Thursday, March 20, 2003
As a profession, medicine was more highly regarded in Greece than in Rome, however physicians were basically craftsmen, probably enjoying some esteem among their customers, but not being part of the socio-political elite. Roman doctors did not fare so well. Many doctors were freed Greek slaves, hence the social standing of doctors was quite low. Because cure rates were so low, many people were skeptical or even scornful of doctors. Their skepticism is easily understood. Roman literature contains much which tells us about the reactions of individuals to medicine and doctors. To listen to the Roman authors is to hear tales of quackery at all levels of society.