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What Is Medicine?Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing$
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Paul Unschuld

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257658

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257658.001.0001

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Greek Medicine and Roman Incomprehension

Greek Medicine and Roman Incomprehension

33 Greek Medicine and Roman Incomprehension
What Is Medicine?

Paul U. Unschuld

University of California Press

The political and cultural center shifted and for the second time it was Rome that attracted Greek physicians. Greek physicians brought with them their renowned medicine but it was not at all convincing to the Romans. The Romans never had the model image that had lent plausibility to the theories of the Greeks. Greek medicine was a foreign idea to the Romans and with it they could make no associations. The theories themselves, convincing as they had been in Greece, initially had no meaning for the Romans, and even provoked aversion. The Roman censor Marcus Porcius Cato led the anti-Greek opinion. He and his son shared his view of true therapeutics. His personal worldview, evidently shared by most Romans, was the model image for nonmedical therapeutics. He did not share the Greek worldview of the polis democracy that had existed two or three centuries before. The Pandora's box had already been opened in Greece, and now many creations flowed from it into Rome.

Keywords:   Greek physicians, Greek medicine, nonmedical therapeutics, polis democracy, Pandora's box, humoral doctrine

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