Roman Medicine and Modern Medicine

In May we had an illuminating presentation by Dr Nick Summerton demonstrating some of his researches on Roman Medicine, particularly eye medicine. Dr Summerton has had some original artefacts copied to demonstrate how medical tools developed and were used by Roman physicians. These included probes and spatulas alongside collyrium stamps. These ointment stamps were stamped with the ingredients and the name of the eye doctor. Dr Summerton and colleagues have manufactured their own versions of these collyria and tested their antibacterial properties which are similar to some antibiotics used in present day medicine.

The Yorkshire Museum contains a rare Eye Doctor’s stone engraved in reverse so clearly used to mark these remedies with the brand name of the Roman doctor, showing his reputation was important. These were then pressed on to a cake of ointment or a pot of eye salve.

Dr Summerton described work on the texts of Pliny, Galen and Celsus showing how doctors were trained including Celsus describing cataract extraction surgery. The Roman site at Lydney Park Gardens as a potential Roman healing site was described. Further details at Lydney Park Estate which is open to the public each spring.

Dr Summerton has sent us two articles with further information which are available on the resources/past event pages Roman medicine further information
Do join us on Tuesday December 13th in the Tempest Anderson hall for Dr Summerton’s lecture on “Medicine and Health Care in Roman Britain”.