Greek Medicine Continued.docx

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CLCV 1002 B March 29th
Greek Medicine Continued
Diagnosis versus treatment
Treatment options:
- Pharmaka “drugs” (also poisons)
- Change in Diaita “lifestyle” (diet)
- Bloodletting: To rebalance 4 humors of body. Make vomit to get rid of bile, etc.
- Surgery : Specialization of medicine. Doctors don’t usually do surgery, some trained but
not all. Surgeons usually barbers.
Most injuries relevant to surgery is relevant to warfare
Closer to modern veterinary surgery as opposed to modern human surgery
Stitches were prime source of infection. Don’t understand the process of
infection. Common to leave wound open and to let heal from the inside out (like
vets do). Left open so can clean when need to. Bad scarring but will live.
- Trepanation: Drilling into skull to remove a chuck of skull. When head injury, relieves
swelling of brain. Also used to remove parts of fractured skull to heal. Found as early as
Neolithic period.
Tools used: Probes. Cut skin away and then begin to probe to find injury. Then
take a drill (bow drill, etc.) to drill a hole. Then use a rasp to scrape around that
Ex: Depressed cranial fracture caused by sling bullet
- Greek Surgery Case Study: Philip II of Macedon
Laying siege to city in northern
Archer defending city he was attacking, shot out and the arrow pierced Philips
right eye. Hit orbital bone.
Barbed arrow, does more damage coming out then going in.
Went straight through the eye ball and lodged in right cheek bone.
Break off arrow close to head. Then call surgeon.
Philip had very skilled surgeon: Kritoboulos
Kritoboulos treated Philip without causing disfigurement to face
Royal tombs of Macedonian dynasty at Vergina (Northern Greece): Cremated
remains of Philip II found (controversial, Greeks believe it).
Cremating deforms bones
Greeks tried to reconstruct what he would have looked like according to his
bones Spoon of
Treatment of Philips injury: Break arrow then get doctor.
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CLCV 1002 B March 29th
1) Remove arrow: How to remove arrow?
- Greeks developed device to remove barbed arrow, Diokles.
- Problem is getting it into the wound
2) Remove dead tissue. Eyeball is removed.
- Ancient doctors often apply maggots to wound as maggots only feed on dead tissue.
3) Flush the wound with white wine: Greeks didn’t know how or why this
worked (that alcohol was an anti-septic)
- White wine over red as red has more sediment in it
4) Encourage production of pus
- Pus is the sign of infection
- Almost all ancient wounds would be infected but not all pus created equal
- White pus and black pus. Black bad as sign of septicemia, gangrene, streptocausus
- White pus= Stapphocaucus bacteria. Body can fight off this bacteria. Aerobic bacteria
(flourishes in oxygen). One reason leave wound open. Encourage white pus.
- Black pus anaerobic.
5) Stitch: If no disfigurement, must have stitched wound.
- Can do things on face that don’t do on other part of body
- Face is a medically privileged area, less prone to infection. So more likely to stitch face
wound than other sites of body.
6) Poultice and bandage: chemical or herbal remedy that made into paste.
Designed to desiccate wound and draw liquids out. Draw infection out of the
- Ancient doctors good at bandaging
7) Prescribe Purgatives to bring humors back into balance
- Philip 2 survived treatment and lived for 18 more years. Died when assassinated.
Religious Medicine
“Faith Healing”:
- Apollo can cure you or kill you so don’t go to him.
- Go to the son of Apollo by a mortal woman, Asclepius
- Mother found out she was pregnant and didn’t want her father to find out that she was
unmarried and pregnant. Found another guy to marry, slept with him. Apollo kills her in
- Asclepius taken out of his mother’s wound by Apollo and given to Chiron to raise (raises
- Becomes greatest doctor in the world
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