Monumental Medicine: The Practicality of Physicians and Public Health in Late Republican to Early Imperial Rome




Khatri, Rochak

Access rights

Worldwide access

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Roman society was uniquely suited to be a perfect crucible of public health experiments – they had access to the records of previous civilizations, a large population, and a set of pathological tests that needed to all be contended with. This thesis investigates the practicality of Roman medicine through first, an identification of common ailments and detrimental conditions, followed by the addressing of these issues in various fields. Diseases and disabilities were addressed in the military through advancement in the science of surgery and trauma care and eventually resulted in the formation of a specialized group of healer-soldiers, the medici. Simultaneously with physician developments in the military, physicians began to specialize in order to better address unique medical concerns among the populace. The rise of specialization in the military and civilian fields allowed for medical care to progress from a purely domus-to-domus domain. Finally, monuments such as aqueducts functioned as public health agents because they could provide a public resource in a large enough amount and at a high enough quality to bring a good to the most citizens. The combination of military and domestic personnel alongside physical constructions allowed for Roman society to enjoy a level of public healthcare that was the envy of pre-modern civilizations.