The more you know

Origin of medicine

The origin of medicine is lost in the mists of time. At first it was one with magic. For example, to cite a significant case, several human skulls dating back to the Neolithic age have round holes to a limited extent healed: the scholars have hypothesized that they belonged to men who underwent the trepanation of the skull while they were still alive, probably by a sorcerer who in this way he believed that he was driving evil spirits out of their bodies.

By virtue of the Smith papyrus, dating back to the seventeenth century BC, we know instead that the Egyptians had begun to study diseases by abandoning the magical mentality, classifying the disorders according to the various organs involved and arriving at the diagnosis-prognosis-therapy scheme that still constitutes today the backbone of medicine scientifically understood.
Thanks to the 11,000 clay tablets discovered in Nineveh, which offer a precious overview of the knowledge of the Mesopotamian civilization and of which more than 600 are dedicated to medicine, we know of the therapeutic progress of the Mesopotamians and the existence of their precise surgical art (much ‘ it is true that the Code of Hammurabi establishes the fees for the interventions and orders that the hands of the doctor be cut off if operating a patient causes his death). We also know of the existence of an Indian medicine, stimulated by the terrible epidemics of the Ganges areas; however it was based on inadequate anatomical and physiological notions and cognitions, since both Hinduism and Buddhism, believing in reincarnation, prohibited the autopsy of corpses.
Finally, the Chinese were also experts in medicine since ancient times, to whom, among other things, the famous and still widespread practice of acupuncture dates back.
The different approaches that scholars and self-styled such reserved to medical science merged into a single common goal: the resolution of problems and ailments related to the human person.


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