Timeline of Medicine and Medical Technology
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Timeline of Medicine and Medical Technology

Timeline of the history of medicine and medical technology.[a]


  • 3300 BC - During the Stone Age, early doctors used very primitive forms of herbal medicine.[1]
  • 3000 BC - Ayurveda The origins of Ayurveda have been traced back to around 4,000 BCE.[2]
  • c. 2600 BC - Imhotep the priest-physician who was later deified as the Egyptian god of medicine.[3][4]
  • 2500 BC - Iry Egyptian inscription speaks of Iry as [eye-doctor of the palace,] [palace physician of the belly,] [guardian of the royal bowels,] and [he who prepares the important medicine (name cannot be translated) and knows the inner juices of the body.][5]
  • 1900 BC - 1600 BC Akkadian clay tablets on medicine survive primarily as copies from Ashurbanipal's library at Nineveh.[6]
  • 1800 BC - Code of Hammurabi sets out fees for surgeons and punishments for malpractice[5]
  • 1800 BC - Kahun Gynecological Papyrus
  • 1600 BC - Hearst papyrus, coprotherapy and magic[7]
  • 1551 BC - Ebers Papyrus, coprotherapy and magic[8]
  • 1500 BC - Saffron used as a medicine on the Aegean island of Thera in ancient Greece
  • 1500 BC - Edwin Smith Papyrus, an Egyptian medical text and the oldest known surgical treatise (no true surgery) no magic[5]
  • 1300 BC - Brugsch Papyrus and London Medical Papyrus
  • 1250 BC - Asklepios[5]
  • 9th century - Hesiod reports an ontological conception of disease via the Pandora myth. Disease has a "life" of its own but is of divine origin.[7]
  • 8th century - Homer tells that Polydamna supplied the Greek forces besieging Troy with healing drugs Homer also tells about battlefield surgery Idomeneus tells Nestor after Machaon had fallen: A surgeon who can cut out an arrow and heal the wound with his ointments is worth a regiment.[5]
  • 700 BC - Cnidos medical school; also one at Cos
  • 500 BC - Darius I orders the restoration of the House of Life (First record of a (much older) medical school)[5]:47
  • 500 BC - Bian Que becomes the earliest physician known to use acupuncture and pulse diagnosis
  • 500 BC - the Sushruta Samhita is published, laying the framework for Ayurvedic medicine
  • c. 490 - c. 430 - Empedocles four elements[8]
  • 510-430 BC - Alcmaeon of Croton scientific anatomic dissections. He studied the optic nerves and the brain, arguing that the brain was the seat of the senses and intelligence. He distinguished veins from the arteries and had at least vague understanding of the circulation of the blood.[5] Variously described by modern scholars as Father of Anatomy; Father of Physiology; Father of Embryology; Father of Psychology; Creator of Psychiatry; Founder of Gynecology; and as the Father of Medicine itself.[9] There is little evidence to support the claims but he is, nonetheless, important.[8][10]
  • fl. 425 BC - Diogenes of Apollonia[8]
  • c. 484 - 425 BC - Herodotus tells us Egyptian doctors were specialists: Medicine is practiced among them 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.[5]
  • 496-405 BC - Sophocles "It is not a learned physician who sings incantations over pains which should be cured by cutting."[11]
  • 420 BC - Hippocrates of Cos maintains that diseases have natural causes and puts forth the Hippocratic Oath. Origin of rational medicine.

Medicine after Hippocrates

After Galen 200 AD



Hieronymus Fabricius, Operationes chirurgicae, 1685



2000 - present

See also


  1. ^ The dates given for these medical works are uncertain. A Tribute to Hinduism suggests that Sushruta lived in the 5th century BC.
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  • Bynum, W. F. and Roy Porter, eds. Companion Encyclopedia of the History of Medicine (2 vol. 1997); 1840pp; 72 long essays by scholars excerpt and text search
  • Conrad, Lawrence I. et al. The Western Medical Tradition: 800 BC to AD 1800 (1995); excerpt and text search
  • Loudon, Irvine, ed. Western Medicine: An Illustrated History (1997) online
  • McGrew, Roderick. Encyclopedia of Medical History (1985)
  • Porter, Roy (1997). The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-00-215173-1.
  • Porter, Roy, ed. The Cambridge History of Medicine (2006); 416pp; excerpt and text search
  • Singer, Charles, and E. Ashworth Underwood. A Short History of Medicine (2nd ed. 1962)
  • Watts, Sheldon. Disease and Medicine in World History (2003), 166pp online

External links

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