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Comparison Between Egyptian and Medieval Medicine

Criteria Egyptian Medicine Medieval Medicine
Images Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet Medieval Medicine
Achievements and Legacy
  1. 2700 BC -world's earliest known surgery developed by Imhotep
  2. 1700 BC - Earliest evidence of diagnostic medicine in Egypt
  3. Ptolemaic Period - The Alexandria University famous for medicine, Herophilus and Erasistratus were permitted to dissect living criminals
  4. Scholars from ancient Greece studied the medical practitioners of Egypt, the most notable being Herodotus and Pliny, whose contribution to the ancient and modern medical records, reached from the time of Egypt into the modern era.
  5. The practices of Egyptian medicine was acknowledged by both Hippocrates and Galan as having contributed in large part to their own information and knowledge from Egyptian works they had studied at the temple of Imhotep in Memphis.
  6. The largest medicinal compendium was compiled by Hermes, a healer of Greek origin who studied in Egypt, and consisted of six books. The first of these six books was directly related to anatomy, the rest served as a book of physic, and as apothecaries.
This period is considered a dark age, and left no lasting scientific contributions
- Western medicine advanced very little in Europe during the Middle Ages
Medical Knowledge The Egyptians were advanced medical practitioners for their time, they are credited with being the first to use and record advanced medical practices, they based their knowledge from careful and astute observations, as well as trial and error. This led to the advancement of medical science worldwide.
- Magic was not always a part of the curing arts, it is an erroneous belief among the lay public that Egyptians necessarily thought that all or most illnesses or injury was the work of hostile powers.
Scholarship fell into the religious sphere, and clerics were more interested in curing the soul than the body. No new medical research was conducted, and no new practices were created.
Autopsy and Surgery The use of autopsy and surgery came through the extensive embalming practices, this involved removing most of the internal organs including the brain, lungs, pancreas, liver, spleen, heart and intestine. Physicians followed the church approved classical techniques developed by Galen.
Medical documents
  1. Ebers Papyrus - dated 1550 BC, is the oldest known medical scroll, and contains 700 magical formulas and folk remedies
  2. Edwin Smith Papyrus - deals extensively with bone surgery was written by Imhotep
Mere reproductions of classical Greek and Roman texts hand copied by monks
Prescriptions
  1. Honey and milk were routinely prescribed by physicians for the treatment of the respiratory system, and throat irritations.
  2. Herbal Remedies among them all types of plants, herbs, animal parts and mineral compounds. The use of these compounds led to an extensive compendium of curative recipes, some still available today.
  3. Head injuries were very often successfully treated by trepanning, this procedure involves the opening of an area of the skull in order to relieve pressure
  4. Yeast was applied to leg ulcers and swellings. Yeast's were also taken internally for digestive disorders and were an effective cure for ulcers.
  5. The dung of the crocodile was used in preventing conception
  6. Ashoma, a disease of the eye, was cured using an animal liver, to this day extracts of liver are used to treat this and modern doctors discovered its effectiveness in treating certain forms of cataracts
Many theologians considered disease and injury to be the result of supernatural intervention and insisted that cures were only possible through prayer.
Dentists Dentists used gold wire as a means to bind a loose tooth to a neighboring tooth that was sound. Patients would have their jaw bone drilled in order to drain an abscessed tooth or teeth. Teeth were filled using a type of mineral cement, and gum disease were also treated by using myrrh and other antiseptic herbs. teeth-pullers
Doctors
- Doctors had a scientific mind, they studied practical clinical cases and documented them extensively, they had a basic knowledge of organ functions within the human body, except for the brain and heart which they thought had opposite functions.
bone-setters, oculists, and midwives
Hospitals Healing sanctuaries and temples of Sekhmet were built, these would allow for physician and priests to treat the patients. Large hospitals built and run by monastic orders. Although little was done to cure the patients, they were usually well fed and comforted by a religious nursing staff.

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Video: GCSE History: Ancient Egyptian Medicine

Video explaining the key parts of Ancient Egyptian civilisation and medicine....

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Poll: Which medical practices were more advanced?

Answers:
89%
733 votes

5%
47 votes

4%
40 votes

Total votes:
820

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