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Ancient Greek medicine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Physician treating a patient (Attic red-figure aryballos, 480–470 BC)
Physician treating a patient (Attic red-figure aryballos, 480–470 BC)

Ancient Greek medicine was a compilation of theories and practices that were constantly expanding through new ideologies and trials. Many components were considered in ancient Greek medicine, intertwining the spiritual with the physical. Specifically, the ancient Greeks believed health was affected by the humors, geographic location, social class, diet, trauma, beliefs, and mindset. Early on the ancient Greeks believed that illnesses were "divine punishments" and that healing was a "gift from the Gods".[1] As trials continued wherein theories were tested against symptoms and results, the pure spiritual beliefs regarding "punishments" and "gifts" were replaced with a foundation based in the physical, i.e., cause and effect.[1]

Humorism (or the four humors) refers to blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. It was also theorized that sex played a role in medicine because some diseases and treatments were different for females than for males. Moreover, geographic location and social class affected the living conditions of the people and might subject them to different environmental issues such as mosquitoes, rats, and availability of clean drinking water. Diet was thought to be an issue as well and might be affected by a lack of access to adequate nourishment. Trauma, such as that suffered by gladiators, from dog bites or other injuries, played a role in theories relating to understanding anatomy and infections. Additionally, there was significant focus on the beliefs and mindset of the patient in the diagnosis and treatment theories. It was recognized that the mind played a role in healing, or that it might also be the sole basis for the illness.[2]

Ancient Greek medicine began to revolve around the theory of humors.The humoral theory states that good health comes from a perfect balance of the four humors: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. Consequently, poor health resulted from improper balance of the four humors. Hippocrates, known as the "Father of Modern Medicine", established a medical school at Cos and is the most important figure in ancient Greek medicine.[3] Hippocrates and his students documented numerous illnesses in the Hippocratic Corpus, and developed the Hippocratic Oath for physicians, which is still in use today. The contributions to ancient Greek medicine of Hippocrates, Socrates and others had a lasting influence on Islamic medicine and medieval European medicine until many of their findings eventually became obsolete in the 14th century.

The earliest known Greek medical school opened in Cnidus in 700 BC.[dubious ] Alcmaeon, author of the first anatomical compilation,[citation needed] worked at this school, and it was here that the practice of observing patients was established. Despite their known respect for Egyptian medicine, attempts to discern any particular influence on Greek practice at this early time have not been dramatically successful because of the lack of sources and the challenge of understanding ancient medical terminology. It is clear, however, that the Greeks imported Egyptian substances into their pharmacopoeia, and the influence became more pronounced after the establishment of a school of Greek medicine in Alexandria.[4]

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Transcription

Ancient Greece was a place of wonder and scientific discovery, but it was also a world of odd behavior and strange traditions. From olive oil on everything but the kitchen sink to intentionally eating that yellow snow, here are some of the most bizarre things the Ancient Greeks did: 16. Strongman - We’ve all seen the bodybuilders and professional athletes of today, but did you know that this type of physical training began long before any of us were born? In fact, people were exercising religiously as far back as Ancient Greece. They trained a little differently than we do today but their hard work paid off, which we’ve discovered through the famed history of Greek athletes. One ancient wrestler, named Milo of Croton, has gained recognition through centuries for his outstanding physical performance in the Greek Olympic games. Part of his muscular development came from his childhood workouts, in which he would pick up and carry a calf every day until it reached adulthood. He is also said to have hauled a bronze statue of himself to its resting place in Olympia. Milo’s meal plan was one for the ages as well; his daily intake was reportedly twenty pounds of bread, twenty pounds of meat, and eighteen pints of wine. We all probably wish we could eat this much without it going straight to our thighs, and maybe if we start lifting full-grown bulls on a regular basis, we can. Milo of Croton won a total of six times in the Olympics and several other wrestling competitions. Unfortunately, he met his demise when he tried to take on a tree, got stuck, and a pack of hungry wolves came up from behind him. Needless to say, the wolves ate well that night. 15. The Musical Fruit - Nowadays it’s all paper slips and electronic processes, but back in Ancient Greece voting was an entirely different story. Any guesses at how they performed this political practice? That’s right; they used beans! Not only are these legumes great for consumption, but they also worked wonders when it came to electing new officials. The tradition began with the candidates placing their helmets in a line, facing upward. People would choose their preferential aspirant by placing a bean or pebble in that person’s helmet. After the votes were cast, the beans were counted and whoever had the most would win the election. It was as simple as that! The term “spill the beans” has its roots in this ancient practice as well. Although they used this method to vote for political candidates, they also used it to vote on other matters. People received one white bean and one black bean. The white bean meant “yes” and the black bean meant “no.” Voters dropped their legume of choice in a jar, and once voting concluded, they counted the white and black beans. However, if somebody accidentally overturned the jar ahead of time, the beans spilled out, and the outcome was no longer a secret. 14. Birthday Suit - We’ve all grown to love the ever-expanding athletic clothing industry. However, back in Ancient Greece, nothing like that existed. In fact, wearing any covering was prohibited while men pumped iron...or bulls… in the gym. The Ancient Greeks gave a lot of attention to their physiques, so it isn’t shocking that they were nude during exercise. Even the origin of the word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek word “gymnos,” which means naked. Plus, they oiled themselves up before weightlifting routines, giving “extra virgin olive oil” a whole new meaning. People would frown upon these traditions in the typical Planet Fitness. But, considering their vast achievements in the athletic world, one can’t help but think the Ancient Greeks were on to something. 13. Barrel of Fun - There are plenty of things that come in barrels: wine, ale, monkeys, etcetera. However, we aren’t talking about any of those things. Back in Ancient Greece, it was said that a particular philosopher spent many hours in one of these wooden containers. Diogenes the Cynic was known for his criticisms of city life and culture. He was a simplistic man who believed that he belonged to the entire world instead of just his country. Although Diogenes was said to have slept wherever he wanted to, he even enjoyed napping inside barrels often enough to be depicted in one of them centuries later. 12. An Apple a Day - We’ve all been spoiled with the extravagant marriage proposals of the modern day, the dozen rose anniversary gifts, and the cutesy Valentine’s Day cards we receive in February every year. However, back in Ancient Greece things were a bit rougher. They say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but with how the Greeks used apples they probably had more doctor visits. A man would hurl one of these Granny Smiths at the woman he wanted to marry. If she caught it, they’d tie the knot in no time. But if she didn’t, she either wasn’t interested or maybe she just wasn’t a fan of flying fruit. 11. Caterpillar Brows - In recent times, it was common for women to pluck their eyebrows to the point of having nearly nothing left. But, fuller brows have been making a comeback lately. However, these bushier eyebrows are nothing compared to what the Ancient Greeks considered “on fleek” back in the day. Although they didn’t necessarily want women to sport full-on unibrows; they preferred dense eyebrows that almost touched in the middle. They wanted them to appear connected, without actually joining together. In fact, ladies often filled in the middle section of their eyebrows to meet those interesting standards. 10. Sanitary Stones - One-ply, two-ply, or ultra? How about none of the above? When it came cleaning oneself after a restroom break, the Ancient Greeks didn’t use toilet paper. Almost all of us have had to get creative in the bathroom when there is no tissue left, but since they didn’t have Charmin back then, they had to come up with another way to wipe. They often used fragments of pottery or stones to tidy themselves afterward. Allegedly, the Greeks would sometimes carve their enemies’ names into the clay before wiping. There are also records of wealthier people using a stick with a sponge attached at the end. 9. Never Cry Wolf - Most people have no idea what the origin is of the fashionable spiked-collars our dogs wear today. Although nowadays these studded collars are used to make our canine friends look cool, they had a legitimate purpose in Ancient Greece. Dogs were tasked with herding animals and keeping livestock safe. So, the dogs needed protection as well. To accomplish this, Greeks placed a ring of spikes, called a “wolf collar,” around the dog’s neck so that wolves wouldn’t be able to attack them. By doing this, man’s best friend didn’t endure the same fate as Milo of Croton. 8. Sneeze Away - Birth control is a controversial subject. Nevertheless, people have been trying to prevent unwanted pregnancies as far back as written history goes. Although some methods have proven more effective than others, the Ancient Greeks arguably had the worst prevention technique around. After an intimate act, women would squat down and sneeze in hopes of dislodging the male specimen. They also tried kicking themselves in the rear and jumping around, which resulted in a great cardio workout but didn’t accomplish the task at hand. 7. Urine Test - Medical practices in Ancient Greece weren’t what we’d consider normal or even acceptable today. However, since they lacked modern technology, they had to work with what they had, including their own taste buds, to diagnose illnesses. One of these methods was tasting the patient’s urine. If the flavor was too sweet, the doctor would assume the patient had diabetes. But urine wasn’t the only thing these physicians would taste; they would also try a patient’s earwax to determine ailments. It has even been stated that they would taste things like vomit and phlegm as well. Luckily for us, especially for doctors, medical practices improved significantly with time. 6. Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater! - Tricksters who messed around with the Olympic games in any way had to face serious consequences for their actions if someone caught them. They were often stricken with rods or sticks and forced to pay hefty fines. There are numerous recorded incidents of these deceptive folks being found out. One example was a man named Damonikos of Elis. He gave a monetary incentive to the father of his son’s wrestling competitor to ensure his boy reigned victoriously. After somebody discovered his efforts, he and the other father were penalized and had to pay up. Another instance of deception happened when a boxer, Apollonius, showed up late to the competition and lied about the cause of his delay. He stated it was due to unfavorable weather but people discovered he had been making money elsewhere. For his untruth, he had to pay a fine. During a different time at the Olympic games, there was a mother who wanted to see her son compete. However, the laws prohibited women from viewing the tournaments. So, she disguised herself as the boy’s coach. Unfortunately, she became too enthusiastic when he won, and her identity was revealed. 5. Nectar of the Gods - It may seem absolutely disgusting now… and to be honest, it was just as gross back then... but for the Ancient Greeks, this was a daily routine. What was this tradition exactly? Well, people drank the sweat of their favorite athletes. Before they began grappling in the ring, racing, or discus throwing, competitors would slather themselves in olive oil. In fact, olive oil seemed to have a place in nearly every event in Ancient Greece. But anyway, after they greased themselves up and conquered their various physical feats, they wouldn’t shower like we do today. Instead, they would use a curved metal device, also known as a “strigil,” to scrape off all of the dirt, sweat, and oil from their bodies. This less-than-appetizing mixture was called “gloios.” After they collected the fluids and placed them in bottles, merchants would sell it to people as a form of medicine. Gloios was supposed to help with various discomforts, including muscle aches. People would drink the concoction on occasion, but more often they’d rub it on the problem area. 4. Zombieland - We all have nightmares of these decrepit creatures. Well, a lot of us do anyway. But, it might surprise you that the Ancient Greeks feared them as well. A few years ago, archaeologists came across some interesting graves in a necropolis called Passo Marinaro. One of the skeletons had heavy pieces of ceramic covering its feet and head, and another had five sizable rocks on top of it. These odd burial techniques are thought to have been a way to keep the person underground. They believed in legends that phantom-renditions of those who had passed on would arise and haunt the living. So, they decided to be safe rather than sorry and made sure that there was no way in Hades that these guys were coming back up. 3. Water to Wine - Many of us would think this practice is just crazy-talk as we often prefer our wine full-strength. However, the Ancient Greeks would consider us quite uncivilized for partaking in undiluted wine. It sounds strange coming from a civilization where drinking sweaty oil was the norm. Nevertheless, they preferred their fermented grape juice watered-down. They added some H20 or snow, if they wanted a chilled beverage, to the wine to avoid going insane. It was said that Cleomenes I lost his mind because he drank it unmixed. The Ancient Greeks also thought that drinking undiluted wine could cause all sorts of barbarous behavior, such as hurting oneself, hurting others, or losing all sense of rationality. To be honest, they weren’t necessarily wrong. 2. It’s Not Dasani - We’ve all grown accustomed to the vending machines we see in hospitals, schools, and offices all around the world. However, many of us don’t consider where this convenient machine originated. Just like many other useful inventions, Ancient Greece is responsible for this one as well. Hero of Alexandria was a Greek engineer and mathematician. It has also been stated that he was from Egypt but became Hellenized. However, one thing is for sure; this intelligent man gave the world its first vending machine. But this contraption didn’t dispense Coca-Cola or Dasani; it gave everyone something a bit more unique, Holy Water. When a customer placed a coin into the machine’s slot, it landed on a metal plate, which lifted a lever, opened a passage, and allowed a specified amount of the blessed liquid to come out. Once the coin dropped from the pan, the water came to a halt. 1. Mud Bath - It’s evident that Ancient Greeks were very attentive to their physical appearances. They stayed fit, they gleamed in the sunlight after a quick oiling, and they filled in their eyebrows to get that sought-after fashionable look. But, we also know that they weren’t the most sanitary people. If you thought that it couldn’t get more disgusting than urine-tasting, gloios-drinking, and derriere-cleaning stones, you were wrong! Their skin-care techniques went far beyond olive oil. They would bathe in mud, which isn’t unheard of today, but they would add a little something in the bath… something that came out the back end of a giant reptilian creature. Yep, you got it! They mixed crocodile feces into their otherwise normal spa-bath. They believed the concoction would tighten and tone their skin and slow down the aging process. Would you try any of the crazy Ancient Greek skin-care routines?

Contents

Asclepieia

View of the Asklepieion of Kos, the best preserved instance of an Asclepieion.
View of the Asklepieion of Kos, the best preserved instance of an Asclepieion.

Asclepius was espoused as the first physician, and myth placed him as the son of Apollo. Temples dedicated to the healer-god Asclepius, known as Asclepieia (Greek: Ἀσκληπιεῖα; sing. Ἀσκληπιεῖον Asclepieion), functioned as centers of medical advice, prognosis, and healing.[5] At these shrines, patients would enter a dream-like state of induced sleep known as "enkoimesis" (Greek: ἐγκοίμησις) not unlike anesthesia, in which they either received guidance from the deity in a dream or were cured by surgery.[6] Asclepeia provided carefully controlled spaces conducive to healing and fulfilled several of the requirements of institutions created for healing.[5] The Temple of Asclepius in Pergamum had a spring that flowed down into an underground room in the Temple. People would come to drink the waters and to bathe in them because they were believed to have medicinal properties. Mud baths and hot teas such as chamomile were used to calm them or peppermint tea to soothe their headaches, which is still a home remedy used by many today. The patients were encouraged to sleep in the facilities too. Their dreams were interpreted by the doctors and their symptoms were then reviewed. Dogs would occasionally be brought in to lick open wounds for assistance in their healing. In the Asclepieion of Epidaurus, three large marble boards dated to 350 BC preserve the names, case histories, complaints, and cures of about 70 patients who came to the temple with a problem and shed it there. Some of the surgical cures listed, such as the opening of an abdominal abscess or the removal of traumatic foreign material, are realistic enough to have taken place, but with the patient in a state of enkoimesis induced with the help of soporific substances such as opium.[6]

The Rod of Asclepius is a universal symbol for medicine to this day. However, it is frequently confused with Caduceus, which was a staff wielded by the god Hermes. The Rod of Asclepius embodies one snake with no wings whereas Caduceus is represented by two snakes and a pair of wings depicting the swiftness of Hermes.

Ancient Greek physicians

Ancient Greek physicians regarded disease as being of supernatural origin, brought about from the dissatisfaction of the gods or from demonic possession.[7] The fault of the ailment was placed on the patient and the role of the physician was to conciliate with the gods or exorcise the demon with prayers, spells, and sacrifices.

The Hippocratic Corpus and Humorism

Surgical tools, 5th century BC. Reconstructions based on descriptions within the Hippocratic corpus. Thessaloniki Technology Museum
Surgical tools, 5th century BC. Reconstructions based on descriptions within the Hippocratic corpus. Thessaloniki Technology Museum

The Hippocratic Corpus opposes ancient beliefs, offering biologically based approaches to disease instead of magical intervention. The Hippocratic Corpus is a collection of about seventy early medical works from ancient Greece that are associated with Hippocrates and his students. Although once thought to have been written by Hippocrates himself, many scholars today believe that these texts were written by a series of authors over several decades.[8] The Corpus contains the treatise, the Sacred Disease, which argues that if all diseases were derived from supernatural sources, biological medicines would not work. The establishment of the humoral theory of medicine focused on the balance between blood, yellow and black bile, and phlegm in the human body. Being too hot, cold, dry or wet disturbed the balance between the humors, resulting in disease and illness. Gods and demons were not believed to punish the patient, but attributed to bad air (miasma theory). Physicians who practiced humoral medicine focused on reestablishing balance between the humors. The shift from supernatural disease to biological disease did not completely abolish Greek religion, but offered a new method of how physicians interacted with patients.

Ancient Greek physicians who followed humorism emphasized the importance of environment. Physicians believed patients would be subjected to various diseases based on the environment they resided. The local water supply and the direction the wind blew influenced the health of the local populace. Patients played an important role in their treatment. Stated in the treatise "Aphorisms", "[i]t is not enough for the physician to do what is necessary, but the patient and the attendant must do their part as well".[9] Patient compliance was rooted in their respect for the physician. According to the treatise "Prognostic", a physician was able to increase their reputation and respect through "prognosis", knowing the outcome of the disease. Physicians had an active role in the lives of patients, taking into consideration their residence. Distinguishing between fatal diseases and recoverable disease was important for patient trust and respect, positively influencing patient compliance.

Asclepius (center) arrives in Kos and is greeted by Hippocrates (left) and a citizen (right), mosaic from the Asclepieion of Kos, 2nd-3rd century AD
Asclepius (center) arrives in Kos and is greeted by Hippocrates (left) and a citizen (right), mosaic from the Asclepieion of Kos, 2nd-3rd century AD

With the growth of patient compliance in Greek medicine, consent became an important factor between the doctor and patient relationship. Presented with all the information concerning the patient's health, the patient makes the decision to accept treatment. Physician and patient responsibility is mentioned in the treatise "Epidemics", where it states, "there are three factors in the practice of medicine: the disease, the patient and the physician. The physician is the servant of science, and the patient must do what he can to fight the disease with the assistance of the physician".[10]

Aristotle's influence on Greek perception

Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle was the most influential scholar of the living world from antiquity. Aristotle's biological writings demonstrate great concern for empiricism, biological causation, and the diversity of life.[11] Aristotle did not experiment, however, holding that items display their real natures in their own environments, rather than controlled artificial ones. While in modern-day physics and chemistry this assumption has been found unhelpful, in zoology and ethology it remains the dominant practice, and Aristotle's work "retains real interest".[12] He made countless observations of nature, especially the habits and attributes of plants and animals in the world around him, which he devoted considerable attention to categorizing. In all, Aristotle classified 540 animal species, and dissected at least 50.

Aristotle believed that formal causes guided all natural processes.[13] Such a teleological view gave Aristotle cause to justify his observed data as an expression of formal design; for example suggesting that Nature, giving no animal both horns and tusks, was staving off vanity, and generally giving creatures faculties only to such a degree as they are necessary. In a similar fashion, Aristotle believed that creatures were arranged in a graded scale of perfection rising from plants on up to man—the scala naturae or Great Chain of Being.[14]

He held that the level of a creature's perfection was reflected in its form, but not foreordained by that form. Yet another aspect of his biology divided souls into three groups: a vegetative soul, responsible for reproduction and growth; a sensitive soul, responsible for mobility and sensation; and a rational soul, capable of thought and reflection. He attributed only the first to plants, the first two to animals, and all three to humans.[15] Aristotle, in contrast to earlier philosophers, and like the Egyptians, placed the rational soul in the heart, rather than the brain.[16] Notable is Aristotle's division of sensation and thought, which generally went against previous philosophers, with the exception of Alcmaeon.[17] Aristotle's successor at the Lyceum, Theophrastus, wrote a series of books on botany—the History of Plants—which survived as the most important contribution of antiquity to botany, even into the Middle Ages. Many of Theophrastus' names survive into modern times, such as carpos for fruit, and pericarpion for seed vessel. Rather than focus on formal causes, as Aristotle did, Theophrastus suggested a mechanistic scheme, drawing analogies between natural and artificial processes, and relying on Aristotle's concept of the efficient cause. Theophrastus also recognized the role of sex in the reproduction of some higher plants, though this last discovery was lost in later ages.[18] The biological/teleological ideas of Aristotle and Theophrastus, as well as their emphasis on a series of axioms rather than on empirical observation, cannot be easily separated from their consequent impact on Western medicine.

Herophilus and Erasistratus

Frontispiece to a 1644 version of the expanded and illustrated edition of Theophrastus's Historia Plantarum (c. 1200), which was originally written around 200 BC
Frontispiece to a 1644 version of the expanded and illustrated edition of Theophrastus's Historia Plantarum (c. 1200), which was originally written around 200 BC

Following Theophrastus (d. 286 BC), the Lyceum failed to produce any original work. Though interest in Aristotle's ideas survived, they were generally taken unquestioningly.[19] It is not until the age of Alexandria under the Ptolemies that advances in biology can be again found. The first medical teacher at Alexandria was Herophilus of Chalcedon, who differed from Aristotle, placing intelligence in the brain, and connected the nervous system to motion and sensation. Herophilus also distinguished between veins and arteries, noting that the latter pulse while the former do not. He did this using an experiment involving cutting certain veins and arteries in a pig's neck until the squealing stopped.[20] In the same vein, he developed a diagnostic technique which relied upon distinguishing different types of pulse.[21] He, and his contemporary, Erasistratus of Chios, researched the role of veins and nerves, mapping their courses across the body.

Erasistratus connected the increased complexity of the surface of the human brain compared to other animals to its superior intelligence. He sometimes employed experiments to further his research, at one time repeatedly weighing a caged bird and noting its weight loss between feeding times. Following his teacher's researches into pneumatics, he claimed that the human system of blood vessels was controlled by vacuums, drawing blood across the body. In Erasistratus' physiology, air enters the body, is then drawn by the lungs into the heart, where it is transformed into vital spirit, and is then pumped by the arteries throughout the body. Some of this vital spirit reaches the brain, where it is transformed into animal spirit, which is then distributed by the nerves.[22] Herophilus and Erasistratus performed their experiments upon criminals given to them by their Ptolemaic kings. They dissected these criminals alive, and "while they were still breathing they observed parts which nature had formerly concealed, and examined their position, colour, shape, size, arrangement, hardness, softness, smoothness, connection."[23]

Though a few ancient atomists such as Lucretius challenged the teleological viewpoint of Aristotelian ideas about life, teleology (and after the rise of Christianity, natural theology) would remain central to biological thought essentially until the 18th and 19th centuries. In the words of Ernst Mayr, "Nothing of any real consequence in biology after Lucretius and Galen until the Renaissance."[24] Aristotle's ideas of natural history and medicine survived, but they were generally taken unquestioningly.[25]

Galen

Aelius Galenus was a prominent Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher in the Roman Empire.[26][27][28] Arguably the most accomplished of all medical researchers of antiquity, Galen influenced the development of various scientific disciplines, including anatomy,[29] physiology, pathology,[30] pharmacology,[31] and neurology, as well as philosophy[32] and logic.

The son of Aelius Nicon, a wealthy architect with scholarly interests, Galen received a comprehensive education that prepared him for a successful career as a physician and philosopher. Born in Pergamon (present-day Bergama, Turkey), Galen traveled extensively, exposing himself to a wide variety of medical theories and discoveries before settling in Rome, where he served prominent members of Roman society and eventually was given the position of personal physician to several emperors.

Galen's understanding of anatomy and medicine was principally influenced by the then-current theory of humorism, as advanced by ancient Greek physicians such as Hippocrates. His theories dominated and influenced Western medical science for more than 1,300 years. His anatomical reports, based mainly on dissection of monkeys, especially the Barbary macaque, and pigs, remained uncontested until 1543, when printed descriptions and illustrations of human dissections were published in the seminal work De humani corporis fabrica by Andreas Vesalius[33][34] where Galen's physiological theory was accommodated to these new observations.[35] Galen's theory of the physiology of the circulatory system endured until 1628, when William Harvey published his treatise entitled De motu cordis, in which he established that blood circulates, with the heart acting as a pump.[36][37] Medical students continued to study Galen's writings until well into the 19th century. Galen conducted many nerve ligation experiments that supported the theory, which is still accepted today, that the brain controls all the motions of the muscles by means of the cranial and peripheral nervous systems.[38]

Galen saw himself as both a physician and a philosopher, as he wrote in his treatise entitled That the Best Physician is also a Philosopher.[39][40][41] Galen was very interested in the debate between the rationalist and empiricist medical sects,[42] and his use of direct observation, dissection and vivisection represents a complex middle ground between the extremes of those two viewpoints.[43][44][45]

Dioscorides

The first century AD Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and Roman army surgeon Pedanius Dioscorides authored an encyclopedia of medicinal substances commonly known as De Materia Medica. This work did not delve into medical theory or explanation of pathogenesis, but described the uses and actions of some 600 substances, based on empirical observation. Unlike other works of Classical antiquity, Dioscorides' manuscript was never out of publication; it formed the basis for the Western pharmacopeia through the 19th century, a true testament to the efficacy of the medicines described; moreover, the influence of work on European herbal medicine eclipsed that of the Hippocratic Corpes.[46]

Historical legacy

Through long contact with Greek culture, and their eventual conquest of Greece, the Romans adopted a favorable view of Hippocratic medicine.[47]

This acceptance led to the spread of Greek medical theories throughout the Roman Empire, and thus a large portion of the West. The most influential Roman scholar to continue and expand on the Hippocratic tradition was Galen (d. c. 207). Study of Hippocratic and Galenic texts, however, all but disappeared in the Latin West in the Early Middle Ages, following the collapse of the Western Empire, although the Hippocratic-Galenic tradition of Greek medicine continued to be studied and practiced in the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium). After AD 750, Arab, Persian and Andalusi scholars translated Galen's and Dioscorides' works in particular. Thereafter the Hippocratic-Galenic medical tradition was assimilated and eventually expanded, with the most influential Muslim doctor-scholar being (Ibn Sina). Beginning in the late eleventh century, the Hippocratic-Galenic tradition returned to the Latin West with a series of translations of the Classical texts, mainly from Arabic translations but occasionally from the original Greek. In the Renaissance, more translations of Galen and Hippocrates directly from the Greek were made from newly available Byzantine manuscripts.

Galen's influence was so great that even after Western Europeans started making dissections in the thirteenth century, scholars often assimilated findings into the Galenic model that otherwise might have thrown Galen's accuracy into doubt. Over time, however, Classical medical theory came to be superseded by increasing emphasis on scientific experimental methods in the 16th and 17th centuries. Nevertheless, the Hippocratic-Galenic practice of bloodletting was practiced into the 19th century, despite its empirical ineffectiveness and riskiness.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Cartwright, Mark (2013). "Greek Medicine". Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited. UK. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  2. ^ Bendick, Jeanne. "Galen – And the Gateway to Medicine." Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, 2002. ISBN 1-883937-75-2.
  3. ^ Atlas of Anatomy, ed. Giunti Editorial Group, Taj Books LTD 2002, p. 9
  4. ^ Heinrich von Staden, Herophilus: The Art of Medicine in Early Alexandria (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 1-26.
  5. ^ a b Risse, G. B. Mending bodies, saving souls: a history of hospitals. Oxford University Press, 1990. p. 56 [1]
  6. ^ a b Askitopoulou, H., Konsolaki, E., Ramoutsaki, I., Anastassaki, E. Surgical cures by sleep induction as the Asclepieion of Epidaurus. The mistory of anesthesia: proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium, by José Carlos Diz, Avelino Franco, Douglas R. Bacon, J. Rupreht, Julián Alvarez. Elsevier Science B.V., International Congress Series 1242(2002), p.11-17. [2]
  7. ^ Kaba, R.; Sooriakumaran, P. (2007). "The evolution of the doctor-patient relationship". International Journal of Surgery. 5 (1): 57–65. doi:10.1016/j.ijsu.2006.01.005.
  8. ^ Vivian Nutton'Ancient Medicine'(Routledge 2004)
  9. ^ Chadwick, edited with an introduction by G.E.R. Lloyd; translated [from the Greek] by J.; al.], W.N. Mann ... [et (1983). Hippocratic writings ([New] ed., with additional material, Repr. in Penguin classics. ed.). Harmondsworth: Penguin. p. 206. ISBN 0140444513.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Chadwick. Hippocratic Writings. p. 94. ISBN 0140444513.
  11. ^ Mason, A History of the Sciences pp 41
  12. ^ Annas, Classical Greek Philosophy pp 247
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  19. ^ Annas, Classical Greek Philosophy pp 252
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  22. ^ Mason, A History of the Sciences, p 57
  23. ^ Barnes, Hellenistic Philosophy and Science, pp 383-384
  24. ^ Mayr, The Growth of Biological Thought, pp 90-94; quotation from p 91
  25. ^ Annas, Classical Greek Philosophy, p 252
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Bibliography

Further reading

External links

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