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February 1964

The Transitions From Ancient Egyptian Greek Medicine.

Arch Intern Med. 1964;113(2):297. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.00280080133024

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Will Durant once remarked, "When Athena was born in full development and armament from the head of Zeus, she provided the literature of the world with one of its most hackneyed similes." Yet, this simile does express the view that scholars at one time held regarding Greek civilization—that it sprang into the universe like a comet, without forbears—a kind of spontaneous generation. Since the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics, Assyrian cuneiform, and other ancient languages, we have learned that Greece was not the beginning but a stage in the development of human knowledge. We have seen the great debt Greece owed to Babylonian astronomy and to Egyptian mathematics and medicine.

In this delightful lecture, Dr. Saunders reviews the debt Greek medicine owed to Egypt both in its concepts of disease and in the disease pictures recognized by the ancient Egyptians—the symptoms and clinical findings. The author points out that the humoral

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