Almost everybody is familiar with the name of Plato, schooled by Socrates, he is one of the most famous philosophers in history. His student Aristotle was known to contribute to medicine through his scientific ideas, but it was Plato who was the first to describe anaesthesia, calling it, "anaisthētos" which means without sensation.
I cannot believe that the ancient Greeks would write
extensively about surgical procedures without having the
ability to carry them out. It might be that at that time
the herbal analgesic drugs that they used did provide a
form of sufficient anaesthesia, so that the patient did not
suffer or die in agonizing pain, whilst being
Plato makes use of medical analogies, such as that comparing justice and injustice to health and illness, respectively while physical health without justice (i.e., a well-ordered soul) is not good. Plato also draws analogies between body and soul, as well as between soul and city, in such a way as to reflect somewhat ancient medical theories. Politics, e.g., is described as the craft of tending the soul, while the craft of tending the body has two parts: gymnastics and medicine.54
Socrates the great Greek philosopher was executed by consuming a cup of hemlock.
The great names of philosophy were born during these times, Aristotle was the teacher of the legendary King Alexander the Great who conquered half of the known world. After his death, Ptolemy ruled Egypt and set his capital at Alexandria. It was there that he built the great library which was said to contain at its height, over 700,000 scrolls from throughout the civilised world.
The likes of Archimedes and the astronomer Ptolomy were later to lecture there. This fantastic archive of the worlds writings was to be destroyed by arsonists intent on erasing such historical masterpieces centuries later, and with it volumes of medical and scientific research writings that were never replaced.
"He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden." 55