Archives of Medicine and Health Sciences

: 2015  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 159-

Glimpses under the history of medicine

Abhay B Mane 
 Department of Community Medicine, Smt. Kashibai Navale Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Abhay B Mane
Department of Community Medicine, Smt. Kashibai Navale Medical College, Narhe, Pune - 411 041, Maharashtra

How to cite this article:
Mane AB. Glimpses under the history of medicine.Arch Med Health Sci 2015;3:159-159

How to cite this URL:
Mane AB. Glimpses under the history of medicine. Arch Med Health Sci [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Mar 30 ];3:159-159
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The recently published article on "Glimpses under the history of medicine" is very informative and gives a detail account on the developments of different system of medicine in ancient times. [1] The author has given in detail the milestones in each system of medicine. This is a classical article on history of medicine taking into account the various system of medicine and the principle on which it were based. The author has given the developments and contributions of each in the progress of the medicine. Even in the absence of scientific evidence based knowledge, ancient practitioners contributed to the alleviation of man's suffering from disease. Each system went into a golden age with advances and progress. One such glimpse under the history of medicine would be the "Dark Ages of Medicine" is the period between 500 and 1400 AD. [2] The author has not highlighted this aspect in the history of medicine. The Dark Ages are known to be a time of intellectual and societal stagnation throughout much of Europe and we rarely hear about any advances in medicine during this time. The Fall of Rome to the Goths in 476 is often cited as marking the beginning of the Middle Ages. The new direction to the medical thoughts contributed by Egyptian, Greek, Mesopotamian and Roman medicine suffered a setback in the dark or middle ages. [3] The practice of medicine till then was based on observations and reasoning. While the Ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians had pushed forward medical knowledge, after the demise of these civilizations, the momentum started by these people tended to stagnate. The practice of medicine reverted back to the primitive medicine based on supernatural theory of disease. Much of the Physicians labor was devoted to such unscientific techniques as prayer, the laying on of hands, exorcising, use of amulets with sacred engravings, holy oil, relics of the saints, and other elements of supernaturalism and superstition. [4] The medical schools established during Roman Empire disappeared slowly. The whole of Europe was ravaged by infectious diseases like smallpox, plague, leprosy and tuberculosis. Dissection of the human body was prohibited and glorification of the spirit became the accepted pattern of behavior. Many well-developed ancient medical procedures, especially surgical, were lost. [5] Primitive medicine is timeless with the rudiments of it still being practiced in many parts of world including India. These factors were the roadblocks in the control of many diseases like leprosy interpreted as a curse of God for one's sin in past. A history of medicine is a review of achievements, errors, false theories, misinformation and mistaken interpretations.


1Chandramohan P. Glimpses under the history of medicine. Arch Med Health Sci 2014;2:100-5.
2Park K. Man and Medicine. In: Park′s Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine. 22 nd ed. Jabalpur: M/s Banarsidas Bhanot Publishers; 2013.
3Mommsen TE. Petrarch′s Conception of the ′Dark Ages′. Speculum 1942;17:226-42.
4Medicine in the Middle Ages. History Learning 2005. Available from: [Last accessed on 2014 Aug 20].
5Cruse JM. History of medicine: The metamorphosis of scientific medicine in the ever-present past. Am J Med Sci 1999;318:171-80.