He appears to have been the first person to wonder about the possible internal causes of illness. He proposed that illness might result from environmental problems, nutrition , and lifestyle.
The Greeks of antiquity were great traders and relatively wealthy. They promoted and enjoyed cultural activities, including poetry, public debates, politics, architecture, sculpture, comedy, and drama. Their writing was phonetic, meaning that people could read it out loud.
Editorial Reviews. Review. "Gabriel (author of some 21 other books, most of which pertain to The Culture of War: Invention and Early Development ( Contributions in Philosophy, Book 96) - Kindle edition by Richard A. Gabriel Ph.D . The Greeks made important contributions to philosophy, mathematics, astronomy , and medicine. Greek culture influenced the Roman Empire and many other civilizations, and it continues to The civilization of ancient Greece was immensely influential in many spheres: language, Prelude to the Peloponnesian War.
This was a more flexible form of written communication and easier for people to understand than hieroglyphs. Two crucial factors that encouraged the ancient Greeks to seek healing and promote health were military activity and sport. In wars, doctors worked to heal wounds, remove foreign bodies, and look after the general health of soldiers.
The Olympic Games, which began in ancient Greece, raised the need for people to keep healthy in order to promote fitness and prevent injury. Techniques included using olive oil to raise body temperature and the practice of warming up before competing to avoid injury. As Greek doctors started wondering whether all illnesses and disorders might not have a natural cause, they also considered responding to illness with natural cures.
Until then, incantations and attempts at repelling evil spirits had been the most popular form of medicine. Around B. The Greeks built the city of Alexandria in Egypt, turning it into a vast center for education and learning. The ancient Greeks still believed in and revered their gods, but science gradually became more critical as they tried to explain the reasons and solutions for illnesses and other aspects of life. Empedocles put forward the idea that all natural matter consisted of four elements: earth, water, air, and fire. This idea of four elements prompted ancient Greek doctors to establish the theory of four humors or liquids.
These four humors were blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. The idea then developed of keeping these four humors in balance as a necessity for good health. The ancient Greeks later linked each humor to a season, an organ, a temper, and an element, as seen in this table:.
The theory developed that when all the humors balanced and mingled properly, the person would experience perfect health. Consequently, illness would occur when someone had too much or too little of one of the humors. This theory remained popular in Western Europe until the 17th century. However, while the ancient Greeks pushed medicine forward in many ways, the theory of humors posed an obstacle to advances in medical practice. It was not until 2, years later that scientists concluded the theory was false.
Hippocrates, father of western medicine. Hippocrates of Kos lived from — B. As the founder of the Hippocratic School of Medicine, he made major contributions to medicine that persist today. The teaching at his school revolutionized medicine and established it as a profession and a discipline in its own right.
Until then, medicine had been a part of philosophy and the practice of rituals, incantations, and the casting off of evil spirits. Hippocrates and his colleagues wrote the "Hippocratic Corpus," which comprised around 60 early ancient Greek medical works. These early medical practitioners promoted the systematic study of clinical medicine. This means they studied diseases by directly examining the living person.
Nowadays, the Hippocratic oath is a vow that doctors and other health professionals take when they qualify. They swear to practice medicine ethically and honestly. Hippocrates, and those from his school of medicine, were the first people to describe and properly document several diseases and disorders, including a detailed description of clubbing of the fingers. Clubbing of the fingers is a hallmark sign of chronic suppurative lung disease, cyanotic heart disease , and lung cancer.
Until today, some doctors use the term "Hippocratic fingers" for clubbed fingers. If an individual had the following signs and they were not making any improvements, the doctor might suspect that they were close to death:.
Other words that came from ancient Greek and persist in modern medical usage include:. Two famous Greek philosophers, Aristotle — B. This thinking spread and influenced Greek doctors.
It allowed the Greeks to start finding out about the inside of the human body in a systematic way. At Alexandria in Egypt, scholars starting dissecting dead bodies and studying them. Sometimes, they would cut open the bodies of criminals who were still alive. This kind of research led to the following conclusions:. Thucydides, who lived around — B. As time moved on, Greek medical professionals and scholars increasingly sought entirely natural theories for the cause of diseases. Greek doctors used diagnostic methods that were not very different from those in use today.
Many of their natural remedies were similar to some current home remedies. Greek doctors would carry out clinical observations. They would perform a thorough physical examination. Their Hippocratic books gave guidance on how to do the examination and which diseases to consider or rule out. As magic and incantations gave way to a search for natural causes, people also started looking for natural cures.
Greek doctors became expert herbalists and prescribers of natural remedies. They believed that nature rather than superstition was the best healer. Pain in the side : Dip a large soft sponge in water and apply gently. If the pain reaches the collarbone, the doctor should draw off blood near the elbow until the blood flows bright red.
Pneumonia : A bath will relieve pain and help to bring up phlegm. The patient must remain completely still in the bath. By trying to balance the four humors when their patients were ill, doctors would sometimes get things right, even if they did it for the wrong reasons. In the examples above, the first two make sense in modern medicine, the third one does not, and the fourth depends on the person's illness. If a person swallows something toxic, it is sometimes a good idea to cause them to vomit. Examples included alternating the sound of the flute and the harp as a treatment for gout , using music therapy to soothe "passion," and watching tragic plays as psychotherapy.
Despite shifting toward natural rather than spiritual remedies, many doctors still appealed to the gods if their treatments did not work. Asklepios was the Greek god of healing, and there was a temple in Epidaurus, called Asklepion. Eventually, this and similar temples became health spas, gymnasiums, public baths, and sports stadia. Some doctors would treat their patients and then take them to the temple to sleep. Bookstores lined the canals, with elaborately decorated hardback titles becoming must-have status symbols for the new merchant classes.
But it was middling publisher Aldo Manuzio who became the real game changer, introducing size and font regulations for his books and, with a pocket-size format and softer covers, changing reading habits and opening up the joys of the written word to all. The flying machine.
The parachute. In , UK skydiver Adrian Nicholas decided to try it out, despite being strongly advised not to. Building his parachute to the exact specifications of the original design, he jumped out of a hot air balloon at 7, feet 2, metres and floated blissfully through the air for five minutes before landing safely on the ground. The revolving bridge. A mainstay of military campaigns, the revolving bridge was commissioned by Duke Sforza of Milan during one of the numerous Renaissance conflicts the so-called Italian Wars , the outbreaks of which, more often than not, were his own doing.
The idea was for a bridge that could be used to transport an army over water, then quickly be taken down and transported to another location. The armoured car.
A genius military engineer, he created what many believe to be a prototype for the modern tank. Inspired by his studies of the turtle, his armoured car was able to move in any direction using a basic gear system and held a number of light cannons, which were fired through peepholes. The giant crossbow.
Designed to be 25m 82ft across and set on a metre-long 75ft cartridge sitting on six wheels, this crossbow was always intended to be used for intimidation purposes rather than ever shot in anger. A large crank would need to be drawn back to set the bow, via a gear operation, before letting fly following a few swift bangs with a mallet on the trigger.