which cultures invented hospitals?

Greek culture was dominated by wars with their neighbouring city-states, which necessitated improved medical treatment of arrow and sword wounds. Greek culture emphasised the benefits of rigorous exercise and proper diet to develop a healthy body and mind, and the sacredness of healing is evidenced by their reliance on their gods of healing and disease, such as Apollo, and his son Asclepius. Both Greek and Roman cultures were involved in bloody wars and found it necessary to make advances in the medical treatment of wounds and disease. Philadelphia General Hospital patient receiving ophthalmological treatment, 1902The evolution of hospitals in the Western world from charitable boarding houses to centres of scientific excellence was influenced by a series of social and cultural developments.

These hospitals were very different from the types of hospitals seen in Western and Arab cultures since the early Christian era. Roman culture gradually adopted the Greek system of medicine, but Rome's greatest contribution to medicine was the organisation of medical schools, medical instruction and public physicians, as well as the development of military and public hospitals. As the Roman Empire grew in later centuries, provision was made for the care of slaves and sick soldiers, as culture depended heavily on both. Benedict, now patron saint of Europe, established Europe's first monastery (Monte Cassino) on a hilltop between Rome and Naples, which became a model for Western monasticism and one of the main cultural centres of Europe throughout the Middle Ages.

This practice appears to be one of several in which Islamic medicine eventually influenced its Western counterpart as empires and cultures rose and fell during the Middle Ages.

Summer Mason
Summer Mason

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