Medicine in the Ancient World

Discover medicine – from scalpels, retractors to scissors and tools, we have a large selection for you!

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Roman Medicine and Medical Instruments of Antiquity

The Romans knew already how to help with appropriate utensils to deal with injuries: medical instruments like retractors, scalpels with different blades or tweezers have been recreated by the Roman Shop for you to explore antique medicine. The are modelled according to archaeological finds and are cast so that they fully functionable.

In this section you will find typical Roman scalpels in various sizes, with sharp or round blades, tools which were used throughout the entire ancient world. Their design is extremely well thought out and some of these ancient medical instruments are still in use today.

Well thought out technology in ancient medicine

Already in the ancient times one used a scalpel which allowed the change of its blade. It contained a blade holder that was specifically manufactured for this purpose in specialized Roman workshops. In its cylindrical recess two metal blades were blocked with bracket, so that the inserted blades could not fell out from the bottom of the shaft.

Roman Hospital?

Institutes for public medical treatment looked different, compared to our modern hospitals. And yet, medical care was not solely a private matter. We know of Temples of the God of Aesculap, for example, where people were treated, spend nights to dream, got dream interpretations and alike. In other places of healing the nymphs lived where their priestesses and priests looked after people with diseases. Who needed the doctor, also could attend to his practice or ask him to see him in the home of the sick person. A special case was the military. The Augustan scholar of C. Julius Hyginus tells us that every major Roman military castle had its own hospital.

The valetudinarium, however, refers to a different context: as the large Roman estate farms of the Imperial period, the so-called latifundia, needed a great number of slaves, who were doing the work in the fields or in the household, they needed a place for the sick and exhausted slaves, as the replacement of slaves was highly expensive, hence it was cheaper for the owner to provide the slaves with rest stations, valetudinaria called.