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Lecture 5

HISTORY 70F Lecture 5: Roman Medicine and Galen

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Department
History
Course
HISTORY 70F
Professor
Baum
Semester
Spring

Description
History 70F Lecture 5 Roman Medicine and Galen Roman Empire • Warfare and territorrdl expansion o Beginning 3 c, BC o Empire grew rapidly • Pax Romana (27 BC – 180AD) o Time of peace and prosperity – minimal infighting ▪ Art and architecture flourished ▪ Technology advances o Greek cultural influence ▪ Because the Roman empire absorbed a lot of Greek land, their culture was heavily influenced by Greek culture. This includes medical practices o Resistance to Greek culture ▪ Lots of people resisted Greek culture – it was seen as foreign ▪ Romans: practicality • Saw themselves as more concerned with practical pursuits ▪ Greece: theory and debate • Stereotype that Greeks were preoccupied with abstract concerns ▪ The Romans were influenced by Greek culture; however, they kept it as a distance so that it didn’t totally overshadow Roman culture Early Roman Medicine (3 to 1 c BC) • Disdain of Greek medicine o Celsus: argues that Romans are naturally healthy and therefore did not need medicine or the help of Greek physicians ▪ Argued that Greek culture was what caused illness o Cato: “beware of doctors!” ▪ Thought of Greek culture as degenerate ▪ It was the doctors that would kill you not the illness • Practical + Religious healing – types of healing that they resorted to when sick o Healthy regimen ▪ Proper nutrition, exercise, etc ▪ To prevent illness ▪ Emphasized the need to go to saunas and bathhouses • Went for cleanliness and treatment ▪ Aqueducts, sewage disposal • Believed illnesses can be avoided through public hygiene and keeping everything clean o Cult of Asclepius ▪ If healthy regimen didn’t work, they resorted to religion ▪ Hepatoscopy – study of the liver o Physicians played a little role in achieving and maintaining health ▪ Individuals are responsible for their health Changing Views of Physicians • Julius Caesar grants citizenship to foreign physicians living in Rome (46 BC) o Most physicians who lived in Rome did not have a high social status ▪ Most were foreigners; immigrants • Why? Desired to make Rome a cultural center o Wanted to compete with Athens which at the time was the cultural and intellectual center o Needed to attract intellectuals in order to entice intellectuals (ex doctors, teachers) to Rome • As a result, status of physicians improves o No longer regarded as slaves ▪ More people become interested in medicine Galen (129-216 AD) • One of the most influential people in Western medicine • Most published Roman physician • Early life o Born in Pergamum (in Turkey) which at the time was a wealthy city o Intelligent and encouraged by his father who encouraged him to pursue his education o His father believes that Asclepius visits him in a dream and says Galen is destined to be a physician o Served as a physician to the glad
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