How Well Was The Medicine In The Ancient History?

Todd Feinman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2013
6,609
Planet Nine, Oregon
A good Wikipedia article on ancient Egyptian medicine:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egyptian_medicine#Pharmacology

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


http://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/ancient_Egyptian_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.
 
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Todd Feinman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2013
6,609
Planet Nine, Oregon
Medicine and magic were intertwined; I suspect the power of the Placebo Effect was ENORMOUS, and really seemed like magic.
 

caldrail

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Feb 2012
5,332
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...
 
Sep 2013
636
Ontario, Canada
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.
 

Kookaburra Jack

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May 2011
2,964
Rural Australia
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.

http://historum.com/ancient-history/121019-there-decline-fall-classical-physician-4th-century.html
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,332
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_Whittington_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.
 
Feb 2011
42
India
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
 

Todd Feinman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2013
6,609
Planet Nine, Oregon
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/History_of_rhinoplasty#Antiquity