Middle Ages Doctors
Interesting facts and information about life and the lives of men and women in the Medieval period of the Middle Ages
Medicine in the Middle Ages
Health in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages Hygiene
Middle Ages Doctors
Medicine was basic and Middle Ages doctors had limited knowledge. Medieval doctors had no idea what caused the terrible illnesses and diseases which plagued the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages was devastated by the Black Death in England (1348-1350) which killed nearly one third of the population of England. The Middle Ages doctors were helpless. The underlying cause of many of the illnesses was due to the lack of sanitation. but Middle Ages doctors did not make this link until after the outbreak of the Black Death. The Middle Ages doctors had no idea what caused the Black Death - the best they could offer was to bled the patient or administer a concoction of herbs. There were no Antibiotics during the Middle Ages and it was almost impossible to cure illness and diseases without them.
Middle Ages Doctors - How did Doctors of the Middle Ages tend to their Patients?
How did Doctors of the Middle Ages tend to their Patients? The beliefs about the causes of illnesses were based on the ancient teachings of Aristotle and Hippocrates. The Middle Ages doctors paid attention to a patients bodily fluids, which were called Humours, or body fluids. The body of the patient was viewed as a part of the universe. There were four humours which directly related to the four elements and in turn the human body. Physicians diagnosed their patients by close examination of their blood, urine and stools, and determined their complexion or balance of humours. Middle Ages doctors related the Humors to the condition or illness of the patient and treated them accordingly:
|Fire||Yellow Bile |
The Middle Ages doctors tried to ensure that the four humors were properly balanced - this led to the practice of bleeding the patient or applying leeches to suck the blood of a patient. An extract from a manuscript from the 1200's stated the following:
"Several kinds of medicine may be good such as diet, drink, hot bath (whence sweat is growing), with purging, vomiting and letting blood. These taken in due time, not overflowing each malady
and infection is withstood."
The astrological signs of the zodiac were also thought to be associated with certain humours.
What types of doctors were there in the Middle Ages?
What types of doctors were there in the Middle Ages? To qualify as a Doctor of Medicine took ten years so the numbers of such fully qualified physicians remained comparatively small during the Middle Ages and there were not enough qualified doctors to treat the numbers of people. Medicine was administered by different people during the Middle Ages. The type of doctor depended on the class and whether money was available to pay the fee.
- Middle Ages Physicians
Only the very wealthy would receive the ministrations of a Middle Ages Physician who would have received an education at one of the Universities
- Middle Ages Surgeons
Inferior to Physicians these had a similar reputation to the barbers with whom they associated and belonged to the Company of Barber Surgeons
- Middle Ages Barbers
The Barbers were inferior to the Surgeons, although they also belonged to the Company of Barber Surgeons. They were only allowed to pull teeth or let blood
- Middle Ages Apothocary
The usual route that most people took was to visit the apothecary, or dispenser of drugs. The Apothocaries belonged to the Grocer's Guild and sold sweets, cosmetics and perfumes as well as drugs
- Middle Ages 'Wise Woman'
The local 'wise woman' was often the first person contacted by poor people who used various herbs to produce home made medicines and potions
The church played an important role in the lives of Medieval men and women. It was assumed that diseases of the body resulted from sins of the soul. Many people did not bother with Middle Ages doctors instead they sought relief from their ailments through meditation, prayer and pilgrimages.
Important Doctors in the Middle Ages
During the Middle Ages, the title of doctor, or of master, which corresponded to it, was comparable to a noble title. Physicians were recognized as a professional class in 1215 and they soon began to form their own guilds. A Middle Ages doctor, or Master was entitled to teach and give lectures at university. A Middle Ages doctor was also entitles to a coat-of-arms and tax exemptions. Important Middle Ages doctors:
|Important Doctors in the Middle Ages|
|Name||Information about the Medieval doctor|
|Ibn Zuhr aka Avenzoar||Spanish doctor who graduated from Cordova Medical University|
|Abraham of Aragon||Abraham of Aragon was a Jewish physician specializing in diseases of the eye |
|Joannes Zacharias Actuarius ||Joannes Zacharias Actuarius was a Byzantine doctor in Constantinople|
|Arnaldus de Villa Nova||Famous Spanish doctor|
|Ferrarius||Ferrarius was a Sicilian physician |
|Moshe ben Maimon||Moshe ben Maimon was a Jewish physician|
Women Doctors in the Middle Ages
There were some women doctors in the Middle Ages, although they were not officially qualified. The development of university faculties of medicine excluded women from the profession in the later Middle Ages. But Medieval women doctors were necessary due to the shortage of male doctors, especially during the frequent outbreaks of the Black Death. The names of the women doctors of the Middle Ages have been lost. However any learned women who wrote books were remembered for their contribution to medicine. The Abbess Hildegard of Bingen wrote the Liber simplicis medicinae (Simple Book of Medicine) in 1160. Another famous woman doctor of the Middle Ages, who wrote about the ailments of women, was an Italian woman known as Trotula - who was referred to as Dame Trot in England.
Middle Ages Doctors
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