Quiz about Medicine in Ancient Rome
Quiz about Medicine in Ancient Rome

Medicine in Ancient Rome Trivia Quiz


In Rome and need a doctor? My doctor's surgery is now open. Step inside and see how we did it in the good old days. Oh... did I not mention it's 45 B.C.?

A multiple-choice quiz by Tizzabelle. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
Tizzabelle
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
330,072
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
2198
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. My first patient of the day has woken up with a common problem. I suggest rubbing his knees with early morning saliva will alleviate what annoying complaint?
Hint

Crick in the neck
Pneumonia
Lumbago
Cat Scratch Fever

2. My next patient is a gladiator who was bitten by his opponent. Human bites are not to be taken lightly so I immediately prescribe the proper cure. What secretion does the gladiator apply to his bite wound?

Hint

Earwax
Tears of a newborn baby
Sweat
Morning dew from a red rose bud

3. A patient arrives in my surgery complaining of a headache. There are numerous cures you could use but I use the treatment I find most effective. It involves placing what part of an animal against the patient's head?
Hint

Elephant's trunk
Kangaroo's paw
Iguana's tail
Llama's hoof

4. A patient has come in with a troublesome problem. He finds dogs always bark at him and this makes his job as a burglar very difficult. I have the perfect remedy for him. Which part of an African animal's anatomy do I instruct him to wear between his foot and his shoe?
Hint

Hyena's tongue
Kookaburra's feather
Elephant's tail
Guinea pig's whisker

5. I look out the window and see an old patient of mine limping up the road to see me. I know what he wants so I've started making up a fresh batch of cow dung and vinegar. What could possibly be wrong with this patient?
Hint

Gout
Goitre
Tennis elbow
Astigmatism

6. I had a gladiator in my rooms yesterday. He came to see me about a skull fracture he suffered in the Colosseum. I used my tried and true method of fixing skull fractures and he'll heal faster than a charioteer on race day. What did I use for his fracture?
Hint

Brown paper and vinegar
Cobwebs, oil and vinegar
Eye of potato and wing of buffalo
Eye of newt and wing of bat

7. By Jove! I can smell the next patient's halitosis from my office. He must have run out of the breath freshener I made for him on his last visit. I'd better prepare some more. What would I use to make his breath sweeter?
Hint

Ashes of mouse dung and honey
A vulture's feather
A porcupine quill
Goose grease

8. Oh dear. I see my jar of scorpions is about to reach their "use by" date. Hmm. I'd better stoke up a fire, burn them to ashes and hope a patient comes in with which painful problem? Hint

Dementia
Myopia
Colitis
Kidney stones

9. Here's an interesting potion I've concocted. It's made with mouse dung and fresh heads of flies. You rub the scalp with a fig leaf and then apply the dung and fly mix to the head for a certain condition. What condition is treated with this delightful mixture? Pssst.. Julius Caesar was a patient of mine with this condition but don't tell anybody!

Hint

Male pattern baldness
Night blindness
Smelly feet
Diarrhoea

10. See that jar of dried camel's brains on the shelf? I might have treated a certain emperor who crossed the Rubicon with that. I instructed him to mix the dried camel's brain with some vinegar and drink it. This is a treatment for which neurological affliction that certain emperor might have suffered?
Hint

Dwarfism
Tetanus
Poliomyelitis
Epilepsy


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. My first patient of the day has woken up with a common problem. I suggest rubbing his knees with early morning saliva will alleviate what annoying complaint?

Answer: Crick in the neck

Yes, human spit carried to the right knee with the right hand and to the left knee with the left hand will fix that pesky crick in my patient's neck. Saliva could also be used to treat boils, repel diseases or maladies such as epilepsy, or to assuage feelings of guilt.

A patient may come to me feeling guilty because he has punched someone. That's a no-brainer. I tell him to spit into the hand which landed the blow on their victim. This is a sure fire remedy and the victim will instantly have no resentment towards his assailant. Saliva, to be truly efficacious for any condition, should be early morning saliva, concentrated with all its natural goodness.
2. My next patient is a gladiator who was bitten by his opponent. Human bites are not to be taken lightly so I immediately prescribe the proper cure. What secretion does the gladiator apply to his bite wound?

Answer: Earwax

Earwax is indispensable for treating a human bite. It's most effective if taken from the ear of the person who was bitten. More impressively, cerumen (the proper word for earwax) can be used to treat the bite of a snake or scorpion but it needs to be applied as soon as possible. Failing that, a human tooth can be ground down and used to treat a snake bite.

A soothsayer has told me that in the future man will discover there are over 600 types of "bacteria" in a human's mouth and the total number is in the billions. There are millions of these so called "bacteria" in every drop of spit. I suppose that's part of the natural goodness of saliva.
3. A patient arrives in my surgery complaining of a headache. There are numerous cures you could use but I use the treatment I find most effective. It involves placing what part of an animal against the patient's head?

Answer: Elephant's trunk

Of course I have an elephant at the rear of my surgery! I place the trunk against the head of the patient and the headache is alleviated. If I can make the elephant sneeze while touching my patient it will be even more efficacious. Elephant's blood is known to cure all types of rheumatism.

Another cure for headache is mixing the ashes of a burnt hare with oil of myrtle. Drinking water from a trough an ass or ox has drunk from is also effective. Should you happen to have some spare male fox genitals, wearing them as an amulet should ward off headaches. If that fails, burn a deer's horn to ashes an apply it to the head with some vinegar and rose oil.
4. A patient has come in with a troublesome problem. He finds dogs always bark at him and this makes his job as a burglar very difficult. I have the perfect remedy for him. Which part of an African animal's anatomy do I instruct him to wear between his foot and his shoe?

Answer: Hyena's tongue

Everyone knows that a hyena's tongue worn in the shoe will stop a dog barking at the wearer. Hyenas are a very useful animal in ancient Roman medicine. Parts of the hyena can be used to treat griping abdominal pains, kidney stones, headache, toothache, arm and shoulders pains, celiac disease, gout, fevers, eye diseases, palpitations, joint problems, infertility, uterine problems, heart disease, incontinence, late childbirths, dysentery and even rabies. It seems hyenas will cure what ever ails you.

I must be careful which part of the hyena's anatomy I use though. Should I place a hyena's left foot on a woman in labour it may have fatal consequences. Touching a woman in labour with the right foot of the hyena will speed up the labour process and bring on delivery of the baby.

On the other hand, the ashes of the left pastern bone, they say, boiled with weasel's blood, and applied to a person's body, will ensure universal hatred. Boiling a hyena eye rather than a pastern bone has a similar effect.
5. I look out the window and see an old patient of mine limping up the road to see me. I know what he wants so I've started making up a fresh batch of cow dung and vinegar. What could possibly be wrong with this patient?

Answer: Gout

Yes, it's the old cow dung and vinegar treatment for gout. It's worked for years for this patient. It must work. He keeps coming back for a repeat prescription! He has seen other doctors who have recommended other treatments such as bull's blood, a boiled fox or wolf, goat suet with mustard or ashes of goat dung and axle grease. Nope, he keeps coming back for the cow dung and vinegar ointment because I'm the best doctor in Rome!

I treated his wife for the pain of varicose veins a little while ago. I mixed the ashes of calf dung with lily roots and honey and boiled the lot. That potion stopped the pain in no time!
6. I had a gladiator in my rooms yesterday. He came to see me about a skull fracture he suffered in the Colosseum. I used my tried and true method of fixing skull fractures and he'll heal faster than a charioteer on race day. What did I use for his fracture?

Answer: Cobwebs, oil and vinegar

Those gladiators are a good part of my business! It's a good thing my cobweb, oil and vinegar prescription always works. It has to stay on the skull until it's healed and then you're right as rain!

I can give him some ideas for treating his headaches if he gets one. I know he doesn't have an elephant at home (ever tried getting an elephant up 6 flights in a Subura tenement?) so he could try pounding some snails in a mortar and applying it to his forehead. The ashes of a weasel can cure headache but some of my patients like to use a bird's brain mixed with a resin and oil. They apply it to the head and up the nostrils for headache relief. Other patient's prefer to use a mouse's ashes and rub it on with vinegar. Some of my patients swear that taking a twig from the nest of a kite and placing it under their pillow while they sleep is the best method of treatment.

Men, if you cut yourself shaving, try placing a cobweb over the nick. The bleeding will stop and you'll be right as rain in no time.
7. By Jove! I can smell the next patient's halitosis from my office. He must have run out of the breath freshener I made for him on his last visit. I'd better prepare some more. What would I use to make his breath sweeter?

Answer: Ashes of mouse dung and honey

Ashes of mouse dung mixed with honey are rubbed over the teeth to freshen and sweeten the breath. Trust me, I'm a doctor! Fresh mouse dung is marvellous for curing kidney or bladder stones too. Merely rub some fresh dung on your abdomen and all signs of those painful stones will be gone.

All those who picked a porcupine's quill are almost right. If you pick your teeth with a quill it will make your teeth strong but won't freshen your breath. You selected a vulture's feather? You were in the right territory but if you pick your teeth with a vulture's feather you will get, not cure, sour breath. The goose grease? That's for something as simple as chapped lips.
8. Oh dear. I see my jar of scorpions is about to reach their "use by" date. Hmm. I'd better stoke up a fire, burn them to ashes and hope a patient comes in with which painful problem?

Answer: Kidney stones

Scorpions burnt to a cinder can be eaten with bread and a locust. This will cure anyone of urinary calculi also known as bladder stones. This painful condition can also be treated with snails or earthworms. You drink the worms with some wine; either raisin wine or ordinary wine will do. If you prefer the snail cure, you pound the snails in a mortar before taking them with some wine.
9. Here's an interesting potion I've concocted. It's made with mouse dung and fresh heads of flies. You rub the scalp with a fig leaf and then apply the dung and fly mix to the head for a certain condition. What condition is treated with this delightful mixture? Pssst.. Julius Caesar was a patient of mine with this condition but don't tell anybody!

Answer: Male pattern baldness

I can't tell you about Julius because of doctor-patient confidentiality rules but I can say male pattern baldness isn't the easiest thing to cure. Some other treatments for baldness in my arsenal include burnt lizards, oil of myrtle, bear's grease, pounded onions, the ashes of a burnt viper, fresh poultry dung applied to the scalp, burnt sheep's dung, the ashes of a mule's hoof, oil of cyprus, honey, human breast milk, cabbage, the ashes of a mouse (head, tail or the entire body) and the ashes of a hedgehog.
10. See that jar of dried camel's brains on the shelf? I might have treated a certain emperor who crossed the Rubicon with that. I instructed him to mix the dried camel's brain with some vinegar and drink it. This is a treatment for which neurological affliction that certain emperor might have suffered?

Answer: Epilepsy

Other camel parts are used in medicine too. A dried camel's tail will relieve constipation. In the days before permanent waves were available, women could use the ashes of burnt camel's dung to make the hair curl. All you needed to do was mix it with some oil. The same ashes could be used to cure epilepsy if you mix a pinch of the dung ashes with "three fingers" of drink. Some nations keep camel's urine for five years and then use it to cure sores. Personally, I think it's a bit barbaric but they say it works.

In ancient Roman times, epilepsy was called the "falling sickness". Julius Caesar's epilepsy isn't an absolute historical certainty though. Some authorities dispute Caesar having the illness at all. Some information suggests he only had two seizures towards the end of his life perhaps caused by a developing tumour. Other sources have six seizures documented and yet others suggest they were a symptom of hypoglycaemia rather than primary epilepsy.

I'm closing my surgery doors and coming back into the 21st century now. I hope no one believes I would endorse such treatments these days! I also hope you enjoyed a little look at medicine 2000 years ago. :-)
Source: Author Tizzabelle

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