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Topic 2: Hellenistic medicine
Topic2 + Quiz
Background: Without a sense of context, history is anachronistic.
Primary sources: Without documentary evidence, history
The second of two topic assignments per week involving both background and primary sources.
The study questions will help you assess your knowledge; print them out and complete them as you read.
- Watch the “From the vault: Hellenistic Medicine” video prompt for this assignment.
- Share your thoughts in the Discussion.
- Read the following pages about Hellenistic medicine:
- Hippokrates of Kos
- Herophilos of Chalcedon, d. ca. 250 BC
- Erasistratos of Keos, b. ca. 304 BC
- “What is nature? How is nature known?”
- Background readings for this week come entirely from one of your textbooks: David Lindberg, Beginnings of Western Science.
- If you have the 2007 edition, read the following pages: Chapter 4 (all), Chapter 6 (pp. 111-124; excluding the section on Galen).
- Or, if you have the 1992 edition, read the following pages: Chapter 4 (all), Chapter 6 (pp. 112-124; excluding the section on Galen).
- Quiz: Afterwards, take a Topic 2 quiz over Hellenistic medicine in the assignments area of Janux. The quiz will be composed of 12 of the true/false questions listed in the Study Guide. Topic 2 quizzes must be completed before Thursday night at 11:59 p.m.
TOPIC QUIZ: The statements are either True or False. When you take the quiz
you will see 12 of these statements, chosen at random, 2 points each.
- Alexander the Great established an empire that reached from Spain in its westernmost extent all the way to Jerusalem on its eastern border.
- Zeno of Citium founded the Stoic school of philosophy in Athens.
- After the death of Alexander the Great, one of his generals named Ptolemy ruled Egypt.
- The Museum of Alexandria was both a religious shrine and a place of learning, founded by a former member of Aristotle’s Lyceum.
- At its peak, the Library of Alexandria was said to contain nearly half a million scrolls.
- The second head of the Lyceum, Theophrastus, rejected Aristotle’s empirical approach and renounced the pursuit of natural sciences such as botany and mineralogy, favoring the study of pure logic instead.
- The third head of the Lyceum, Strato, demonstrated from a stream of falling water that heavy bodies accelerate as they descend.
- Epicurus, founder of the Epicurean school, taught that bodies are made of particles (corpuscles or atoms) with intervening void spaces.
- The philosophy of Epicurus was deterministic, in the sense that it postulated that all events have a mechanistic cause.
- Both Stoics and Epicureans advocated the study of science (natural philosophy) as an aid to ethics.
- Stoics argued that the cosmos is like a piece of mechanical clockwork, passive and inert.
- According to the Stoics, there is a dichotomy (radical distinction) between the sub-lunar (terrestrial) and supra-lunar (celestial) regions.
- According to the Stoics, there is an eternal cycle of worlds, constantly generating and dissolving, in a purposeful and determined sequence.
- The Epicureans defended teleology and viewed the universe as an organism.
- A temple of healing at Epidaurus was a center of hundreds of Greek temples devoted to Asclepius, whom Homer regarded as a great physician.
- The Hippocratic corpus is a collection of about 70 treatises all of which were written by Hippocrates of Cos.
- Most Hippocratic writings, such as On the Sacred Disease, de-emphasize divine intervention as a direct cause of specific cases of illness, attributing the course of nature itself to the divine.
- Hippocratic medicine often attributed disease to imbalances of the four humors, where treatments of diet, exercise and purgings were designed to restore a proper balance.
- Instead of using medicines derived from plants, most Hippocratic medicines were chemical in origin, such as mercury or arsenic.
- Hippocratic writers all agreed that a theoretical understanding of the causes of disase is essential to effective treatment.
- According to Roman authors, anatomists in Alexandria conducted human vivisections (dissections of living prisoners).
- In Alexandria, Herophilus of Chalcedon advanced anatomy by drawing clear distinctions between sensory and motor nerves, and between arteries and veins.
- In Alexandria, Erasistratus of Ceos, described the valves of the heart and argued that they function by ensuring that blood flows only one direction through the heart.
- “Empiricists” opposed Herophilus and Erasistratus by arguing that human dissection should be forbidden, because past experience provides a more reliable foundation for medicine than the study of human anatomy and physiology.
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a great quote for this page? Let me know! (If
used, a new quote is worth 1 point extra credit)