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Man and Wound in the Ancient World: A History of Military Medicine from Sumer to the Fall of Constantinople [Kindle Edition]

Richard A. Gabriel
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Wounds and disease were as devastating on the battlefields of the ancient world as they are today. In an age of bloody combat, how did physicians and medics cope with arrow injuries, spear and sword gashes, dysentery, and infection without the benefits of anesthesia or modern medical technology?

In this compelling volume, military historian Richard A. Gabriel explores the long-hidden world of ancient military medicine from 4000 BC to AD 1453 to reveal its surprisingly sophisticated body of knowledge, practice, and technique. Ranging broadly from the deserts of North Africa, across the plains of India and Persia, to the mountains of Europe and Asia Minor, this book examines medical history from the Bronze Age through the Middle Ages. By revealing long-forgotten medical secrets, Dr. Gabriel shows how ancient civilizations’ technologies have influenced modern medical practices.

Comprehensive, thoughtful, sometimes graphic, and always accessible, Man and Wound in the Ancient World will be welcomed by anyone who wants to learn how today’s medical miracles build upon those of the past.

Editorial Reviews


"Man and Wound in the Ancient World is a remarkably fresh look at five-and-a-half millennia of human history from the unique perspective of military medicine. No contemporary work so convincingly pulls all the different lines of evidence together as does Gabriel’s latest contribution to our knowledge of warfare in antiquity. Unmatched in the grand sweep of its treatment, this volume fills a great gap in military history and is a unique contribution to the history of medicine as well. Gabriel has once again focused our attention upon an important, but largely overlooked, aspect of war in the ancient world."—John Scott Cowan, principal emeritus, The Royal Military College of Canada; former department head, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa; chair, Defence Science Advisory Board of Canada
(John Scott Cowan)

"'It is interesting, if frightening, to contemplate in what state medical knowledge might have remained had it not been for the stimulus of war,' author/historian Richard Gabriel writes in Man and Wound in the Ancient World. In this, his latest of more than a dozen histories of ancient warfare, Gabriel makes the case that the crucible of ancient warfare—the spilling of blood and shattering of bones—prompted the surgical techniques, triage, and treatment at the core of modern medical care. This deftly researched book takes readers on a six-millennia 'staff ride' through ancient warfare, from Sumer through the Middle Ages, tracing the changing nature of combat, the wax and wane of medical knowledge, and the military framework upon which civilian medicine was formed."—David Lauterborn, managing editor, Military History Magazine
(David Lauterborn)

"The study of ancient military medicine is vital to an understanding of the broader aspects and development of warfare in antiquity. Yet it is an area that has often been neglected by scholars. Man and Wound in the Ancient World addresses this deficit in a truly comprehensive and interesting manner. Richard Gabriel’s latest book is destined to be the defining work in an area of great importance for the study of ancient military history and will fascinate historians and general readers alike."—C. A. Matthew, Macquarie University, Australia
(C. A. Matthew)

About the Author

RICHARD A. GABRIEL is a distinguished professor in the Department of History and War Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada and in the Department of Defence Studies at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. He is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than forty books, including Scipio Africanus, Thutmose III, Philip II of Macedonia, Hannibal, and Man and Wound in the Ancient World. He lives in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2156 KB
  • Print Length: 281 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1597978485
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.; 1 edition (November 30, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,318 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Outstanding! June 2, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book thoroughly examines military medicine in the various cultures around the Mediterranean Sea from approximately 4000 BCE to 1453 CE. The author investigates each culture, the extent of its medical knowledge, and how the culture applied this knowledge to its military. As Gabriel reveals, most of the earliest cultures viewed disease as caused by the gods or other supernatural beings who were displeased with something the culture had done or not done. Therefore, most "medical" practice was in the form of incantations, charms, prayers, etc. However, some cultures began to see that there were physical causes of disease and developed more scientific treatments for disease and injury. Far above all of these cultures were the Romans, who had medical knowledge based on direct observation, testing, and analysis - - the beginnings of the scientific method. They used this information to form the western world's first thorough system of medical training so that legionary physicians had accurate and consistent training across the Empire and through time. In addition, Romans invented hemostats, ligatures to stop bleeding, amputation that most could survive, effective antiseptics and antibacterials, and much more. When the Empire fell in the west, all of this knowledge was lost, and the western world would not achieve the level of medical care the Roman military had until WWI.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book - Gifted Author January 6, 2012
I really enjoyed this book! In my opinion, its subtitle does not do it full justice. In addition to "A History of Military Medicine", the author discusses how different civilizations (and medicine) began and evolved; how pragmatic, empirical medicine developed more efficiently in some cultures than in others; how medicine, magic and religious beliefs often intertwined (usually to the detriment of effective medicine); and, of course, how military medicine evolved in different societies throughout the ages. As in many other fields, (successful) medical practice also had its setbacks as well as advances; the reasons for these are well explained by the author. There is a lot of ancient history covered in this intriguing book. Having read it ("devoured it" may be a better expression), I can say that I have learned a tremendous amount of fascinating information presented in a most logical and enjoyable way.

The author writes in a concise, clear and captivating manner. The text is scholarly and yet highly accessible. I believe that this book can be enjoyed by anyone and that it should be of considerable interest to all ancient history enthusiasts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A summary of the review on StrategyPage.Com:

'Prof Gabriel(Royal Military College Canada), author of Hannibal: The Military Biography of Rome's Greatest Enemy, Scipio Africanus: Rome's Greatest General, and numerous other works on ancient military history, gives us the first systematic survey of military medicine in the pre-modern era. He opens with a long chapter on the evolution of war in the period, including the weapons, the mechanics of their use, and the types of wounds they caused, as well as the diseases that were most likely to affect armies. There follows a look at the origins of medicine, the treatment of diseases and injuries prior to the rise of civilization. Then individual chapters examine military medical practice and organization among the Sumerians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Israelites, Persians, Indians, Greeks, Romans (when attained its peak in the pre-modern era), Barbarians, and Byzantines, with a chapter on the Islamic and Christian practice. Avoiding very technical language, Gabriel still gives the reader valuable insights into medicine, treatment, and military organization, and how often some "modern" ideas were later lost due to political or religious obstacles. Man and Wound in the Ancient World will be a good read for anyone interested in ancient military history or the history of medicine.'

For the full review, see StrategyPage.Com
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read of a Neglected Subject December 5, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
While not dealing with any specific battles or war, this book provides an overview of the state of both civilian and military medicine from ancient times up to the fall of Byzantium. Each chapter is dedicated to one of history's great civilizations and how they developed (or didn't) their medical knowledge. The care of the sick, wounded and/or dead in the aftermath of battle is a subject that is rarely delved into in any of the military history books I have read which makes this work a welcome addition.

I would definitely recommend this book as a "must read" for anyone who enjoys military history of the ancient world.

I did find one thing to complain about and while not a flaw per se it was a definite nuisance.....the author's sentences. Throughout the book there are sentences that go for 7, 8 or 9 lines on the page. I found that I had to reread constantly. Be that as it may this book is a welcome addition to the body of works on military history.

If you are interested in what transpired in the aftermath of a specific battle I urge you to pick up a copy of A Strange and Blighted Land which tells of the horrors following the battle of Gettysburg.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introductory history
Great introductory history. Book is most understandable in the context of the author's other books on ancient warfare, as well as his earlier Volume 2 on military medicine with his... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Julian Schofield
3.0 out of 5 stars The quantitative analysis is laughable (comparing losses discrete...
The quantitative analysis is laughable (comparing losses discrete ancient battles against the totality of US casualties in the World Wars), but the qualitative analyses are... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Terence Wynne
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to a neglected subject
This book has many excellent qualities. The opening chapter is superb and gives a succinct account of the weaponry of ancient times. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Dr. W. H. Konarzewski
3.0 out of 5 stars ok, but reptitive
Typing this from my Kindle, so fogive the brevity. I had high hopes for this book, and though it started off well, it seemed to become more and more repetitive within each... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Pattywolford
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, informative history of military medicine in the ancient...
The author explores the history of military medicine during the period 4000 B.C.E. to 1453 C.E. The author discusses military medicine in the context of the military, political,... Read more
Published on December 16, 2011 by E. Jaksetic
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth your time...
When I preordered this book, I was interested and excited to read it. When the book arrived I started reading and was not disappointed. Read more
Published on November 29, 2011 by Jim
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