Roman History

Aulus Cornelius Celsus (ca 25 BC—ca 50)


Aurelius Celsus along with Galen is considered one of the most important contributors to medicine during the early Roman Empire He was neither a Physician nor surgeon; he could probably be described as a medical data clerk.
His lifetime was under Emperors Tiberius and Caligula. He compiled an encyclopaedia entitled De Artibus (25-35 ad) this great work contained five books of different subjects.
Only De Medicina has survived, this collection of eight books is the most comprehensive library of medical histories of the times.

Because of its clarity and elegant Latinity, its author has been called the "Cicero of medicine"60
This book was about the surgical treatment for some internal and external diseases. These included cataract, goitre, and tonsillectomy.
This work became the first medical manuscript to be printed in 1478. In his writings, he also mentioned the use of mandrake as an anaesthetic.61

Not much is known of Celsus life and work apart from his books. He is believed to be a Roman citizen born in Gaul around 25B.C.

He was also one of the first to write about the Christian religion while many of the apostles and Paul were still alive. He was critical of a religion that had to rely on just faith.
The practise of any form of medicine or surgery was beneath the status of noble families, so it is suspected that is where he is from as knowledge of medicine was usual among educated men, many of whom as head of the household practiced medicine on ill family members, slaves, and livestock.
Celsus could have been such a person. Neither the less, he studied extensively and knew both Greek and Roman.
Celsus adhered to the teachings of Hippocrates, and there are some that believe a lot of his writings are derived from Hippocrates works. He also advocated the value of anatomical dissection, in general however this was prohibited by the Roman and Greek religions.
It is believed he died in Rome at about 50 A.D.
Pliny the Elder and other great scholars of the first century-wrote with praise of Celsus, work which modern scholars call outstanding.

The Romans also discovered the signs and symptoms of inflammation.

These were:

Heat, Redness, Swelling, Pain and Loss of function


Time is a violent torrent; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place.62




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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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