A Greek surgery painted on an attic vase. A Greek surgery painted on an attic vase.
Time 5th Century BCE
Title Greek medical practices are recorded, outlining ancient healing practices.
Event The Ancient Greeks are the source of most medical knowledge until (and including) the time of the Roman Empire. Early Greek medicine focuses largely on spiritual beliefs. The Greeks establish a cult and erect grand temples to worship Asclepios, the god of healing.

The Greeks understand sickness to be both psychic and physical. To heal the psyche, worshippers listen to music and have their dreams interpreted while staying in the temple. Alcmaeon, a Greek philosopher and physician, also popularizes the theory that the brain perceives sensations and is responsible for thought and memory.

Cult leaders use local vegetation to make ointments and other herbal remedies. They also prescribe regular exercise, baths, and nutrition regimes that include social interactions. These prescriptions are seen as an important part of the religious healing process. Many of them are practiced as late as 400 AD.

Early Greek medicine focuses on the god of healing. Worshippers believe that Asclepios, with the help of his daughters Hygeia and Panacea, heals the faithful if they build temples in his name, make sacrifices, and sleep in the temples.

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