There is a perception that doctors speak among themselves in an arcane language, bounce classic Latin and Greek diagnoses at their patients and write prescriptions in an indecipherable Latin scrawl to ensure that no one except a trained pharmacist can read them. The fact is that Latin and Greek are the traditional languages of medicine. Latin is used to describe the anatomy of the body, while many of our diagnostic labels and pathological terms are derived from Greek. In addition, because Latin is a dead and unchanging language, it allows us to follow a timeline back to the beginnings of medicine. We can hear the views of the early Roman doctors, just as they uttered them.
But apart from giving you an insight into the language of doctors this medical miscellany contains many interesting facts and snippets of information. It will tell you why testicles were so vitally important to the Romans; what causes rigor mortis after death; what happened to the skin of William Burke the infamous body-snatcher; and what became of the famed Roman orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero.
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