History of medicine

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The history of medicine is the representation of the historical developments in medicine , including the biographies of people who influenced the medicine of their time.

Medical history and medical history are less common as synonyms .

Medicine in the ancient Orient and ancient Egypt

The study of the medical practices of the scriptless peoples of the Stone Age is the subject of paleopathology . The history of medicine in the narrower sense begins with the existence of text certificates.

The oldest writings on medicinal and magic substances, but also legal regulations for the medical profession, are known from the ancient Orient (legal code of the Hammurabi ). Herodotus' assertion that the Babylonians simply put their sick people in the market square and that everybody passing on tips for recovery can be refuted. As with most older concepts of illness , people in the ancient Orient also assumed that illness was caused by evil demons and punishing gods. In their forms of therapy, great emphasis was placed on restoring cultic purity.

Similar testimonies have been preserved from ancient Egypt . A specialty of medicine in ancient Egypt is the practice of mummification , which required considerable medical and conservation knowledge. In Egypt there was already a differentiated specialization among the healers, some of whom were also integrated into a hierarchy of medical officials.

History of European and Arabic Medicine



In ancient Greece , healing was initially in the hands of religious interpretive concepts and institutions ( Asklepiosmedizin , Asklepios , Epidauros ). However, at the end of the 5th century BC BC under the influence of the pre-Socratic natural philosophy ( Empedocles ) the so-called rational medicine, which is closely linked with the name of Hippocrates of Kos . In the 5th century BC In addition, medicine tried to differentiate itself from philosophy. The body was observed and, by influencing its composition (beginnings of humoral pathology ), attempts were made to support its self-healing.

During Hellenism , a large center for medical training and research was established in Alexandria , where various groups and theories emerged. Great ancient discoveries were mainly made during this time, as in the open climate there even sections on humans and animals were possible.

After Rome Greek medicine came late, but she sat down such despite reservations venerable Romans. B. Catos the Elder . The Greek healing cults were also adapted ( Aesculapius ). The medical staff from slaves to highly educated private doctors were mostly of Greek origin.

Aulus Cornelius Celsus († around 50 AD) was important for the establishment of Greek medicine in the Roman Empire , he wrote an eight-volume medical encyclopedia , which was used as a standard work of medicine until modern times. The doctor Galen of Pergamon († around 200 AD), who worked in Rome , saw himself as a hippocrat , but represented his own teaching. He developed Hippocrates' humoral pathology ("juice theory") into a theory of temperament , which remained important as a fundamental concept of illness until the 19th century.

In late antiquity after Galen and in Byzantine times , the knowledge acquired up to then was mainly collected and passed on. The medical writers of the Eastern Roman Empire up to 1453 ( conquest of Constantinople by the Turks) summarized mainly older writers in encyclopedias and organized their knowledge thematically in collective works. Little new was added to the scriptures. In the tradition of preserving the admired cultural assets of pagan antiquity, attempts were made to keep medicine free from Christian influences. It all started with Oreibasios , personal physician to Emperor Julian , who in the 4th century AD wrote the first medical compilation in 70 volumes.

middle Ages

The Arab medicine built on the ancient precursors. The Greek and Latin texts were partly handed down in the original, partly translated into Arabic. In the Arab world, ancient medicine flourished once again, as Arab or Arabic-speaking oriental doctors, building on it, also came to discoveries which, since the crusades in the 11th century, have been strengthened by returning crusaders in the West via the Christian-influenced neighboring regions Iberian Peninsula and southern Italy, spread out. The Arabs developed specialty and z. For example, hospitals of a quality that could only be found in the West in the 19th century. Some of the knowledge about Greek medicine that exists today was recorded in Arabic and later translated back into Greek. One of the most important doctors of this time was the Persian Avicenna , his script Qanun was considered a standard work of medicine since the 12th century . Also of importance was Rhazes , who also came from Persia and was one of the first exponents of a medicine based on experiments.

While the Byzantine and Arab medics preserved the ancient legacy, the medicine of the Western Middle Ages was quite untouched by any knowledge that had existed before. Only a few ancient Latin scripts survived, the Greek was lost. Only monastic herbalism was practiced, so that this section can be summarized as monastery medicine ( Hildegard von Bingen is outstanding ). It was not until the 13th century that influences of highly developed Arab medicine came to Central and Western Europe via Spain and the Moors . The Greek texts were made accessible again via Italy and the trade contacts there to Byzantium / Constantinople. The school of Salerno , which is considered to be one of the first medical universities in Europe, played a major role in the introduction of Greek-Arabic medical knowledge into the western world . Later on, an important medical school was established at the University of Ferrara .

Early modern age

After only reading the old authorities Galen , Celsus , Avicenna , Rhazes and Hippocrates according to the scholastic method for centuries, own knowledge and research gained in importance from the 15th and 16th centuries. Own observations and experiments called the authorities into question and led to new discoveries, especially in anatomy and physiology. With Vesalius it became increasingly common for anatomists in anatomical classes to carry out the sections themselves and no longer leave the manual work to a craft surgeon while they recited learned anatomical texts by Galen , Mondino, or other authorities.

From the 16th century, there were also first attempts to organize the learned doctors of a city in so-called Collegia medica , with the aim of doing better against the representatives of other medical professions, some of which were organized in guilds ( bathers , surgeons ) and against midwives and lay healers of all kinds that dominated the healer market.

Baroque medicine

Rembrandt (1632): The anatomy lecture of Dr. Nicolas Tulp

Under Baroque medicine refers to the medicine in the 17th and early 18th century, which is characterized among other things by a new way of dealing with the authorities and in a growing variety of medical theories and systems, emerged. It is true that essential elements of humoral pathology remained very powerful until the 19th century and continued to form the basis of ideas about the body and illness, especially in lay circles. In learned medicine, however, new perspectives emerged, such as Cartesianism , iatrochemistry , the school of Georg Ernst Stahl and, in the 18th century, vitalism .

In the 18th century, university medicine was able to further expand its social position. Through the Enlightenment and absolutism , the state and its population as high as possible became the subject of science, especially medicine ( Medicinische Policey ). In this context, the influence of university medicine continued to increase and successfully replace other professional groups. This includes B. Obstetrics , in which midwives were gradually being ousted by doctors in the larger cities. The surgery and dentistry were slowly baths and barbers withdrawn and the moving healers and verwissenschaftlicht.

Important representatives of this epoch of revitalization of the natural sciences were also non-medical professionals such as Francis Bacon , René Descartes and Antoni van Leeuwenhoek .

Romantic medicine

The 18th and the early 19th centuries were open to a wide variety of medical systems. New discoveries (e.g. the discovery of the nerves ) and subsequent theoretical systems of interpretation (e.g. Brownianism , animal magnetism ) were available in abundance. What we have in common is the idea of ​​a general life force . Towards the end of the 18th century, in the intellectual context of romanticism and German idealism , romantic medicine also emerged temporarily in Germany . This special trend was associated with a certain departure from the scientific principle.

19th century

The 19th century brought enormous advances in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases, primarily through developments in the natural sciences. So cell theory pointed the way to the development of histology and microscopic pathology. The pathologist Rudolf Virchow became through his teaching, according to which the cell is the location of the disease, a pioneer of a disease theory (" cellular pathology ") which is still recognized in scientific medicine today . It finally replaced the old idea of body fluids . The evolution theory formulated in biology increased the interest in comparative anatomy and physiology. Observations and experiments in the field of heredity led to the first insights into human genetics .

The successful control of puerperal fever through hygiene measures was the starting point for an important development in bacteriology and microbiology . Within a few decades, the pathogens of many previously hardly treatable diseases such as anthrax, diphtheria, tuberculosis, leprosy, plague, syphilis and gonorrhea were found.

Through consistent application of bacteriological findings in surgery ( antisepsis ), the mortality caused by wound infections has been greatly reduced. Another advance in surgery was the reintroduction of anesthesia . It was only through advances in these two areas that it became possible to develop surgery into a field that encompasses all regions of the body; many surgical techniques that are still relevant today were developed in the second half of the 19th century. The introduction of the “artificial blood evacuation” in 1873 by Friedrich von Esmarch enabled advances in surgery at the time.

Advances in physics and chemistry enabled new insights into the physiology of the nervous system, digestion, the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system and other metabolic functions. The discovery of X-rays (1895) and radioactivity (1898 by Marie Curie ) soon led to the first diagnostic and therapeutic applications ( radiology ) and considerable advances in knowledge. Nevertheless, there were numerous half-truths and a lot of unproven. For example, many doctors in the 18th and 19th centuries believed masturbation to be the cause of "youthful rebellion" and diseases such as epilepsy , "softening of the body and mind", hysteria and neuroses .

Early 19th century in the then scientific centers of Germany and Leipzig and Königsberg the psychology justified (see History of Psychology ). In 1896 Sigmund Freud used the term psychoanalysis for the first time . Freud's work helped to remove taboos from sexual issues .

From the 19th century there was an increased specialization of the medical sub-disciplines. The pioneer of this development was the Medical Faculty of the University of Würzburg, where the subjects of gynecology, physiology and pathology, for example, became independent at an early stage.

In the history of medicine - similar to the history of technology - there were phases and regions in which there was a particularly pronounced belief in progress or a progress euphoria. This encouraged doctors to try new areas in an unreflective and overestimating way. For example, doctors increasingly declared themselves responsible or responsible for determining the “true gender” of hermaphrodites ; they operated on their genital organs.

20th and 21st centuries

History of Associated Health Professions

Obstetrics , pharmacy and nursing have shaped the history of medicine for centuries. It was not until the 20th century that these areas of expertise emerged as independent disciplines.

See also



Current presentations of medical history
  • Wolfgang U. Eckart , Robert Jütte : Medical history. An introduction , Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-8252-2903-0
  • Wolfgang U. Eckart: History, theory and ethics of medicine . 7th completely revised edition [as print and e-book version]. Springer, 2013. ISBN 978-3-642-34971-3
  • Wolfgang U. Eckart: History of medicine. 3rd, revised edition. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg etc. 1998, ISBN 3-540-63756-7 .
  • Esther Fischer-Homberger : History of Medicine. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 1975; 2nd edition ibid 1977, ISBN 3-540-07225-X .
  • Roy Porter : The Greatest Benefit to Mankind. A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present. HarperCollins, London 1997, ISBN 0-00-215173-1 (In German: The Art of Healing. A Medical History of Mankind from Antiquity to Today. Translated from English by Jorunn Wißmann. Spectrum - Academic Publishing House, Heidelberg / Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-8274-0472-X ; new edition: Hohe, 2007, ISBN 3-86756-071-4 .)
  • Erwin H. Ackerknecht : History of Medicine . 4th revised edition of Brief History of Medicine (Stuttgart 1959), Enke, Stuttgart 1979, ISBN 3-432-80034-7 ; 7th edition, edited by Axel Hinrich Murken : ibid 1992.
  • Josef Domes, Werner E. Gerabek, Bernhard D. Haage, Christoph Weißer, Volker Zimmermann (eds.): Light of nature. Medicine in specialist literature and poetry. Festschrift for Gundolf Keil on his 60th birthday. Göppingen 1994 (= Göppinger works on German studies. Volume 585).
  • Lois Magner: A history of medicine. 2nd Edition. Boca Raton 2005.
Older representations of the history of medicine
  • Ewald Banse : The medicine of primitive peoples. Ethnological contributions to the prehistory of medicine . Th. Grieben's Verlag (L. Fernau), Leipzig 1893 digitized .
  • August Friedrich Hecker : The healing art on its way to certainty, or the theories, systems and healing methods of doctors from Hippocrates up to our times. Henning, Erfurt 1802 (digitized) , 2nd, improved edition 1805 (digitized) , 3rd edition Vienna 1813, 4th edition 1819.
  • Richard Toellner (Hrsg.): Illustrated history of medicine. (Jean-Charles Sournia, Jacques Poulet, Marcel Martiny: Histoire de la médicine, de la pharmacie, de l'art dentaire et de l'art vétérinaire. Ed. By Albin Michel-Laffont-Tchou and colleagues, Paris 1977–1980, 8 volumes) German adaptation by Richard Toellner with the collaboration of Wolfgang Eckart , Nelly Tsouyopoulos , Axel Hinrich Murken and Peter Hucklenbroich, 9 volumes, Salzburg 1980–1982; also as a special edition in six volumes, ibid. 1986.
  • Max Bartels: Medicine of the primitive peoples. Prehistory of Medicine . Th. Grieben's Verlag Leipzig 1893, Reprint: Leipzig, ISBN 3-8262-0204-X .
  • Paul Diepgen : History of Medicine. The historical development of medicine and medical life. Berlin (and New York), volume. 1: 1949, Volume 2.1: 1951 ( From Enlightenment Medicine to the Founding of Cellular Pathology (approx. 1740 - approx. 1858). ), Volume 2.2: 1955.
  • Douglas Guthrie: A History of Medicine. London 1945; German: The development of medicine. Zurich 1952.
  • Jean Starobinski : History of Medicine , Édition Rencontre, Lausanne 1963
  • Heinrich Haeser : Textbook of the history of medicine. 3. Edition. Gustav Fischer, Jena 1875–1882.
  • August Hirsch : Handbook of historical-geographical pathology. [The classic of global geographic medicine]. Volume 1: The general acute infectious diseases. Ferdinand Enke Verlag, 2nd completely new version, Stuttgart 1881. - Read online: [1] ; pdf download: [2]
  • August Hirsch : Handbook of historical-geographical pathology. [The classic of global geographic medicine]. Volume 3: The Organ Diseases. Ferdinand Enke Verlag, 2nd completely new version, Stuttgart 1886. - Read online: [3] ; pdf download: [4]
  • Charles Lichtenthaeler : History of Medicine. 3rd edition Cologne-Lövenich 1982.
  • Alexander Mette, Irena Winter: History of Medicine. Berlin 1968.
  • Max Neuburger , Julius Pagel (ed.): Handbook of the history of medicine. Volume 1: Antiquity and the Middle Ages (780 pages). Gustav Fischer Verlag, Jena 1902. - Read online: [5] ; pdf download: [6]
  • Max Neuburger, Julius Pagel (ed.): Handbook of the history of medicine. Volume 2: Modern Medicine (980 pages). Gustav Fischer Verlag, Jena 1903. - Read online: [7] ; pdf download: [8]
  • Max Neuburger, Julius Pagel (ed.): Handbook of the history of medicine. Volume 3: History of the individual disciplines (1168 pages). Gustav Fischer Verlag, Jena 1905. - Read online: [9] ; pdf download: [10]
  • Julius Leopold Pagel : (Introduction to) the history of medicine. 1898.
  • Hermann Peters: The doctor and the art of healing in the German past. Leipzig 1900.
  • Hugo Schad, Heinrich Schipperges, Albrecht Zimmermann: Medicine in History and Art (Collection of Dutch Masters of the District Medical Association of North Württemberg). Boehringer Mannheim, Stuttgart-Degerloch o. J.
  • Hans Schadewaldt among other things: Art and medicine. Cologne 1967.
  • Henry E. Sigerist : Great Doctors. History of medicine in pictures of life. 4th edition. Munich 1959.
  • Karl Sudhoff : Short Handbook of the History of Medicine . [3. and 4th ed. by JL Pagels "Introduction to the History of Medicine" (1898)]. S. Karger, Berlin 1922. - Read online: [11]
  • Gerhard Baader : The beginnings of medical training in the West up to 1100. In: La scuola nell'occidente latino dell'alto medioevo. Spoleto 1972 (= Settimane di studio del Centro italiano di studi sull'alto medioevo , 19.2), pp. 669-718 and 725-742.
Lexicons and dictionaries of the history of medicine
  • René Dumesnil, Hans Schadewaldt (ed.): The famous doctors. 2nd edition Cologne 1960.
  • Wolfgang U. Eckart u. a. (Ed.): Doctors Lexicon. From antiquity to the present (1995, 3rd edition, 2006)
  • Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Encyclopedia of medical history . De Gruyter, Berlin (2004) 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 ; 2nd edition in three volumes in 2007.
  • August Hirsch , Ernst Julius Gurlt (Hrsg.): Biographical lexicon of outstanding doctors of all times and peoples. Vienna / Leipzig 1884–1888; 2nd edition, edited by Wilhelm Haberling , Franz Hübotter and Hermann Vierordt, Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin / Vienna 1929–1935.
  • Karl-Heinz Leven (Hrsg.): Ancient medicine. A lexicon. CH Beck, Munich 2005.
  • Bernhard Mayrhofer: Short dictionary on the history of medicine. Gustav Fischer, Jena 1937.

Web links

Wikisource: Medicine  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Jutta Kollesch , Diethard Nickel : Ancient healing art. Selected texts from the medical writings of the Greeks and Romans. Philipp Reclam jun., Leipzig 1979 (= Reclams Universal Library. Volume 771); 6th edition ibid 1989, ISBN 3-379-00411-1 , p. 14.
  2. Kay Peter Jankrift : Crusades. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 806 f.
  3. Ladislao Münster: The University of Ferrara and the heyday of its medical school in the 15th and 16th centuries. In: The Grünenthal balance. Volume 7, Issue 2, Aachen 1968.
  4. ^ Susanne Hahn: Baroque medicine. In: Werner E. Gerabek, Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil, Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , pp. 139-146.
  5. ^ F. Hartmann: Medicine of the Enlightenment. In: R. Enskat (ed.): Science and Enlightenment. Opladen 1997, pp. 31-73.
  6. Urs Boschung : Enlightenment medicine. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , pp. 117–121.
  7. Ferdinand Sauerbruch : Lecture ("Description of the history of surgery, its position in the present and the importance of this branch of medicine"), given in the Prussian Academy of Sciences. In: Hans Rudolf Berndorff : A life for surgery. Obituary for Ferdinand Sauerbruch. In: Ferdinand Sauerbruch: That was my life. Kindler & Schiermeyer, Bad Wörishofen 1951 (with an appendix by Hans Rudolf Berndorff); several new editions, e.g. licensed edition for Bertelsmann Lesering, Gütersloh 1956, pp. 456–478, here: pp. 460–478, p. 469.
  8. ^ Heinz Otremba: Rudolf Virchow. Founder of cellular pathology. A documentation. Echter-Verlag, Würzburg 1991, p. 18 f.
  9. spiegel.de: And God created the third gender (2007)