Who made the more important contribution to the development of medicine, the Greeks or the Romans?

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Who made the more important contribution to the development of medicine, the Greeks or the Romans?

Both the Greeks and the Romans made contributions to the development of medicine. An example of this is that the Greeks (Hippocrates) came up with the theory of the four humours whereas the Romans (Galen) developed further. Both Greeks and Romans were hygienic, the Greeks had Asclepius (temple) and the Romans had public baths, sewers etc.

Firstly the most significant medical development that the Greeks contributed to was the logical theory known as the four humours and the importance of exercise. The Greeks believed that everything in the world came from four elements – Earth, Wind, Fire and water. These linked to the four seasons – summer, autumn, winter and spring. Elements and the seasons were related because for example summer was hot and dry as was fire. Greek doctors with cautious observation looked at the humours of the body. Phlegm, Blood, Black Bile and Yellow Bile related to the elements and seasons by seeing when they thought the humours were unbalanced, it was generally because either extreme or reduced levels. This influenced treatment because it was a natural explanation for illness rather than the idea of the Gods causing illness. The Greeks also believed that if they became ill, they would go to the Asclepius temple, they believed that Asclepius and his daughters would cure you when you were asleep.

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Hippocrates had different types and very clever ideas on observation, rest, exercise and praying. He said that if doctors were more likely to choose the right cure if they took care to find the cause of the problem. Hippocrates encouraged people to look for natural treatment rather that going to the Gods for help. He came up with the Hippocratic Oath and the aim of it was to give confidence in doctors. Abatons were built which were places where patients slept at night and were visited by Asclepius and his daughters. This shows that Hippocrates had a good idea ...

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