Ancient Surgery – Written By Nicholas Rossis

Plenty of ancient resources mention medical procedures such as surgery. The early Chinese surgeon Hua Tuo (c. 140-208) is credited with being the first recorded person to use cannabis as an anesthetic. He reduced the plant to powder and mixed it with wine for administration prior to conducting surgery. Indeed, the Chinese term for “anesthesia” literally means “cannabis intoxication.”

In Ancient Greece, the oldest sources of information about Hellenic medicine are the two Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey (7th–8th century BC). Iliad provides an unforgettable picture of army surgery and anatomy at the time of the Trojan War in Asia Minor. It contains realistic descriptions of wounds and injuries of widely differing types. The most dangerous wounds were sword and spear thrusts, while less-dangerous were those inflicted by arrows. It is obvious that in Greek expeditionary force included professional healers, skilled in the extraction of embedded weapons, the arrest of hemorrhage, and the relief of suffering. 

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