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date: 29 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the wounds caused by warfare. Treating those who had been wounded in combat was a way of acquiring medical knowledge and of developing new surgical techniques. The majority of wounds—made by swords, spears, javelins, or arrows—will have been to the arms and legs. The most fatal were those penetrating the chest, abdomen, or head. The possible treatments for these wounds are reported. It can be stated that the medical treatment of casualties itself did not change very drastically in the roughly ten centuries between classical Greece and late antiquity, based on its reflection in medical literature. The main changes were arterial ligature, more adventurous surgery, and a trend toward polypharmacy from Hellenistic times onwards.

Keywords: wounds, warfare, combat, swords, spears, javelins, arrows, medical treatment, Greece

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