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Old September 12th, 2017, 06:26 AM   #1
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How Well Was The Medicine In The Ancient History?


Hello,
I wanted to ask you what do you think about ancient medicine? We can agree modern medicine is more effective if the lifetime is bigger, but for ancient history, was it good enough? Do you have any information about the variety of medicines ancient civilizations used?

I found an article about medical procedures in ancient history:
Before Antibiotics: Ancient Medical Procedures That Still Baffle Scientists | Ancient Origins
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Old September 12th, 2017, 06:37 AM   #2
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Ancient Medicine (Sciences of Antiquity Series) 2nd Edition
by Vivian Nutton
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Old September 12th, 2017, 07:11 AM   #3

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A good Wikipedia article on ancient Egyptian medicine:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancien...e#Pharmacology

The Oldest Medical Books in the World | Ancient Medicine | World Research Foundation


http://www.academia.edu/Documents/in...ptian_medicine

Trauma medicine:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Smith_Papyrus

"The influence of brain injuries on parts of the body is recognized, such as paralysis. The relationship between the location of a cranial injury and the side of the body affected is also recorded, while crushing injuries of vertebrae were noted to impair motor and sensory functions.[11] Due to its practical nature and the types of trauma investigated, it is believed that the papyrus served as a textbook for the trauma that resulted from military battles.[4"

Though the Egyptians didn't REALLY understand the brain; they though the seat of life was the heart, as they could feel it beating and giving a pulse.

Last edited by Todd Feinman; September 12th, 2017 at 07:16 AM.
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Old September 12th, 2017, 07:18 AM   #4

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Medicine and magic were intertwined; I suspect the power of the Placebo Effect was ENORMOUS, and really seemed like magic.
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Old September 12th, 2017, 07:51 AM   #5

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The Romans became good at treating wounds - but otherwise, their medicine was just as dodgy as anyone else's and often as dangerous to your health. They prescribed prayers as part of the healing process. All in the hands of the gods you know...
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Old September 13th, 2017, 03:52 PM   #6
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Rome incorporated Greek medicine into its society, which was almost certainly a major factor in how the city was able to expand so rapidly from 100 BCE onwards.

Since before Greek-trained physicians became available to perform surgery and set fractures and bones and create proper herbal cures, only the male (and probably unskilled) head of the family was allowed to treat anyone in a Roman family.

In the West at least, it probably peaked with Galen in the mid second century, who was so skilled that he became Marcus Aurelius' personal doctor. He was really good especially at tying cut arteries in gladiators who would've otherwise bled to death without the lifesaving procedure. After his death it was something which fell out of use and became forgotten, only recently rediscovered by Ambrose Pare in the 16th century.
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Old September 13th, 2017, 11:21 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jalidi View Post
In the West at least, it probably peaked with Galen in the mid second century, who was so skilled that he became Marcus Aurelius' personal doctor. He was really good especially at tying cut arteries in gladiators who would've otherwise bled to death without the lifesaving procedure. After his death it was something which fell out of use and became forgotten, only recently rediscovered by Ambrose Pare in the 16th century.
Oribasius - another personal physician to a Roman Emperor, Julian - may be considered perhaps to be the last continuator of Galen in both his skill and in his literary output.

Was there a "Decline & Fall" of the Classical Physician in the 4th century?
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Old September 14th, 2017, 08:01 AM   #8

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Quote:
Rome incorporated Greek medicine into its society, which was almost certainly a major factor in how the city was able to expand so rapidly from 100 BCE onwards.
Almost certainly had little to do with it at all, mostly because health care had to paid for and most could not afford physicians whether talented or merely quacks (of which there would have been many). Mary Beard has noted how quickly migrants to the city paid the price for urban living with such hazards as poor health, and Rome was noted for recurrent outbreaks of disease, despite the much vaunted Roman penchant for cleanliness.

The city expanded because it offered potential income for people unable to continue where they were - in that respect, is basically no different to any large conurbation - London had the same attraction to outsiders - Remember 'Dick Wihttington'?


To London
Dick Whittington was a poor orphan boy, languishing in Lancashire , or some unnamed place in the country He set off to seek his fortune in London enticed by the rumour that its streets were paved with gold . But he soon found himself cold and hungry,and fell asleep at the gate of the home of a wealthy merchant named Fitzwarren Fitzwarren hired him to be the scullion in the kitchen giving him lodging.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_W...on_and_His_Cat

Smallholders were often forced out of their land in Roman society and those unemployed needed somewhere to make a living. A bustling important city has wealth to exploited, opportunities, and ready markets. It also has the usual hazards like poor health, accident, and violence.
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Old September 14th, 2017, 08:13 AM   #9
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Medicine in Ancient India


The medicine in Ancient India was also very advanced. Susrutha the famed surgeon has written books on medicine. He has performed cataract and many other surgeries. His period is datable to 6th Century BCE. His kit had more than 125 instruments. A good book on the surgical advances, though century old is 'The Surgical Instruments of the Hindus ' by Girindranath Mukhopadhyaya, BA,MD. Can be downloaded here - Vol.1 Vol.2
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Old September 14th, 2017, 08:21 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raman View Post
The medicine in Ancient India was also very advanced. Susrutha the famed surgeon has written books on medicine. He has performed cataract and many other surgeries. His period is datable to 6th Century BCE. His kit had more than 125 instruments. A good book on the surgical advances, though century old is 'The Surgical Instruments of the Hindus ' by Girindranath Mukhopadhyaya, BA,MD. Can be downloaded here - Vol.1 Vol.2
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor...asty#Antiquity
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