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PREHISTORY
Before 3000BC

SUMMARY
Very little evidence remains. Some skulls and cave paintings have survived
Comparisons can be made with present day primitive societies e.g.
aboriginal life
Lived as nomads - hunter gatherers
No written language
Supernatural causes for unexplained events would have discouraged
investigation or experimentation so medical development…

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ANATOMY & SURGERY
Trephining / trepanning to let out evil spirits. Re-growth of bones
suggests that some survived the operation.
Simple surgery such as encasing arms or legs in clay to repair
broken bones.
Possible that trances were used as an anaesthetic.


PUBLIC HEALTH & WELFARE
We know very little…

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ANCIENT EGYPT

3000BC-400BC


SUMMARY

Settled to live around the river Nile, they grew crops and reared animals rather than
live as hunter-gatherers. This had a big impact on medicine.
They still believed in the power of spirits and gods but they also started to try to
understand and to control…

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ANATOMY &
SURGERY
Belief in an afterlife led to
embalming. This provided them
with some knowledge of the
anatomy as soft internal organs
were taken out of the body.
However these organs were not
examined as they believed disease
was caused by spirits.
Minor operations, e.g. the cutting WAR
away…

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ANCIENT GREECE
800BC-400BC

SUMMARY
The Ancient Greeks were seafarers and travelled around the Mediterranean. They learnt
from other cultures, especially the Egyptians.
Like the Egyptians they had many gods. They believed these controlled the world.
Greeks were rich enough for some people to have the leisure to think some were…

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CAUSE & CURE
Inspired by Hippocrates of Cos some Greeks began to look for natural
explanations for illness and began to practise clinical observation, followed by
diagnosis and treatment.
Greek thinkers emphasised the idea of balance in all things including medicine.
They believed it was important to lead a balanced…

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COMMUNICATION
The Greeks traded across the Mediterranean, this enabled them to spread their
ideas and pick up new ones.
A huge library at the city of Alexandria in Egypt stored ideas on medicine.

CHANCE
Early public health systems were destroyed by earthquake & therefore could not
be copied.


DOCTORS &…

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ANCIENT ROME

500BC- 500AD

SUMMARY
After 500 BC the Romans began to build a large empire in Europe.
They used many Greek ideas about medicine and took some of them a step
further.
The best doctors in Roman times came from Greece, the most famous was
Galen.
The Romans were…

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ANATOMY & SURGERY
Galen was extremely important in improving knowledge of the anatomy and
surgery.
Operations on gladiators.
Surgeons carried out operations on the battlefield. In field hospitals wounds
would be cauterised and anything more serious would lead to amputation.
Remains of military hospitals and surgical tools have been found.…

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