History of Medicine Factual Knowledge sheetHEALTH WARNING: this is the basics. If you want better marks, you need to go further than this!Medieval and Renaissance medicine (1350-1500, 1500-1700)What people believed caused illness1. The Four Humours. Came from Roman doctor Galen who adapted the idea from ancient Greekmedicine, followed as Catholic Church endorsed it. Four Humours = blood, phlegm, black bile,yellow bile. When imbalanced, you were ill.2. God. Came from the Catholic Church. God was angry with people’s sin and would punish them bymaking them ill.3. Miasmas. Poisonous air which when breathed in made you ill.4. Astrology. The alignment of stars and planets could lead to different diseases being more likely.5. Magic. People believed that magical creatures and bad luck could make you ill.6. The 5 above were the main ones. During the Black Death (1348-52) the following were alsosuggested as causes of the disease:a. Jews poisoning people’s water supplyb. Filth in the streetsWhat treatments people used1. Bleeding and purging to re-balance the humours. Leeches, bleeding cups, potions and herbalremedies to make you vomit.2. Prayer, fasting, flagellation (in Black Death). Show God you were repenting of your sins and hewould forgive and remove the illness.3. Scenting the air. Burning censers, putting strong smelling substances in a room (like vinegar).4. Lucky charms. Rabbits feet, black ribbon, holy water.5. Home remedies passed from generation to generation – using honey, lemon, garlic, herbs etc.6. Basic surgery – removing teeth, boils, occasional amputation, setting bones.Doctors and hospitals1. Medieval doctors trained at university, studied Galen alone and expected to follow him ineverything. Would talk to patients about symptoms and examine them, and diagnose. Might usevademecum (book of the stars) to check treatment suggested fitted in with the planets’ alignmentthat month. Expensive. Quack doctors (unqualified) existed and apothecaries (medicine mixers)could give advice. Most treated by families at home.2. Renaissance doctors trained at university, studying Galen (although Fabric of the Human Bodybegan to creep in), had to belong to College of Physicians. Would talk to patients about symptomsand examine them, and diagnose. Planets and magic beginning to disappear from their work as ageof science developed. Expensive. Apothecaries still around. Most still treated at home.3. In medieval period, hospitals run by Church (monks and nuns). Small, people cramped in together.Not for the really sick as they were past God’s help. Main treatment = prayer, although somemonks used herbal remedies. Expected to attend church services. Separate hospitals for lepers(contagious). Doctors rarely visited.
4. In Renaissance period, hospitals run by charities (volunteers). Small, people cramped in together.For long term sick. Main treatment = herbal remedies and rest. Doctors rarely visited.Key people to know about1. Claudius Galen. Roman doctor and author of 350 books on medicine. Books still used 1000 yearslater as endorsed by Catholic Church (Galen suggested human body showed existence of onecreator God).2. Andreas Vesalius. Flemish Renaissance anatomist and author of Fabric of the Human Body (1543).Challenged Galen by pointing out 200 mistakes in his books. Argued that all doctors should checkall conclusions for themselves by dissecting.3. William Harvey. English Renaissance doctor and author of On the motion of the heart and blood(1628). Challenged Galen by showing that blood circulated and was not created in the liver.Backed up all work with experiments, and insisted that other doctors experiment too.Factors pushing medicine on or holding it back1. Catholic Church. Extremely influential in medieval period as disobeying it could lead to hell. Lesspowerful after the Reformation (1500s) and the start of Protestants, but religion remained a keyinfluence throughout the whole period. Stopped innovation.2. Technology. Invention of printing press and microscope in Renaissance moved understanding on:printing press allowed greater communication and sharing of ideas, microscope allowed new thingsto be discovered (although not strong at this point).3. Scientific knowledge discovered by individuals. Anatomy – Vesalius, circulation – Harvey.4. Government. Royal Society (1660) given royal money and approval to seek out new scientificideas.Exam board specifications highlight:Black Death, Galen, influence of religion, printing, Vesalius, Royal Society, scientific approaches,health care in the home, Harvey and circulation.