicine, and which I am going to have a few other classes contribute to over the next few months.   I invite any Latin learner to participate or observe.  It could be a good project for an instructor to assign to a class that has a few tablets or laptops in the class that can be shared, or of course for the the lucky instructor with a  1:1 program :).   I am lucky to be so blessed. 

Browsing through the existing notebook is probably the best way to get a quick sense of the project, but I’ll give a description of it here.  I start it off with a few background steps, but one could skip to step 3 to really cut to the chase:

1.   Have students read some of the wonderful snips about Latin anatomical terminology found in the colorful and evocative “Every Organ Tells A Story” series.  Here they are.  A few will be a little risque to the middle school audience, as some aspects of anatomy would be, no?  🙂 




See also these, and also the existing notebook.  

2. Have students explore the relationship between the classical languages and the history of medicine by assigning each student or group a figure from the  history of medicine that wrote in Latin or Greek.  Examples:  Hippocrates, Galen, Dioscorides, Celsus, Vesalius, William Harvey, William Heberden, and Sydenham.  Have students present some information to the class about their respective doctors and their contribution to the history of medicine.  

Students with iPads and the Prezi app are welcome to check out my scattershot Prezi laden with images having to do with Latin or Greek and Medicine (manuscripts, paintings, woodcuts, etc).

They can also browse this small but nice collection of images of Latin medicinal manuscripts (those with iPads will need an unzipping app).  All of them can be found on google image search with the size filtered to “large” and the search set to “Latin medicine” or “Latin medicine manuscript”.   

3.  Have students think of body part, disease/condition, or branch of medicine.  If they choose a body part, have them try to find the Latin anatomical term for this body part by searching in google for “latin anatomy [name of body part]”.  They might also run a search in this dictionary of medical terminology.  If they pick the name of a disease or condition or branch of medicine, they should search for that term on Etymonline.    Students should search until they find something that comes from Latin, and they should learn the Latin root that is the basis for the English word that they have chosen.  

4.  Have the students compose an email.  The email should be addressed to:, and the subject should include the name of what they’ve researched followed by the tag @latinanatomy.  Thus if the student looked up pneumonia, the subject of the email would be:

pneumonia @latinanatomy

This email should include an image that represents what they have chosen and also a couple brief sentences (Latin and/or English) that name their Latin medical term and identify its Latin origin.   For examples, see some of the existing entries in the notebook.     The existing entries are not in perfect Latin, but that would be a foolish expectation.  A good note would thus have the attempt at Latin but also the English translation.    


Once you have submitted your email, check the evernotebook again to see your submission!  

Browse through other submissions at your leisure.




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