Medicine in the Middle Ages Essay

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Alexandria Behr Medicine in London during the Middle Ages In the medieval world, death and disease were a part of daily life for everyone. Society was ravaged by successive outbreaks of the plague that later came to be known as the “Black Death.” It is estimated that at least a third of the population of London died of this horrific disease by the end of the fourteenth century. In modern society, when one feels ill, one goes to the doctor and is often issued prescriptions to aid in one's recovery. In the Middle Ages, however, the solutions to illness were much less exact. Due to limited, illnesses could be treated in a variety of ways depending on one’s personal beliefs. Those who were religious believed pleasing God to be the solution to their ailments. Those who held scientific teachings of the time to be true searched for solutions in herbalism and other practices more similar to those which we use today in the face of illness. We are able to gain knowledge of how people in the middle ages responded to illness both through scientific texts, such as Avicenna's The Canon of Medicine, and through literature geared towards a broader audience such the many works by Shakespeare and Chaucer's work The Canterbury Tales. The Black Death had a huge impact on all aspects of Medieval society. The peak of the Black Death resulted in a huge population loss for the city of London, and all over the world. Treatments and theories about the causes of the plague were prevalent in many aspects of life. Initially many believed plagues to be the result of evil spirits. For this reason, people would often huddle together to keep the spirits away. This method greatly helped to fuel the spread of plagues. Another possible cause of the plague was believed to be the sins of the people of the world, and so religious cures became prevalenct for many. It was not until the middle of
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