Ancient Rome - Exam Questions


Exam Question 1

Explain why Galen is important in the history of medicine. (7)

The main reason the Greek doctor in Rome, Claudius Galen, was so important was his work on anatomy. He wrote books about how the body worked based on his dissection of animals, especially pigs. He also wrote about the theory of the opposites, which built on Hippocrates' four humours. These books were backed by the Catholic Church as they fitted into their idea of man at the centre of the universe. This meant that Galen's books were used in the medical training until the Renaissance. 

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Exam Question 2

'The Romans are more important than the Greeks in the history of medicine'  How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. (8)

I agree with this statement to an extent. The Greeks were important because they developed natural ideas about illness, such as the four humours. These ideas were written down in books that were used in medical training until the Renaissance. This meant that the ideas of Greek doctors were very influential for a long time. Hippocrates' idea of clinical observation and his oath are still used today because noting down symptoms and treatments  in a very effective way of finding treatements that work. Additionally, if a doctor's examination was confidential, people are most likely to be honesy about their symptoms.

The Romans were important in the history of medicine mainly because of public health. They came up with the idea of bad air and tried to prevent disease by eliminating bad smells. They did this by providing clean water and removing waste through aqueducts and sewers. The idea of bad air was used and developed into the theory of miasma, which was later later replaced by the germ theory in the nineteenth century. However, after the collapse of the Empire standards of public health did not meet the Romans standards until the beginning of th twenteenth century. 

In conclusion, I believe that the Greeks are more important. Roman practical ideas about public health did not last beyond the collapse of the Empire and, although their theories about bad air lasted and were used until the nineteenth century, Greek theories of natural medicine, for example the four humours, were popular until the Renaissance and formed the basis of medical training for many years some are still in use today.

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