HISTORY-medicine through time

prehistory, ancient egypt, anicent greece, ancient rome, western europe, islamic world, renaissance, jenner, 19th and 20th century, 


  • led a nomadic lifestyle (travelled in search of food and followed animals to survive)
  • believed in spirits and the supernatural
  • had simple tools (e.g. flint arrowheads)
  • trephining (drilling of holes in the skull to release evil spirits
  • did not write but had cave paintings and archaeological remains
  • treated some medical problems practically (set broken bones in clay)
  • used spiritual cures (e.g. pointing bones, crystals and chants)
  • had a medicine man who was closest with the spirits and had practical knowledge about herbs and natural treatment
  • passed on knowledge by songs and dances
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Ancient Egypt

  • 3000 to 400BC
  • religious and had many gods and goddesses
  • priests communicated with gods and used practical treatments
  • illness was caused by evil spirits entering the body
  • evil spirits were kept away by wearing charms. herbal cures and drugs were also used
  • embalmed the dead and took out and preserved vital organs
  • good knowledge of anatomy and use of herbs
  • dissection was forbidden so progress was limited
  • illness linked with the River Nile and its channels got blocked
  • some practical cures (e.g. vomiting and purging)
  • believed in personal cleanliness, had some toilets but no drainage system
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Ancient Greece

  • Supernatural causes and cures:
  • 800 to 400BC
  • believed gods and goddesses cause everything
  • Asklepios was the god of healing
  • Asklepions were the temples people visited to be cured
  • Inscriptions in stone walls were made describing the success of their cures
  • Asklepions had baths, arenas and open air buildings
  • Spread of ideas:
  • they had a large empire so ideas were picked up from others
  • developed philosophy, this involved looking for natural explanations for every event
  • Hippocrates and natural causes:
  •  the four humours which linked the seasons with illness
  • believed in 'clinical observation' 
  • wrote the 'Hippocratic collection'
  • wrote 'A Programme of Health' in which he encouraged personal hygiene and exercise
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Ancient Rome

  • 500BC
  • Faith Healing:
  • had both natural and supernatural explanations
  • worshipped Asklepios and had Asklepions
  • Galen and the Opposites:
  • Developed the theory of the opposites which linked to the four humours
  • treated people with the opposite of their ailment (e.g. for a cold he prescribed pepper)
  • main work was anatomy and physiology
  • had to rely on dissecting animals because human dissection was forbidden
  • Public health: 
  • built sewers, water fountains, aqueducts, public baths, lead water pipes and public toilets all over the empire 
  • believed bad air, sewage and dirty water caused disease
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Medieval (Western Europe)

  • 500-1500AD
  • Religion and medicine:
  • highly religious and superstitious
  • believed God caused disease
  • cured by praying, a specially blessed potion, pilgrimage, or by whipping yourself
  • Catholic Church was very powerful
  • people would queue to be touched by the Monarch, you could cure them
  • dissection was not accepted, so progress was limited 
  • some natural treatments were accepted (e.g. blood letting, testing urine and use of herbs)
  • Public health:
  • no public health systems, not even clean water
  • Roman facilities (roads, aqueducts, sewers) fell into disrepair
  • monasteries developed water systems
  • believed Black death was caused by God, planets or bad air
  • used wine as a antiseptic
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the Islamic world

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the Renaissance

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Edward Jenner

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19th and 20th Century

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why didn't you finish this because ut was very good so far

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