October 24, 2012 [MEDIEVAL MEDICINE]
European Middle Ages (500-1500)
Roman Empire ended and broken down into city states.
Byzantine Empire = what’s going on in the Middle East at the time (not the focus of this lecture).
Synonymous with the Dark Ages (no real technological developments or art or creativity –
The Crusades, 1096 – 1291 iish (known the time period roughly). It was a mass movement of
people through the Ottoman Empire and North Africa, participating in religious wars
(Christianity). In part they were led by the Catholic Church, that wanted to regain access to holy
places (e.g. Jerusalem).
This movement Eastward and then return back initiated a flow of ideas and disease.
CHANGE FROM GRECCO-ROMAN TO CHRISTIANITY
Medicine in the Medieval World
Christianity affected the secular learning. All learning was considered inferior and subordinate to
Healing = act of love; but being healed by one other than God or His servants was sinful. Disease
was seen as punishment or a test of faith.
Hippocratic Secularism vs. Christianity
Christians respected Hippocratic traditions and agreed with principles, but couldn’t support him
as a healing God. Christian physicians had to give credit for cures and healings to God.
Christians were taught to despise their bodies and desires.
Theologians divide medicine into 2 parts:
o Religious Medicine – involving prayer, penance, exorcism, relics, and charms;
concerned with heavenly things.
o Human Medicine – relied on empirical cures (dietary, surgical, herbal); concerned with
The Church could heal without earthly medicine, just as Jesus did, as a representative of God
(according to Christians).
Major innovation of the Middle Ages.
Earliest European medical school (10 century) is Salerno, Italy – Greek, Roman, Islamic, and