Download Medicine before Science: The Business of Medicine from the by Roger French PDF

By Roger French

This e-book is an advent to the historical past of university-trained physicians from the center a long time to the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. whereas thought of elite (in acceptance and rewards) and profitable, we all know little in their medical effectiveness. to fashionable eyes their idea and perform usually turns out weird and wonderful. yet old proof finds that they have been judged on different standards, and this publication asserts that those physicians helped to build and meet the expectancies of society.

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Galen thought that the reason the Roman doctors did not prognosticate was that they ‘toadied to the rich’ – he means the patron–client relationship, discussed above. Secure in that position, says Galen with Hippocratic disapproval, they dress in an ostentatious way and attract many pupils by claiming that medicine can be taught quickly. Galen adds significantly that being followed by a large number of pupils increased the influence of such doctors in the city. Nor did the followers of Erasistratus prognosticate, and when one of them, Martianus, heard Galen’s prediction in Eudemus’ case, he said it was like divination from the flight of birds or horoscopes.

Those who worked with animals must have known about the vulnerability of the brain, and philosophers as early as Alcmaeon had placed the soul in the brain. What seems to have happened in Alexandria was that vivisection not only confirmed that the brain was the seat of many soul-faculties, but that the effects of these faculties reached the body by means of the nerves. The Greeks had no word for nerve and used neuron, ‘fibre’ in a specialised way, Hippocrates and the philosophers 31 just as the Romans came to use nervus.

This was in some ways an ideal mode of medical practice, and one which doctors afterwards also sought. Client doctors must have felt even more protected since in Rome no action at law could be prosecuted between patron and client. The client–patron relationship effectively removed the practitioners from the competition in the medical marketplace; Galen does not say whether they had special beliefs or practices, which doctors in the marketplace were so often strident about. galen an d the demiurge: rational it y of the body Galen reports fully on the medical sects of imperial Rome.

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