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Bloody bandages on the battlefield

The battles of antiquity were some of the bloodiest and cruelest conflicts in history. When a soldier suffered a wound on the battlefield, it was mostly not instantly fatal – but most often meant the beginning of a long agony. Severe sword cuts and stab wounds by a spear were incredibly painful, and since adequate help was rarely available, blood loss usually lead to shock, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness before death brought an end to the poor soul’s suffering. From the dawn of man until the emergence of modern medicine, soldiers faced the prospect of such torturous death – with the sons of one people being the rare exception: Roman legionaries’ chances of recovery were surprisingly good.

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