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Elizaveta Shcherbakova M.A.


Ancient Philosophy and History of Ancient Science (APhil/HistAS)


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Research Training Group
Philosophy, Science and the Sciences
Hannoversche Str. 6
10115 Berlin

5/2017 – 7/2019
Researcher at the Centre for Classical Studies at the School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (SASH), at the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration

6/2016 – 5/2017
Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy at Russian Academy of Sciences

6/2013 – 5/2016
Adjunct Lecturer in Classics, National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow), Department of History

2010 – 2014
Moscow State University, Candidate of Sciences

10/2006 – 9/2008
Moscow State University, Diploma=MPhil/MA in Classics

9/2003 – 9/2006
Moscow State University, BA in Classics

The Paths of the Soul in the Pseudo-Hippocratic De victu // in Chiara Ferella, Cilliers Breytenbach (eds.) Paths of Knowledge Interconnection(s) between Knowledge and Journey in the Greco- Roman World. 2018, 75-91.

The Psychology of the Pseudo-Hippocratic Treatise De Victu. An Episode in the Early History of Greek ‘Pneumatism’? Indo-European linguistics and classical philology. 2016. P. 1115-1132.

(REVIEW) HERACLITUS OF EPHESUS. THE COMPLETE HERITAGE. In the language of the original and in Russian translation. Edited by S.N. Mouraviev. «Ad marginem», Moscow, 2012». // ARISTEAS. 2014. V. 9. P. 269–277 (in Russian & English).

Illi mea carmina curae. A Theocritean Allusion in Verg. Ecl. III 60–61. ARISTEAS. 2013. V. 7. P. 184-188 (in Russian).

Ξύλον πρίζουσι or ξύλον τρυπῶσι? Towards an interpretation of De victu I, 7. Indo-European linguistics and classical philology. 2013. V. XVII. P. 950-956. (in Russian with summary in English).

Towards the Earliest History of Pneuma

In my project I intend to explore the early history of an important ancient psycho-physiological tradition that served as a framework for the emergence of such hugely influential concepts in Greek philosophy, medicine, and natural science as pneuma, innate heat, locus of cognition and others. This tradition has had a tremendous intellectual impact not just on ancient but, arguably, on Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern thought; and spread its influence far beyond the West to Byzantium and the Syriac and Arabic Middle East.
I am particularly interested in the role the so-called ‘ Presocratics’ - especially, Heraclitus, Diogenes of Apollonia, Empedocles, Democritus, as well as other fifth-century thinkers – played in the formation and development of psycho-physiological doctrines of Greek physicians.
If Hellenistic and Imperial psychophysiology has received much scholarly attention, the same cannot be said about its earlier and earliest precursors. Overall, the current accounts of its beginnings and first steps are at best patchy and do not present a coherent picture. This lack of reliable historical foundation, in turn, skews the research on later and better-documented authors and doctrines – even such extensively studied ones as Aristotle, or the Hellenistic physiologists, like Diocles, Erasistratus or Herophilus; not to mention the so-called Pneumatic doctors of the Imperial period.
The aim of my project is, thus, firstly, to fill this gap and to explore how such concepts as pneuma (with all its varieties), innate heat, seat of the mind, etc. were first formed; how they interacted with each other; and how they initially functioned in various, sometimes very dissimilar, doctrinal contexts.