Ancient Medicine

Some of the first written accounts of medicine come from the Egyptians and Babylonians, with the oldest dating to circa 1800 BCE. This exhibition focused on the ancient texts and tools used to treat the myriad health issues threatening men and women during the ancient transition to complex civilizations. 

Ancient texts and crude tools highlighted the vague relationship between medicine, science, and superstition at the beginnings of civilization.

Through the display of replica tools and Assyrian stone tablets, the exhibition examined the vague relationship between medicine, science, and superstition and the advancements made by our ancestors more than 4,000 years ago. At that time the theory of the four humors of the human body (black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood) dominated Egyptian thought. It passed into Greek, Roman, and Islamic medicine and eventually became the underpinning of Western medicine until the mid-19th century.

The Mütter Museum helps the public appreciate the mysteries and beauty of the human body while understanding the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.

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  • Philadelphia, PA 19103
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