History of sickness and medical art 17: Ancient Israel 3

a trepanation evidence in an ancient Jewish city of Lachish

< a trepanation evidence in an ancient Jewish city of Lachish  >

From now on, we look at medical art until about the first century A.D. from the first millennium B.C.




The epidemic of an ancient city of Philistine : it described black plague in the eleventh century B.C.

< The epidemic of an ancient city of Philistine : it described black plague

in the eleventh century B.C. >


The Doctor

The Israeli flamen performed medical care in the same way as them of Mesopotamia and Egypt, and also performed magic and exorcism.

The flamen distinguished a sickness according to a rule of religious uncleanliness.

Although this differential diagnosis included the thing based on medical basis, there were many superstitious things.

About skin disease, the flamen determined whether or not it was an epidemic, and after that, he decided the medical treatment method.

The patient of leprosy (Hansen’s disease) was isolated.

In ancient times, prophets took the place of the doctor; Elisha was curing the skin disease of a general in Syria.

Isaiah attached a dried fig to a swelling of dying Jewish King.

Becoming the doctor was restricted to the Levite, and it was forbidden that the defective person of eyesight performs medical care.

It was not permitted that the doctor inspects patient, in evening, on a cloudy day, or the dusky room.



医 師











prophet Isaiah: a picture by Michelangelo in Sistine Chapel

< prophet Isaiah: a picture by Michelangelo in Sistine Chapel >

Barbers etc. might have performed bloodletting (phlebotomy) and the simple physical therapy that was not approved generally, but the doctor came to gradually make a specialty of the medical care.

Although it seemed that the doctor performed both internal medicine and surgery, there also was the surgery specialty.

The brain surgery (trepanation) of Lachish in the 9th century B.C. shows the existence of the expert clearly.

“The doctor”of Hebrew word in the Old Testament meant the repairman.

It was despised with “a useless doctor” in the Book of Job.

Talmud (establishment in the 4th century) described the doctor was ingredients essential for the community life.

Moreover, it also described, “unless one pays a suitable charge, one cannot receive good medical treatment. “










The excavation of a wine cellar at about B.C. 1700 in Canaan  

< The excavation of a wine cellar at about B.C. 1700 in Canaan  >



Olive oil or wine was used for external medicine of a wound, dried fig was used for medicine of a swelling, and a marjoram (mint family) and sour wine were used for a painkiller.

Peppermint or cumin were used for a cold medicine, almond were used for a love potion, myrrh was used for a preservative and a painkiller, and frankincense was used for a body preservative

There were a lot of medicines of Mandrake (hallucinogenic drug), Balsam (plaster), resin, a spice, oil, and narcotic etc.

However, the number was few as compared with the medicines of the Mesopotamia or Egypt.


薬 剤







Categories: culture+society, history+evolution, <english language, <japanese language, Series: History of sickness and medical art | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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