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Guest spartacus

Advances In Medicine

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Guest spartacus

As we know surgeons were kept busy dealing with injuries to soldiers post-battle, but what if the soldier was dealing with post traumatic stress disorder or indeed other mental health problems!

 

How were they dealt with or where they not?

 

With the stress and brutality of battle there must have been considerable numbers of men that required help with their mental state of mind!

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Now that Spartacus is an interesting question ! I believe that people who had psycological problems were generally cared for by the Romans, who learnt all they knew from the Greeks. A lot of doctors in Rome were actually Greek. The treatments depending on the symtoms I guess were things like changing diet, exercise, and use of sedatives. I think in terms of reaction to violence though (how old were boys enlisted into the legions ?) that the more the exposure the less effect it would have on the soldier mentally, other than to deaden his senses to it. This would probably have insulated battle hardened legionaries. When initially exposed when young, particularly after they started using the plebecite to build armies, I think the boys may have already seen a bit of melee and bloodshed. Was there a legal age for entry into the arena to see the games ? Another thing that I believe plays a large part in producing shock and trauma in modern soldiers is the noise involved in present day warfare. What was the noise on a Roman battlefield like I wonder. Yelling, screaming, the clash of shields and arrows/pilum on shields, horns and trumpets ? I don't think it would have been so loud as to burst an eardrum, unlike artillery firing all around you or explosives going off and machine gun fire.

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its my understanding, and i dont wuite remember where i heard this, that the mentally challanged, of all sorts, were generally held in high esteem and treated well and cared for as they would any normal person. i think i learned this in my psycology class... and i believe that in some cases they were put on somewhat of a peditole (sp?) saying that they might be connected to gods and other such things...

 

this is just what i remember from my psyco class... i could be wrong on it all...

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This is a really interesting question. Galen did much for the physical healing, so much so his texts were read for a millennium, but I know of no treatment, or even diagnosis of post traumatic stress. T.J. Cornell mentions in The Beginnings of Rome that the Romans developed a sense of militarism which, out of necessity, pervaded every aspect of their culture. And the ancients were accustomed to death. So some might say the Romans were unaffected. Yet I think it must have existed. Look at the picture Germanicus paints. Scary stuff.

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