Wounds and disease were as devastating on the battlefields of the ancient world as they are today. In an age of bloody combat, how did physicians and medics cope with arrow injuries, spear and sword gashes, dysentery, and infection without the benefits of anesthesia or modern medical technology? In this compelling volume, military historian Richard A. Gabriel explores the long-hidden world of ancient military medicine from 4000 BC to AD 1453 to reveal its surprisingly sophisticated body of knowledge, practice, and technique.
Ranging broadly from the deserts of North Africa, across the plains of India and Persia, to the mountains of Europe and Asia Minor, this book examines medical history from the Bronze Age through the Middle Ages. By revealing long-forgotten medical secrets, Dr. Gabriel shows how ancient civilizations’ technologies have influenced modern medical practices. Comprehensive, thoughtful, sometimes graphic, and always accessible, Man and Wound in the Ancient World will be welcomed by anyone who wants to learn how today’s medical miracles build upon those of the past.
Richard A. Gabriel
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
While not dealing with any specific battles or war, this book provides an overview of the state of both civilian and military medicine from ancient times up to the fall of Byzantium. Each chapter is dedicated to one of history's great civilizations and how they developed (or didn't) their medical knowledge. The care of the sick, wounded and/or dead in the aftermath of battle is a subject that is rarely delved into in any of the military history books I have read which makes this work a welcome addition.
I would definitely recommend this book as a "must read" for anyone who enjoys military history of the ancient world.
I did find one thing to complain about and while not a flaw per se it was a definite nuisance.....the author's sentences. Throughout the book there are sentences that go for 7, 8 or 9 lines on the page. I found that I had to reread constantly. Be that as it may this book is a welcome addition to the body of works on military history...
This book thoroughly examines military medicine in the various cultures around the Mediterranean Sea from approximately 4000 BCE to 1453 CE. The author investigates each culture, the extent of its medical knowledge, and how the culture applied this knowledge to its military. As Gabriel reveals, most of the earliest cultures viewed disease as caused by the gods or other supernatural beings who were displeased with something the culture had done or not done. Therefore, most "medical" practice was in the form of incantations, charms, prayers, etc. However, some cultures began to see that there were physical causes of disease and developed more scientific treatments for disease and injury. Far above all of these cultures were the Romans, who had medical knowledge based on direct observation, testing, and analysis - - the beginnings of the scientific method. They used this information to form the western world's first thorough system of medical training so that legionary physicians...
The quantitative analysis is laughable (comparing losses discrete ancient battles against the totality of US casualties in the World Wars), but the qualitative analyses are intriguing.
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