Throughout the Roman era medicine advanced in many ways. The Roman empire pushed forward with methods and hygiene. The ideas of Doctors such as Galen were largely correct, such as anatomical recognition. However, some ideas and practices could be said to have held medicine back.
One of the main things that the Romans did was to develop public health dramatically. Every town had access to clean water, thanks to the invention of aqueducts and brick conduits, that carried water, sometimes miles, into towns and cities, where it was used for fountains, cisterns and public baths. This meant that water-borne diseases such as cholera, were less common, as most of the poor got there water from these public fountains and cisterns. In Rome, special Water Commissioners were paid to ensure good supplies of clean water. Even small towns had public baths, who were open to everyone, on the payment of a quadrans (smallest Roman coin). One of the advantages of this was that the baths helped to rid people of fleas, that spread disease. Other public health schemes included a brick-lined sewer system that carried sewage away from private houses and public baths/toilets. Other measures that the Romans introduced in regard to public health were rules that dictated where the dead could be buried, and rules for preventing fires.
However, the Romans did still appeal to the gods for help curing their illnesses and ailments. For example, in 295BC the Roman empire was struck by a plague. Normally to cure illnesses families would use herbal remedies passed down through the generations. Some did try these methods, whilst others appealed to the gods to help them. Most prayed to Salus, the Roman God of Health. When this did not work, the Romans got desperate, and built a temple to Aesculapius, the Greek god of health. After this, the plague slowly ebbed away.
Galen was a Roman doctor who made great progress in the field of medicine. His ideas were so good, they were used for the next...