Roman Medics: Healing the Ancient Empire

Throughout the Pax Romana (27 B.C. – 180 A.D), the scientists of the Roman Empire intelligently submerged themselves into the significant field of Medicine. Medicine, the science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, is a significant topic to understand.

Knowing how to heal and repair the injured is a skill that is necessary in any major establishment, like the Roman Empire. In this case, the keen Romans understood this idea and studied the field thoroughly. During the prosperous Roman Empire, the eager scientists of the kingdom, who were looking to expand their home, initiated the study of medicine. As the father of ancient medicine once said, “wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity” (Hippocrates). Consequently, the Roman Empire did not simply pilfer their studies of medicine from other civilizations. Although the profuse medical expansion of the Romans is notable, the foundation of their advancement is due to the discoveries of Galen, Pliny and Celsus.

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Passionate Physician “The most famous doctor in Roman history, Claudius Galen” (Dawson 40), helped Rome’s, Pax Romana, live up to it is legacy. During the ancient time period, it was often said that Galen was the greatest medical authority. The growing scientist was ambitious and knew he wanted to make advancements in the infinitesimal medication field. Claudius Galen would go on to creating theories and inventions that the Roman world could not even dream of.According to Garber, Galen is a “sacrosanct authority” (Garber 172).

In other words, he was an admired individual who stood above most citizens in Roman society. As Galen became more popular in the Roman Empire, he quickly became a superior physician. A physician is a person who is qualified to practice medicine. Galen’s background information is essential, for studying his success as one of the world’s greatest scientists. Galen first began his career as a physician by studying anatomy.

Seeing as Claudius was one of the first in this field to thoroughly study the topic, he faced many challenges. However, Galen was a hardworking man, which is understandable because he was a dedicated “showman as well as a scientist” (Dawson 44). Through his ambitious career track, he faced a problem; it was difficult for him to study anatomy because the Church objected human dissection. Despite this roadblock, Galen was determined to continue his career path. He needed a second specimen, other than a human, to inspect internal organs.

In response, he “expanded his knowledge of the human body by dissecting animals” (Walker 34) to discover everything he could about anatomy. He often used “pigs” and “apes” for this, as they were obtainable and had body systems similar tothat of a human. Galen also incorporated his knowledge of human composition into his stage performances. According to Dawson, Claudius Galen had demonstrated the cutting of a pig’s nerve, and because Galen always knew how the pig would react to unusual stimuluses’, he would always shock the audience by causing the pig to make various reactions (Dawson 44). Also, performing medical analysis was second nature to Galen; he breathed science. This talent demonstrates Galen’s excellence in the medical field.

Ian Dawson reports that one of Galen’s greatest discoveries in the human body was that the heart does not actually control speech, but the brain does (Dawson 44). This profound discovery is an indispensible fact, which our life depends on today. Galen’s significant discoveries to the Roman medical world were incredible. James Elliot discusses more of Galen’s anatomical studies, by recounting his research into the veins and arteries of the human body, and his discoveries on how they reacted to certain tensions (Elliot 101). Galen identified that the two blood vessels had different roles and were essential to the body. Based on these scientific breakthroughs, Claudius Galen brought an understanding to the medical world with his numerous theories on the human body.

Galen went on to create many theories based on the dissection of his animals. Working like a machine, Galen had discovered information that was incredibly puzzling for the time period. Based on Denise Walker’s incite, even though many of these ideas were incorrect, because Claudius was experimenting on organisms other than humans, his theories went on to influence scientists today in their discoveries (Walker 34). Therefore, Galen fulfilled his duty as an ancient physician by influencing future doctors like, William Harvey and Andreas Vesalius. Furthermore, Galen was successful in his time period and stopped at nothing to follow his dreams. Without him, the Roman Empire would have had little to no information in the medical field.

Walker reveals that physician’s findings were so advanced for the time that no one would challenge his theories until the 1600s! Claudius Galen, a man of wonder, changed scientific discoveries forever. Medical Innovationist To advance a new means of medication is certainly an admired attribute, Pliny the Elder rightfully completed this task. Gaius Plinius Secundus, or more commonly regarded as Pliny, became one of the first Homeopaths that the young world had ever seen. Pliny’s written encyclopedia, Natural History, is a thirty-seven-book collection that contains information in: literature, zoology, astronomy, botany, geography, mineralogy, geology, anthropology, and medicine. His devotion to knowledge and innovation in the ancient Roman Empire is evident.

Jona Lendering points out that Pliny’s nephew stated, Pliny the Elder only took a break from his work when he was using the bathroom” (Lendering 5). This hyperbole portrays Pliny’s love for science and the true willpower of the man. Despite his grandiose brain, Pliny the Elder was an innovator, who discovered what the normal person could not. Enhancing in Homeopathy, Pliny introduced a brand new type of healing. Homeopathy, the treatment of disease by minute doses of natural substances was the field that Pliny progressed in. Ian Dawson clarifies Pliny’s creations with an example of one of his cryptic recipes, honey, with unwashed wool, vinegar, and wine, which could heal wounds and sores when applied (Dawson 37).

Conventional wisdom has it that Pliny the Elder’s guide to these “remedies” were stored in his book, Natural History. Nevertheless, the plentiful elixirs all had their place in the enormous encyclopedia. As James Garber displays in his book, Harmony in Healing: The Theoretical Basis of Ancient and Medieval Medicine, Pliny’s documents contain “the herbs passed down from ages past and provide many folk remedies” (Garber 172). Pliny’s directions were detailed, in a how-to format, and allowed Roman citizens to understand his remedies easily. Pliny the Elder’s health treatments frequently worked successful to heal the sick people of Rome, which is very impressive for the ancient time period. Another experiment of Pliny the Elder, involved the use of human saliva against venomous snakes (Dawson 37).

Research of this caliber required dedication, a talent that Pliny contributed to the Rome’s Golden Age. Pliny’s success in Ancient Rome is evident because some of his own remedies are even used today! Furthermore, Garber reveals Pliny’s “wormwood” invention, which was a bitter, wormy shrub used to heal a variety of illnesses like: nausea, flatulence, and insomnia (Garber 172). During his research, Pliny progressed on to linking “wormwood” with multiple assorted variables, to achieve new creations. For instance, he discovered that shaven “wormwood” is a superb, efficient source of paper. In augmentation, Pliny then deluged the wood in black ink and made dark hair dye. The previous case shows how Pliny’s extraordinary mind allowed him to invent one item and then branch it off, creating even more apparatus’.

Because Pliny the Elder brought so much scientific innovation to the Roman Empire, he was highly valued and respected globally. Pliny changed Rome, as well the future, with his advanced medical improvements. Pliny discovered new sciences like Homeopathy and became a scholarly physician. James Elliot verifies Pliny’s own words when he verbalizes the statement, “the Roman people for more than six hundred years were not, indeed, without medicine, but they were without physicians” (Elliot 3). Consequently, Pliny brought advancements to the ancient Roman world at ease.

His genius mind helped him produce Natural History, an incredibly informative encyclopedia of the ancient world. Based on Jona Lendering, and contrary to his intelligence, Pliny was a friendly man who would be carried in a chair, through the city of Rome (Lendering 13). Pliny the Elder gave his mind to Rome, and they gained inventions that no ancient empire had ever see; in return, he gained a spot as one of the greatest Roman scientists to walk planet Earth. Teaching through the Written Word One underrated, but skilled scientist during the Pax Romana stored his phenomenal scientific teachings in encyclopedias during the Roman’s time of ruling. The man of this written craft is Aulus Cornelius Celsus, or more commonly known as Celsus.

Aulus Celsus was a successful, logical man in the Roman Empire. Ian Dawson describes how Celsus was a wealthy landowner who originally shared his bright mind with his family (Dawson 35).He had created many books where his knowledge was stored and kept safe. In these books, you could find information on anything scientific, including diet, symptoms, surgery, and treatments for any part of the large body. Furthermore, Celsus began the craze for informative scientific prose in ancient Rome.

Proven by James Garber, and similar to Galen, Celsus was a “sacrosanct authority” (Garber 172). Therefore, showing his impact on Rome. Based on this, it is evident that Celsus devoted a lot of time to the science-related activities in the daily world. Among the most well known of Celsus’ achievements, his written encyclopedias, gave reasoning to the primitive world. Ian Dawson mentions that one of Celsus’ greatest teachings was the fact that exercise is eternally crucial to maintain a healthy life, and avoid illness (Dawson 35). Helpful scientific facts like this are what could be found in Celsus’ books.

One of Aulus’ first encyclopedias was Artes, which means “sciences.” The people of Rome were enticed by the new breakthrough in literature, and every mighty noble had a library collection.While Roman citizens gained knowledge of various scientific subjects through Celsus’ books, they craved more information.Contrary to the Artes, Aulus Celsus’ most known encyclopedia is the De Medicina. In the database, Aulus Cornelius Celsus, Celsus’ De Medicina is announced thoroughly: Although apparently not a physician himself, Celsus gathered extensive writings from the Greek Empire, translated them into Roman, and compiled their vast knowledge into an encyclopedia entitled De artibus (A.

D. 25-35). Originally, this great work contained five books on agriculture, and other books of unknown length on military science, government, history, law, philosophy, rhetoric, and medicine. The only books to survive, however, were The Eight Books of Medicine, or De medicina octo libri, the most comprehensive medical history and detailed description of medical and surgical procedures ever produced by a Roman writer. (3-9) For this reason, Celsus is an extremely well known scientist and novelist of the Roman Empire.

The enormous novel contains a plethora of material in the fields of surgery, pharmacy, and diet. For this reason, it was one of the best sources for medicinal facts in the ancient Roman world. With this said, the De Medicina was a serious success for Aulus Celsus, and for Rome. Many ancient academics would look to Celsus’ works to gain knowledge on an unfamiliar topic. Because so much of the information was clear, Celsus’ documents evolved into a great source of learning in more recent times. Celsus was a mastermind of teaching, and the Roman Empire’s field of science would have been impossible without him.

In a common day skyscraper, a strong base supports the large mass of structure on top of the enormity. Much like this, the innovation of the great Roman scientists created a sturdy support for future scientific exploration. Without the breakthrough in research from Galen, Pliny, and Celsus, during the Pax Romana, we may have not known the vast material we do today. Similarly, the three scientists allowed Rome’s Golden Age to be a successful time of advancement in life. Who would imagine that the discoveries of only three Roman scientists would allow Rome’s grand name to go down in history and be remembered so greatly today.