Essay on Ancient Greek Medicine

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Ancient Greek Medicine

While Greek Medicine particularly from the 5th century B.C onwards, increasingly used scientific method to develop cures, there still however remained people that considered medicine to be a religion. The ancient Greeks (Hellenic) made important discoveries about the human body and health, so by the sixth century BC, medicinal practices focused largely on a more clinical approach involving observation. Their discoveries were made by firstly studying the human anatomy using dissection and vivisection, finding ways to heal using things such as plants and herbs, then finally practising surgery on the human body using different instruments.

Before the scientific method developed, most people still saw medicine as a
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fevers were common in Summer/Fire.

Doctors used an important practice called vivisection. Even though this was a cruel practice, medicine couldn’t be as advanced as it is today without it. Vivisection – the act of cutting open live animals for medical research (Collins Australian Dictionary 2004). In Ancient times as well as animals, this also involved cutting open humans.
Vivisection and dissection were the ways in which anatomists discovered the anatomy of the human body and the way it functioned. Vivisection was an extremely emotional issue; people didn’t believe that cutting up a human being whilst dead, let alone alive was respectful, so it was condemned in some countries. However, during the Ptolemaic age in Egypt it became possible for Greek and other anatomists to dissect and vivisect in a free and unrestricted environment. This change in attitude was due to the philosophical teachings of Aristotle. The ready supply of criminals able to be used for vivisection also made this controversial practice possible.

Aristotle never possessed any inclination to open a human being, although he performed many dissections and vivisections on animals seen as ‘near to man’, these being Barbary apes, dogs and pigs. The only chances of his observations came from a wounded mutilated person. Via vivisection, anatomists found that the heart pumps blood, humans breathe through

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