Head and Limbs

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI:
Head and Limbs

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This chapter focuses on the expansion of the Roman Empire that produced a totally different outcome. Rome annexed lands that previously lay outside of its own cultural inheritance. Ethnic and cultural differences thus remained under the rule of Rome. The sense of exchange among equal, individual parts that had emerged in China after unification never came into being in Rome. Asclepiades and his followers saw the model image in the basic structures of the Roman Empire and they projected it onto their image of the healthy and sick body. It was the political and economic reality, not the expressive power of the human organism that was the impulse for their thoughts. Themison of Laodicea and others founded the school of the Methodists. They now dominated therapeutics theory and possessed two further advantages. One of the advantages was that the doctrine was simple. Asclepiades was not interested in hidden causes and he wanted nothing to do with anatomy. He was completely opposed to the interpretation of life processes. Another was that the therapy was congenial and convincing.

Keywords: Roman Empire; cultural inheritance; human organism; school of the Methodists; therapeutics theory; life processes

Chapter.  685 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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