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GCSE History ­ Medicine Through Time Revision Notes
TOPIC 1 ­ PREHISTORY Prehistory is the time before written records!

Background Information

Prehistoric man lived in nomadic lives
They were hunter-gathers, they didn't grow crops
They left no written records, historians rely on archaeological evidence which may be hard to interpret…

Page 2

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GCSE History ­ Medicine Through Time Revision Notes
TOPIC 2 ­ ANCIENT EGYPT
Ancient Egyptian Society

The Egyptian civilisation was an agricultural one that spread in a narrow band along the River Nile. Every
year the Nile floods fertilised the fields and the river provided water for irrigation.
Successful agriculture…

Page 3

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GCSE History ­ Medicine Through Time Revision Notes
In the Egyptian climate this would have made life more comfortable, but hygiene also appears to have had
a religious significance ­ priests washed more often than others.

A Summary of Ancient Egyptian Medicine

What was new? What stayed the same?
People…

Page 4

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GCSE History ­ Medicine Through Time Revision Notes
Healthy Living

The Ancient Greeks believed that to be healthy they needed to exercise.
Hygiene was important, with emphasis placed on washing.
Diet was also thought to be important. Many Ancient Greeks followed a diet that changed with the
seasons ­ eating…

Page 5

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GCSE History ­ Medicine Through Time Revision Notes
Public Health

Noticed that bad smells, unclean drinking water, sewage, swamps and dirt made people become ill.
They build aqueducts to carry clean water into cities.
They also built public baths, toilets and sewers to remove waste.
Ideas about public health spread…

Page 6

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GCSE History ­ Medicine Through Time Revision Notes
TOPIC 5 ­ MEDIEVAL
Background Information

Wars destroyed the Roman public health systems and medical libraries.
The rulers of the small kingdoms built up armies rather than improving medical skills or public health.
War disrupted trade so countries became poorer.
Travel became…

Page 7

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GCSE History ­ Medicine Through Time Revision Notes
The Four Humours Theory

Medieval doctors believed illness was caused by an imbalance of the four humours.
The theory developed into a more complex system, based on the position of the stars.
Although human dissection was carried out in medical schools, findings…

Page 8

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GCSE History ­ Medicine Through Time Revision Notes
Quick Summary of Medieval Medicine.

Doctors followed the ideas of Galen. They believed illness was caused by an imbalance in humours.
Believed that God and the Devil influen ced health. Disease was seen as God's punishment for sins.
Astrology became important. Doctors…

Page 9

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GCSE History ­ Medicine Through Time Revision Notes
The Great Plague of 1665

This was the worst of the reappearances of the Black Death. The death toll in London was about 100 000.
Efforts were made to control the spread of disease. Households were locked in and red crosses were…

Page 10

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GCSE History ­ Medicine Through Time Revision Notes
Edward Jenner

Jenner was a country doctor. He heard that milkmaids didn't get smallpox, but instead a milder cowpox.
Jenner investigated and discovered people who had already had cowpox didn't get smallpox.
In 1796 he took a small boy and injected him…

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