Ponderin' the Past...in Medieval Medicine!

For today's ponderin', I decided to use the book The Healer's Apprentice, by Melanie Dickerson. Kait mentioned that we haven't pondered much on medieval times here on our Ponderin' the Past posts, so I'm going to take a stab at it! What will I talk about? Why, medicine, of course! ;-)

The Healer's Apprentice

As I was researching what kind of medical knowledge they had back in medieval times, I discovered that they had little, if any, medical knowledge! :-o (Yikes!) I found out that there was no real tradition of scientific medicine. Oftentimes, observations went hand-in-hand with spiritual influences when it came to healing someone.

In medieval times, the church taught that God sometimes sent illness as punishment for something they did wrong. In these cases, repentance could lead to a recovery. Because of this teaching, it led to the practice of penance and caused people to go on pilgrimages to a means of curing illnesses. It was even thought, by some people, that medicine was not a profession suitable for Christians, as disease was God-sent - they considered God to be the "divine physician" who sent illness or healing, depending on His will. This was only in some instances, as several monastic orders considered the care of the sick as their chief work of mercy.

Things became better, however, during the Renaissance of the 12th century. Medicine became more developed when many medical texts from both an ancient Greek and Islamic medicine were translated to their language. (thank goodness, huh?!) During this period of the Renaissance and afterwards, there were many advances in medical practice. For example, Girolamo Fracastoro was the first to propose that epidemic diseases might be caused by objects outside the body that could be transmitted by direct or indirect contact.

And so medicine began to, slowly but surely, work it's way into the medieval time period. By the 1600s, they had progressed greatly in the medical field - textbooks even being written on human anatomy and medical knowledge.

Well, that's it for today! Hope you enjoyed reading about early medieval knowledge on medicine. Glad they eventually improved!! ;-) lol

~ Katy

Category: 3 comments


MaureenT said...

Great post...To think the sanitary conditions were nonexistent. Can you imagine surgeons operating on one person and not washing their hands or equipment and then moving on to the next person! Also remember reading about bleeding people to get rid of infection. Am glad things have changed a LOT!

Katie Marie said...

I know! Just reading about this subject made me very thankful that I live in the 21st century!

Thanks for commenting! :-)

- Katy

Renee Ann said...

What an interesting article! I'm glad I stopped in to catch up on your site!

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