18

MEDICINE AND THE RELIGIONS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

The world of the Roman Empire was permeated with the divine to an extent almost unimaginable in a modern secular world. 1 Gods were everywhere, as benign creators or angry avengers, as patrons of cities and occupational groups, even occasionally as distinguished ancestors. The doctor C. Stertinius Xenophon on Cos, for example, proudly proclaimed his descent from both Asclepius and Hercules. 2 Few dared to doubt the existence of gods, although they might well have sought to extend the limits of human self-sufficiency by stressing natural over supernatural causes or, like the Epicureans, denying the gods any direct involvement in human affairs. Conversely, few believed, like Theophrastus' superstitious man, that divine wrath was always likely to strike unless one took the right precautions at every possible opportunity, and that only by consulting the right experts - dream interpreters, prophets, priests, astrologers and the like - could one be reasonably certain of the favourable outcome of any action. 3 But between these two extremes lay a variety of ways in which space could be made for both divine and human agency. While there might be disagreements and uncertainties at times over the boundaries between the two, it would be wrong to see this in a medical context as a conflict between sacred and secular intervention. As we have already seen, the Hippocratic author of The Sacred Disease emphasised his own superior piety in acknowledging the divine nature of all creation and in rejecting the exorcists' appeals to the gods to intervene directly in diseases susceptible of an entirely natural explanation. 4 His attitude was shared by many other doctors, not least by the pious Galen, and rules out a simple dichotomy between a secular and a religious approach to health and healing. 5 Nor was it thought in any way incongruous to ask an oracle whether or not one was going to recover, while seeking medical assistance from a secular healer. 6 Yet, as this chapter will show, there were at times differences between the various religions of the Roman Empire in their attitudes towards medicine which had a major impact on the way in which the practice of medicine developed over the centuries.

One common misunderstanding needs to be corrected at the outset. Given the ubiquity of deities as protectors or saviours, it is misleading to talk of 'healing gods' as if they formed a distinct category, for one could direct a prayer

-273-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Ancient Medicine
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Note to the Reader ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • 1 - Sources and Scope 1
  • 2 - Patterns of Disease 19
  • 3 - Before Hippocrates 37
  • 4 - Hippocrates, the Hippocratic Corpus and the Defining of Medicine 53
  • 5 - Hippocratic Theories 72
  • 6 - Hippocratic Practices 87
  • 7 - Religion and Medicine in Fifth- and Fourth-Century Greece 103
  • 8 - From Plato to Praxagoras 115
  • 9 - Alexandria, Anatomy and Experimentation 128
  • 10 - Hellenistic Medicine 140
  • 11 - Rome and the Transplantation of Greek Medicine 157
  • 12 - The Consequences of Empire: Pharmacology, Surgery and the Roman Army 171
  • 13 - The Rise of Methodism 187
  • 14 - Humoral Alternatives 202
  • 15 - The Life and Career of Galen 216
  • 16 - Galenic Medicine 230
  • 17 - All Sorts and Conditions of (Mainly) Men 248
  • 18 - Medicine and the Religions of the Roman Empire 273
  • 19 - Medicine in the Later Roman Empire 292
  • 20 - Conclusion 310
  • Notes 317
  • Bibliography 419
  • Index of Names 465
  • Index of Topics 478
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 489

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.