Danielle – Medical Figures of Ancient Egypt


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.

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Josh – Trepanation

Trepanation is the ancient practice of drilling a hole in one’s head to heal, and is one of the first attempts at accurate invasive surgery to be practiced. The idea to most people now is abhorrent and barbaric, but is still used occasionally under special circumstances.

Trepanation was recorded as being used all over the world in many cultures, from Bronze Age Britain, to India circa 200 BCE, to modern day. A body discovered in Britain showed a man, with a fairly regular-shaped hole in his skull, either scraped down or cut away and left to heal. The man survived the procedure, as bone growth had restarted around the hole, and continued living his life after what may be considered today as a drastic procedure.
A skeleton of a woman in India was shown to have the same procedure done to her, though she does not seem to have survived: bone growth had not continued, and the skull edges were sharp.

Ancient practice dictated that the art of trepanation was used often to stop a range of symptoms, from physical injuries such as skull fractures and head injuries, to psychological problems often attributed to evil spirits, such as perhaps schizophrenia or siezures.

Though it seems burtal and unnecessary, trepanation is still used today, though still most often in special medical circumstances rather than to alleviate generic symptoms.
A good example is in the case of Houston Bradley, who, after suffering a skateboard accident, had a spot of his skull removed via trepanation to relieve the swelling of the brain. What would have otherwise caused brain damage, was prevented by giving the swollen brain space to expand.
After a lengthy period of time to heal, the chunk of skull removed will be reattached to grow back to the skull.

Though the idea behind the benefits of trepanation have changed, the procedure itself has not. A hole in the head, in the right situation, can and has saved lives, and though ancient peoples didn’t know why, they knew it did work. Modern medicine has backed this, showing trepanation has remained a viable method of invasive surgery throughout the ages.

Asher Price.  “Skull surgery is milestone in recovery. ” Austin American Statesman 8  Sep. 2010, ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest. Web.  13 Sep. 2010.
“GREEK SKULL Ancient surgery. ” The Gold Coast Bulletin 15  Mar. 2008, ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest. Web.  13 Sep. 2010.
“Skull reveals ancient surgery :[FIRST Edition]. ” Liverpool Echo 20  Aug. 2002, ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest. Web.  13 Sep. 2010.
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Danielle – Medical Figures of Ancient Rome


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.

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Danielle – Medical Figures of Ancient Greece


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.

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Michelle-Black Death And The Reaction Of People




Families consisting of Children, Mothers, and Fathers were all killed by this plague. Some families even went to the extent of abandoning their children to reduce the chance of getting the horrible infection. People were so paranoid regarding the infection, leading them to place their loved ones in separate areas. The sick were placed in closed off huts where they eventually suffocated from lack of air.

The smell of death was all around Europe. Dead bodies were commonly stored in houses or streets until they were transferred to their final resting place. So many people were affected by the Black Death, that there was practically no room to bury the dead in graveyards. In Florence, Italy  large pits were dug, and hundreds of bodies were dropped at a time.  

When walking in the streets, women would hold flowers under their noses to somewhat reduce/eliminate the smell of rotting bodies. Thinking that the world was coming to an end, some men started to heavily drink; moreover, ignoring their day-to-day responsibilities. This caused chaos, and disorder in cities. Only the wealthy could escape to their summer homes or other villages to avoid the risk of infection. While leaving their houses behind, others would find these properties abandoned, and would steal what they could find.

Currently, we have a vaccine ready if the Black Death ever comes back to the present. Our scientists discovered the answer in the 1900’s.  If it were not for the struggles of the past, we would not have learned about prevention and the importance of self-hygiene. Individuals from that time lacked medical knowledge. Learning from their un-awareness allows us to be healthier, create vaccines, and hopefully not repeat the past horrors/mistakes.

Frank Furedi.  “Plague studies. ” New Statesman  21 May 2001: ABI/INFORM Global, ProQuest. Web.  6 Sep. 2010. “Europe: 1348: Plague and economics. ” The Economist  31 Dec. 1999: ABI/INFORM Global, ProQuest. Web.  6 Sep. 2010.

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Michelle-Black Death/Causes/Treatments

The cause of the Black Death was unknown during the 1348 outbreak in Europe. People thought that all of the deaths were occurring due to the world ending. While others thought it was due to a specific religion trying to bring down the Christian faith.  In any case, individuals were clueless to the real cause of the mass numbers of deaths/struggles of the innocent.

In the year 1348, a bacteria called Yersinia Pestis was intact in rats from Asia. Merchants were in Asia buying silk, and spices that would later be sold in Europe. These infected rats boarded trading ships that would enter England through popular Southern ports. The rats shared Yersinia Pestis with its host the flea. Later, the infected rats would die, and the flea would head to its next victim being the humans.

Nobody knew how to treat this infection, causing majority to pass away. The most that was done to “cure” this deadly infection had to do with using herbs and spices. For example, to relieve headaches a mixture of lavender and sage was administered to the patients. To reduce the swellings a combination of spices and butter was applied to the wounds. All of these techniques were useless in saving lives, and only proved that their current day doctors were of no help.   


John Theilmann, and Frances Cate. “A Plague of Plagues: The Problem of Plague Diagnosis in Medieval England. ” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History  37.3 (2007): 371.  Research Library Core, ProQuest. Web.  5 Sep. 2010.

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Josh – Acupuncture


Acupuncture down the back.

Acupuncture is an ancient Asian, primarily Chinese, remedy for all ailments, developed over 5000 years ago, but with similar techniques spanning tens of thousands of years prior.

The basic idea is to insert needles into points of energy in the body called “meridians” to balance the qi and Blood of a person, and to balance their body between the five elements of Wood, Water, Fire, Metal, and Earth. This, in turn,  is supposed to help a person’s physical and mental states even out, and heal them.

Early types of acupuncture used stone needles, honed to a fine point, and were stuck in very specific points in the body said to reduce symptoms of particular ailments. Today, stone is replaced with disposable, incredibly thin metal needles, and the meridian points have been clearly defined to take care of a host of problems.

Today, as it was thousands of years ago, acupuncture is used to treat problems as simple as an ache, to those as serious as schizophrenia, and is practiced worldwide (though its principal usage is mainly in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia). While acupuncture’s ability to heal serious problems is still debated over, some studies are beginning to show that it can treat mild symptoms effectively.

“Acupuncture needles span the ages. ” The Jakarta Post 28  Aug. 2010, ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest. Web.  3 Sep. 2010.
Becky Rynor.  “Acupuncture: Ancient medicine for modern ailments :[Final Edition]. ” The Ottawa Citizen 4  Aug. 1998, ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest. Web.  3 Sep. 2010.
Elizabeth Fee, Theodore M Brown, Jan Lazarus, and Paul Theerman. “Exploring acupuncture: Ancient ideas, modern techniques. ” American Journal of Public Health 92.10 (2002): 1592-1592. ABI/INFORM Global, ProQuest. Web.  3 Sep. 2010.
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