Early Civilizations: Prehistoric Times to 500 C.E. by Kate Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mankind started out as hunter gatherer and nomads. Moving place to place with tier animals it would take a god many a years before they settled down into sedentary farmers. With the establishment of civilizations along such rivers as the Nile, Indus River, Mesopotamia and others mankind was getting exposed to more and more pathogens. This was cause by lower amounts of protein in the diet an higher carbs for one. But also with people being so close together and the fact that people knew very little about hygiene it would come as no surprise that diseases could wipe out entire populations. Also the close proximity to animals and their manure also brought about the increase of sickness.
Since man has been plagued by sickness and disease, man has tried to find cures for what was ailing him. Many thought that the gods were upset and so they sent a sickness to punish the man or society. Gradually their healing techniques would become more scientific based and less mystical. At first healing techniques were thought to come from the spirit world and shamans would go into a trance to find out cures for all that ailed the tribe. Most healing relied upon herbs and natural remedies but the ancients did in fact employ surgery. Paleopatholigist, people who study ancient diseases and their treatment have been able to determine how people died and what treatments were used. Trephiniation or making the hole in the skull was one such example.
Bodies that have been preserved in bogs and mummies have presented the best specimens for archaeologists to examine. The first group of people discussed was the Egyptians. They did not know much about the body but they did know about herbs.and how they could be used to heal people. Surgery was not done regularly and the dead body was never allowed to be dissected for medical reason or autopsies. They could submerge a body in the river and as the water eroded away the skin the doctors could see what was going one. The most qualified doctors were taught in the temple’s medical school.
The next group discussed were the Chinese. They believed that the body was composed of five main elements. Fire, Water, wood, earth and metal. They has to be in a balance in for their to be health. The main emphasis was on the holistic balance between the yin and the yang. The whole body has to be strong.
The Ancient Indians were also discussed, They believe in moderation and right living. They would use herbs to help the body. They used yoga to regulate and nourish the mind and the body. Ayuvedic medicine was based on restoring a balance. The Indians believed in prana or energy. Much like the Chinese belief in qui. The Greeks held belief in good diet and exercise plus the balancing out of humors in the body. The Romans were to emphasis bathing and hospitals. From the era Hippocrates and Galen were best known. Nifty little book.
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