During the Renaissance, Christians firmly believed that illness was God’s punishment for sins; thus, trying to heal illness was considered an unjust interference with God’s will.
Meanwhile, Arabs steadily progressed in their medical research, publishing many informative books, allowing English physicians to study anatomy in a
broader, scientific way.
Building on knowledge of herbs and minerals
taken from Arabic writings, Renaissance pharmacists experimented with new plants developing treatments for several diseases.
By relentless opposition, the Church began to
lose its political and secular power that had for so long limited physicians in their medical research. Corrin/ http://www.bandoli.no/knowledge.htm, http://images.google. com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.dl.ket.org/webmuseum/wm/paint/ auth/durer/doctors.jpg
Medical progress was spurred on by the appearance of the Black Death, a deadly plague that killed nearly a third of Europe’s population.
The plague was unknown to even the most well-known pharmacists like Claudius Galen, forcing Renaissance doctors to experiment if they wanted to find treatments.
They were unsuccessful in halting the Black Death, but a German physician, Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim discovered in 1503 that drinking mercury was an effective cure for syphilis, also a deadly disease.
Corrin/ Art and Civilization: The Renaissance, http://mistigwaetru.org/MistgigWebPage/black-death.jpg
The Church did not permit the dissection of “God fearing bodies,”
so anatomists negotiated by using the bodies of criminals or “sinners”.
Leonardo da Vinci made remarkably accurate anatomical
drawings based on dissection of human corpses by Anreas Vesalius.
In 1543, Anreas Vesalius published his book De Humani Corporis
Fabrica (On the Structure of the Human Body) containing hundreds of observations he made while dissecting the human body. Vesalius’ book contradicted many of Galen’s earlier anatomical discoveries.
Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings and Anreas Vesalius’ observations
allowed anatomists like Gabriel Fallopius and Michael Servetus to study more intimately certain parts of the body. Corrin/ http://www.history.com/encyclopedia.do?articleId=216145, http://resources.schoolscience.co.uk/abpi/history/history7.html,http://images.google.com/ imgres?imgurl=http://www.leonardo-da-vinci-biography.com/images/leonardo-da-vinci- anatomy.4.jpg, http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://mr_sedivy.tripod.com/davinci/ anaw_10b.jpg
procedures included lancing a boil, setting a broken bone, dressing an ulcer or sore, blood-letting, cleaning and suturing a wound, rescuing a dislocated joint, and cautery (application of hot irons to various parts of the body creating ulcers that unwanted fluids could drain).
Each procedure was performed with the slightest
amount of anesthetics or sedatives causing the patient extreme pain.
As seen in the picture to the right, the operation of
removing a cataract included inserting a sharp instrument through the cornea and forcing the lens of the eye out of its capsule and down to the bottom of the eye. Corrin/ http://students.ou.edu/Y/Jason.S.Yousif-1/episode_3_medieval.html, http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/ wikipedia/commons/4/43/Augenoperation_1195.jpg
Menstruation was often an uncomfortable topic for Renaissance physicians. Not only did regular menstruation indicate fertility, but if women's excess humors and buildup of bodily wastes were not flushed by regular monthly courses, the wastes would build up and cause illness.
It was thought that the excess humors and wastes were able to poison men, children, and others with whom one had come into contact with.
Women who did not menstruate might have had a misplaced uterus, which could cause pain in other parts of the body and even cause shortage of breath. This was treated with drinks, steam-baths, and manual manipulation.
Disorders of menstruation in young women were generally treated by marriage or sexual intercourse.
Hospitals were beginning to multiply under the control of both laity and clergy.
In 1423, Venice transformed the island of Santa Maria diNazaret into a hospital to keep contagious persons from infecting others. This was the
first institution of its kind known in Europe.
By the fifteenth century, Florence had thirty-five hospitals.
Public and private donations helped support several of these hospitals and institutions.
Hospitals were notable for various reasons; some, like the
Ospedale Maggiore, were known for its architecture while others were known for adorning their halls with inspiring works of art. Corrin/ The Renaissance: The Story of Civilization V, http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.bushywood.com/media/ media_images/health_service_physician_in.jpg
Citations Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. History of Medicine. 5 Dec. 2009 <http://resources.schoolscience.co.uk/abpi/history/history7.html>. Blackwell, Elizabeth. “Herbarium Blackwellianum.” No date. Online image. Ursi'sEso Garden. 6 Dec. 2009. <http://www.eso-garden.com/index.php?/weblog/C38/>. Borsheim, R.L. Christianity and Knowledge. 5 Dec. 2009 <http://www.bandoli.no/knowledge.htm>. Da Vinci, Leonardo. “Dissection of the Arms and Shoulders.” No date. Online image. Leonardo Da Vinci Anatomy Drawing. 6 Dec. 2009. <http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.leonardo-da-vinci- biography.com/images/leonardo-da-vinci-anatomy.4.jpg>. Da Vinci, Leonardo. “Dissection of the Principal Organs of a Woman.” 1510. Online image. The Life, Art, Inventions and Anatomical Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. 6 Dec. 2009. <http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://mr_sedivy.tripod.com/davinci/anaw_10b.jpg>. Durant, Will. The Renaissance: The Story of Civilizations. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1953. Dürer, Albrecht. “Christ Among the Doctors.” 1519. Online image. Albrecht Dürer. 5 Dec. 2009. <http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.dl.ket.org/webmuseum/wm/paint/auth/durer/doctors.jpg>. Heise, Jennifer A. Women and Medicine in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. 6 Dec. 2009 <http://www.gallowglass.org/jadwiga/herbs/WomenMed.html>. Hill, Wendy. “Renaissance Girl.” 6 Oct. 2008. Online image. Fineart America. 6 Dec. 2009. <http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://fineartamerica.com/images-medium/renaissance girl-wendy-hill.jpg>.
Citations Matthews, Rupert. Art and Civilization: The Renaissance. New York, NY: Peter Bedrick Books, 2000. Rösslin, Eucharius. “Birthing Chair.” 1513. Online image. Women and Medicine in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. 6 Dec. 2009. <http://www.gallowglass.org/jadwiga/herbs/WomenMed.html>. Rösslin, Eucharius. “Childbirth.” 1513. Online image. Women and Medicine in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. 6 Dec. 2009. <http://www.gallowglass.org/jadwiga/herbs/WomenMed.html>. Toggenburg Bible. “Black Death.” 1411. Online image. Road to the Isle XIII: 1349: We’re Not Dead Yet. 6 Dec. 2009. <http://mistigwaetru.org/MistgigWebPage/black-death.jpg >. Unknown artist. “A Physician Visiting the Sick in a Hospital.” 1682. Online image. Hospitals. 7 Dec. 2009. <http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.bushywood.com/media/media_images/health_service_physician_in.jpg>. Unknown artist. “Surgery Being Preformed on the Eye.” No date. Online image. Medicine Through Time. 6 Dec. 2009. <http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/43/Augenoperation_1195.jpg>. World Almanac Education Group. The History Channel. 6 Dec. 2009 <http://www.history.com/encyclopedia.do?articleId=216145>. Yousif, Jason. The Progress of Ancient Medicine. 6 Dec. 2009 <http://students.ou.edu/Y/Jason.S.Yousif-1/episode_3_medieval.html>.