The Western Medical Tradition: 800 B.C.–1800 A.D.

Publication Year



Lawrence I. Conrad, Ph.D. 1981

The influence of Greek medical practices dating back to the fifth century B.C. has had an immeasurable impact on the development of medicine in the West over the subsequent centuries. This text is designed to cover the history of Western medicine from Classical Antiquity to 1800. As one guiding thread it takes the system of medical ideas that, in large part, went back to the Greeks of the fifth century B.C., and played a major role in the understanding and treatment of health and disease. The influence of Greek medicine spread from the Aegean basin to the rest of the Mediterranean region, to Europe, and then to European settlements overseas. By the nineteenth century, however, this tradition no longer carried the same force or occupied so central a position within medicine. This book charts the influence of this tradition through twenty centuries, examining it in its social and historical context. It is essential reading as a new synthesis for all students of the history of medicine.

  • A new synthesis, by members of the academic staff of the world's leading centre for the history of medicine
  • No similar book available of this scope
  • The very latest historical scholarship


List of illustrations
1. Medicine in the Greek world, 800–50 BC
2. Roman medicine, 250 BC–200 AD
3. Medicine in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages
4. The Arab-Islamic medical tradition
5. Medicine in medieval western Europe, 1000–1500
6. Medicine in early modern Europe, 1500–1700
7. The eighteenth century
8. Conclusion

Cambridge University Press
Cambridge and New York