What is medicine?

What is medicine? For most people, the answer to this question would be that medicine fixes what goes wrong in the body to restore it to its naturally good condition, known to us as health. This is the practical or utilitarian understanding of the nature of medicine. Medical practitioners and researchers, however, today and in Antiquity, know that it is impossible to fix what is wrong with one’s body without knowing the structure and the functionality of the body.

Today, we think about the body by dividing it in 10 systems each of which features the anatomical organs and the particular function which connects them to form a particular system. This anatomical and physiological organization of the body creates the GPS of the human body which is designed to provide coordinates of all structures in the body in order to facilitate our thinking and communicating about the body.

In Antiquity, Greek and Roman physicians did not have such compartmentalized understanding of the body. Their understanding of the body relied on detailed descriptions of the internal structures and organs of the body, supported by some partial understanding of their functionality.

For this writing assignment, compose an essay (800–1000 words) in which you examine the ancient anatomical understanding of the body, as presented on pages 239–244 of Celsus, On Medicine, volume 1 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., (the most comprehensive medical textbook in the Roman Empire), in comparison to the modern medical understanding and organization of the body, as presented in chapter 4 of your textb

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