Many of these doctors became valuable additions to a household. It is known that a number of these men bought their freedom and set up their own practices in Rome itself. After BC, more Greek doctors came to Rome but their success at the expense of Romans did generate some mistrust.
Pliny wrote that when Thessalus walked around in public, he attracted greater crowds than any of the famous actors and chariot riders based in Rome.
The Romans were great believers in a healthy mind equalling a healthy body. There was a belief that if you kept fit, you would be more able to combat an illness. Rather than spend money on a doctor, many Romans spent money on keeping fit. The Romans did believe that illnesses had a natural cause and that bad health could be caused by bad water and sewage. Hence their desire to improve the public health system in the Roman Empire so that everyone in their empire benefited. Those who worked for the Romans needed good health as did their soldiers.
In this sense, the Romans were the first civilisation to introduce a programme of public health for everyone regardless of wealth. Roman cities, villas and forts were built in what were considered healthy places. The Romans knew not only where to build but also where not to build: The Romans became practised at draining marshes to rid areas of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Julius Caesar drained the Codetan Swamp and planted a forest in its place.
The Romans paid especial attention to the health of their soldiers as without these soldiers, the Roman Empire could collapse. Great emphasis was placed on soldiers having access to clean water and being able to keep fit.
Commanders ordered their junior officers not to set up a camp too near a swamp and the drinking of swamp water was especially discouraged. Soldiers were moved around as it was believed that if they stayed too long in one place, they would start to suffer from the illnesses that might have existed in that area.
Cities, towns and forts were built near springs. However, as Roman cities and towns grew, they needed to bring in water from further afield. As the population grew, so did the need for clean water. Trying to shift large volumes of water underground in pipes was not possible as lead pipes would be too weak and bronze pipes would be too expensive. The History Channel Time Machine brings you to a different speech every day; trivia quiz; fact of the day; games.
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