Roman public health was far better than public health in the Middle Ages. As time goes on it is expected that science will advance and new discoveries would be made. However, this was not the case by the Middle Ages where things actually regressed. There were many factors that caused this relapse such as government views, lack of military force, social organisation and wealth.
The Romans had a very well organised system of public health due to the government’s high interest in this issue. The army was important for Romans because it help to conquer and hold on to their great empire. Therefore, it was essential that the population was healthy so that healthy soldiers could be recruited. The Romans took practical steps in their plan to improve public health because there were quite a few problems. Although they did not know that germs caused diseases, they observed that the following made people ill: ‘bad air’, bad water, swamps and marshes, being near sewage and not keeping clean. For example, they noticed that people who lived near swamps got ill and sometimes died. This was due to the mosquitoes which most likely carried malaria. The swamps were drained as a result and fewer people became sick. A good reason why the Romans advanced so quickly in public health was because they realised the importance of clean water. Knowing this, they engineered aqueducts, lead piping and sewers. The aqueducts provided the population with clean water, piping brought the water into the cities and the sewers took the waste out. The Roman government also provided many hospitals, public baths, fountains and lavatories to encourage cleanliness. The baths were a social occasion and at the same time kept people clean. There were fountains in main cities where people could have clean and fresh drinking water. Furthermore, the Romans were the first to build public toilets made to accommodate many people. Although these facilities were very important to stay healthy, the poor could not afford to use them and in some parts they continued to get ill. The Romans sustained their excellent public health while dominating the western world but by the Middle Ages public health had actually regressed.