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Roman Medicine Essay

896 words - 4 pages

The Romans used both scientific and mythological methods in their medicine. By adopting the methods of Greek medicine; the Romans obtained a solid foundation. They copied Hippocrates, who separated the study of medicine from philosophy and had an overall approach to the health of humans. Hippocrates also observed the habits and environment of humans to accurately determine illnesses and discover treatments. The Romans adapted the Hippocratic method and combined it with mythical and religious views. The Romans used Greek methods, and also included prayers and offerings to the gods. Although all gods had healing powers, Aesculapius, the god of healing, was the most important.
Unlike today, the Ancient Roman doctors received no respect, because they were considered to be fraudilant. This reputation was caused by the doctors magical tricks, and the lack of useful treatments. The job required minimal training, as they only had to apprentice with their senior. Thus, many free slaves and people who had failed at everything else filled this profession. Some did try to find new remedies; however, others used medicine to con people. Public surgeries were done to attract audiences as an advertisement. Doctors would even become beauticians providing perfumes, cosmetics, and even hairdressing. When wives wanted their husbands gone, they would say, ¡§put the patient out of his misery¡¨ and the doctors would be the murderers. However, as wars began to break out, there were improvements because medicine was needed to treat the many casualities of war. Thus as a result, military doctors discovered new techniques for treatment. Hospitals also developed as a result of military influence. Civilian doctors worked out of their home or storefronts. Like all cities, the wealthier members of society could afford the best treatments. Therefore, they usually had personal doctors. The Emperors had doctors and several times they proved useful.
Although there were numerous questionable doctors in the Ancient Roman times, they still had a surprisingly advanced surgical system. Gaining great amounts of scientific knowledge of the body from the Greeks, gave them a basis to perform many surgeries with skill and accuracy. Some common surgeries included a small tumor removal or hernia operation. They also had more highly skilled surgeries. The Romans had several techniques to operate on eyes, such as minimizing cataracts. This surgery would be done by using a thin needle to push though the eye and break the cataract. Then with the small hole in the needle the broken up pieces would be suctioned out. This procedure restored at least a moderate amount of sight for the patient. Other operations involved plastic surgery. The brandings and scars of a freed slave could be removed for a very pricey price. This would minimize the recognition of being a slave in their ancient society. The most...

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