Eras in the History of Medicine

The History of Medicine

The history of medicine and healthcare is as old as the history of mankind. From dealing with cuts, bruises and the ague of prehistoric swamps through to cutting edge treatments of the modern day. This page provides a chronological overview of the main content of this site. There are numerous themes in the development of medicine that can be followed over these eras, these are explored in the themes in medical history section.

Medicine through the ages

Prehistoric MedicinePrehistoric Medicine

Read about early forms of surgery, spiritual belief and the types of evidence that prehistory has left us to explore.
Ancient Egyptian Medicine

Ancient Egyptian Medicine

Find out about the ways that the Pharoah's and their subjects recorded and developed medicine and the role of the mummy!
Ancient Greek Medicine

Ancient Greek Medicine

The birth of medicine as we know it? An ancient revolution in medical thinking.
Medicine in the Roman Empire

Medicine in the Roman Empire

What did the Romans ever do for us? Quite a lot! Read here to find out more.
Medieval Medicine

Medieval Medicine

A time of great upheaval and war but at what cost to the development of medicine? Click to find out.
Medicine in the Renaissance

Medicine in the Renaissance

Rebels with a cause. A revolution in scientific thinking and methodology that went totally against the rules. The medical consequences were huge.
The Fight against Infectious DiseaseThe Fight against Infectious Disease

Discover how killer diseases have been overcome over time and what is being done to prevent them today.
Public Health in the Industrial RevolutionPublic Health in the Industrial Revolution.


Dirt, disease and death. The battle to overcome squalor in the Industrial age.
Medicine in the Modern World c1900 to present

NHS history
Medicine in the Modern World c1900 to present

Develop your understanding of the way that medicine and public health has changed in recent times.

Medicine Through Time Teaching Resources

Roman Medicine: Galen,"href=""https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/roman-medicine-11462596""target=""_blank"">RomanMedicine:Galen"
Theory of the Four Humours Resource Pack,"href=""https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/the-theory-of-the-four-humours-11467420""target=""_blank"">TheoryoftheFourHumoursResourcePack"
Medical Monopoly Revision Game,"href=""https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/medical-monopoly-revision-game-11462529""target=""_blank"">MedicalMonopolyRevisionGame"
Medieval Medicine: Active Learning Activity,"href=""https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/medieval-medicine-active-learning-big-picture-exercise-11422280""target=""_blank"">MedievalMedicine:ActiveLearningActivity"
Islamic Medicine Resource Packislamic medicine,"href=""https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/islamic-medicine-lesson-pack-11462630""target=""_blank"">IslamicMedicineResourcePack"
The Great Plague, an Investigation. Great Plague 1666,"href=""https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/the-great-plague-an-investigation-11463292""target=""_blank"">TheGreatPlague,anInvestigation."
Medicine in the Renaissance,"href=""https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/medicine-in-the-renaissance-11462807""target=""_blank"">MedicineintheRenaissance"
Harvey and Vesalius: The Anatomists,"href=""https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/the-anatomists-harvey-and-vesalius-11462844""target=""_blank"">HarveyandVesalius:TheAnatomists"
Fight against Infectious Disease,"href=""https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/the-fight-against-infectious-disease-11462852""target=""_blank"">FightagainstInfectiousDisease"
Starter Activity: Medicine Through TImemedicine through time starter activity,"href=""https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/starter-activities-medicine-through-time-11462586""target=""_blank"">StarterActivity:MedicineThroughTIme"

History of Medicine: an Overview

The history of Medicine is complex. It involves a wide range of different factors impacting on the way that illnesses, injuries and diseases have been treated. Learners will discover that some treatments that are used today are almost exactly the same as those used in the Ancient World. They will find out that many of the largest changes in medical practice are the result of simple good luck.

History of Medicine

From prehistoric man to the modern day there is a huge amount of evidence as to how medicine has been administered. Illustrations as diverse as cave paintings through to CAT scans illustrate illness. Written evidence ranges from hieroglyphics to detailed medical reports of scientific tests and experiments. Artefacts abound with human remains showing us how surgery was performed thousands of years ago through a range of pieces of equipment that bring us to the high tech modern surgery.

Doctors are almost taken for granted in the modern, western world. They receive a great deal of training and have a wealth of resources at their disposal. Research is conducted on a wide scale. The modern world, with limitations, experiments and searches for answers. Learners will see that this has not always been the case. Body snatchers, corpses of criminals and live dissection of animals have all contributed to an understanding of medicine over the years.

The various links above take you to overviews of how medicine was practised in each historical period. Some exhibit huge amounts of change. Each has unique characteristics but there are commonalities throughout.