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- What tools did the early greeks and romans use for medical purpos by Tmimlitz@ccp-stl.org

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Early Greek and Roman Medicine

Early Greek and Roman Medicine by Ana Condor -

Early Greek and Roman medicine

The greek medicine appeared to be a lot more complicated than the tribal medicine . They treasured health and worked hard through examining and observing patients in order to become perfectionists.

From the 6th century BC, the greeks had a famous healing centre at Epidaurus. It was believed that the god Asclepius was the god of healing. The centre had baths, hostels, a library, a theatre, a gymnasium and temples.

A couple of important names built the basis of medicine for the next 2000 years. They were Hippocrates (460- 370 BC) and Aristotle (384-322 BC).

Greeks believed that the human body contained 4 ''humours'' -blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. They were supposed to remain in balance, otherwise huma n body would suffer from diseases. Some of the options for cure were blood-letting, purging, baths and special diets .

Hippocrates was the one who convinced the doctors that there are not such things as superstition.He encouraged them to examine, to observe the patients carefully, to develod a special care and bedside techniques; in time they set priciples for surgery. Up until the 19th century, these guidelines were widely used and apreciated.

Aristotle was the one who realised that in order to practice outstanding medicine, one must need to understand science. He introduced the first principle of anatomy(structure of the body) and psychology (how the body works) by disecting dead bodies. He alsotook time to study the development of a baby in the mother's womb and realised, that women have an important contribution to reproduction as well as men .
There were people who joined the Cult of Asclepius. If they were getting ill, they would go to the temple and sleep there, holding the belief that the god Asclepius would visit them in theor dreams, either to give them healing ot to advise them.Should one be cured, hw would show hi gratitude by offering small stone images as an offring.Between the 500 BC and 500 AD, there were more than 200 temples built in Asclepius' honour.

The Romans borrowed a lot from the greeks .Most of the doctors were greeks and the remedies (as in herbals and healing rituals) were very similar.
Although Romans were healthy people, in general, they still relied on the intervention of their gods.

The Romans payed much attention to hygiene.They did not get to baths just to get clean, but also for relaxing, meeting friends and exercising.
And believe it or not, their system to supply with fresh water, the latrines they created and the sewage system was so advanced, that they outstand everyone around them (not even in Britain, 100 years ago, those facilities werent existent)

The herbs and plants that they used to make useful drugs were ussualy tested on different kinds of illnesses. Eclampane was mostly used ofr digestion.Then, there was garlic and fennel (wich they used as a calming herb) and some of them even as anaestetics.

One of the most important figures in Roman Medicine was Galen(AD129-199). He was a doctor and his fame grew when he became the emperor's physician.He was forced to leave Rome in 166 AD, but due to the great plaque, he returned and was allowed to stay . He wrote his thought on how medicine should be practiced, based on Aristotle's writings. He also tried something new, by dissecting animals and studying the human skeleton.

Only long after his death, about 1,500 years later, his work and writings were accepted as part of the basis of medicine.
Early Greek and Roman Medicine written by Ana Condor for FamousWhy.com
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Early Greek and Roman Medicine Image Source : healthsystem.virginia.edu

Tags: roman medicine, greek medicine, health, doctors

Category: Health  - ( Health Archive)

Date Added: 11 June '07

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