Ancient Greek Medicine

- By 1200 B.C. Ancient Greece was developing in all areas – farming, craftsmanship,
warfare and according medicine
- As the Egyptian civilisation faded the greek one emerged at around 700bc
- Gods dominated the lives of greeks. Natural phenomena were explained via
gods. However did not occur in medicine, greek physicians tried to find
natural explanations
- Despite this many greeks still asked the gods for help rather than turn to a greek
- In the first half of the third century B.C, Herophilus of Chalcedon and his
younger contemporary Erasistratus of Ceos, became the first and last
ancient scientists to perform systematic dissections of human cadavers.
- Hippocrates one of the most famous physician. Main concept of Hippocratic teachings
“healthy mind Healthy body” believed in the interrelation between the mind and the
- Hippocrates is credited with being the first person to believe that diseases
were caused naturally, not because of superstition and gods.
- Idea on four humours were made by Hippocrates, blood, phlegm, yellow bile, black bile.
Which when balanced would lead to perfect health however person would get sick once
there was more of 1
- Greek medicine revolved around this theory of humours
- Compilation of theories and practices that were being expanded through new ideologies
and trials
- Dissected dead animal bodies and even live ones to find out how things worked. Since
Greece was in constant state of war they were able to improve their abilities quickly
- Were not aware of the need for public health, however people were believers in keeping
the body healthy. They tried to keep fit washed regularly,cleaned their teeth to keep
humours in balance
- Greek doctors would carry out a clinical observation, performed a thorough
physical examination of their patient. Would refer to their Hippocratic books
for guidance
- Over time, magic and appealing to gods gave way to seeking out natural
causes for illnesses. Led to researching for natural cures. Expert herbalists
and prescribers of natural remedies.
- Had some good ideas, keep warm with patient with a cold, keep feverish patients dry
and cool . however some of them did not make sense like bleeding out a patient. Would
turn to gods if treatment did not work
- The early scientist Alcmaeon began to construct a background for medical
and anatomical science with the dissection of animals. He identified the optic
nerves and the tubes later termed the Eustachius
- Nomenclature (the devising or cjoosing of names for certain things, methods
and applications for the study of anatomy all date back to the Greeks
- One important figure during this time was Empedocles (480B.C.) who viewed the blood
as the innate heat which he acquired from previous folklore. He also argued that the
heart was the chief organ of both the vascular system and the pneuma (this could refer
to either breath or soul; it was considered to be distributed by the blood vessels
Ancient Roman Medicine
- Flourished at around 800bc, believed in public health was key. They believed that
prevention was better than a cure. Public facilities were encouraged throughout the
empire. Learned importance through soldiers
- Greek influence on roman medicine was large. First doctors of rome came from Greece
- When the romans conquered Alexandria they found universities and libraries set up by

3.Medical profession had a hierarchy. They believed that blocked spirit channels affected the way in which the body functioned.3300-525bc. Covers vast period anthropologist can only make a calculated guess as to what occurred during this period . The Ritual(the gestures made).- - Adopted the belief of the four humours. dentistry.Had basic understanding of the cardiac system. Through this galen showed that the brain controls the muscles. . Because of this they were limited in their research Ancient Roman medicine was a combination of physical techniques using various tools and holistic medicine using rituals and religious belief systems. They were first used to treat soldiers and veterans Many public baths. 2. That provided gyms and massage. The magician(the person that performed this) . Used acid vinegar to clean up the wounds did not have anaesthetics for complicated procedures however not likely that they even would have conducted such things. Ancient Egyptian Medicine . They knew that the body had a pulse a that this was assosciated with the heart. herophilus etc .Their research involved finding ways to unblock channels. arrow extractors etc. Magic in med ha 3 maidn components. Wide use of herbal treatments as found with ancient greek medicine Hospitals started in rome.The Egyptians were traders and were able to bring back different herbs and such. lower down were inspectors who inspected doctors and also there were specialists . as well as animals as dissection of corpses were not allowed.27 BC) believed disease was caused by miniature creatures too small for the naked eye to see (bacteria and viruses). top doctors worked in the royal court.Was made up of rational treatments and magic. Focused a lot on vessels and believed the heart was the place where all the fluids started as vessels were connected to it .Influenced later civilisations with its findings ie the greeks. 1. Sterilised tools with boiling water Conducted surgical procedures. Was where we first see the dawn of what is now known as “medical care” . non invasive surgery. . They carried tool kits that contained various instruments such as scalpels. Spirituals beliefs that surrounded greek medicine as well Most roman surgeons got their experience from the battlefield.Believed in hygiene such as washing and shaving in order to prevent infections and to eat carefully not raw meats however some advice was weird such as the use of animal dung in the production of medicine .Used medicinal herbs. Many people went to Egypt to study medicine including galen. Originated off farmers irrigation channels . Were regulated heavily by government inspectors Marcus Terentius Varro (116 BC . Spells and incantations ( power of the sound of the spoken words had an effect. Trial and error lead to jobs such as Doctors come about . Whilst others believed in things such as the stars and swamp vapours Unlike greek who put people in temples romans put them in hospitals. setting of bones and an extensive set of pharmacopeia. Learned the body through gladiators. found through trial and error and primitive techniques such as trepanning .Had some understandings of the body through the mummification process.Unlike in prehistoric times they were able to document their findings.Believed that the gods played a key role in causing disease. words could not be taken back). Medical practice went practically unchanged however was very advanced for their time. catheters. Done through the use of opium and scopolamine as painkillers.Refers to medicine before humans were able to read or write. Included. .Ancient Egyptians were partialy aware of the importance of a good diet Pre-Historic Medicine .

- People were affected with ailments and diseases. cannibalism. ie chalk clay etc trepanning(drilling of holes in persons head to get rid of demons etc) Shamans existed in tribes. they were able to find where organs were and where the fatty tissue was stored Disease and ailments were more common than today The is also evidence that there was some dentistry Healed broken and fractured bones through the use of set clay . carried out rudimentary surgical procedures and used plants Would have used local herbs as trade did not exist Basic ideas of anatomy were known. however because of lifespan and lifestyle they were not subjected to the commonly found diseases of today Commonly done practices include geophagy(eating of soil like or earthy substances.