Greek History






During the ancient Greek and Roman periods, huge advances were made in medicine and surgery. The early Greek period was known as the Golden Age of Medicine as it was at this time that medicine was at last, separated from religion.

It was during this period that they recognised that not all diseases were due to evil spirits. However at this time the patients that were ill with a seriously contagious disease, were not isolated from the rest of the patients at the facility, this because the Greeks were completely ignorant of the nature of these infective diseases.

It was hundreds of years later during the plague outbreaks in the Dark Ages that convinced people of the strong likelihood that some diseases were contagious. 

The Greeks were also becoming very good at treating the war injured, this because they were always seemingly at War, either between themselves or against the Persians.


Greece held their Medical professionals in high esteem. Aesculapius historically and mythically was one of the most successful physicians of all time.

It has even been suggested that Aesculapius was looked upon with the same respect as they looked upon their Gods; Aesculapius was supposed to have been the son of the God Apollo and born by what we know today as post mortem caesarean section. He had an uncanny success rate.

Plato was to comment on this by stating, Hades was losing all of its recruits.

It was generally thought that to maintain his success rate his laymen used to take the terminally ill to a nearby wood to die.

The patients that die would not be recorded as his patient.

Aesculapius had two sons Podalarius and Macheon who followed his profession and both were said to have followed Agamemnon with the legendary Achilles and Ulysses to tend the wounded in the 10 year battle with Hector and Paris to repatriate Helen at the siege of Troy in 1192bc.46

The plant Helenium is said to be derived from tears of Helen of Troy.


"What medicines do not heal, the lance will; what the lance does not heal, fire will."47



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The History of Surgery and Anaesthesia was created as a free resource to educate Students or indeed anyone wishing to understand the beginings of surgery and Anaesthesia.

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