Medieval Medicine: Good for what ails you?
Review: Primary Sources
• How reliable are our sources?
o What do they and don’t they over?
Not much information on outcomes
Even when we do have a specific case, all we have for them is
recommendations, but we don’t know if it worked or was followed
The occasional testimony – the old man with the cataracts
Nothing we could call statistical
Not many manuals from people who practiced, and if they did practice,
we don’t have much information on it
No relationship between theory and practice
o More than just readings, herbal medicine books
o So much o what we have are training materials, but not so much case studies
• What were the goals of medieval medicine?
• What sort of limits did the doctors face, and how did they cope with them?
o Technology – they couldn’t look inside of you; instead they have to read the
o Types of medications, and experimental science to test these medicines