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The Athenian Constitution

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In Ancient Era year 1500 B.C. up to the time of Jesus Christ, people who were blind, lame, deaf and other wise disabled have a very difficult living condition. Developmental disability can be described as a life long disability attributed to mental or physical state or the combination of both. During this period the living condition of the people with physical and mental disability can be described as brutal. Some of these people only rely on the kindness of their relatives in order to get it through. Others became able to survive by means of begging and handouts from strangers to be able to provide themselves a place to live and some food to eat. But, few were still so unfortunate. Several people having deficiency often meant having a low quality of life and or death.

It was on the year 1552 B.C. when the first recorded reference to mental retardation was marked. During this time, the Ancient Era does not have any historians and therefore they are not capable of recording the lives of the every individual with deficiencies or developmental disability. Several disability references can be found and nowhere in writing did the Ancients ever ponder what could be done to make it more acceptable and bearable to live with a disability.

Physical differences, in such form as disability or ethnicity differences were seen and believed to be a mark of inferiority. The Greek as well as the Romans believes that they represented the most ultimate type of human being. The Greek as well as the Romans have held a narrow sense of self-image. It was believed that their arts, literature, philosophy as well as science contributions is what makes them believed and viewed themselves as the most superior to all other races. People having deficiencies particularly intellectual deficiency where viewed by the Greeks as idiots.

Rational explanations on the causes of disabilities were offered to the physical world around the fourth century B.C…  Hippocrates (460-357 B.C.) the father of medicine seizure and other disease stated that disabilities were the result of physical causes and not by divine intervention. For him, care of the body was not in the hands of God but in man.

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), one of the famous philosophers of all time also studied movement and analyzes the defective movement of the human body as well muscle degeneration. He believes that the most highly evolved being is the man and that woman who’s next with him. Aristotle approved the existence of laws that prevents the living of a child with distorted physical and mental attributes.

A Greek scholar and a physician, Galen had developed the ideas which subject medicines and dominated areas related to medication. From the very importance of the history of developmental disability or deficiency, Galen had recognized the brain as the central part of the nervous system and the seat of understanding and mental power. In the future run this provides further evidences for the physical natural sources or causes of a person’s deficiency.

Although the Ancient Era was well known to have several contributions in the different fields such as philosophy, literature and medicine, it can be said that this time was definitely a difficult time for persons with developmental disabilities. As an example, by that time children with such disability in Rome were maltreated and are viewed as objects of scorn and humor.  Those children with developmental disability or physical ad or mental deficiencies; the deaf, mentally retarded and or deaf were publicly persecuted by the people and others were thrown to the Tiber River by their own parents while others were mutilated in order to increase their value when begging in the streets. Some were so unfortunate, they are being left by their parents in woods to die and in order to discourage anyone who will pass by and see the child and thus, will attempt to adopt the new born baby found feet bound together. Another proof of the maltreatment of children with disability was also presented in the military city of Sparta wherein it is legally required to abandon infants with disability. Thus, it can really be said that the ancient period was definitely not a good time for persons with developmental disability because of their situation. They are really treated harshly and brutally by the people and the society as a whole.

Works Cited

Aristotle. (2000). The Athenian Constitution. 10 February 2008


Barrett, John. (No date). History of Discrimination Against Disabled Persons – part two. 10

February 2008 <http://www.jackiebarrett.ca/DisabledDiscrimination2.htm>

Delvey, Josephine. (1996). Hippocrates. 10 February 2008


GCDD. (No date). Parallel In Times- A History of Developmental Disabilities. 10 February

2008 <http://www.mnddc.org/parallels/index.html>

M, Lynn Rose. (No date). The “Era of Extermination”: Ancient Greece and Intellectual

Disability. 10 February 2008 <http://www.camws.org/meeting/2005/abstracts2005/rose.html>

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