Ancient Sports Medicine

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Re: Intro Cleopatra Aelia

Postby Horatius Piscinus on Mon May 14, 2007 1:01 pm

Salva sis, Cleo

Cleopatra Aelia wrote:Any questions on gladiators?


Sure. One of my areas of interest is ancient medical practices. I have noticed some comments in ancient sources of treatments for bruises and fractures that were used, or recommended for use, only on gladiators. What information might you have on medical treatments for gladiators?

There eventually developed a sort of hospital system in military camps. And the Temple of Asculapius on the Tiber Isle became a sort of hospital for slaves. Did there develop medical facilities that were specifically for gladiators?

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Postby Cleopatra Aelia on Mon May 14, 2007 9:26 pm

Salve mi Horati,

I'm not an expert on Ancient medicine and in respect to gladiators I know that they usually (at least at the big Imperial ludi) got good medical treatment. They were costly sportsstars so the lanista was interested in providing good medical care of his professional fighters.

The ludi presumably had a hospital section.

One of the most famous medici was Claudios Galenos who worked for a couple of years at a ludus gladiatorum in his hometown Pergamon before he became the personal physician of Marcus Aurelius. At the ludus he learned a lot about wound treatment, at least about those wounds common at a gladiator school.

For more about him check the Wikipedia article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudius_Galenus

I hope that at least answers your question a bit.
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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Wed May 16, 2007 4:09 am

Salve

Yes there is wikipedia. A site at U. of Virginia covers Greek and Roman medicine from Homer to Vesalius
http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/in ... /index.cfm

There are available on the Internet a few works by Hippocrates, by Celsus, Soranus' gynecology. The only work by Galen I have found thus far on line is his "On Natural Faculties." http://classics.mit.edu/Galen/natfac.html

Galen was perhaps the most prolific author on medical subjects in the ancient world, although much of what he wrote went up in smoke with the Temple of Pax. He also had a great influence on western medicine (European and Middle Eastern). A sad then that only one of his works would be online. But then I haven't done a thorough search yet. it would be good to see what he had to say on wounds.

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Postby Cleopatra Aelia on Fri May 25, 2007 8:35 pm

I found some notes on Galenos in the book “The World of the Gladiator“ by Susanna Shadrake:

He is the author of two important works, Ars Medica and de methodo medendi which remained standard reference work for generation. Galenos put heavy emphasis on the importance of diet, exercise and hygiene in the maintenance of good health. Working at the ludus gladiatorium in Pergamon gave him opportunities to study all kinds of anatomical conditions, wounds and other types of injuries, which he recorded so other medici could follow his work.

Galenos remarked that there was a surgical instrument called mochliskos which was used for levering fractured bones into position. The wounds occuring at a gladiatorial school were not only those of actual combat but also wounds inflicted during training with heavy shields and swords.

The bones of one particular gladiator found at the cemetary in Ephesos prove the excellent treatment of broken bones because the fracture had healed so perfectly with the help of physiotherapy that it is almost invisible to the naked eye.

Galenos advocated physiotherapy and masage and it is known that at the ludi were unctores and tractatores (both meaning masseurs) and these could have been women as well.

The diet of gladiators consisted mostly of barley, beans and dried fruit and only a little meat. This was proved by the examaniation of the Ephesian gladiator bones which showed a higher strontium concentration than zinc pointing hence to a more vegetarian diet.
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