Ancient Medical Figures


Medical Figures of Ancient Greece  


Beginning around the fourth century b.c.e, medicine was affiliated with religion in Ancient Greece. Doctors’ during this era were looked upon as presents from the heavens. Nonetheless, three great figures related themselves to straighforward medical practices in Ancient Greece.

A Greek thinker named Alcmaeon of Croton (500 B.C.E) practiced animal operations. Through this practice Alcmaeon of Croton was enabled to discover that veins and arteries are not similar. He could explain that their sizes, appearances and functions differ.   

A prominent Greek figure in medicine was Hippocrates of Cos (460 B.C.E.-377 B.C.E.). He developed the theory that everything negative to the human body is caused by an outside force. This physician believed in sustaining patients’ lives; thus, he thought that physicians should do everything in their capable power to keep patients from dying. On the other hand, others would treat patients without care and knowledge.

A Greek philosopher named Aristotle created an important theory (350 B.C.E.) in medicine. He believed that the heart is the main organ in a body. His discovery came upon his study of animals by the ways of dissection. He also began the process of studying organs, and learning how each one works; moreover, discovering that the heart has three chambers.     

Salisbury, Joyce and Gregory Aldrete. “Health and Medicine in Greece: Ancient World.” Daily Life through History. ABC-CLIO, 2010. Web. 9 Sept. 2010. 

“Red Gold . Blood History Timeline. 2500 BCE-999 CE.” PBS. Web. 9 Sept. 2010.


Medical Figures of Ancient Rome


Launching from 219 b.c.e Romans copied their medical philosophies from the Greeks. Their medicine was undeveloped and far from modern. However, two famous Roman doctors did arise from early Rome.

A Roman physician by the name of Celsus believed that a healthy lifestyle was a key factor in having a long life. He believed that good amount of sleep, good food, exercise and minimal stress were ingredients to a fit life. Celsus also spread the prominent idea in medicine to physicians, which is still active today. This idea was breaking bad news to patients softly, rather than in a harsh way. This he concluded helped patients, and physicians form good relationships. It would also create positive, and productive paths to healing.

The most legendary Roman practitioner went by the name of Galen (Claudius Galenus),born 128 C.E. He thought medicine was an art form rather than a way to make a living. He despised individuals who practiced medicine in order to get rich. Galen gathered that the heart, liver and brain were the key organs in a body. His findings were an occurrence from his avid fascination of studying anatomy. Galen regarded that the key to medicine is the ability to understand how an internal body looks and works. Galen’s capability to comprehend the human body was a key introduction to modern medicine. He pressed in educating physicians’ knowledge by dissection. Thanks to Galen’s actions, today’s medicine progresses with new inventions and medications.      

Aldrete, Gregory S. “Health and Medicine in Rome: Ancient World.” Daily Life through History. ABC-CLIO, 2010. Web. 13 Sept. 2010.


Medical Figures of Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian physicians relied heavily on status and connections. They strongly believed in mythology and not so much in straight forward medical ways. The two most famous physicians from Ancient Egypt were Lady Peseshet and Imhotep.   

Lady Peseshet lived around the Fourth Dynasty Period. She was the first female physician in history. Lady Peseshet was extremely experienced in medicine.  Her vast knowledge of funeral burials to her familiarity of training mid-wives, allowed her to have great notoriety. Thanks to her participation in Egyptian Medicine, she was given the title of Overseer of Doctors. Her wealthy status allowed her to practice medicine, and acquire respect from others for her actions. Lady Peseshet opened the door for wealthy female physicians to establish practices.

Imhotep (3000 B.C.-2950 B.C.) was the first known physician. He was not born into wealth, but acquired the status as Godhood in Ancient Egypt. He acquired this status for being a great doctor. Imhotep’s acclaim to fame was his ability to bring fertility to women who were barren.  Magic was the credited ingredient in his healing ways; however, medical skill was never mentioned. His strong belief in mythology allowed for his career to prosper, and advance him in other fields under the rule of King Zoser (Third Dynasty).                      

“Peseshe.” World Eras. Ed. Edward I. Bleiberg. Vol. 5: Ancient Egypt, 2615 – 332 B.C.E.. Detroit: Gale Group, 2002. 286. Gale World History In Context. Web. 16 Sept. 2010.

“Imhotep (c. 3000 B.C.-2950 B.C.).” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Gale World History In Context. Web. 16 Sept. 2010.