Roman History


Thanks to archaeological digs at places such as Pompeii, Rome and even here at Hadrian's Wall, tools have been found that give an insight into Roman Surgery. We have a very strong understanding of their use in the Greco / Roman era. Among the items we know the Romans used were:
  • The vaginal speculum was used in gynaecology and in childbirth.
  • Tooth forceps
  • The saw for amputation.
  • Bone holders were used to put fractures back in place.
  • Scalpels
  • Scissors
  • Drills for Trepanning
  • Catheters (Metal)
  • Various Hooks, Holders, probes and scrapers
Despite the reliance on a mystical approach to healing, Roman society maintained reasonably good health throughout its history.
The exhaustive use of aqueducts and fresh running water, including toilets and sewer systems, prevented the proliferation of many standing water based diseases, and also washed away wastes from heavily populated areas.
Excellent hygiene and food supply also played a prominent role.
The Roman baths were an integral part of society, in all social classes, and regular cleansing helped fight germs and bacteria. As I mentioned, the Romans also tried, whenever practical,
to boil medical tools and prevent using them on more than one patient without cleansing.58
So their Military history was to produce a nation of expansion and although they were concerned about the medical welfare of their population they were in the beginning, very dependent upon Greek and Egyptian expertise.


“Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.”59




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The History of Surgery and Anaesthesia was created as a free resource to educate Students or indeed anyone wishing to understand the beginings of surgery and Anaesthesia.

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