Thucydides: Clinical Analysis

Decent Essays
The articles this week brought forth questions regarding medical history I never knew I had. The difficulties to a retrospective diagnosis are far greater than I had previously imagined, both from a DNA/RNA testing standpoint, as well as a linguistic perspective. Medical terminology, for both patients and physicians are in a sense, a societal construct. Therefore, retrospective diagnosis becomes near impossible when attempting to diagnose ancient diseases, based on ancient texts and descriptions alone. Thucydides describes in great detail, the plague that killed nearly one third of the Athenian population in 430 B.C. . While he describes the symptoms of infected individuals, we must take into account, the terminology, medical knowledge and…show more content…
Understandably so, as honor was of great regard during the time of Thucydides. Regardless, such a difference in culture, is on of the issues with retrospective diagnosis according to K.-H. Leven. As Leven states, “This assumption about primary perception of disease is mere fiction, because all ways of an individual to express his notions are influenced by his cultural setting and his education, including medical knowledge” (Leven 374). Thucydides’ description of symptoms during the Athenian plague, are restricted to his, and the infected individuals medical knowledge. Perhaps the lack of medical knowledge, is why Thucydides choose to focus more on morality towards the end of his account of the plague, as he, along with the infected individuals had limited medical knowledge to further describe, or diagnose the disease. Others have questioned how reliable of a
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