Chapter

The Wheel of Progress Turns No More

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257658.003.0040
The Wheel of Progress Turns No More

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The medicine that had developed from the pre-Socratic philosophers of nature and which had gone through a significant development between reality and plausibility now lost its importance. The knowledge of reality was hardly of any use and a new theoretical edifice was not in view. The dissolution was observed everywhere at the end of the Roman Empire. The Roman educated class retreated to the new elite stronghold of Constantinople. Galen made significant contributions to the rediscovery of the ancient medicine in the Late Middle Ages and the early modern age. The Renaissance was indeed a new beginning and the enthusiasm and spirit of departure could be felt everywhere in this era. This departure was initially much more indefinite than at the times when a new medicine was created in Chinese and Greek antiquity. There was initially no new image, neither of a new social environment nor of the body. European intellectuals again concerned themselves with redrawing the picture of antiquity.

Keywords: pre-Socratic philosophers; Roman Empire; ancient medicine; Late Middle Ages; early modern age; new medicine

Chapter.  919 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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