Treatment of Diseases in the Byzantine Era

Introduction: During the Byzantine Empire (330-1453), medical knowledge and practice, based on ancient traditions, gradually evolved and were improved upon by the Byzantine physicians and applied throughout the Byzantine territory. The Byzantine medicine was not only related to the prevention and diagnosis of disease but also targeted treatment and rehabilitation. Aim: To explore methods of healing and practices related to rehabilitation during the Byzantine era. Method: Literature search was made from December 2012 until May 2013 for Greek and international literature, mainly in the databases PubMed and TLG, and selected articles and texts were retrieved by the method “hand search”. Results: According to the selected literature, a large number of diseases were already known in the Byzantine period. The main diseases covered by Byzantine medicine were: Diseases of the blood, gastrointestinal disease, gynaecological conditions, dermatological and endocrine conditions, cardiac, neurological and kidney diseases, malignancies, orthopedic problems, paediatric diseases, pulmonary, rheumatological, and infectious diseases, etc. For the management of these conditions a variety of specialized therapeutic interventions and practices were available, aimed at healing and rehabilitation of the sufferers. In addition to specific medication, the healing methods included sanitary and dietary intervention and physiotherapy, which were often common for several health problems. Conclusions: With modifications of the ancient therapeutic practices, the traditions of healing of diseases persisted and evolved in Byzantine medicine and were implemented throughout the empire. The evolution of medical practice under the Byzantine doctors gradually promoted the quality of treatment and improved the health status and survival of the inhabitants of the Byzantine territory.

Category: Volume 53, N 4
Hits: 23 Hits
Created Date: 15-12-2014
Authors: Nicolaos Stavrakakis