Research and Analysis



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How did ancient Greek and Roman medical knowledge and procedures lay the foundation for our modern practices?

A


Research and Analysis

Demonstrates well-considered definition and development of a point of view in designing an open ended question (e.g. how) although the topic is not controversial and may lead to description or narration rather than analysis. The introduction clearly outlines the thesis statement or central contention.


lthough modernised and built upon to suit our ever-changing society, many events, practices and traditions that were begun years, decades and centuries ago are still continued today. This is true of the ancient Roman and Greek medical practices that have laid the foundations of medicine and medical practices that we utilise today. Although medical procedures initially involved casting spells and praying to Apollo and other gods, they grew to become more precise as knowledge of the human anatomy increased. After persons such as Hippocrates and Asciepiades, practitioners were able to use the earlier discoveries to acquire a more detailed knowledge of plant uses, surgical procedures and prognosis of diseases.
Hippocrates was well known for his contributions towards medical knowledge, and much of his research has been acknowledged and is still applied today. His work Fractures, Dislocations, and Wounds, contains large amounts of information relevant to our modern understanding of medical practice. The work of such ancient people has allowed others to learn and add to that knowledge, resulting in the awareness of medical information that we base our practices on today. Hippocrates' research was so accurate and advanced for his age that some people believe that 'if we did not have access to anaesthetics and muscle relaxing drugs today we would probably be using Hippocrates' methods' (Loannides, 1999). Hippocrates' findings were documented and used for centuries after his death, and from his research, the knowledge of the human anatomy and treatment of such injuries has compiled into what we know and practise today.

A


Knowledge and Understanding

Demonstrates well-considered knowledge and understanding of selected ideas (e.g. Hippocratic Oath), individuals (e.g. Hippocrates) and groups (e.g. physicians) of the classical world.


n aspect of medical practice that ancient societies began is the ethical standards of the profession. The well-known 'Hippocratic Oath' details the values and responsibilities of physicians. This oath is still sworn by doctors today, as the ancient principle to 'work with purity and with holiness' (Hippocrates) is also relevant to our modern codes of practice. Just as present day doctors do, ancient practitioners were subject to work 'for the benefit of the sick' (Hippocrates). These standards are still applicable, illustrating how ancient beliefs and ethics have begun the basis of our modern ethical standards.

T


Knowledge and Understanding Demonstrates well-informed recognition of, and thoughtful reflection on, the diversity of beliefs about clinical and religious techniques in Greek medical practice.
he ancient Greeks first laid the basis of surgery and scientific medicine that we employ today. It was once believed a persons health was controlled entirely by the gods, as it was their fate. This religious belief was not completely disregarded when clinical methods were introduced, resulting in treatments combining both religious and clinical procedures. However, ancient practitioners later challenged the belief that all illnesses could be attributed to the gods. Those who chose to practice clinically began to observe and analyse patients in attempt to heal them medically, relying less on supernatural cures. The Greeks' `detailed knowledge of anatomy and its functions led to many surgical operations in line with success rates enjoyed in the modem era' (Viggen, 2005), illustrating their understanding of the subject and extent to which they had benefited from the clinical methods. As there were opposing methods of treatment — clinical and religious, there was competition for patients and between the two techniques. This is similar to the contest between our modern clinical and natural methods, although during both eras, these different treatments also often worked together. This clinical approach made later civilisations, which over time became our modem society, realise the more effective, scientific practices in medicine.
C
Communication

Demonstrates well-considered selection and integration of source materials through making reference to ideas in texts and direct quotes from sources.


linical methods discovered in ancient times that are still used today also had another benefit. When the ancient Greeks realised clinical treatment was valuable, they began to expand on their knowledge of environmental factors that could cause disease. They developed knowledge about causes of diseases and as result could then predict the course of a disease or illness by observing a patient's early symptoms. Hippocrates believed it was a 'most excellent thing for the physician to cultivate Prognosis; for by foreseeing and foretelling, in the presence of the sick, ...he will manage the cure best' (Hippocrates, Book of Prognostics). By realising that environmental conditions were the origin of some illnesses, they were able to reduce the chances of these contaminating people, and therefore develop ways to alleviate and possibly cure them. This clinical method of diagnosing causes and diseases has been carried on today, allowing us to deal with illnesses more appropriately.

As clinical methods did, some natural therapies used to treat ailments in ancient Greek and Roman times began the foundations of modern medicine. Many of these are still used widely today. The Greeks discovered numerous plant extracts that they could use to treat and alleviate illnesses. These early discoveries of the narcotic and stimulating properties of certain plants have been acknowledged and over fifty are still used toady. One plant extract that the ancient world discovered is 'digitalis', derived from foxglove and used 'to treat epilepsy, coughs, and swollen glands' (Norcross, 2005). It is still used commonly to increase the activity of all forms of muscle tissue-mostly the heart, after the ancient practitioners later discovered its stimulating properties. Another plant used in ancient times that is still useful to us is 'Hypericium' (St John's Wort). Hippocrates, Pliny and Galen were all said to have `not(ed) its uses as a vulnerary, diuretic, (and in treating) neuralgic conditions' (American Botanical Council, 2005). From observing ancient records, its usefulness to the earlier civilisations becomes evident, which began investigations into whether it can be clinically useful in our present day. Hypericium is now used widely as an anti-depressant. This use of plants has allowed our modern world to realise the potential of many naturally occurring substances from flora that contain the ability to ease or even cure ailments. Again it is evident that our modem medicines have been based on and developed further from ancient medical discoveries.


Apart from herbal remedies, there are other ways of dealing with illnesses in our modern society that don't involve medication or surgery, as some ancient persons practiced. The first Greek physician to exercise medical practices in Rome was Asclepiades. As many people do these days, he didn't believe drugs and surgery were the best ways to heal an ill person. Instead he aimed for the 'restoration of harmony' and believed 'changes of diet, massages, bathing and exercise' (Asclepiades) would benefit an ill person. To achieve this he recommended regular bathing, change of diet and exercise to replace drugs. These simple lifestyle changes are recognised as some of our present day recommendations for good health. Asclepiades' belief has been accepted, proven effective in cases such as decreasing the chances of cardiovascular disease, and expanded on to work towards the prevention and alleviation of many sicknesses today.

O


Research and Analysis.

Demonstrates generally sound and balanced research into primary sources (e.g. Soranus) and secondary sources (e.g. Borges) although they all support the contention and there is no attempt to seek divergent views or assess the relative contributions of the Greeks and the Romans.


n their knowledge of surgical, herbal and physical remedies, the ancient Romans founded many procedures, including some that are practiced more often today than when the Romans first used them. One ancient method, which was then best described as having a baby 'cut out of its mother' is the caesarean section. In ancient Rome its purpose was to save the child in interest of expanding the population. Usually if a birth resulted in caesarean section, the mother had already died. Today we still use this surgery, but in hopes of saving both mother and child from discomfort, injury and death. Again, it is easy to recognise how the ancient Romans had begun the procedures and knowledge of current medical practises.
The midwife we know today also originated from ancient times. When allowed to pursue a career in medicine, women tended to confine themselves to midwifery or nursing. It was customary for the woman of the house to be assisted by her slaves when giving birth. From this tradition, the occupation of a midwife began as women started to travel with their equipment to `the home where the delivery was to take place' (Soranus), as a doctor did. The midwife as we know it today has very similar duties to the ancient midwife such as helping and reassuring the mother, applying medical knowledge to the labour, and ultimately delivering the baby if a caesarean section was not required. This occupation established the acceptance of females in the work force. The ancient midwife had begun a new aspect of medical treatments, founding the modern midwife of today.

It was the Romans who founded the concept of keeping the sick and injured in a common place. Rome didn't have hospitals as such, their military 'hospitals' resembles our modem hospice the most, but they devoted buildings and places for the sick and dying. Temples where the sick would go to pray for a cure were available, and there were houses for the ill, although their main aim was to keep the sick off the streets. Some rich estates might have a valetudinaria- an area assigned for keeping ill slaves to be treated isolated from the family. There were some small residences that allowed physicians to temporarily house and observe their patients, as excavations have shown houses structured 'much like today's nursing home' (Borges, 2004). These ancient housings began the idea of constructing a place where all patients can be treated and kept for procedures and observations- our present day hospital.

A
Knowledge and Understanding

Demonstrates well-considered selection and application of factual knowledge about artefacts such as ancient scalpels, hooks and other tools used in surgery in the classical world.


t the excavation sites of the 'hospitals', tools the ancient practitioners used were discovered and found to be similar to those still used today. A common implement used by both ancient and modern surgeons is the scalpel. The ancient scalpels differ only from our modern ones by the materials they were made of- bronze, brass, iron and steel, whereas our modern scalpels are made completely of stainless steel. These devices were crucial in almost every surgical procedure, and are still considered necessary in modern surgery.Hooks were also used widely in surgery as they are today. Modern doctors even use the same kinds of hooks the ancient practitioners did-sharp hooks to hold and lift tissues and blunt hooks to probe. An interesting fact is that 'many of (the tools) have the same names and uses today (Burges, 2004), illustrating the extent to which we have continued to use what the ancient societies did. The excavation of these ancient tools and the records of their uses and benefits in surgery began the development of the implements to better suit our modern requirements.
Ancient tools were not only used for surgery of the ill, but also for procedures on those wishing to change a physical trait, as many people still desire to do today. The reasons for cosmetic surgery in ancient Rome compared to our present day vary slightly, yet some haven't changed. As we are, the Romans were able to have 'excess skin or tissues ... trimmed from various parts to improve (their) appearance' (Viggen, 2005). Freed slaves were common customers for the procedures available, as they could have their branding removed, as many modern people do with have unwanted scars or marks. Although the process for removing brands has not been found documented, it is assumed the branded area of skin would be cut away and the edges from the cut sewn up again, or their brand was burnt until made unrecognisable (Burges, 2004). What began with a few, relatively simple procedures in ancient Rome has expanded in our modem society due to huge demand for the numerous surgeries.

The influence and foundations of ancient Greek and Roman societies on our modem medical practices and medications is evident. After religious healing of the sick lessened and clinical treatments were introduced, many new procedures were incorporated into the ancient medical practice that founded what we call our medical system today. Their tools, study and even some of their natural remedies are still applicable now, illustrating their researched knowledge and many accurate anatomical discoveries. By examining the ancient societies' ways of procedures, equipment and the early practitioners recorded findings, it becomes apparent that our medical knowledge and practices were first developed over two thousand centuries ago.


Biblioqraphv

Antonis Loaniddes 1999 Ancient Medicine URL: www.wellcome.ac.uk (date accessed 25 October 2008)

Hippocratic oath quotes from:

Lloyd, G.E. 1978 Hippocratic Writings, Cornelle Uni Press, Aylesbury (date accessed 15 Septmeber 2008)

Hippocrates 400 B.CE The Book of Prognostics, translated by Francis Adams, 2000 (date accessed 5 July 2008)

D Viggen 2003-2005 Roman Empire URL: vvww.UNRV.com.au (date accessed 15 September 2008)

D Norcross 2005 Herb Garden URL: www.norcrossws.orq (date accessed 5 July 2008)

American Botanical Council 2005 Medicinal Bed URL: www.herbalgram.org (date accessed 5 July 2008)

Lexico Publishing Group 2004 Asclepiades of Bithynia URL: www.reference.com (date accessed 15 September 2008)

Stephanie Doerfler 2003 Contraception and Abortion URL: www.ancienthistory.about.com (date accessed 16 August 2008)

Inforrnation from Soranus (38) through:

Valerie French 2003 Midwives and Maternity Care URL: www.members.tripod.com (date accessed 18 August 2008)

Howard Markel 2004 History of Medicine URL: www.scienceweek.com (date accessed 15 August 2008)

L Burges 2004 Roman Medicine URL: www.afe.com.au (date accessed 18 August 2008)



Additional Comments:

  • This essay demonstrates clear and relevant communication of an informed argument using appropriate examples.

  • The argument is developed logically as each paragraph in the body of the essay introduces a new idea from classical times which has influenced modern medicine, and elaborates with examples and supporting evidence from sources.

  • There is a well informed application of relevant terms (e.g. medical terms), concepts (e.g. natural remedies, anatomical discoveries) and historical literary skills, including research skills and connecting the past with the world today.



Performance Standards for Stage 2 Classical Studies




Knowledge and Understanding

Research and Analysis

Communication

A

In-depth knowledge and critical understanding of selected texts, ideas, individuals, groups, institutions, practices, events, and artefacts of the classical world.

Discerning selection and application of factual knowledge that demonstrates critical understanding of the civilisations of Greece and/or Rome.

Discerning and well-informed recognition of, and insightful reflection on, the diversity of attitudes, beliefs, and values in the classical world.


Extensive and balanced research into primary and secondary sources, including literary text(s).

Incisive critical analysis and synthesis of, and reflection on, research.

Selective recognition and controlled application of relevant terms, concepts, and skills, including skills of historical literacy.

Comprehensive definition and development of a point of view.



Clear, logical, coherent, and controlled communication of informed argument using appropriate examples and ideas.

Astute and selective integration and acknowledgement of source material.

Fluent and lucid explanation of ideas using a range of forms.


B

Well-considered knowledge and understanding of selected texts, ideas, individuals, groups, institutions, practices, events, and artefacts of the classical world.

Well-considered selection and application of factual knowledge that demonstrates well-informed understanding of the civilisations of Greece and/or Rome.

Well-informed recognition of, and thoughtful reflection on, the diversity of attitudes, beliefs, and values in the classical world.

Sound research, with breadth and balance, into primary and secondary sources, including literary text(s).

Well-informed critical analysis and synthesis of, and reflection on, research.

Well-informed recognition and application of relevant terms, concepts, and skills, including skills of historical literacy.

Well-considered definition and development of a point of view.

Clear and relevant communication of informed argument using mostly appropriate examples and ideas.

Well-considered selection and integration and acknowledgement of source material.

Mostly clear and thoughtful explanation of ideas using a range of forms.

C

Appropriate knowledge and understanding of selected texts, ideas, individuals, groups, institutions, practices, events, and artefacts of the classical world.

Competent selection and application of factual knowledge that demonstrates informed understanding of the civilisations of Greece and/or Rome.

Competent recognition of, and reflection on, the diversity of attitudes, beliefs, and values in the classical world.


Generally sound and balanced research into primary and secondary sources, including literary text(s).

Competent critical analysis and synthesis of, and reflection on, research.

Appropriate recognition and application of relevant terms, concepts, and skills, including skills of historical literacy.

Competent definition and development of a point of view.



Generally clear and reasonably accurate communication of informed argument using mostly appropriate examples and ideas.

Appropriate integration and acknowledgement of source material.

Generally clear explanation of ideas using some different forms.


D

Recognition and some understanding of texts, ideas, individuals, groups, institutions, practices, events, and artefacts of the classical world.

Selection and application of aspects of factual knowledge that demonstrate some understanding of the civilisations of Greece and/or Rome.

Some recognition, and superficial consideration, of some attitudes, beliefs, and values in the classical world.


Superficial research into primary and secondary sources, including literary text(s).

Superficial analysis and description of research.

Basic recognition and application of relevant terms, concepts, and skills, including skills of historical literacy.

Some definition, and partial development, of a point of view.



Superficial argument using limited examples and ideas.

Some integration of descriptions of source material; acknowledgment of sources and tending mostly towards description.

Attempted explanation of ideas using one or more forms.


E

Some awareness of aspects of one or more texts, ideas, individuals, groups, institutions, practices, events, or artefacts of the classical world.

Attempted selection and application of aspects of factual knowledge that demonstrate some awareness of the civilisations of Greece and/or Rome.

Attempted description of one or more aspects of attitudes, beliefs, and values in the classical world.


Limited research into primary and secondary sources, including literary text(s).

Limited description of research.

Attempted use of some relevant terms, concepts, and skills, including skills of historical literacy.

Attempted development of a point of view.



Some attempts at argument using few examples and ideas.

Limited integration of descriptions of source material and acknowledgment of sources.

Description of one or more ideas.




Page of Stage 2 Classical Studies annotated student work

Ref: A200281 (revised January 2013)



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