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Interesting Ancient Civilization Facts: Sports, Medicine & Religion

**image1***Performance-enhancing drugs taken during ancient days? A doctor that killed more people than saved lives? These are just some of the topics discussed in this article that focuses on interesting facts of ancient civilizations.

Cheaters in Sports

You think present-day baseball and football are known for using substances to enhance strength and skills when participating in sports, but the concept is nothing new. The practice actually dates back to ancient times when Roman chariot racers ‘doped’ themselves and their horses with herbal concoctions to encourage muscle growth, as well as increase their speed. One remedy was to take a solution comprised of dried boar dung, which was supposed to aid in muscle growth. Apparently, bribery goes a long way as well. In 67 AD, emperor Nero bribes the judges of the Olympic Games to state him the winner of the chariot race even though he fell out of his chariot and never finished the race.

The Deadliest Doctor

When you think of a doctor, you usually picture a man or woman who makes it their business to save lives, not take them. In the case of Galen, the 3rd century Greek anatomist who served as the personal doctor to Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius , he earned the reputation of killing more people than any other man in medical history. Despite the number of lives he is responsible for taking, the Roman Catholic Church listed Galen as the only official authority on human anatomy , an honor that lasted for more than 1,000 years. Ironically, the ‘world’s best anatomist’ had never seen the inside of a human body. The 100 and more medical textbooks he penned came from observing dead dogs and pigs.

Moses’ Possible Deformity

It is believed that Moses may have suffered a significant speech impediment and most likely suffered from a cleft lip and palate. Actually, in Exodus 6:12, Moses describes himself as having ‘uncircumcised lips.’

Ancient Toothpaste and Tooth Care

In 350 BC, the man known as the ‘father of medicine’ (Hippocrates) was said to recommend toothpaste comprised of three mice and the head of a hare. In 50 BC, it was not unusual for ancient Romans to tie toads to their jaws to relieve the pain of a toothache. Urine was used to create toothpastes and mouthwashes. In 50 AD, the ancient Greek scholar Pliny believed that toothache prevention started by eating two mice per month. He also suggested using toads and worms to treat bad breath.

Powerful Priests

In ancient Mayan times, the priest was looked at as much more than just a religious guide. Their role was closely linked to the calendar and astronomy. They were known to control the learning and rituals of their people. The responsibility of calculating time, festivals, ceremonies, significant days and seasons, medical cures, writing and genealogies were placed in the hands of Mayan priests.