Early Civilizations

Kate Kelly,

Early Civilizations

The story of early medicine is one of magic and sorcery, religion and prayers, shamans and surgeons, and ingenuity and experimentation. All manner of successes and failures also dot the backdrop of early medicine. The health challenges of the time were many, ranging from near-fatal accidents to a wide variety of mysterious illnesses. Despite very little understanding of how the body worked or why people became sick, primitive people still devised successful methods to help heal the ill and injured.

Early Civilizations focuses on the story of the ancient people and their approach to medicine, but the information presented in this volume is by no means limited to discoveries made long ago. Today's scientists, archaeologists, and paleopathologists have learned the value of applying the latest technological developments to examine prehistoric finds. Electron microscopes are used to identify the scrapings from ancient shards of pottery to reveal what people ate, and computed tomography techniques (CT scans) are employed to examine mummies in order to better comprehend the illnesses from which the Egyptians suffered. As a result, there is a high level of excitement among professionals today as they gain greater understanding of the diet, health issues, illnesses, and injuries of ancient people. As new clues are found, or new technology is created that allows scientists to better evaluate old clues, theories of how early people lived and what they suffered through are revised.

Chapters include:

  • Paleopathology: the Study of Disease in Prehistoric Times
  • What the Mummies Reveal
  • Indian Influence on Medicine
  • The Origins of Chinese Medicine
  • The Ancient Greeks and What They Learned
  • Hippocrates and the Importance of Medical Observation and Documentation
  • Galen: the Physician Whose Theories Dominated Medicine for 1,500 Years
  • Medical Progress During the Roman Empire.

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