Was Public Health Better in the Roman Era or the Middle Ages?

Topics: Middle Ages, Ancient Rome, Roman Empire Pages: 2 (617 words) Published: April 23, 2013
In my opinion, the Romans had superior public health, as they had much better sanitation and plumbing systems, which were in the Middle Ages available solely in monasteries, rather than entire towns.

This was due to the fact that the Romans' infrastructure and methods of treatment were more developed than Medieval ones, as well as the fact that the Roman government were far more involved in the health of their citizens than later rulers, who found war and developing trade far more important, and viewed civilians' health as their own responsibility. The Roman towns were also much better planned and built than those in the Middle Ages, which often placed wells and sources of drinking and bathing water in close proximity to cesspits and sewers, which led to infected water and cholera and typhoid outbreaks. Furthermore, many Medieval streets were filled with filth, such as animal carcasses, human and animal excrement, waste from butchers and tanners, and many more sources of disease, as bacteria could grow freely and infect people very easily. As well as this, there were also very poor food standards, and it was not unusual for dishonest meat sellers to sell low-quality meat which could have caused disease, although a law was instated, decreeing that distributors of bad meat would be locked in the pillory. The Romans also had better waste disposal and water transportation systems, which allowed people to obtain clean drinking water, although there may still have been a risk of illness, as most pipes were made of lead, which is toxic. Their medical skills were also slightly better than those of Medieval doctors, as most Roman doctors were much better trained and taught about natural causes of disease, which gave them a considerable advantage over the mostly Church-educated doctors of the Middle Ages, who believed more extensively in supernatural ideas and religion-based methods of prevention and treatment of disease. An example of this is the Black Death, which...
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