The Origin Of Medical Practice A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Theology Ambassador College In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree Master of Arts in Theology May 1969 Table Of Contents
- Introduction Traditional View of Medicine, Purpose of this Thesis, Justification, Definition of Terms, Limitations, Organization of the Remainder of the Study
- Chapter I. Hippocrates — Not The Father Of Medicine
- Chapter II. What Is Medicine?
- Chapter III. Disease — An Ancient Curse
- Chapter V. Ancient Physicians Identified
- Chapter VI. Medical Practice Vital To Founders Of Mesopotamia
- Chapter VII. Summary And Conclusion
Introduction Historians have long assumed the origin of modern medical practice occurred in the Fourth Century B.C. HIPPOCRATES is the accepted Father of Medicine. Students of medical history have been taught that competent medical procedures — including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, surgery, and gynecology — are of comparatively recent development. History books disdainfully dismiss the ancient era prior to Hippocratic Greece. Certainly, every medical textbook describes it as a medically ignorant and obsolete age. This TRADITIONAL history of ancient medicine is in error! The widely-accepted theory developed from the Historical Hypothesis, which stated authoritatively: ANCIENT GREECE IS THE ORIGIN OF MODERN CIVILIZATION. All study was based on this premise; history was warped to cover this structure. The History of Medicine was written to conform to the fallacious theory! Purpose of This Thesis The average medical history book presents a hollow, empty description of ancient medicine. The reader is led to believe that the empty incantations of a primitive, superstitious priesthood were the sum total of medical aid there available. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Exhaustive research in this century has proved that a CAPABLE medical faculty was established in EGYPT over forty centuries ago! There is no longer any doubt that the Egyptians and other peoples studied medicine and surgery in medical colleges of the Middle East. A competent grasp of medical procedures was a universal phenomenon in that distant age! This Thesis is an attempt to put forth a more complete history of the Origin of Medicine. Not until this century has it been possible to ascertain the FACTS of medical history. Working from a faulty historical HYPOTHESIS, historians have drawn inaccurate conclusions concerning the level of advancement of ancient medicine. The result is no secular source has grasped the significance behind the highly developed practice of medicine in the early ages! This thesis recognizes that, from its origin, medicine was essentially supernaturally oriented — as were all facets of ancient life. When properly understood, this ancient relationship between medicine and the supernatural was far removed from what, today, is derisively called witchcraft. Considering the supernatural element in the ancient origin of medicine, it is not surprising to find this subject rather thoroughly dealt with in the BIBLE. Therefore, the Specific Purposes of this thesis are to show the following points: 1. That advanced medical practice had its origin in ancient Egypt — not Greece. 2. That the theory that medicine originated as an “empiric science” after 500 B.C. — apart from earlier supernatural intervention — is a modern stylization. 3. That modern disease was equally an ancient curse. 4. That medical practice was in fact a highly advanced art 2200 years B.C. 5. That all ancient history identifies one physician as the initiator of medicine in the post-diluvian era. 6. That the origin of medical practice occurred as a result of sudden necessity in that ancient time. Justification The development of medicine played a vital role in the establishment of civilization in the post-diluvian era. A survey of the available works on medical history showed that this important facet of history has been completely overlooked! As AMBASSADOR COLLEGE is actively interested in the proper restoration of history — especially of those ages which tend to set the pattern for present civilization, a study of this subject was believed to be of importance! 1. Although modern research techniques have recently made available much additional information, it appears the discoveries have not been properly understood in relation to general history. Much new information in the form of medical artifacts has also been discovered! The question was, “Did the same fault appear in the treatment of medical history?” Is medical history out of date? If so, an entirely new approach to the History of Medicine must be expressed. 2. It became evident that modern research techniques have enabled researchers to make startling advances toward more complete, realistic comprehension of medical origins. Recent, accurate translations of the medical papyri have given Egyptologists a firm grasp on the meaning of the ancient medical textbooks for the first time. The work in paleopathology, pioneered by Sir Marc Armand Ruffer, has opened a new dimension in understanding the diseases of ancient peoples. Together with archaeological developments in India, China, and Latin America, a new, more correct explanation of ancient medicine must be written. 3. The modern treatment of medical history is an attempt to reconstruct the past apart form God and the supernatural. The result has been a mélange of fact and fancy. To be able to understand the new picture of ancient medicine projected by modern research and its proper perspective in history, the Bible must be referred to as an authoritative record! A treatment of medical history which stresses the most up-to-date research, carefully considers the most ancient secular records, and appeals to the Bible as an authority, has not been attempted before. This thesis is an original work, which potentially may add understanding to the task of restoring man’s history! Definition of Terms In the context of this paper, the following terms were used as defined: Hippocrates: though he appears as a semi-fictitious figure in history, his relationship to medicine is referred to as it is modernly expressed. Chronology: the dating of all eras discussed is based on The Compendium of History, by Dr. Herman Hoeh. Ancient History: that period of time beginning with the establishment of human government and civilization after the Deluge. Limitations 1. For the purpose of this work, the thesis was limited to the explanation of the advancement of medicine in the post-diluvian age. Therefore, the earliest records included, date to 2369 B.C. This study does not consider medical developments in the Old World. Numerous historians have written in support of speculation that medicine first originated in pre-flood times. For example: “Schulze, a German . . . traces the origin of Medicine to the period of the Fall . . . he also points out the strong probability that ADAM, yielding to the all-authoritative voice of necessity, [first] discharged the office of physician. “Le Clerc, a French writer . . . whose History of Medicine is a work of merit . . . traces the practice of Medicine in its various branches to the days of Adam, whom he shows to have been, of necessity, the first Physician, Surgeon, and Accoucheur in the world! “Brambilla, head of the Academy of Surgery at Vienna in 1783 labours to trace the invention of surgical instruments to TUBAL CAIN [who was the pre-flood Dionysius] . . . as the 22nd verse of Genesis 4 informs us, ‘an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron,’ and hence not unlikely to have been . . . the first contriver of simple surgical instruments” (Hamilton, The History of Medicine, Surgery and Anatomy, pp. 2-4). Such speculation is not within the scope of this study! 2. In addition, this thesis covers primarily the rise of medicine in Egypt and Mesopotamia. India, China, and Latin America were contemporary centers of civilization. History records, as discussed in Chapter V, that the earliest physicians in India, China, and Latin America were those of Egypt-Mesopotamia! For this reason the history of medical development in each of these three countries is not exhaustively covered. Organization of the Remainder of the Study The remainder of this thesis is divided into seven chapters as described below: Chapter I explains why Hippocrates is not the historical Father of Medicine. Chapter II presents the classical approach to medicine as opposed to its more modern view. Chapter III provides an analysis of disease in the ancient world. Chapter IV demonstrates that a competent medical faculty had been developed 1500 years before Hippocrates. Chapter V presents an identification of the earliest physicians in history. Chapter VI provides the explanation of why medical practice was necessary in the foundation of ancient civilizations. Chapter VII presents a general summary of the thesis. Sherwin McMichael Bricket Wood, England, May, 1969
Chapter I Hippocrates — Not The Father Of Medicine By what authority do historians give GREECE credit for the origin of modern medical practice? This question may come as a surprise. Most early men of learning taught that ALL civilization began with a single people: the ancient Greeks. Until the Twentieth Century, few students of medical origins have thought to question seriously this commonly accepted theory! In spite of advanced knowledge of discovery, it continues to be generally conceded that competent, modern medical procedures had their earliest beginnings in Greece some 2,500 years ago. In accordance with this out-dated theory, Hippocrates is labeled the Father of Medicine! When in reality, we now know this is more tradition than fact! Revolutionary Discovery Through exhaustive studies of ancient civilizations — those of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, and Latin America — historians in the late 1800s gradually began to understand a most revolutionary fact: CIVILIZATION DID NOT BEGIN WITH GREECE, but with other, more ancient nations! This was an unexpected bolt that smashed many a cherished hypothesis. What would this discovery mean to the accepted treatment of Medical History? Would a simple alteration be sufficient — or was a new structure necessary? Only time and further investigation would tell. As important as this revolutionary new view of the origins of our present civilization was to general history, it did not, and alone, could not, alter the already assumed historical traditions about the origin of medicine. Serious work had yet to be done in the field of ancient medicine before the confusion could be unraveled. And the problems to unravel were many! In the first place, artifacts of the most ancient medical practice were destined to remain buried under the debris of bygone civilizations until this century. Gradually, certain material destined to alter present tradition was discovered. The first records to receive serious attention came in the form of Egyptian papyri. The papyri form the basis of the secular literary record of medicine from the most ancient times. The most notable of these discoveries are the Ebers Papyrus (1862), the Ramesseum Papyri (1894), the Kahun Papyrus (1889), the Hearst Papyru (1889), the Edwin Smith Papyrus (1862), the London Medical Papyrus (1860), and the Carlsberg Papyrus (Singer, Science, Medicine and History, pp. 49-52). Clearly, the importance of these documents initially was not understood! In the case of some papyri, it was not even recorded how, or exactly when, authorities came to be in possession of them. It is important to note, however, that from the available records there is no indication any medical papyri were discovered prior to 1800! Of this group, the Ebers Papyrus is perhaps the most important discovery to date. Discovered in 1862, its importance continued unnoticed for another 11 years until purchased in 1873 by Georg Ebers, a nineteenth-century German professor. After reading but the first few lines, he immediately grasped its significance! Here was an important book about early medical practice! For the introductory phrase stated: “Here begins the book on the preparation of medicine for all parts of the human body” (see Ebbell, The Papyrus Ebers: The Greatest Egyptian Medical Document). This was a medical textbook full of many unintelligible words — but obviously containing many prescriptions. In addition to the medical text, there were calendar calculations, which dated the contents to at least the 1500s B.C. Immediately Eber’s mind recalled the words of Flavius Clemens, a professor in Alexandria, who wrote in 200 A.D., that the scientific and technical knowledge of the Old Kingdom of Egypt (2254-1993 B.C.) had been recorded in an Encyclopedia of forty-two volumes. Six of these books were reputed to contain everything known about anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, surgery, and gynecology (see Bryan, The Papyrus Ebers, pp. 3-4). These were later to be called the Hermetic books — after the Greek god Hermes. In spite of Eber’s personal interest in this manuscript, the first attempt at translation took place over fifteen years later in 1890. This translation was weak and incomplete, but confirmed Eber’s contention that it was an important medical treatise! However, once fully into the translation, it proved not to be a Hermetic book, but rather an XVIII Dynasty “copy of a series of books many centuries older” (Singer, Science, Medicine and History, p. 49). Suddenly, after many centuries of mystery and doubt, a significant medical practice in ancient Egypt had been revealed! Interest was kindled — work was to begin on its interpretation in earnest. Apparently Greece was not the mother of medicine after all! However, it was not until 1930 when Professor J. H. Breasted of Chicago published his translation of the Edwin Smith Papyrus that such papyri were unquestionably demonstrated to be reproductions of more ancient texts. The Smith Papyrus, like the Ebers Papyrus, contained expressions, which were no longer in current usage by Dynasty XVIII, but rather dated from the Old Kingdom — PROVING that the original documents belonged to the earliest era of Egyptian history. The Smith Papyrus was adequately translated by 1930, but it was not until 1937 that a Danish Egyptologist, Bendix Ebbell, finally rendered a satisfactory translation of the Ebers Papyrus. Even Ebbell’s work was to be improved by a team of Germans in 1957 (see Thorwald, Science and Secrets of Early Medicine, p. 59). As noted above, the facts of ancient medical history have laid buried until recent times. Once exhumed they initially did little practical good! It was impossible until within the last thirty years to produce a responsible translation. The world lacked an Egyptologist with sufficient pharmaceutical knowledge to express in modern terminology ancient chemical data. When these qualifications became available, real headway was made in ascertaining the quality of ancient materia medica. The papyri only give a limited explanation of how disease was treated. Paleopathology, another modern means of determining the facts of ancient medical history, presents the amazing picture of just which diseases were extant to treat! In 1893 Dr. Armand Ruffer, a French physician, arrived in Egypt. His education and interests lay in the then infant field of bacteriology. Once in Egypt he became interested in a unique facet of that nation’s history — mummification. His investigations proved that an intensive study of the remains of men who lived and died centuries ago provided an intimate knowledge of the diseases encountered during their respective eras. It is from this recent work, reliably developed since 1910, that we know what ailments were common to these ancient people. It becomes obvious how recent the significant technical research in this field has been. Actually, very little of it occurred over forty years ago. The upshot of this revolution in the facts of medical history is that material written on the subject prior to 1930 is incomplete at best — and virtually rendered null and void! Any work done since 1930, which has not fully taken into account recent discoveries, is also misleading and incomplete. To express the full impact of ancient medical history, ALL recently developed material must be included! History More Than Facts History is more than the simple recording of facts. It is essentially an interpretative art. “The reconstruction of ancient history is an abstracting from the facts by means of hypothesis . . . “ (Wright, The Biblical Archaeologist Reader, p. 19). The present abstract of MEDICAL HISTORY is a tragic shame. BOTH THE FACTS AND A PROPER HYPOTHESIS HAVE BEEN MISSING! Laboring under the delusion that the ancient Egyptians were a primitive people emerging from the mists of antiquity, it has been previously impossible for the historian to ascertain from the simple facts of history, the significance of ancient medicine. Ancient efforts at the control of disease have been considered, as late as 1945, to be nothing but primitive experiments in witchcraft — sewer pharmacology at best! In respect to medicine, it was assumed that mankind had remained blind, deaf, and dumb until 300-400 B.C. — the flowering of Greece (see Robinson, The Story of Medicine, pp. 1-10). After all, historians mused, had not men watched the sun rise and set for a million years before Copernicus saw the significance of this daily phenomenon? Had not apples fallen a billion times before Newton grasped the laws of gravitation? These two comments are, of course, written with tongue-in-cheek, yet, they do accurately picture the viewpoint of evolution expressed in current writings. The historical method based on this theory of evolution is the patent HYPOTHESIS of historians: i.e., that God or other supernatural power has never intervened in the course of history! Twentieth-century historians have fully accepted the theory that man, apart from and without the supernatural, has evolved from an ancient primitive culture to a modern advanced civilization. So, students today are presented with a radically new interpretation of history — a history in which God and the supernatural are summarily rejected! This is particularly applicable to the treatment of Medical history. Every effort is made to separate “scientific” medicine from what is depicted to be a sort of witchcraft which flourished millennia ago. What many do not realize is that the modern World-view of history [medicine included] without God is a radically new interpretation of human experience. Almost no one today, it seems, has ever questioned whether this new interpretation is right. It is merely assumed to be right (Hoeh, Compendium of World History, pp.1, 2). Let a modern exponent of this new approach explain it: “. . . the modern study of history . . . does not take into account any intervention of God or of the devil or of demons in the course of history . . .” (Bultman, Jesus Christ and Mythology, p. 17). This assumption has never been proved. It remains only a hypothesis! Nevertheless, “students in particular — and the public in general — have been led to believe that archaeologists, historians, scientists, and theologians live with full assurance and in absolute conviction that this new interpretation of history without God is correct” (Hoeh, Compendium of World History, p. 2). The application of this premise to medical history is a fatal blow! Without considering God, the Bible and the supernatural, it is impossible to come to an intelligent understanding concerning the origin of this practice, and the importance of its history to mankind! Yet, we are “taught to reject everything supernatural from history texts — even when evidence of the intervention of God [or the supernatural] is recorded by eyewitnesses in ancient secular records” (Hoeh, Compendium of World History, p. 12). This unscientific approach to history is the universally accepted method of study. Since supernatural occurrences in history cannot be scientifically tested today, they are rejected as myth. Any statement referring to supernatural intervention is assumed to be mythological, therefore worthless! Anyone seriously asserting such intervention “must be regarded as ignorant, superstitious, the victim of hallucination or some other form of mental aberration” (Hockett, The Critical Method in Historical Research and Writing, p. 62). No one wants to be ridiculed. As a result, the ancient records, which substantiate, in this case, the truth of medical history and the record of the Bible have been rejected as fabulous or mythological. There has been no true respect for the history of the Bible and for accurate [ancient] secular annals. This suppression of part of the truth is the primary reason the world has never learned the lessons of history (Hoeh, Compendium of World History, pp. 5,16). Antiquity of Medicine The charge that ancient medicine prior to Hippocrates either originated with, or was limited to, meaningless mystic incantations of a superstitious people is false! The exposure of this myth is overdue! It is time to learn the lessons that lie hidden in the ruins of ancient civilizations. Hippocrates was not the father of Medicine! Furthermore, HE KNEW IT! Notice the Hippocratic Oath to which Hippocrates, himself, reputedly ascribed: “I [Hippocrates] swear by Apollo Physician, by Ascalepius, by Hygieia, by Panacea, and by all the gods and goddesses, making them witness . . .” (Marti-Ibanez, The Epic of Medicine, p. 65). Hippocrates swore allegiance to earlier practitioners of the healing art. He knew full well that the practice of medicine did not begin with him. Greece was not the origin of medicine — Hippocrates not its originator! Rather, he lived about the middle of the medical history experienced by mankind (ibid., p. 50). In fact, altogether too much importance is placed on Hippocrates. He is a ghost of history, a semi-fictitious character of ancient Greece — about whom we know precious little! “All that we actually know of him as a man can be told in a few short sentences. He was born on the island of Cos about 460 B.C. He was a member of the Guild of Aesculapidiae, those men who claimed descent from Aesculapius . . . . He is said to have died about 360 B.C.” “If so little is actually known of Hippocrates, how does it happen that we credit so much to him” (Haggard, The DOCTOR in History, p. 67). This is a valid question for which there is no satisfactory answer! Another author writes: “We know little of his life — even less than we know of Christ’s youth — YET Hippocrates of Cos has passed into History as the Father of Medicine. Like . . . Socrates, HIPPOCRATES NEVER WROTE A WORD . . .” (Marti-Ibanez, The Epic of Medicine, p. 49). The assertion that Hippocrates is the Father of Medicine is indeed more tradition than fact. The truth is that “modern” medical practice long antedates his era! By 500 B.C., medicine had passed its ancient apex and had degenerated greatly from previous heights of worldwide acclaim. “The decadence of the arts and sciences [from the time of the earliest Egyptian dynasties] was accompanied by a deterioration of medicine also. Even though the new conquerors tried to preserve the ancient traditions, and even though later, in the period of the Ptolemies [3rd century B.C.], there are found traces in medical practice of these ancient traditions, nevertheless, EGYPTIAN MEDICINE DETERIORATED and became merely a trade of sorcerers, drug vendors, and charlatans who preserve only the mystic vestments of the ancient medicine” (Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, p. 62). Writing on the same subject, another author comments, “Only near the end did the latter [empirico-rational medicine] veer toward magic” (Marti-Ibanez, The Epic of Medicine, p. 38). Recently discoveries have begun to reveal how advanced ancient Egyptian medicine actually was. “A capable medical faculty was established in Egypt fifty centuries ago. There is no doubt that the Egyptians studied medicine and surgery in the medical colleges of Babylonia and in parts of Mesopotamia, and acquired a complete knowledge of all the Oriental medical practices” (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout the Ages, p. 34). It was from this world-renowned medical practice prior to its deterioration, that the Greeks IMPORTED their knowledge of medicine. It is most important to remember that the most ancient scientific documents are MEDICAL and mathematical . . . there existed a scientific tradition that was already old when Greece was young. Pythagoras, Thales, and Hesiod in the sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries B.C., respectively, linked their work on mathematics with the old Egyptian theories. The Iliad . . . grants credit to Egypt as the place of origin of Greek drugs . . . . The [comparatively recent] Egyptian texts [we have now] are merely copies of ancient texts made when Egypt’s sun was already setting (Marti-Ibanez, The Epic of Medicine, p. 37). This explains the inferiority of the texts — including their bent toward witchcraft and superstition, which is evidenced in all nations from about 800 B.C. Until recently, the high degree of development which medicine had reached over 4000 years ago, was never remotely suspected! Had it been known, virtually all medical knowledge up to the accidental discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928, would have been put to shame (see Ratcliff, Yellow Magic, pp. 3-25)! In 1928 chemotherapy was in disrepute. As many books had been written against the use of drugs to cure disease as had been written in favor of it. However, in the wake of the discovery of penicillin, there followed a veritable stampede to find new drugs to fight disease. The field of chemotherapy was suddenly wide open! Cure with chemicals became the great hope of man’s endless war against disease. Research men in every country were hot on the trail of substances, which would destroy bacteria. It seemed penicillin was the destroyer researchers had been seeking since the discovery of microbes. With this discovery, today’s physician now possessed, for the first time, an effective means to combat the spread of bacteria. The AGE of the ANTIBIOTOC was born — the cornerstone of modern drug therapy! As astoundingly revolutionary as the discovery of antibiotics seemed in 1928, this principle of today’s drug therapy was not new! The operational principle of antibiotics was common knowledge among physicians 4000 years ago! Furthermore, history records that ancient physicians used the drugs with greater accuracy than do their medical counterparts today. Astounding, but this will be proved true in Chapter IV! The words of Solomon, in whose day this medical practice yet flourished, certainly rings true: “The thing that hath been, IT IS THAT WHICH SHALL BE; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). No, Hippocrates was not the Father of Medicine. Greece was not the origin of modern civilization. The records now available prove this all too conclusively! Scientists now realize medicine is of much greater antiquity than previously believed. All medical histories, except for the most recent scientific annals, are out of date. The origin of medicine occurred in Egypt forty centuries ago. It was there that the concept of, and need for, a competent medical faculty was born. The Aesculapians of Greece and ALL subsequent medical societies must pay homage to Egypt!
Chapter II What Is Medicine? Medical history covers a vast segment, if not the whole, of man’s existence. Contrary to this acknowledged fact, historians persist in dating “reliable” medicine no earlier than Hippocrates! The REASON for this is significant! The year 500 B.C., is the edge of a precipice in history. Beyond this date lies a vast abyss of human experience heavily charged with the odious phenomenon of supernatural intervention. Within this abyss, medicine was an art! The modern explanation is that since 500 B.C., it is a SCIENCE! Such a sudden transformation would be a miracle in itself! Yet, this hypothesis has been generally accepted — and readily so. The truth of history is that THERE HAS BEEN NO SUCH TRANSFORMATION! The practice of medicine (i.e., the use of and dependence on chemotherapy and surgery to treat the sick) has remained consistent from its origin! One reason this has not been easily recognized is that the consistency of medicine lies in its inconsistency. Eras APPEAR to come and go; major transformations APPEAR to have occurred. Notice the comment of one historian: “The development of [this] science has never been continuous, nor even progressive, but rather like a tangled, tortuous line . . .” (Garrison, History of Medicine, p. 45). The history of medicine is a history of human fallibility and error — based on a supernatural foundation. The practice of medicine basically has never changed — only the APPROACH to medicine has suffered a traumatic transformation! An Art or a Science? At times in history medicine has enjoyed respect and honor. At other times, as the dregs of degradation, it was considered but a grisly extension of witchcraft by its contemporaries! Of recent date, medicine has even received distinction as a science. In fact, since 1935 — the time of the acceptance of the antibiotic — medicine has been referred to exclusively as a science. Since the practice of medicine is closely associated with, and currently employs many actual sciences such as chemistry, physics, physiology, etc., it is generally assumed that medicine is also a legitimate science. However, medicine is not a true science, but an ART! Notice this comment! Medicine is not only a science; it is also AN ART. Science is primarily analytic, art primarily synthetic. And medicine is likely to remain AN ART, however hard we may try to make it more and more scientific . . . . For medicine deals not with impersonal atoms, elements . . . but with humans . . . . In practice he [the physician] deals not with disordered metabolisms, specific infections . . . but with sick human individuals. Even the effect of digitalis, or antibiotics, will partially depend on the human relationship between the doctor and his patient, not to speak of treatment of the “psychosomatic” diseases that will usually form from 50 to 70 per cent of the doctor’s practice. Science, so far, has contributed little to this aspect of the doctor’s work (Ackerknecht, A Short History of Medicine, p. XVI). Certainly, the practice of medicine is associated with numerous sciences, and has for its province the treatment of disease, but this does not insure its role as a specific science. Even the word “medicine” or, in the Latin, medicina (from the Latin mederi, to heal) actually means the ART OF HEALING! Once again, the religiously-oriented foundation of medicine is interjected as healing has traditionally been the prerogative of the supernatural. Even a historian of renown as Herodotus, writing centuries nearer its origin, describes this practice as “the art of medicine” (Herodotus, The History of the Greek and Persian Wars, ii, p. 84). Most medical historians are doctors, and consequently take a subjective view of the subject. It is their desire to be rated on a par with the sciences — not just a fellow traveler. This causes them to disclaim their heritage and not allow “modern” medicine to be subjected to association with its ancient counterpart! Throughout history, medicine has unquestionably been an art, which was dependent upon the supernatural. Such a relationship in any facet of life is odious to our society. We pride ourselves on emancipation from superstition. Therefore, every effort has been made to discredit the ancient supernatural origin of medicine, and to assume an empiric beginning of recent date: the Age of Hippocrates. Whether recognized or not, this is the reason Hippocrates was chosen the Father of Medicine! Hippocrates, should he know of the appellation, would be quite surprised indeed! Nevertheless, the age of Hippocrates has become a milestone to the medical historian because it was then among the ancient Greeks that the first complete separation of religion and medicine took place. It was they who first sought to remove the supernatural from medicine and make it solely dependent upon observation and human reason. THIS STEP HAS BEEN REGARDED AS THE MOST IMPORTANT OCCURRENCE IN THE LONG HISTORY OF MEDICINE! However, it was a step that was not maintained, for although the Greeks treated medicine as an empirical practice, it was not held at this level! One is led to believe that from the Golden Age of Greece, medicine has continued onward and upward. But such is not the case! After the decline of Greece, medicine returned to the realm of mysticism, “from which only after the lapse of centuries was it rescued . . . and finally nurtured into the medicine of today . . .” (Haggard, H.W., Mystery, Magic, and Medicine, p. 29). Break With The Supernatural To properly understand the history of medicine — what it originally was, as well as what it is today — it is necessary to understand the break with the ancient world and the supernatural. Actually it is not so much a definite break with the spirit world as a continual effort to wrench away! Originally, from the days of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, the practice of medicine was supernaturally sponsored. Medicine was exclusively in the hands of the priests! “. . . the priests were the sole possessors of physico-medical knowledge. . . . It was necessary before gaining mastery over the powers of nature to become initiated into the mysteries. . . .” Once duly initiated, the priest “was able to practice medicine” (Magnus, Superstition In Medicine, pp. 9-11). This had been the strict regime of medical practice for over 1500 years! Yet, Hippocrates, apparently, sought to change it! WHY? This question has never been fully answered! “It has never been fully explained why all of a sudden, more than twenty-five hundred years ago, a small group of people in the Eastern Mediterranean took this important and radical step in human thought” (Ackerknecht, A Short History of Medicine, p. 42). What Provoked Such a Radical Departure? The departure from the old ways was revolutionary, but it did not occur overnight. “The change in opinion was rather wrought by a gradual recession from the idea that the gods interfered with the proper course of man’s bodily functions” (Magnus, Superstition In Medicine, p. 16). Although initiated about the fifth century B.C., the overthrow of the ancient period is not considered complete until about the sixth century A.D. It was during this period of time that an amazing revolution, (possibly begun by Hippocrates) took place. The understanding of this important period bridges the gap between our age based on the physical, the empirical, and the ancient world, which relied on the intervention of the supernatural! History teaches that the methods used to treat the ill did not change! Only the APPROACH to medical practice was altered. “This great discovery was not itself a cure or a means of preventing disease; it was merely a new way of studying disease.” In brief it was a NEW “PHILOSOPHY” (Haggard, The Doctor in History, p. 59). The empirical approach is so vastly different from the supernatural that man has deceived himself into believing the system and the principles underlying the two practices are also at equal extremes. By 500 B.C., the practice of medicine under the ancient system had deteriorated seriously! “The decadence of the arts and sciences was accompanied by a deterioration of medicine also” (Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, p. 62). Wars, political upheavals, natural catastrophes, and other traumatic events had taken their toll. Medicine had openly become the tool of charlatans, a superstitious farce! It is within this hopeless environment, just prior to Hippocrates, “we find the various branches of medicine engrossed chiefly by the priests, among whom a spirit of rivalry started up. . . . Thus these temples became progressively converted into schools of medicine, varying in excellence, as they did in reputation, exhibiting instances of successful practice, or the reverse. . . .” (Hamilton, The History of Medicine, Surgery and Anatomy, p. 41-42). During this period fewer and fewer cures were reported. When unsuccessful at one temple-hospital, the ill were forced to seek cure at another. And the age-old method continued to falter until Greece realized something was wrong — the system they had inherited was failing! “Thus the foundation was laid for that great revolution in medicine . . . which, by detaching medicine from the science of theology, emancipated it by degrees from . . . superstition” (ibid., p. 42). Man’s Approach to Life Changes! Suddenly man realized he was lost! For centuries man had depended on the authority of the supernatural to guide him. It had now become obvious to many that whatever contact the ancients had had with the spirits was rapidly vanishing. No longer did the priests command daily contact with the supernatural. Having relied on such a relationship for centuries, the absence of it left mankind hopelessly adrift. No one knew where to turn. It is to this era of desperation that we owe the dawn of philosophy. Questions often asked by the Sophists of the fifth century B.C., amply demonstrate how totally lost and confused they were. The apex of intellectual curiosity reached at that time only enabled them to ask feebly: “Is truth really attainable? Was there a first cause of things?” (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 46). After 3500 years of human history, this is the helpless state in which man found himself! This pitiful condition is often misinterpreted to be genius, when it is nothing more than IGNORANCE and DESPERATION! The Greeks faced a dilemma — the result of which would be the medical heritage of ages to come. They had inherited an approach to medicine, which was now failing to work. Hippocrates never lost faith in the efficacy of drugs and surgery. But he did lose faith in dependence on the supernatural to guide him in the use of medicine — as the mysteries taught the ancients to do. Hippocrates simply resorted to the only alternative, which remained. Stripped of supernatural intervention, it became necessary to depend solely on the principle of careful observation guided by human intuition. So, “all the knowledge that physicians have gained of disease since the time of Hippocrates has been acquired by following the principle he laid down — careful observation” (Haggard, The Doctor in History, p. 67). The belief in this new approach to life gained prominence until it eventually dominated Europe by the sixth century, A.D. Its popularity was to alternately rise and wane during the next twelve to fourteen centuries, but it was definitely here to stay. Today, of course, solely the empirical method is acceptable. Medicine Remains the Same The age of Hippocrates was a beginning, not the beginning! It is unrealistic to look to this ancient Greek as the originator of medicine. Historians wrongly assert that the Greeks discovered the art of thinking, founded our civilization, art, science, and medicine (see Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, pp. 46, 68). However, a definite break with the past did occur between 500 B.C., and A.D. 500 — beginning with the Age of Hippocrates! This was a strange, but a general phenomenon, affecting the approach to all facets of life. In regard to medicine, supernatural intervention and authority were discarded in favor of observation as weighed by human reason. Contrary to opinion, this did not change the actual practice of medicine! Physicians continued to fervently believe in the use of basic medical procedures: MEDICATIONS and SURGERY. The notable alternative was the deletion of meaningless mysticism, which had developed between 1500-500 B.C. As we will see, medical practice was more nearly reverting to the type of practice originally developed. Even the Greeks soon realized that empty incantations have no effect on disease. The newly independent field of medicine found it necessary to supply its own philosophy: Empiricism. In spite of the efforts of medical historians to trace the commencement of modern medicine to a more recent “scientific” origin, this ancient practice was a fundamental ART developed in the Old Kingdom of Egypt; it was still an art in the time of Hippocrates and it remains basically the same art today — not a true science! Over this vast expanse of time, only the approach to medicine has changed.
Chapter III Disease — An Ancient Curse DISEASE is a universal phenomenon as old as man himself. It is a MONUMENTAL FACT of ALL history! Hardly any other facet of human experience has so affected the daily lives of men, past and present! Yet, until the Twentieth Century, scientific data on the incidence of disease in history was sketchy. In fact, “we [had] . . . no knowledge whatever of the early incidence of illness in large sections of the globe. [However], the MAIN CONCLUSION drawn from [recent] paleopathological studies, [is] . . . that the phenomenon of disease is very old and that disease has always occurred in the same basic forms . . .” (Sigerist, A History of Medicine, p. 67). Discoveries have now provided us with significant information as to the ancient incidence of disease in the major, heavily populated, areas of the world. When analyzed, the conclusion of the above quotation is a startling statement! History bears out the fact that the disease “which hath been, it is that which shall be.” There is a reason for this, which will be explained later. Herodotus stated, Egypt “swarms with medical practitioners.” All historians now must concur! It stands to reason there was sufficient cause for such a plethora of physicians. Disease must have been rampant, but is there any proof? Is it possible to substantiate Sigerist’s statement (supra. p. 67)? Furthermore, can it be demonstrated that ancient Egypt suffered the same curses of disease so prevalent today? Modern Disease in Ancient Egypt The work of Sir Marc Armand Ruffer, the man who founded paleopathology, now becomes important — and fascinating! Additional work in this revolutionary field of the study of disease has helped piece together the amazing picture of ancient diseases. As previously mentioned, Ruffer’s interests lay in the identification of disease through the record contained in ancient mummies. This proved to be a rich source of information. Initially, it was found that Egyptian skeletons, dating back to the Old Kingdom, were an eloquent catalogue of structural abnormalities! These abnormalities indicate to the expert specific diseases. Many thousands of mummy skeletons have been found with misshapen bones: such malformations as can result from chronic rheumatism. As common as such specimens were, rheumatism evidently afflicted an extraordinarily large number of persons throughout the course of Egyptian history. According to the skeletal record, Ruffer found that periostitis and osteomyletis — inflammations of the marrow of the bones, which left distinct traces — were nearly as frequently encountered by these people. Congenital deformities of the skeletal structure were rarely found, though examples of club foot and similar defects have been discovered — at least to the extent that it is known they suffered somewhat from such a “modern” malady. There may indeed have been certain deformities of the fleshy part of the body, which, of course, would have disappeared with its deterioration. However, severe cases of diseases of the teeth, jaw, and gums were prevalent! Again, this is a pathological disturbance, which would be readily recorded in the skeletal structure. These ancient peoples apparently suffered ALL THE MODERN DENTAL PROBLEMS! For example, paradentosis, dental caries, and erosion of dental enamel exposing the nerves, which lead to inflammation and abscesses were definitely identified (see Byran, The Papyrus Ebers, p. xxviii). Though dental problems were tragically common in the later ages of Egypt, such was not the case in the early dynasties where dental caries are rarely encountered. As is the experience in our age today, dental problems anciently increased with the refinement of foods. In all ages, the cause of this malady lies in improper diet. By the later periods in Egyptian history, dental disease afflicted a considerable portion of the populace, at least as commonly as it occurs today. Another of Ruffer’s significant contributions to paleopathology was a technique for analyzing the dehydrated and centuries-old body tissue of the mummies. His technique involved soaking the hardened tissues in a solution of three parts alcohol, five parts water, and two parts of a soda solution. He succeeded in restoring the tissue to a degree sufficient for laboratory analysis. Experimenting with his development, he was able to describe smallpox lesions on the parched skin of an ancient mummy! And from Ruffer’s day to the present, techniques have continued to improve. In fact, in 1939 scientists were able to begin determining the blood groups of Egyptians who had died several thousand years ago! Using this method of restoration to advantage, a vast new area of paleopathology had opened wide to the Egyptologists. A well-known religious tradition was to provide the inspiration for further study. Egyptians practiced the rite of committing their internal organs to the care of patron deities. These were preserved along with a small representation of the idol in canopic jars. Once carefully sealed these jars effectively preserved their contents for Ruffer and others to examine centuries later! Ruffer announced the results of microscopic analysis of the restored kidneys of two mummies, dating back at least 1000 years B.C. The scientist had found conclusive evidence of the dreaded parasitical disease of the Nile Valley: bilharzia! This disease was so named after the nineteenth century German doctor Bilharz who reputedly “first explained the disease.” Far from being a modern disease, it was an age-old plague of the Nile Valley. Such discoveries fired their interest! Once verified, the pursuit for evidence of other bacterial diseases was relentless. Their efforts were not to be denied for ancient Egypt was plagued with disease! It was not long until Ruffer was able to demonstrate the presence of staphylococci bacteria in his restored tissues. This was a significant breakthrough in the study of disease! Indeed, these ages apparently suffered the same ravages of more recent eras! It was not surprising, then, though no less remarkable a discovery, when he located the red-shaped form of the plague bacilli. As we shall later see, EPIDEMICS posed a frightful problem at the earliest times in the Earth’s history after the Flood. Initially, the search for a similar historical record of tuberculosis proved fruitless. Extraordinary obstacles opposed this investigation. Extremely fragile, this bacilli disappears soon after death. In addition, the specimens of mummified lungs were too few to allow the formation of a stable conclusion to the presence or absence of tuberculosis. However, astounding pulmonary discoveries were destined to appear! Ruffer located a case of anthracosis in a human being. Continuing in their examination of the preserved lungs pneumonia and pleurisy were detected. Eventually positive evidence of tuberculosis might appear. Yet in 1910, a particularly productive year, Ruffer examined the mummy of a priest who apparently lived about 1000 B.C. This individual evidenced the typical curvature of the spine associated with Pott’s disease. Continuing his examination through the means of restored tissue, Ruffer found the remains of an extensive abscess in the lumbar muscle. A typical symptom of this disease is the accumulation of tubercular pus in this area. The abcess, no doubt, contained tubercular pus! A conclusive inference could now be drawn: where Pott’s disease was so common, tuberculosis of the lungs must have existed! Henceforth, there could be little doubt that tuberculosis had registered its effect in Egypt. Later it was directly proved that the disease had carried off whole families. Parents and their children were found buried side by side — all victims of spinal tuberculosis or meningitis. Pressing the investigation, Ruffer later found gallstones in the liver of a mummy dating to the 21st Dynasty. He also proved a singer of the 12th Dynasty showed signs of chronic gallbladder inflammation. Certain typical adhesions of that area of the intestines indicated that appendicitis was a reality of ancient Egypt. The following year, 1911, Ruffer reportedly found a case of cirrhosis of the liver. Was alcoholism a problem in those days too? Two years earlier, in 1909, Elliot Smith and his colleague, Derry, examined a mummy from Nubia of apparently a late date. However, the skin of the hands and feet of this man showed definite signs of leprosy. So evident was the disfigurement of the ancient man, Mr. Smith later published photographs of this case. The Ebers Papyrus makes ample reference to the various forms of diarrhea, including such serious cases as amoebic dysentery, gastro enteritis, and cholera! Sufficient evidence was also found to indicate the occasional presence of typhoid fever and malaria. No doubt these highly serious ailments resulted from indiscriminate use and care of the Nile. Further investigation of the preserved mummies was to show that tonsillitis was known among the Egyptians. Careful examination of the intestines brought to light another “modern” ailment. Egyptians, too, suffered from a form of constipation called “sheep feces” — a pellet-like form of bowel movement produced by intestinal cramps. Such an affliction indicates a type of life parallel to what we experience today. This type of constipation is regarded as being due to disturbances of the central nervous system, and commonly arises from the rush and agitation of a nerve-racking life. In this respect the two societies certainly parallel one another! As a result of their highly original, persistent, and extensive investigations, the conclusion rightly reached by Ruffer and his associates, was that ALL INTESTINAL DISEASES OF MODERN TIMES OCCURRED IN ANCIENT EGYPT! The mummies had revealed an understanding of the history of disease that had never been remotely imagined in recent times. Major Modern Diseases At this point most will admit that there was disease in Egypt. But the skeptic will ask, what about the really serious maladies of our age: heart and vascular ailment, polio, and cancer? These are the diseases, which characterize our day and are produced by the conditions in a modern society, the tensions of a technical age. Surely there are no case histories of these modern scourges in Egypt! As astounding as it may be to us, there were just such cases! Our age has taken the view that arterial diseases are products only of our present civilization. However, similar intemperance, tensions, and hectic pressures of everyday life will produce the same results in any age. Extensive diagnosis of the bodies of dead Egyptians has uncovered a major, modern ailment common to both ages: arteriosclerosis. Egyptians from all eras endured arterial diseases in no way different from today’s examples (see Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, p. 47)! Even great kings and queens of bygone eras suffered abnormalities of the blood vessels. Prominence of the temple vessels is particularly striking in many mummies — indicating, even to the unpracticed eye of the layman, a serious degenerative condition! Ruffer was anxious to determine the cause for the general occurrence of arteriosclerosis in Egypt. He studied all the known causes of arterial maladies to determine if any similar problem was the reason for Egypt’s disease. He learned that the Egyptians were well known for their over-indulgence in alcohol and food. Apparently, the incidence of alcoholism and gluttony was high. Given to banqueting and excess, some Egyptians followed the practice of vomiting after each course during a feast to make possible further enjoyment at the table. This knowledge of their excessive dietary habits gave Ruffer and his colleagues a clue, which could be followed up in the laboratory. They pursued their investigations. Examination of the skin, especially the ample folds of the skin, of royalty, revealed these people had been extremely fat. The idealized portraits of a lean people which the Egyptian artists created have given posterity a completely false picture of the Egyptians, just as the idealized statues of Greece later distorted the actual appearance of the Greeks (Thorwald, Science and Secrets of Early Medicine, p. 43). Here was a decadent physical weakness, which linked the arterial diseases of Egypt to modern times: obesity. Their arterial and cardio-vascular diseases were no doubt partially brought on by continual excesses of food and drink with its resultant obesity. There is also reason to believe the incidence of angina pectoris and the present-day female ailment, varicose veins were also common. Infantile Paralysis: A stele depicting a crippled servant of the 18th Dynasty (circa 1000 B.C.) shows serious malformation of the man’s right leg — evidently a result of some type of paralysis. This record of such a condition is not an isolated case. At the turn of the century, J.K. Mitchell discovered a mummy who had suffered from a similar paralysis during its lifetime. Even the dead man’s walking stick had been buried with him. After a detailed study, Mitchell made the startling suggestion the man’s lameness had been the result of infantile paralysis! Such evidence is, of itself, not conclusive proof. However, some ten years after this assertion, W.R. Dawson and a team of other specialists investigated the afore-mentioned stele of Ruma the servant and the theory of Mr. Mitchell. These men, too, concluded that the two cases probably did indicate the incidence of poliomyelitis in ancient Egypt (see Smith, Elliot & Dawson, Egyptian Mummies). Cancer: In 1825 A.B. Granville, a predecessor of Ruffer, had discovered an isolated case of a malignant tumor in an ancient mummy. Knowing of this earlier find, Ruffer was determined to prove cancer indigenous to Egypt. Comparatively little evidence was ever found. However, that which was discovered was enlightening. The mummies at least revealed the incidence of osteosarcoma — a highly malignant cancer of the bone! Several such tumors were found in the skeletons of mummies from the 5th Dynasty at the Giza Pyramids (circa 1600 B.C.). Evidence of only two other types of this malignant disease was found — cancer of the pharynx and of the rectum (see Bryan, The Papyrus Ebers, p. xxvi). It logically follows, as in the instance of tuberculosis, that if the skeletal structure was subject to cancer, there is good reason to assume that other organs were afflicted with similar malignancies! So Ruffer’s work in ancient pathology changed the experts’ opinion about the health of ancient Egypt overnight. This anciently inhabited land along the Nile had been seriously afflicted with the most modern diseases as early as the 1st Dynasty — the Old Kingdom. Such a display of disease and death — not to mention the additional requirements of war — demanded an adequate medical practice to attempt its control. As Herodotus stated, the Egyptian doctors were specialists. It is obvious they had to be, to attempt to handle such a ravage of the human body! Inscriptions on tombs indicate the highly specialized nature of early medicine. There was a “Guardian of the Royal Bowel Movement,” a “Guardian of the Royal Nose,” an “Eye Doctor of the Palace,” a “Doctor of the Abdomen,” and etc. Such diversity of practice indicates these ancient peoples had staged a monumental effort to control disease through a COMPETENT medical faculty. This is the fascinating story of the following chapter!
Chapter IV A Competent Medical Faculty — Before Hippocrates! Antiquity refers to what is ancient or obsolete. When applied to physicians, it traditionally refers to those who practiced in a bygone, distant, ignorant age. However, the mere passage of time IS NOT sufficient reason to defame an age and its people as obsolete! It is a wrong assumption to dismiss the physicians of those ancient times as any more ignorant or obsolete than those of today! The testimony of [some] contemporary writers about medicine in Babylon, Assyria and Persia [and Egypt, China, India, and Latin America] indicates that what we term the physician of antiquity was an active, capable, professional man, able to meet all the contingencies of his practice at least as competently as the ordinary country doctor today (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 197). This may seem a shocking statement in the light of recent advances in medicine. But ancient medicine was advanced too! Recent discoveries prove that the ancient practice matched many facets of its modern counterpart, technique for technique! It is an unforgettable experience to plunge into the mists of antiquity to study a civilization whose peoples lived fully 2000 years before Jesus Christ only to find today’s diseases and today’s cures! Their age seems somehow not so distant or remote, when one realizes they faced the very same diseases and sought to conquer them through identical techniques! Astounding evidence of the genius of the first two Egyptian dynasties has been preserved for us in the form of intellectual and technological discoveries of those early centuries. The artifacts of Egypt — an accurate calendar, mathematics, the ability to survey, and thus geometry, irrigation, writing and paper have partly formed the foundation on which modern civilization depends. Medicine is not to be excluded from these historical developments! “Hence the probability is strong that the medical traditions of the Greeks were wholly derived from the schools of the Egyptians” (Hamilton, The History of Medicine, Surgery and Anatomy, p. 35). Yes, the origin of medicine in the post-Flood era belongs to Egypt and its early rulers! It is well established that among all peoples of antiquity, the Egyptians enjoyed the reputation of being excellent physicians. Thus Homer extols the Egyptian practice: “Each is a physician with knowledge beyond all men” (Homer, Odyssey, IV, p. 231). Since the days of the Old Kingdom there existed not only a class of Egyptian physicians, but also medical specialization. Herodotus, writing of his travels to Egypt noted, Medicine is practiced among the Egyptians on a plan of separation. Each physician treats a single disorder, and no more. Thus the country swarms with medical practitioners, some undertaking to cure diseases of the eye, others of the head, others again of the teeth, others of the intestines, and some those which are not local (Herodotus, The Persian Wars, p. 155). This on-the-spot observation has long been discounted as whimsical speculation. Herodotus must have imagined it all! However, in spite of such skepticism, archaeological discoveries have corroborated these reports! The only question which remained was, did Herodotus’ or Homer’s accounts of Egyptian medical excellence apply to the 1500 years of medical history preceding their age. The answer is YES! Their observations were correct! Medicine was a highly specialized, advanced practice 4000 years ago. Ancient Physicians Confident! The study of ancient literature reveals a high degree of confidence, both on the part of the physician to treat the disease, and on the part of the patient to receive satisfactory treatment. Notice the confidence toward physicians expressed in a letter to Ashurbanipal, a king of Assyria, by one of his servants: “Today one of the maids became very ill. She would not eat a bite of food and suffered from pains in the head. May it please your Royal Highness to direct that a good doctor be invited to attend her?” (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 197). Such would appear to be a very modern appeal! Notice now the letter from a physician to the father of a young patient: Hearty greetings to the King, my Lord, from Arad-Nana, physician. Hearty greetings also to the little lad whose eyes are sore. I placed a bandage on his face. Yesterday evening, I took the bandage off and removed the dressing, and there was blood on the dressing, as much as would cover the point of the little finger. To which ever of the gods this benign action is due, his command surely has been heeded. Hearty greetings! Let the King, my Lord, rest assured: in a week or so, the boy will be well again (ibid., p. 198). This Assyrian doctor seems to write with absolute assurance in his skill! And these examples of doctor-patient confidence in the medical practice of their age do not stand alone! Many similar letters have been translated revealing that the writers knew their work so well, as to be able to write about their patient’s ill health authoritatively and assuredly. Few iatrogenic fatalities are recorded! “None of the eight hundred remedies found in the Ebers Papyrus appear to have actually killed anyone of those whom they were intended to benefit. THIS IS STRANGE” (Bryan, The Papyrus Ebers, p. 55). This is indeed strange in modern times where fully twenty per cent of all disease is iatrogenic! Astoundingly enough, sufficient material has been uncovered to state that the professional skill and ability of the doctors was such that “THE PROPORTION OF CURES TO DEATHS OF PATIENTS APPEARS HIGHER THAN IT IS TODAY”! (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 197). Even in light of the facts, this assertion will seem impossible to some. However, its accuracy may even be demonstrated from the law of the day: the Code of Hammurabi! In ancient times, regulations concerning the practice of medicine involved much more than simple liability. The laws rigidly held doctors personally responsible for their professional work. The liabilities for any unskillful practice or deviation from the accepted regime included fines and personal physical punishment. Any physician inept at or lax in his work faced well-known dire consequences! Notice these few excerpts from the Code of Hammurabi: Article 196: “IF a man has destroyed the eye of a patrician, his own eye shall be destroyed. Article 197: “IF he has broken the bone of a patrician, his bone shall be broken. Article 198: “IF he has destroyed the eye of a plebeian, or broken a bone of a plebeian, he shall pay one mina of silver. Article 218: “IF the doctor has treated a gentleman for a severe wound . . . and has caused the gentleman to die . . . one shall cut off his hands” (Johns, The Oldest Code of Laws, pp. 43-47). Though these laws appear overly strict and harsh today, they would effectively guarantee no lack of skill among physicians. And such codes strictly regulating medical practice were common throughout all the Old World. In China, for example, physicians who failed to help patients of high degree were put to death! The very fact these laws were instituted and could be practically maintained, together with the fact there was no paucity of practicing physicians, is evidence of a consistently high rate of success! Obviously, the ONLY physicians were successful ones! Even operating under the threat of such harsh consequences, medicine flourished! And with good reason! When the records are properly understood, it becomes plain these physicians depended on a medical practice, which would be considered competent by today’s standards! Pharmacology of Egypt “It is clear from the study of the medical papyri that medicine advanced considerably amongst the Egyptians and from them [some of their] medical . . . knowledge has descended to us . . . while probably MUCH OF IT WAS LOST IRRECOVERABLY” (Selwyn-Brown, The Physicians Throughout The Ages, p. 205). In spite of certain losses, Egyptologists recognize the ability, learning, and remarkable interest then manifested in the development of medicine. Enough of a record does remain to allow a responsible comparison between ancient and modern medicine. The full complement of medical practice possessed by these people is astounding — especially in the light of knowledgeable comparison. Surely “the past is worth our study and ever more so the further we advance” (ibid., p. 203). As we advance in our understanding of medical history, further skepticism becomes ridiculous — the evidence of a highly developed practice is here for all to see! The MEDICAL PAPYRI previously mentioned — principally the Ebers Papyrus, the Smith Papyrus, the Kahun Papyrus, and the Berlin Papyrus — provide an insight into the pharmacopoeia available to the physician. From these works it is apparent he had at his disposal an immense variety of drugs, minerals, and other substances with which to fight disease. These textbooks (the papyri) instructed him in how to mix his raw materials into effective medicines. In addition, they told him what remedies to use for what symptoms. In modern terminology, the art of diagnosis was being practiced. Anatomy Once translated, the Smith Papyrus revealed a startling fact currently essential to accurate diagnosis: the ancient physician understood the importance of the human heart and of counting the pulse! They realized the effect of the heart-beat reached out to all limbs. The Ebers Papyrus also commented on this important subject. The Title of one chapter is: “The secret of the physician — the knowledge of the movements of the heart and the knowledge of the heart.” A symbol for the heart was included in the Egyptian hieroglyphs. Noting this, a number of scholars postulated that the Egyptians must have been among the first ANATOMISTS in history — some 3500 years before its official recognition as a science in 1300 A.D. Many other hieroglyphs supported this postulation as special symbols were found for other organs of the body: stomach, liver, windpipe, spleen, bladder, and the womb. Early physicians definitely were not as ignorant of anatomy as they were once assumed to be. It became apparent the Egyptians recognized at least two basic facts from their study of anatomy: 1) that the heart’s pumping action affected all parts of the body, and 2) that blood vessels or “channels” led from the heart to all other parts of the body. Though research sources are limited, it is now evident much basic anatomical knowledge was then extant! Science of Accurate Prescription One of the most fascinating aspects of ancient medicine, which developed from the translation of the Ebers Papyrus, was the information it gave on the variety of medicines and drugs. “Medicines were prescribed in all the forms still in use today” (Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, p. 52). Inoculations, pills, suppositories, liquids, inhalations, poultices, gargles, fumigations, enemata, and balms were popularly administered externally and internally. The farther specialists looked into the matter, the more amazed they became! Over eight hundred prescriptions were carefully set forth in the Ebers Papyrus alone (see Bryan, The Papyrus Ebers, p. 15). A few of the prescriptions are extremely simple with one substance directed to be taken. The majority, however, are more complex including a dozen or more drugs. The longest of them in this particular papyrus consists of thirty-seven ingredients! These were not just silly magical recipes as had at first been thought, but legitimate prescriptions. “Ebbell and his successors did not succeed in deciphering all the names of Egyptian drugs. The ntjw resin, the isd fruit, the netr plant, and many other terms for which cross-references or contextual hints were lacking, remained mere groups of letters. They may have represented drugs no longer known today, or substances known today under other names. But the number and kind of drugs which were gradually identified justified the statement that the EGYPTIANS KNEW AND USED AT LEAST ONE THIRD OF THE MEDICINAL PLANTS LISTED IN MODERN PHARMACOPOEIAE” (Thorwald, Science and Secrets of Early Medicine, p. 60). It is necessary to list only a few: poppy, henbane, mandrake, jimson-weed, celery, turpentine, pomegranate, linseed, sycamore, castor-oil, thyme, cardoamom, caraway, and garlic. So from limited sources, a wealth of medicaments was found which figure prominently in our pharmacopoeia today! To attempt to compile a complete list from just this one papyrus would be impossible as the identity of a considerable number of substances is not known. According to Reginald Thompson, 180 drugs listed in Babylonian medical tablets are yet unidentified. Our knowledge of these ancient medicines is limited. However, there is no doubt that their physicians knew the effective properties of those substances as they carefully measured the components of all their medicines. Prescriptions were written out in due form and sometimes at great length, fully equaling those of the most enthusiastic therapeutist in our own day. It was rather interesting to find that the symbol for ½ tenat, often used in their prescriptions, is identical with that indicating a drachm for us . . . (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 207). Thus, the Egyptians were the ORIGINATORS OF EXACT PRESCRIPTION! Chemically-Induced Anesthesia The pharmacopoeia of Egypt was based on three sources: Plant, Mineral, and Organic substances. Setting aside the mineral materials, the scope of the two other pharmacopoeias is amazing! Some medical investigators have declared ancient materia medica ineffective. The reason perhaps is that they forget these drug sources should be collected in particular seasons of the year and at particular periods of their growth — not indiscriminately. When used in different combinations, they produce altogether different effects. These principles must be considered to correctly judge effectiveness of the ancient medicines. Chemists have now correctly analyzed the plant and mineral substances to determine their effectiveness according to the manner in which they were anciently used. Again the results of research proved amazing! Numerous prescriptions included modern ANESTHETICS and SEDATIVES! The name mandragora or mandrake is commonly found in the drug lists. Even as late as the Middle Ages it was used as a sedative for operations. Only recently, however, have the two active agents in the plant, which induce the sought for unconsciousness in a surgical patient been identified. These agents are atropine, and scopolamine, which have a numbing effect on the central nervous system. The poppy is also mentioned as a painkiller. Even the history of modern medicine includes dependence on opium, morphine, codeine, narcotine and papaverine. Another significant item on the prescription lists was a plant closely related to mandragora-henbane. This plant, too, was used around the world as a sleep-inducing agent for thousands of years. It was used by surgeons to deaden the pain of operations. Analyzation of henbane found it to contain scopolamine. In addition to mandragora, poppy, and henbane, other plants yielded the precious pain-relieving sedatives. Common among these was stramonium or jimson weed. Used by the Egyptians, this plant also contains two effective chemicals: hyoscyamine and atropine. “But the more this subject [analysis of ancient drugs] is studied, the more obvious appears to have been the great knowledge possessed by the doctors and chemists of . . . these ancient times” (ibid., p. 207). Unfortunately much of their knowledge is unintelligible to us or has simply been lost. Bacteriology It is often argued that the role of germs in pathology could not have been grasped in ancient times. It is generally believed that bacteriology and the microscope could not have been known to such remote times. The possibility of their development in antiquity is generally never given the dignity of serious consideration. However, That system must have had its microscope or some magnifying device, for without it they could not have talked of germs floating in the blood, and of malaria and other fevers being caused by germs conveyed by flea bites. [Ancient Indian writers referring to] . . . disease by contagion, sexual intercourse, evacuation of towns during epidemics, isolation of the people of the house where there is a death from some infectious disease, cleaning and sterilizing the instruments used for an operation [this principle as rediscovered by Seemmelwise in 18th century], could not have been destitute of the knowledge of bacteriology. That Ayurveda [ancient Indian medical writings] had its Bacteriology is certain from the fact that INOCULATION FOR SMALLPOX was known to it hundreds of years before Jenner taught it to Western medicine (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 276). Herodotus wrote, Each man possesses a net. By day it serves him to catch fish, while at night he spreads it over the bed in which he is to rest . . . . The gnats [insects], which if he rolls himself up in his dress or in a piece of muslin, are sure to bite through the covering, do not so much as attempt to pass the net (Herodotus, The Histories, p. 74). Ancient Egyptians possessed mosquito netting! Did they understand that disease may be communicated by insects? Why should we doubt it? The Roman author Varra wrote, “intermittent fever” was not due to climatic conditions as commonly assumed, but that it was brought on by bestiolae, (small animals) — in other words, insects! They carried the agents of the fever, as they did for many other diseases. This was millenia before Gorgas, who, at the construction of the Panama Canal, demonstrated “for the first time” (at least in our modern age) that fever could be carried by the mosquito! Bacteriology was an established fact of ancient times! Surgery We are able to construct a reasonably complete picture of ancient surgery from the medical papyri. From current records it appears the development of surgery in the old world reached its apex in India. Old Indian surgery contained practically all the operations known to the modern Western surgeon! Ancient Hindu surgeons performed such difficult operations as rhinoplasty (a type of plastic surgery), lithotomy, abdominal surgery (without infection), Caesarean section, cataract removal, and even BRAIN SURGERY — which is reputed to be one of the greatest achievements of Western medicine. That Western medicine owes its surgery to India is clear from the fact that countries from which Occidental medicine has taken its inspiration, were not so proficient at surgery. Some current operations, like rhinoplasty and lithotomy, originated in India centuries before Western medicine even existed in name. “In surgery, India seems to have attained a special proficiency, and in this department, European surgeons might perhaps even at the present day still learn something from them, as indeed they have already borrowed from them . . .” (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 275). Since the Edwin Smith Papyrus is the oldest and most complete single treatise on surgery in antiquity, its reference to Egyptian surgery will be the primary example. “Though the papyrus contains no clue as to the author’s name, Breasted believes that there is good internal evidence that this surgical treatise was written in the Old Kingdom” (circa 2500 B.C.), (Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, p. 55-56). Surgery commenced in Egypt in its most remote age — the FIRST DYNASTY! This papyrus carries the account of forty-five traumatic lesions and of some surgical diseases of the thorax. Consequently, it constitutes a most valuable book in the history of surgery! This record is much older than any similar Indian account. No doubt surgical knowledge was originally gleaned from Egypt. In the papyrus, all the cases are accurately described, beginning with the objective examination, the diagnosis, prognosis, and the subsequent treatment. “The clinical observations are so accurate and clear that it does not seem possible to the physician who reads these pages today that five thousand years have passed from the time when an acute observer and expert operator collected the results of his rich experience to serve him in teaching” (ibid., p. 56)! Circumcision was also practiced by the Egyptians in ancient times. “In the . . . cemetery of Naga-adder, one hundred miles north of Luxor, Elliot Smith found that all male corpses were circumcised” (ibid., p. 54). Even this brief account gives an impressive affirmation of the state of surgery in ancient Egypt! Miscellaneous Medical Developments Incense was as popular in the Middle and Far East anciently as it is today. The famous incense trade routes, which gave rise to the mystery and intrigue highlighted in Hollywood movies, wound their way from India across the deserts of Arabia to ready markets in Egypt. Great amounts of incense were consumed along the Nile! The Temple of Amon in Thebes reputedly burned 2189 jars and 304,093 bushels of fragrant resins in one year! Today incense is primarily associated with religion. As a result, its ancient import has gone unnoticed. Anciently, incense was a tool of medicine! Chemists have discovered that the burning of incense produces phenol — commonly called CARBOLIC ACID. When introduced into the operating room in the nineteenth century, it was hailed as the first antiseptic. When, in fact, ancient nations had sought operative hygiene through similar antisepis millenia ago! In 1898 Sir Flinders Petrie discovered another medical textbook — the Kahun Papyrus. Only three pages long, it was obviously but a portion of a more extensive work. He took his new find to London where it was deemed a significant discovery. The Kahun Papyrus was original indeed — the medical remedies it set forth dealt exclusively with women’s diseases. Petrie had found a textbook on GYNECOLOGY! Specific references were included which any modern gynecologist would recognize: typical bladder disturbances which accompany pregnancy, phlebitis, abdominal cancer, hemorrhages, menstrual irregularities, tumors and inflammations of various female organs. One of the most amazing discoveries in this field of medicine, was a prescription intended to prevent pregnancy. Initially, at face value, it received only skepticism and ridicule. The prescription read: “acacia spikes ground fine with dates and honey, rubbed on a wad of fibres and inserted deep into her vagina. . . .” Apparently no one had considered analyzing this composition scientifically. Recently, laboratory analysis has proved, much to the researcher’s astonishment, that acacia spikes contain a substance which forms lactic acid when dissolved in a fluid. Many present-day contraceptive preparations contain the same lactic acid! Even in this facet of feminine hygiene, ancient women were surprisingly up-to-date! Antibiotics — 4000 Years Ago! In 1928 Alexander Flemming identified a new chemical substance — penicillin. The medical world hailed this discovery as revolutionary! Here was a drug which possessed antibiotic properties. Physicians and chemists had been searching for years to isolate a drug, which could effectively, safely combat the spread of harmful bacteria. Apparently penicillin was the answer. In 1900 among certain medical men, chemotherapy was in disrepute. Physicians in every country were speaking their minds on the subject; powerful books were written against the use of drug therapy. Drugs were not considered safe or effective. However, with the advent of penicillin, a stampede ensued in laboratories worldwide to discover similar new chemicals to fight disease. The discovery of the antibiotic soon became known as the most important in the recent history of drug therapy! The modern physician now possessed, for the first time, a highly effective means to stop the spread of toxic bacteria. The Age of Antibiotics was born! Or, Was It Merely Rediscovered? As astounding as this discovery seemed to the physician of 1928, the working principle of antibiotics was not new! The word antibiotic simply means “against life” (Chambers, Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary, p. 42). An antibiotic, then, is inimical to life; it is a substance which inhibits the growth of an organism. THIS PRINCIPLE WAS COMMON KNOWLEDGE 4000 YEARS AGO! Ancient Antibiotics Herodotus, writing of the building of the Pyramid of Cheops, noted: An inscription is cut upon it [the pyramid] in Egyptian characters recording the amount spent on radishes, onions, and leeks for the laborers, and I remember distinctly that the interpreter who read me the inscription said the sum was 1600 talents of silver [approximately $4,000,000] (Herodotus, The Histories, II, p. 125). Why should such an enormous amount be spent on these particular vegetables? And possibly even more incongruous — why record such insignificant detail on the pyramid? For a long time, no one paid attention to this comment in The Histories. Certainly no serious historian ever gave it any medical significance. In 1948, the Swiss scientists Karrer and Schmidt effected an experiment which enabled them to grasp the astounding import of the quotation. These men discovered that radish seeds contained a chemical called raphanin — which definitely possessed antibiotic properties! The radish contained a natural antibiotic. Raphanin proved to be an effective destroyer of bacteria — including the cocci and coli. Radish juice produces the same effect on the bacteria. Furthermore, the chemicals allicin and allistatin were located in leeks (garlic) and onions. These, too, are antibiotic in nature and effective against dysentery, typhoid fever and cholera. The distribution of radishes, garlic, and onions in such quantities now projected to the scientists a definite medical purpose! Sad experience had no doubt taught the Egyptians that serious epidemics of dysentery, typhoid fever, and cholera could break out among the masses of pyramid workers quartered so closely together. Strict measures of sanitation would have to be observed to keep such infectious diseases from breaking out at the building site and spreading throughout the population. In addition, these vegetables which contained a natural antibiotic were used to prevent the potential epidemics. Obviously these ancient people understood the potential dangers of intestinal bacteria and the efficacy of certain substances in controlling the ever-present threat of epidemic. To cite three vegetables, which have inherent antibiotic properties, admittedly, is not sufficient of itself to prove ancient existence of modern chemotherapy. But it is an interesting singular discovery — considering only scattered fragments from the vast medical libraries of the ancients have been unearthed! Investigation has discovered more. Notice! Sewer Pharmacology? All ancient medicine was not nearly so pleasant or simple! In fact, medical historians have termed a sizeable, complex section of Egyptian pharmacopoeia “sewer pharmacology.” Numerous prescriptions call for fly and pelican droppings, human urine, lizard excrement, human fecal matter, gazelle’s dung — and most frequently of all, the excrement of the crocodile. Through exhaustive clinical analysis, modern medical historians admitted to finding a rational explanation for much of ancient materia medica, but this bizarre treatment was clearly foolishness! There could be no practical value in such medication (see Rawlinson, History of Ancient Egypt, p. 306). And there was no mistaking the intention of these men. The repulsive preparations were used as prescribed! The Ebers Papyrus, alone, contains over fifty prescriptions in which fecal matter and urine are important components. These medicaments were to be used internally, as well as externally. Many of the prescriptions are astonishingly specific in expressly recommending the excretions from particular animals to treat a singular disease. For example: “To drive out the nesit disease — crush two testicles of a black ass, rub in wine and let the patient drink” (Bryan, The Papyrus Ebers, p. 32). Human excrement mixed with yeast-of-sweet-beer and honey is recommended as a dressing for wounds! Another example called for male semen as a flavoring agent in a mixture to relieve abdominal obstruction! Such putrid examples dominate ancient prescriptions! Abominable, repulsive, confounding! The natural response of historians, into the middle of the twentieth century, was to label such medicine sewer pharmacology. Nevertheless, the physicians in those early days were confident in these weird prescriptions; recoveries are recorded, and even recalling the strict code of Hammurabbi, it is obvious the filth had an effect! The ancient secrets remained a mystery. No one knew how these drugs could produce any practical effect. The mysterious ingredient of the excremental drugs remained hidden until 1948. It was in this year that Dr. Benjamin M. Duggar, Professor of Plant Physiology at Wisconsin University, discovered a new antibiotic drug — aureomycin. This discovery was to have a devastating effect on the modern evolution of ancient medicine! Overnight, aureomycin became a wonder drug. It unleashed swift, certain annihilation upon various types of bacteria. The interesting aspect to history was not its discovery, but how and where it was discovered. Its composition was profoundly reminiscent of ancient prescriptions. Dr. Duggar had extracted aureomycin from a type of soil found particularly in the vicinity of cemeteries! This particular soil produced a special fungi which had the annihilating effect upon disease bacteria as did the molds from which penicillin was derived. A fact of chemistry was now clear to modern science, which had been employed anciently: certain waste products resulting from the metabolism of molds have an annihilating effect on bacteria. Further investigation showed that bacteria living in a human or animal body, release their excretory products into the excrement of the animal. It is now known that the excrement of every animal contains different antibiotic substances! The same principle holds true for mud and soils in which once living material is in the process of decay. The question now argued by medical historians is, did the Egyptians develop antibiotic drugs? The answer is, as SYNTHETIC laboratory products, no. The point is, anciently, physicians did know that certain metabolic waste products retarded the growth of disease bacteria. This working formula, the inherent nature of our antibiotics, also formed the backbone of ancient medical practice! Further proof that they did appreciate this principle is found in the fact that they had collected and CODIFIED the effect on specific diseases of every living creature’s excrement: fecal and urine, male and female, human and animal. History now shows that the Egyptians, though often in crude form, anciently used substances, which the mid-twentieth century held to be the latest achievements of science! Such discoveries are staggering to say the least! The physicians of antiquity were not ignorant or obsolete. Though living in a bygone age, the ancient man of medicine possessed not only confidence in his practice, but also the CAPABILITY to meet the needs of his patients as a most “modern” physician!
Chapter V Ancient Physicians Identified! DISEASE is proved to have been a constant, ever-present menace to man from the earliest times. Even the most modern ailments — cancer, heart and vascular disease — threatened the average man in ancient civilizations! Yet, we have learned that even in those dim, distant eras, the scourge of disease was fought by what modern historians call “a competent medical faculty.” The most modern drugs, anesthetics, complicated surgical procedures — even the vaunted antibiotic — were used by the ancients in a never-ending war against ill health! To the researcher, this is interesting — even amazing, but a most important question is yet to be solved: WHO ORIGINATED THIS ANCIENT PRACTICE? Ancient Records Rejected As Myth There is a reason why modern historians are confused by the startling records of ancient history. The structure of history, to which all material is subjected to test, was preconceived before all the facts were in. The result is, many historical accounts are judged not acceptable today. The modern study of antiquity does not take into account any intervention of God or of the Devil in the course of history! Historians take it for granted that the events of history, like their present lives, are NOWHERE affected by the intervention of supernatural powers. Since the recorded supernatural events of the past cannot be scientifically tested, they are rejected as MYTH! This is the universally accepted approach to history explained in Chapter I. The application of this theory to history has resulted in chaos as the ancient world finds mankind intimately associated with the supernatural. Gods and demons directly influenced every aspect of daily life! Association with the supernatural was a way of life. In spite of this self-evident fact, where the supernatural (myth) is involved, the record receives no further investigation — it is summarily rejected! (See Hockett, The Critical Method in Historical Research and Writing, p. 62.) All ancient records, subsequently, are reinterpreted to fit the fallacious modern assumption that the supernatural has not affected — indeed, even guided — the development of history. Any facts which will not fit this present theory are discarded. Consequently, the recorded history of any nation prior to 1000 B.C. is subject to doubt, accusation and dismemberment. The fabric of history has been unraveled — the true picture distorted! On occasion, there is no written record to substantiate the oral traditions of history. In such cases, these valuable sources are also discredited. This is not a valid judgment, as some ancient peoples preserved and highly valued the tradition of perpetuating important works orally. Notice! What medicine did the Vedic Aryans [old Indians] practice? What did they think of health and disease, of the human body and its place in the whole of nature? We have no medical book [of India] from that early period. . . . We must keep in mind, however, that medicine was a craft which was passed on from father to son, from master to pupil, and appeared in medical books only centuries later (Sigerist, A History of Medicine, p. 154). Oral transmission of important data was official and highly respected. “The oral tradition was more highly cultivated in India than in any other country, and was considered the authentic version of a text to a much higher degree than any written book” (Ibid., p. 149). To carelessly dismiss these ancient records as myth or inaccurate and unreliable is a travesty! It is for just such intellectual folly that the identity of the man who initiated medical practice, is to this day virtually unknown. To enable proper identification of the inventors of medical practice 4000 years ago, every source — secular history, written or oral, and the record of the Bible — must be considered. It is these ancient records, long regarded as unreliable myth, which REVEAL THE IDENTITY OF THE FIRST PHYSICIANS! Mythology Provides A Key! Myth simply means “an ancient traditional story of gods or heroes . . . . a story with a veiled meaning.” (Chambers, Chambers’ Twentieth Century Dictionary, p. 708.) The political, religious, and medical history of every ancient civilization is considered lost among these traditional origins. “The History of Medicine, in the earlier ages of Greece, is enveloped, as in every other country . . . in the densest clouds of mystery and fable” (Hamilton, The History of Medicine, Surgery and Anatomy, p. 35). The present confusion results from a deliberate attempt by the ancient priesthood to bathe their religion and medicine in mysticism. Priests purposefully kept this knowledge obscure! It was not to be revealed to the common man. The simple practice of medicine was purposefully veiled in a maze of mysticism. Notice! “The real instruction in the mysteries of his profession is not given him until his initiation ceremony has been completed.” Even “the initiation is carefully guarded from the public eye [historical present tense used]” (McKenzie, The Infancy of Medicine, p. 5). Only the priests were to understand the origin and source of their medical prowess. To secure to themselves the permanence of this monopoly, and the full advantage of this DELUSION, the priests laboured with . . . skill, to disguise the rules of their practice beneath a multitude of superstitious observances, and to surround it with a fence of imposing and impenetrable mystery (Hamilton, The History of Medicine, Surgery and Anatomy, p. 12). Though assuming a myriad of forms universally, throughout the ages — all myth has essentially the same origin! “MESOPOTAMIA was the starting point of Oriental civilization” (Garrison, History of Medicine, p. 61). The early rulers of this Mesopotamian society are the ones around whom the basic structure of all mythology was built. Though given varied names, relevant to the language of the peoples by whom they were worshipped, the gods of the ancient world were not nearly so many as it appears. “At a very early time it was . . . felt that this immense multitude of gods represented but various aspects of ONE, the divine being” (Sigerist, A History of Medicine, p. 154). On the surface, however, it appears that even the early history of Greek medicine, like that of its political developments, is hopelessly lost in mythology. Medicine was entirely in the hands of a priestly caste to 500 B.C. The priesthood of every nation practiced this device of deception and exclusivism to the time of Hippocrates. Hippocrates, himself, was a member of just such a priesthood which perpetuated the myths! Even the renowned Hippocratic Oath gives allegiance to the Greek pantheon of medical dieties: “I swear by Apollo Physician, by Asclepius, by Hygieia, by Panacea, and by all the gods and goddesses . . .” (Marti-Ibanez, The Epic of Medicine, p. 65). The mirage of gods and goddesses was a malicious farce — the important question is: To WHOM was Hippocrates swearing allegiance? Scant few have ever thought this question important! Virtually no one has guessed the depths of antiquity to which he is referring. Supposedly the Father of Medicine himself, he has preserved in Greek myth the true identity of the ancient physicians who established the healing art! Though securely hidden from the public, these priesthoods knew the identity of the gods they worshipped. Who, then, was this “divine” being whom the Greeks called APOLLO? Apollo Identified! Apollo was the great Greek god of healing. He was “the inventor of the healing art” (Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, p. 120). In his hymn to Apollo, Callimachus wrote of the great physician: “And wise physicians taught by him delay, The stroke of fate and turn disease away.” Hippocrates was simply following the tradition of centuries when he recognized Apollo’s authority in medical matters — but Apollo was not Greek! Rather, he was the principal god of an earlier Mediterranean people who settled in Greece long before Homer’s time. “Apollo was the early IMPORTED god of medicine . . . (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 67). From what nation did the Greeks import Apollo? The answer is EGYPT! Hippocrates had recognized the eminence of, and pledged his allegiance to, a foreign god, which originated fully 1700 years before his own age. Notice! The medical mythology of Greece and Egypt is essentially the same: and the Apis and Serapis, the Isis and Osiris or Thoth, of the latter are to be recognized in the Apollo and Minerva, the Hermes and the Orpheus of the former (Hamilton, The History of Medicine, Surgery, and Anatomy, p. 36). Osiris and Apollo are but NATIONAL REPRESENTATIONS of the same individual! Other historians record this fact. “Osiris was much given to husbandry . . . [also] called by the Greeks Dionysus . . .” (Williams, The Historians History of the World, p. 28l). Dionysus was a prominent healing deity of Greece. “The most important position belonged to Thoth [Osiris] . . . he became identified with Hermes . . .” (Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, p. 46). The worship of Osiris was INTERNATIONAL in scope! “In the course of time . . . Isis, Osiris, and Horus were universally worshipped even beyond the boundaries of Egypt” (Sigerist, A History of Medicine, p. 269). All the ancient medical gods and goddesses primarily revolve around these three original Egyptian (and Mesopotamian) deities. The identification and involved relationship of these gods throughout the world, all of which is hopelessly bathed in mysticism, is a full subject in itself. Even the initiate priests, who lived in those days, required lengthy instruction to fully understand the labyrinth. These central, prominent deities were given as many as fifty different names! OSIRIS was also called: Anepu, Apis, Serapis, Marduk, Enlil, Cosmas Belos, Vishnu, Surya, Dhanvantari, Moloch, Mithras, Du’uzu, Tammuz, Baal, Min, Dumuzi, Adonis, Apollo, Bacchus, Phaethon, Anubis, Hephaestus, Saturn, and Pluto. ISIS was named: Hept, Ashtoreth, Neit, Athena, Neit-hotep, Ma, Enio, Cybele, Minerva, Astarte, Themis, Bellona, Venus, Aurora, Aphrodite, Hygieia and Diana. HORUS was named: Itit, Gilgamesh, Jupiter, Ninyas, and etc. As one historian writes, “We find ourselves bewildered in a motley crowd . . . whom we are at a loss to discriminate from each other” (Ibid., p. vi). The reason being that these many names, including some titles, refer to only three original deities! Of course many of the above names later became associated with certain nations and cities, but this was a gradual, nationalistic development. Originally all nations gave allegiance to a single triad of gods! Ancient Gods — Really Early Rulers! It has often been said, “great actions are oftentimes the forerunners of great reactions.” In a word, the apparently miraculous results obtained by early physicians, gave rise to the origin of medical gods. The healing gods of the ancient world appear to us as romantic fancies of a mythological age, but in those early times, they were very real personages! The traditional gods from Dionysus and Heracles up to Zeus and Cronis were simply ONE-WORLD RULERS and benefactors of mankind — who had by their own insistence or the gratitude of their subjects been transferred to the ranks of Heaven (Selwyn-Brpwn, The Physician Throughout the Ages, p. 67). The mysticism we call mythology today was well developed in the earliest times. James Breasted proved that the Papyrus Ebers dated from the Old Kingdom of Egypt. At that early date, Osiris, Hermes, Isis, and Horus are already being mentioned as medical deities. A pantheon of healing gods was then under development — “developed from outstanding surgeons and physicians” who had previously lived (Ibid., p. 199)! As explained in Chapter IV, the medical procedures used by the ancient physicians produced a remarkable effect! It is easy to see how such practitioners, in a profoundly religious age, could claim deification. Epidemics, exposing entire nations to annihilation, posed a particularly dangerous threat. Rulership depended on their ability to thwart the ravages of disease. This will be explained more fully in the following chapter. The following quotation reflects this vital interest in containing disease and the subsequent public response to a successful effort. Aristaios [Apollo-Osiris] . . . was noted for his expertness in public health work and EPIDEMICS. When the plague visited Keos he went there and restored the public health, and was rewarded by the building of a temple and healing sanctuary [in his name] in that town. In other places he had temples and was worshipped . . . (ibid., p. 65). Such results were considered miracles! From what has been just said [the miraculous recovery of Keos], we can readily understand . . . HOW almost every nation of antiquity came to refer the origin of medicine to the immediate instruction of the Gods; and HOW the Isis and Osiris, the Apis and Serapis of the Egyptians CAME TO BE REGARDED AS DIVINITIES, and worshipped with divine honours (Hamilton, The History of Medicine, Surgery and Anatomy, p. 9-10). These old world “benefactors” had special, direct contact with supernatural powers and as a result were themselves accorded divine attributes. Later they were worshipped as gods — when in reality, they were only men! Today, the medical developments of the ancient civilizations are obscured by mythology. Many records are lost or dismissed. However, one fact has clearly emerged — in every nation the origin of medicine is coeval with the commencement of its empire! The invention of medicine is traced to the deified first kings whose rule was worldwide! Which Ancient Rulers? The evidence proving that the ancient gods of medicine were simply early rulers is ample! The question now becomes WHICH RULERS? The key to this problem is a matter of elimination. The answer is easily found. In every case the central figure in the medical pantheon is a MALE DEITY who is pictured discovering many drugs — at times they are a result of “quick invention.” Of course he is a “benefactor.” In some records, following his demise, a FEMALE DEITY and HER SON are represented as pharmacists for the world. A single quotation for each is sufficient for example: “THOTH [also Apollo-Osiris] was also credited with the discovery of healing herbs, of which . . . the Egyptians possessed a great number” (McKenzie, The Infancy of Medicine, p. 21-22). From the few magic texts we have quoted, it is apparent that ISIS held an important place in the pantheon of healing deities. Her legend is full of episodes of magic cures, and over and over again she appears as the great magician whose counsel is the breath of life, whose sayings drive out sickness. . . . It is well known that . . . the [medical] cult of Isis SPREAD ALL OVER THE ANCIENT WORLD and at a time when people were pining for healing . . . . To Diodorus she was a healing goddess, DISCOVERER OF DRUGS, versed in the art of curing people. . . . HORUS, the child of Isis and Osiris . . . appeared frequently and acquired himself special faculties to cure people . . . . The Greeks and Romans worshipped him as a healing god also who had been instructed in the healing art by his mother Isis . . . (Sigerist, A History of Medicine, p. 288). The god of healing, a deified old-world ruler, was the first pharmacist — often called “the great husbandman.” Who was he? Are there any ancient rulers credited with the same discoveries? YES — The phenomenon is worldwide! All nations point to one man as originator! EGYPT: In Egypt the first ruler to be accorded great respect due to his exploits as a physician is the Second King: ATHOTHSIS! “Works on ANATOMY and MEDICINE are stated to have been written even by the early sovereigns of Egypt. Athothis, the son of Menes is stated in the Berlin Papyrus to have written a book on medicine” (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 203). Furthermore, “Teta, styled Athothis. . . . According to Manetho, he constructed the royal castle of Memphis and wrote a work on anatomy, being PARTICULARLY OCCUPIED WITH MEDICINE” (Williams, The Historians History of the World, p. 91). “Ata [the fourth sovereign — Teta’s mother-wife Uenephes]: A great plague broke out in [her] reign” (ibid.). It was just such incidence of disease which she was renown for attempting to control with her “great magic.” Osiris, then is Athothis. It follows that Uenephes is Isis; the son, Horus is Kenkenes. CHINA: Chinese history states unequivocally that the origin of medicine was coeval with the foundation of their empire! The Chinese established a medical system, which according to tradition, is as ancient as the monarchy. They have drawn the whole [of medical] science from the experience of the ancients. To SHIN-NUNG the DIVINE HUSBANDMAN, is the honor ascribed of having laid the foundation of this useful art. He [taught] that heaven had created herbs to remedy diseases. He therefore examined their qualities and communicated the result of his researches to the people. It has been justly inferred that the remedies invented by him must have been very excellent (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 246). According to ancient legends, the origin of Chinese medicine is attributed to the Emperor Shin-Nung . . . . He is said to have taught his subjects . . . compiling an herbal, in which more than a hundred remedies are mentioned (Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, p. 99). Tradition records that he encountered as many as seventy different drugs in a single day. Shen-Nung, which may be spelled Shen, Shun or Shin, is the second of the five legendary rulers — himself a god of medicine. However, Shun was not Chinese; he was a foreigner. The Bamboo Annals make it clear Shun was a black foreigner! His identity will be revealed later. INDIA: “True Indian history begins with the famous battle of Kuruksetra in the winter of 1650-1649 B.C.” (Hoeh, Compendium, p. 333). This heavy attack was launched against the Indians by the Assyrians from the West. As subsequent events developed, the Indian king perished, but through an unusual turn of circumstances, the Assyrians were defeated and India became truly independent. Prior to this significant date, names, but no dates, of previous kings are preserved. From earlier times India, particularly the civilizations along the Indus River valley, had been dominated by Aryans. As a result, the earliest kings belong to a foreign empire. However, Indian history does preserve, in tradition, the origin of medicine prior to 1650 B.C. “AGNI, the Aryo-Indian god . . . links with TAMMUZ. . . . Agni . . . he who has been looked for has entered all herbs. Tammuz is ‘the healer’ and Agni ‘drives away all disease’,” (MacKenzie, Myths of Babylonia and Assyria, p. 94). Agni is considered the first physician of India. Agni is known to be Tammuz, so his true identity will be revealed when we reach the early rulers of Mesopotamia! In every nation the origin of medicine invariably is traced back to a god and/or ancient ruler of the empire’s first dynasty. This strange phenomenon is universal! We have already seen this is true in Rome, Greece, Egypt, India, and China. And all other nations of Asia trace their medical origins to China or India. All modern nations trace their medical history to Greece or Rome — so, in effect, we have briefly traced the origin of all the world’s medical practice to this ancient period! Can it yet be simplified further? YES! Remember the first physicians of all nations, excepting Egypt and Mesopotamia, were not native sons. MESOPOTAMIA — Origin of Medical History! As Garrison previously stated, “Mesopotamia was the starting point of Oriental civilization.” In the framework of history, the records of all ancient nations go back to one momentous event: the building of the city and tower of Babel! This was the beginning of the civilization of this world. All nations reckon their origin from this event! It is at this point that the Bible becomes absolutely essential to the understanding of medical history. It is the Bible which reveals the names and the significance of the most ancient medical men and their practice. The Biblical account of the building of Babel is found in Genesis 11:1-9, which reads in part: And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And they said one to another: “Come, let us build us a city, and a tower . . . let us make us a name. . . .” And the Lord said: “Behold, they are one people, now nothing will be withholden from them. . . .” From thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. The most complete secular record of this event is that found in the Akkadian Creation Epic. It includes the statements which follow: “Having built a stage-tower a great height, they set up in it an abode for MARDUK, Enlil and Ea. This is Babylon, the place that is your home. . . .” It continues with the establishment of a throne which dominated many other nations: the commencement of human government! At this point the document is fragmentary but one who dominates the human race is clearly mentioned: “He set up a throne Another in. . . . Verily, the most exalted is the son. . . . His sovereignty is surpassing. . . . MAY HE SHEPHERD THE HUMAN RACE!” The Biblical account reveals who these first two rulers of ancient Mesopotamia were! The Biblical Cush is the father; Nimrod is the son. “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. . . . And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel . . .” (Genesis 10:8, 10). “With the reign of Cush and of Nimrod, the history of civilization begins. At this point (2254 B.C.) commences also the chronology of Egypt, of Assyria, of Babylonia, and of the whole Near East” (Hoeh, Compendium, p. 45). Nimrod Was The First Man To Hold World Power! Now the seemingly coincidental origins of medicine in Egypt, India, and China take on added significance! It becomes clear why so many nations point to a foreign physician-ruler. China’s first king was a black foreigner. They called him Shun. His father’s name was spelled Chusou or Kusou — simply a variant of Cush! His mother was “Queen of the West Land” or “Queen Mother of the West.” This ancient Shun of the Chinese records is none other than the BIBLICAL NIMROD! On to Egypt! Immediately after the building of Babel, Egypt became the second center of civilization of the world. All the famous hero-gods who founded Babel are buried in Egypt. The development of these two societies was similar and contemporary. It is easy to see how both Babylonians and Egyptians later claimed to be the first people in the world. The first four rulers of Egypt’s Dynasty I (Menes, Athothis, Kenkenes, and Uenephes) are the ones important to the medical history of the world. These individuals were also the first four rulers of Babylon! For a complete account and proof of the inter-relationship of these two dynasties, see the Compendium of World History by Dr. Herman L. Hoeh, Chapter 3. The Egyptian god Osiris (Athothis — Second King) was the Apollo of the Greeks, the Baal of the Phoenicians, the Agni of the Indians, the Shun of the Chinese, the Nabu of the Assyrians, the Tammuz of the Semites and the MARDUK of the Babylonians. All these national god-names refer to the NIMROD of the Bible! In Babylon, where the universal pattern was set, medicine was a sacred art taught in the temple. “The divine husbandman,” the Babylonian Osiris was Marduk. In Babylon, the center of the world’s pagan civilizations, MARDUK “held the power to overcome all disease” (Marti-Ibanez, The Epic of Medicine, p. 47). History traces the ancient, original god of Medicine in every nation on earth to Marduk! Marduk is Nimrod. The Biblical Nimrod is the patron deity — indeed the FATHER OF MEDICINE — to all nations of the world! The amazing story of how this occurred — and WHY — is told in the following chapter.
Chapter VI Medical Practice Vital To Founders Of Babel! That a competent medical faculty, employing modern techniques to treat present-day diseases, was developed over forty centuries ago by the founders of Babel is an established fact. WHY it was necessary to feverishly build such an extensive practice has yet to be explained! The question of HOW it became a universal practice must also be dealt with here. Historical Background at Babel The Bible and secular records make it clear that the earliest post-flood movement of the human family was down from the mountains of Armenia on to the Mesopotamian plain. Notice Josephus’ recount! “Now the sons of Noah . . . Shem, Japheth, and Ham . . . first of all descended from the mountains [Armenia] into the plains [Mesopotamia], and fixed their habitation there” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, I, iv, 1). With this archaeological background in mind, we may now proceed to the story of the famous leaders who misguided these ancient peoples. Remember, three individuals are indispensable to the origin of medicine in this period: Nimrod, Semiramis (Isis) and Gilgamesh (Horus) — and principally NIMROD! Nimrod’s father was Cush, the oldest son of Ham (Genesis 10:6). Cush, in Hebrew, means black. Nimrod, as the Chinese records reveal, was black — though born of his white mother-wife, Semiramis. The Greek name for Cush was Aethiops from which the word Ethiopia comes. Cush is the ancestor of the black East Africans! Cush, a black man, felt discriminated against in a society of predominantly white leadership. Cush initiated the rebellion against God which Nimrod was to so thoroughly pursue. Cush put himself in the place of God. It was especially the Hamitic branch of the human family, under his leadership, that originally determined to rebel against God! The bitter feelings of inferiority which motivated Cush were later reflected in the behavior of his son Nimrod. These rebels planned a SEPARATE SOCIETY — in opposition to God’s way of life. Disguised as benefactors of mankind, their announced intention was to make a better world — according to their philosophy, not God’s. Their ideas are summed up in the words, “one race, one world.” Thus the pattern for this world’s civilizations was set! Cush played an important part in the fledgling rebellion. His mark is left on the government, politics, and philosophy of the early dynasty — but he is NOT greatly noted for its medical development! As noted before, Nimrod is the great patron deity of ancient medicine. Let’s notice why! NIMROD Leads The Rebellion! The Babel project was not self-motivating. It arose against God’s plan of separating the races. Notice: “Let us build us a city and a tower . . . let us make us a name, LEST WE BE SCATTERED ABROAD upon the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4)! For a rebellion to be executed to this degree, with such organization and the resources to build a city — it required a master engineer. Nimrod was the mastermind! He fomented the excitement, the contempt for God. God names things precisely what they are. He called him Nimrod — derived from the Hebrew word marad meaning “to rebel.” In other words, he was The Rebel in history! Read Genesis 10:8, “he began to be a mighty one in the earth.” The words “mighty one” come from the Hebrew gibber meaning, not only a warrior, but a tyrant. Moffatt translates this verse: “Ethiopia [Cush] produced Nimrod, the first man on earth to be a DESPOT . . . !” Nimrod’s character is further expressed in verse 9. We have still to discuss what is probably the most significant phrase of all, a phrase used twice: Nimrod was a mighty hunter “before the Eternal.” This expression, when properly translated, means “in place of the Eternal,” or “against the Eternal,” or “OPPOSED to the Eternal” (Exploring Ancient History — The First 2500 Years, pp. 11-67). Apparently, Nimrod understood the psychology of human nature. He knew how to appeal to the people. He convinced them that happiness and freedom lay in the transgression of God’s law. He persuaded the majority of the human family to co-operate in the Babel project! Nimrod gradually put himself in place of the true God and led his people to believe that under his guidance, they would be out of reach of God’s punishment. A rude awakening lay ahead! Rebellion Brought a Penalty! Many historians admit that the practice of medicine is one of the oldest professions on earth — if not the oldest. Few know WHY! There is a reason, which also lies at the bottom of the world’s ills today. Medicine was born of necessity! Long ago, the Creator God revealed a principle which governs the health of all mankind — now, and in Nimrod’s age! And it shall come to pass, IF thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do ALL HIS COMMANDMENTS . . . . And all these blessings [including robust physical health] shall come on thee . . . (Deuteronomy 28:1-2). However, the promise did not end there. It also included a clause for disobedience and rebellion! Mankind was enjoying good health. Nimrod and his followers had not fully counted the cost of SIN — PART OF WHICH IS PHYSICAL SUFFERING THROUGH DISEASE! Sickness is the natural consequence of living contrary to God’s way of life. Notice! But it shall come to pass, IF thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do ALL HIS COMMANDMENTS . . . all these curses shall come upon thee and overtake thee. . . . The Lord shall make the PESTILENCE cleave unto thee until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it [virtually no one today lives in the cities Nimrod established]. The Lord shall smite thee with a CONSUMPTION, [tubererculosis], and with a FEVER, and with an INFLAMMATION [rapidly consuming cancer], and with an extreme BURNING [mental anguish] . . . . The Lord will smite thee with the BOTCH OF EGYPT [Elephantiasis, a horrible skin disorder], and with EMERODS and with the SCAB [odd skin diseases], and with the ITCH, whereof thou canst not be healed. The Lord shall smite thee with MADNESS [insanity], and BLINDNESS, and ASTONISHMENT OF HEART [heart attack] . . . . Because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded thee . . . (Deuteronomy 28:15, 21-22, 27-28, 45.) God knew what would happen when they rebelled. He warned them through Noah and Shem! Nimrod and his rebellious followers KNEW of the prophesied punishment. Sure they did! One reason they built the tower was to protect themselves against another flood! All medical historians note the belief that disease resulted from “an offence to the gods” — SIN — was universal! In Mesopotamia every disease was regarded as DIVINE PUNISHMENT for deliberate or unwitting sin. However, the early founders of civilization did not listen to the warnings, and all nations were ravaged by the “modern” diseases of Deuteronomy 28, as history reveals. WHY Medicine Was Developed Suddenly sickness occurred. Epidemics struck — whole cities were immobilized! Epidemic and plague — in every nation — is the medical history of the years after Babel. As leader of the rebellion, the one who stood “before” God, it fell Nimrod’s lot to deliver the people from disease as he had from wild animals. As previously quoted, Nimrod “was noted for his expertness in public health work and EPIDEMICS [his kingdom and rulership depended on it]. When the plague visited Keos [Greece] HE WENT THERE and restored the public health. . . .” As we shall see, Nimrod visited many areas of the earth in the interests of medicine. As new sickness occurred, new drugs had to be found to fight them. This became a frantic, frustrating attempt to thwart the natural penalty of breaking God’s law. The race against disease became such a hectic affair that Nimrod-the-physician was renowned for his “admirable ingenuity and quick invention.” As Shun, the Chinese physician-god, he is reputed to have discovered as many as seventy drugs in one day! Whether this actually occurred is not important. The point is, it vividly shows the impression left on that ancient time of Nimrod’s desperate effort to avert God’s penalty through MEDICINE! Supernatural Intervention Nimrod’s medical efforts met a certain success. For centuries, thereafter, physicians felt confident in the mode of medical practice he established. He became so revered, even the pronouncing of his name at the bedside of the sick was believed to contain great curative power. Any deviation, from the medical code he established, which failed, was considered a CAPITAL offense! “In the letters like those quoted earlier in the thesis the writers expressed perfect confidence in the professional skill and ability of the doctors. . . .” Even today, historians do not hesitate to say “the proportion of cures to deaths of patients appears HIGHER than it is today” (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 197). The question which must be raised, after such a statement, is how did Nimrod develop a system which produced such a high rate of successful treatment? The evidence is that he did, but HOW? The answer to this question is vital to learning the lesson of medical history! Nimrod faced a losing battle against disease. This consequence of their sin had not been foreseen — surely they would be forced back into at least nominal obedience of God’s laws. The rebellion was not yet lost! Babel was Satan’s master project in leading the human race away from God in the years immediately after the Flood. He did all in his power to keep it from failing! Satan knew that it is impossible to avoid paying the penalty of transgression. Once man has sinned, there is sure retribution. He also knew certain of the physical penalties can be modified or delayed! Delaying the penalty would establish the rebellion. Relieving man from the immediate penalty would deceive him into believing his freedom to sin was assured. The tower gave him a sense of security against another flood — medicine became assurance against the penalty of disease. The tragic consequences would be paid, but later, at a time when mankind was so removed from God, severe suffering alone would not bring them back. History reveals SATAN led Nimrod to establish the Art of Medicine! The “god of this world” understood the principle of antibiotics! He well knew which substances would have a devastating effect on bacteria. It required no effort on Satan’s part to determine the substances which were available for man to use as drugs — it simply had to be revealed! All available records, secular and Biblical, maintain that the origin of medicine was supernatural. And it was! It is this facet of the early beginnings of medicine, which encrusted with fabulous tradition, have left it open to the charges of mythology! All modern criticism to the contrary, history remains adamant — the origin of medicine was “of the gods.” “Almost every nation of antiquity came to refer the origin of Medicine to the IMMEDIATE INSTRUCTION of the gods” (Hamilton, The History of Medicine, Surgery and Anatomy, p. 9). Another historian adds, “. . . but even the gods themselves condescended to import their therapeutic secrets to mankind” (McKenzie, The Infancy of Medicine, p. 12). Yes, the art of medicine was revealed to man! In spite of such an amazing revelation, historians generally conclude that HOW ancient physicians learned the specific effectiveness of their remedies is of no importance! When in fact, THIS IS VITAL! The ancients communicated daily with the spirit world. The priest-physicians even contacted “their spirits” for advice in individual cases! As we shall see, it was through this intimate association with the spirit world that ancient physicians could maintain their rate of success. Diagnosis, in difficult cases, was based on astrology, dreams, auguries, and visions. Basically, there were three divisions in the medical priesthood (using the Mesopotamian names) the ashipu or exorcist, the asu or physician in the modern sense of the word, and the azu or diviner. The latter’s chief responsibility was divination. He was a medium for visions and knew how to interpret them! The relationship between doctor and patient went as follows. The patient sought out a physician, as is done today. In difficult cases, all of which were catalogued for future reference, the priest-physician would resort to a guiding spirit! As all hospitals were originally temples, this was a simple procedure. The physician then made the prognosis. As both the patient’s future and his own fate (per Hammurabi’s Code) depended on his findings, ancient doctors were brutally frank! Terse examples of ancient prognosis have been found. “The favourable prognosis was expressed with the words: ‘I [the physician] will cure this disease’; if the prognosis was doubtful: ‘Nothing can be done in this case’; or if UNfavourable: ‘The patient will die’,” (Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, p. 55). As previously noted, Satan knew that the course of certain diseases could be altered AND he knew which specific substances would have a moderating effect on each ailment. There were some illnesses which could not be halted at all by medication — even as today, physicians freely admit: “There is no cure for the common cold.” Many times the patient heard the dreaded report of imminent death. No hope was held out on the basis of experimentation, as ancient doctors were not allowed to freelance through trial and error with their medications. The Bible records an example of just such doctor-patient reliance on the supernatural as late as 892 B.C. And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber . . . and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of BAALZEBUB the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease. (II Kings 1:2). Ahaziah’s servants were sent to the priest-physician of the temple in Ekron. In such matters, a priest was always the mediator between Satan and man. The priest was to then inquire as to WHETHER Ahaziah could be healed with their medications or was doomed to die. In this case, the God of the Bible intervened to foretell the outcome: “Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die” (verse 4). All diagnosis and treatment in ancient history, to the age of Hippocrates, was based on supernatural revelation! Nimrod — Spirit Possessed! Keep in mind — Babel was Satan’s master plot to lead man astray. The direction that civilization was to go was revealed through its leaders. SATAN first revealed the knowledge of medicine after the Flood through Nimrod, the great physician! “It is no exaggeration to say that science [medicine] owes most to the shining individualism of a few chosen spirits” (Garrison, History of Medicine, p. 45). There is more truth to this statement than meets the eye! Greek history records of Dionysus or Nimrod: “His medical practices were derived from his powers of PROPHECY AND INSPIRATION . . .” (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 67). This phenomenon is also preserved in Indian history where it is believed that Brahma, the creator god and personification of the world spirit (Satan), transmitted medical knowledge in the earliest times to Atri — Nimrod! The Chinese History Of Nimrod (Shun) adds more understanding to how medical knowledge became available to mankind. The Chinese Classics by James Legge, volume III, part 1, page 115, reveals China’s first physician was a black man — Nimrod. Furthermore, he is depicted as having eyes that shone with “double brightness!” In modern terminology, Chinese history has retained a unique description of the facial appearance of a demon possessed person! His condition, recognized worldwide, is further substantiated by the Egyptian name for Nimrod — Osiris. Osiris has the meaning of many eyed or overseer. Today, we would call such a person clairvoyant. “This term or title ‘Osiris’ implies one having unusual powers of perception. The traditional sense of this word is that it refers to a person who has many eyes to see that things are done right” (Exploring Ancient History — The First 2500 Years, p. 11-91). Based on the Biblical description, it could have been assumed Nimrod was in this spiritual condition. These accounts, however, provide concrete, historical proof! The POINT IS, Satan used Nimrod to insure the effective commencement of a medical practice at Babel — 4000 years ago! Medical Practice Universal! The occurrence of a competent medical practice in ancient societies is universal. “Hence, they [prescriptions] were recorded in writing at an early date, and in ALL ancient civilizations medical texts are found among the oldest literary documents preserved” (Sigerist, A History of Medicine, p. 21). HOW did a similar system of medicine, one based on drug therapy and surgery as directed by the spirit world, become common to all nations? As previously quoted, “Isis, Osiris, and Horus were UNIVERSALLY worshipped even beyond the boundaries of Egypt.” The early inhabitants of the Indus Valley, principally Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, possessed “a large number of statuettes of a woman alone or with a child. . . . Serpent and dove are her attributes. . . . This is the GREAT MOTHER, the goddess worshipped all over the Near and Middle East. . . . In the Indus Valley she was apparently worshipped in every home” (ibid., p. 141)! The culture of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa flourished in the second to third millennium B.C. — thus were contemporary with The Old Kingdom of Egypt. The great Mother Goddess of India was none other than Isis or SEMIRAMIS! This trinity of healing gods was known intimately throughout Europe and the Middle East — and generally around the world. “Historical researches have shown that there is an identity of all forms of ancient social and MEDICAL CUSTOMS, and a unity of all folk ways. Man’s instinctive actions, in all countries . . . tend to converge to a common point” (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 25). That common point is the Middle East and the building of the Tower of Babel, 2256-2254 B.C. NIMROD was its principal purveyor! Apollo was the Homeric god of medicine; but it was Askelpios who was the real healer of men. Both are two of the many names of NIMROD. Today he is the real emblematic god of healing, whose portrait and twin serpents appear on all doctors’ seals, diplomas, charters and books. HE IT WAS who presided over a great healing cult that developed into a WORLD-WIDE ORGANIZATION which for centuries . . . conferred great benefits upon the world (ibid., p. 54). As the threat of disease expanded, the demand for new, more powerful drugs increased. Egyptian doctors were eager to obtain new plants with healing properties. The need for additional medication forced the importation of drugs from foreign countries. Drug traffic had begun! In the Ebers Papyrus we find prescriptions calling for cinnamon, pepper, and ginger. Seemingly common agents, these spices grew thousands of miles distant from the Nile — in China, India, and Ceylon. These are but a few examples of the valuable drugs and minerals, which were imported from afar. However, they represent telling evidence of the intense interest in procuring medicines from every possible source! Nimrod, himself, began this practice! This is precisely the reason Chinese annals record him being in their country to thoroughly analyze indigenous plants and herbs. The result was he may have discovered some seventy drugs in one day. Obviously, his search for new medicine was frantic! Apparently, Nimrod traveled to the far reaches of the earth to locate sources for new drugs and to instruct local leaders in the art of medicine. History specifies that he not only attended to the medical needs of Mesopotamia and Egypt, but he also TAUGHT HIS ART to adjacent peoples! Again notice the Greek record: Medicine and surgery . . . came to Greece through a long line of other civilized peoples from a remote antiquity. Dionysus [Nimrod] was the god of . . . health and healing. Born in Thebes and bringing to Greece the customs, lore, and science of his native Egypt, he settled on the slopes of Mount Nysa . . . Later on, he set out on a TRIP AROUND THE WORLD TO TEACH . . . (ibid., p. 208). Sometime after the erection of the Tower of Babel, while the building of the city was still in progress, God scattered the rebellious people abroad. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded . . . this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language . . . . So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth . . . (Genesis 11:5-8). Nimrod’s worldwide excursion, taken some time after the dispersion of the nations, was significant to the old world! It revived the breath of rebellion and renewed his dominion. Arriving in person among the scattered peoples, his trip helped to further establish the way of life initiated at Babel — also helping to set the uniform pattern in medical practice evidenced worldwide! Notice a partial record of this trip: OSIRIS moreover built Thebes in Egypt . . . . They say that Osiris was much given to husbandry [including the medical properties of plants and herbs] . . . called by the Greek Dionysus . . . . He was honored under the name Hermes as: One of an admirable ingenuity and quick invention in finding out what might be useful to mankind. It is reported that Osiris, being a prince of a publick spirit and very ambitious of glory, raised a great army with which he resolved to go through all parts of the world that were inhabited and to TEACH MEN . . . . For he hoped that if he could civilize men . . . by such a public good and advantage, he should raise a Foundation among all mankind for his immortal praise and honor. Having settled his affairs in Egypt and committed the government of his kingdom to his wife Isis. . . . Then marching out of Egypt, he began his expedition. He marched away through ETHIOPIA . . . every country received him for his merits and virtues as a god [his prowess was remembered from Babel]. Thence he passed through ARABIA . . . to INDIA and the UTMOST COASTS [records indicate this included CHINA] that were inhabited. He built many cities in India. . . . He left likewise many other marks of his being in those parts [including a medical practice as the histories of those nations record] . . . . Thence passing to the rest of ASIA, he transported his army . . . into EUROPE. To conclude, Osiris having traveled through THE WHOLE WORLD, by finding out . . . what was fit and convenient for man’s body, was a benefactor to all mankind. He brought back with him into Egypt the most precious and richest things that every place did afford [of course the knowledge of new drugs] (Williams, The Historians’ History of The World, pp. 281-283). Medical knowledge was essential to the founders of Babel. Without it, their rebellion was doomed to failure! Mankind would have been forced back to obedience to God. SATAN’S intervention through Nimrod preserved the rebellion. Nimrod’s historic, worldwide trip served to perpetuate the confusion and provide a semblance of unity to “all forms of ancient social and MEDICAL CUSTOMS!”
Chapter VII Summary And Conclusion Critics have theorized that ancient history is a field in flux. In comparison with this statement, the study of medicine in history has been in chaos! Hippocrates reputedly stated: “To know is one thing . . . merely to believe one knows is IGNORANCE.” Historians have long been ignorant of the true history of medicine and ITS ORIGIN! Apparently no one historian has grasped the significance of medicine’s development in a time of worldwide crisis. Few students of ancient history, if any, have seen the import of the supernatural origin of this craft. The primary reason for this lack of understanding is the rejection of the Bible as an authoritative record! The purpose of this thesis is to provide an initial restoration of the History of Medicine. It is an attempt to establish a more realistic history of the origin of medicine! In effect, this work has THREE MAIN POINTS: (l) Modern disease was a common curse in the most ancient times, and as a result, medical practice was a highly advanced art 4000 years ago; (2) The Art of Medicine was initiated by one great physician, NIMROD, who was under the influence of a supernatural power; (3) Medical practice was originated as a SUBTLE PLOT to momentarily relieve mankind of the penalty incurred by sin. Summary It has been proved beyond any reasonable doubt that DISEASE is and always has been a universal phenomenon. Disease is as old as man himself! The medical profession claims to be the oldest known to man — and with reason, as disease was one of his first major problems. The work of numerous scientists in paleopathology has presented the historian with an amazing picture of ancient diseases. The following diseases were cited: chronic rheumatism, periostitis, osteomyletis, congenital deformities, all the modern dental ailments, smallpox, bilharzia, plague, tuberculosis, anthracosis, pneumonia, pleurisy, Pott’s disease, spinal meningitis, leprosy, diarrhea, amoebic dysentery, gastro enteritis, cholera, typhoid fever, malaria, gall stones, appendicitis, cirrhosis of the liver, tonsilitis, constipation, and obesity. Even the most modern fatal diseases were found to be common: heart and vascular failure, infantile paralysis, and cancer. Such a panoply of disease is AMPLE EVIDENCE that people of ancient times suffered physical ailments as we do today! A fully capable medical faculty existed 4000 years ago. The testimony of history showed the ancient physician to be a professional man able to meet all the contingencies of his practice in the manner of his modern counterpart. The following advancements of ancient medicine were explained: pharmacology of Egypt, origin of accurate prescription, ancient anesthetics, bacteriology, surgery, antibiotics, and the CONFIDENCE expressed by doctor and patient alike in this system. Medicine was a highly advanced art over 4000 years ago! The origin of medical practice was traced through a maze of mythology and secular history to the early rulers of the first civilizations after the flood. The original great physician proved to be the Biblical NIMROD! It was through him the “gods” guided the development of that pivotal age in history. Babylon was the recognized center of civilization where the universal pattern for the development of medicine was set. Nimrod, the first man to exercise world power, wrote numerous volumes on medical subjects. He is revealed to be the patron deity — indeed, the FATHER OF MEDICINE — to all nations of the world! The major point yet to be explained was WHY the development of medicine was necessary at such an early age. Medical practice originated as a SUBTLE PLOT to insure the establishment of a separate society. Medicine proved to be an essential tool supporting in the open opposition to God! Following the initial rebellion, which led to the building of Babel, disease struck! This was the natural prophesied result for transgression of God’s laws. Something had to be done — and done quickly! Inspired by Satan, Nimrod initiated the practice of medicine! Conclusion Medicine developed as a result of and in conjunction with the REBELLION at Babel! The purpose for producing a medical practice was to make possible a rebellion which led mankind away from God! This is THE SIGNIFICANCE, behind the origin of medicine in the early ages, which no secular source has ever grasped! Notice again the Biblical warning — the cause for disease: But it shall come to pass, IF thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that ALL THESE CURSES SHALL COME UPON THEE, and overtake thee . . . The Lord shall make the PESTILENCE cleave unto thee, until He have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it (Deuteronomy 28:15, 21). In the face of these dire circumstances, Nimrod and his band of rebels set themselves to oppose God. Their cause was hopeless and doomed to a failure laced with suffering. It has been truly said, “There is no length to which man will not go to relieve himself of disease.” But to no avail! The records amply demonstrate that the peoples of the ancient world died waging an unending, unsuccessful war against disease — the same diseases fought today. The Bible reveals medicine was not and is not the answer to ill health. “Go up [as did Ahaziah] into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of EGYPT: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shalt not be cured.” For “thou HAST NO HEALING MEDICINES” (Jeremiah 46:11, 30:13). Considering the origin of medicine and its ancient failure, mankind should reconsider the wisdom in its use today. Traditionally, medicine has been used and needed by only those in open rebellion to God, those perpetuating the civilization established at Babel. Those ancient peoples sought protection from God through medicine! Is man seeking the same protection today? Bibliography Ackerknecht, Erwin H. A Short History of Medicine. New York: The Ronald Press Company,1956. Birch, S. Ancient History from the Monuments. London: Clarendon Press, 1895. Bourke, John. Scatologic Rites. New York: American Anthropological Society, 1934. Bryan, Cyril P. The Papyrus Ebers. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1930. 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