Ancient Medicine was based on Belief in the Supernatural. Is this true? (What evidence is there to support this statement?)

Essay by SpacechimpJunior High, 9th gradeA-, March 2004

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Ancient medicine covers medicine through Prehistoric, Egyptian, Greek and Roman times.

Religion and belief in the supernatural were key factors in the development of ancient medicine. They influenced the way that people thought and the way in which they lived their lives. The supernatural could be used to explain aspects of medicine that people didn't understand at that time. Not everything was blamed on the supernatural, people did have some natural ideas about medicine and it's causes and treatments.

As the prehistoric age was a long time ago and no written language had been developed at the time it is difficult to get much evidence from this period. We do however know that trepanning was common practice. This was when a small hole was drilled into the patient's head to release evil spirits that were believed to be the cause of the patient's bad health. Spirits were often thought to be the source of illness and disease in prehistoric times.

People had a variety of ways to keep evil spirits away and these included wearing charms, casting spells and chanting. A witchdoctor or medicine man would usually cast spells and chants. It was also believed that if somebody pointed a pointing bone at you they were taking you're spirit away and this was also believed to bring you bad health.

Despite this belief in spirits and the supernatural the prehistoric people did have some basic natural treatments and cures. These natural cures would be used if the causes of the injuries or illnesses were known. For example if somebody had broken a limb it would be treated with splints and cast in clay.

In Ancient Egypt people believed in a number of Gods. These included the God of healing, the God who gave doctors the ability to cure people and...