BOOK REVIEW: Medieval Medicine: Its Mysteries and Science by Toni Mount

Medieval Medicine by Toni Mount

Our review of Toni Mount’s fascinating look at medicine in the Middle Ages in – Medieval Medicine: Its Mysteries and Science by Toni Mount.

Medieval Hangover Cures

A drunk monk? This might be St. Arnulf of Metz (582 -640), the unofficial patron saint of beer.

Here are a few hangover cures from days gone by, because people who partied like it was 1399 also needed a little help the morning after.

Making the Medieval Relevant: Crossing Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Studies on Disease and Disability

Dr. Christina Lee - Crossing Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Studies on Disease and Disability

A summary of a paper given by Professor Christina Lee at the University of Nottingham’s “Making the Medieval Relevant” Conference.

Dyes, Diets and Deodorants: Venetian Beauty Secrets Revealed

Paris Bordon, Venetian Women at their Toilet, about 1545. These 2 women fit the blonde, pale, dedicated featured and small chested look prized by Venetians at the end of the Middle Ages and early Renaissance.

If you think it’s hard to keep up a beauty regime now, wait until you see what lengths the Venetians went to in order to be beautiful!

Sleepwalking and Murder in the Middle Ages

The Sleepwalker by Édouard Rosset-Granger (1853–1934)

It happens that many people get up at night while asleep, take weapons or sticks, or ride a horse.What is the cause of this? What is the remedy?

The Cyrurgia of Albucasis and other works, 1500

13th_century_anatomical - medicine

Four surgical treatises, printed in the last year of the fifteenth century, make up the oldest illustrated printed book in the Sibbald Library. The second one, the Cyrurgia of Albucasis, is the most interesting and I shall deal only briefly with the others.

The Stench of Disease: Public Health and the Environment in Late-Medieval English towns and cities

Petergate, York. By C.Monkhouse - 19th century

This article explores the urban environmental concerns of late-medieval English towns and cities and argues that these urban areas had a form of public health.

Limitations imposed by wearing armour on Medieval soldiers’ locomotor performance

Late Medieval Armour

Our findings can predict age-associated decline in Medieval soldiers’ physical performance, and have potential implications in understanding the outcomes of past European military battles.

‘Royal’ pediculosis in Renaissance Italy: lice in the mummy of the King of Naples Ferdinand II of Aragon (1467-1496)

Ferdinand II of Aragon

Pediculosis seems to have afflicted humans since the most ancient times and lice have been found in several ancient human remains. Examination of the head hair and pubic hair of the artificial mummy of Ferdinand II of Aragon (1467-1496), King of Naples, revealed a double infestation with two different species of lice…

Women Healers and the Medical Marketplace of 16th-Century Lyon

women and children

Women Healers and the Medical Marketplace of 16th-Century Lyon Alison Klairmont-Lingo Dynamis: Vol.19 (1999) Abstract Although women’s legal and marital status make them almost invisible in archival documents, what traces remain suggest that women participated in Lyon’s medical marketplace in various ways and under various guises. At Lyon’s municipally-funded poor hospital, the Hotel-Dieu, widows and […]

Sex and obscenity in medieval art

Sex 2

When researching early or ‘forbidden’ historical subjects it can be a considerable challenge finding primary sources that give a first-hand experience of contemporary events.

Anesthesia Drugs in the Medieval Muslim Era


In the Middle Ages, Christian Europe was in a state of intellectual stagnation and the theological doctrine that pain serves God’s purpose and must not be alleviated militated against the improvement in methods of narcosis. Nuland points out that the Middle Ages in Europe were dark ages so far as advances in the pharmacology of anesthesia were concerned.

Menstruation in Sacred Places. Medieval and Early-Modern Jewish Women in the Synagogue

Jewish Women of Aragon dancing

How sacred is the Synagogue? Can a woman enter this holy place while menstruating? What is more sacred: the space, or the Holy objects within it?

Stature and frailty during the Black Death: the effect of stature on risks of epidemic mortality in London, A.D. 1348-1350

The excavation site at East Smithfield. Hendrik Poinar, an evolutionary geneticist at McMaster, has identified the bacteria responsible for causing the 1348 Black Death. Photo reproduced courtesy of the Museum of London

Recent research has shown that pre-existing health condition affected an individual ’ s risk of dying duringthe 14th-century Black Death. However, a previous study of the effect of adult stature on risk of mortality during the epidemic failed to find a relationship between the two; this result is perhaps surprising given the well-documented inverse association between stature and mortality in human populations.

Theodora, Aetius of Amida, and Procopius: Some Possible Connections


Behind the purported facts of Theodora’s career as a common prostitute and later as empress are the hidden details of what we might call feminine pharmacology: what were the drugs used by prostitutes and call-girls in sixth-century Byzan- tium? Were there ordinary pharmaceuticals employed by such professionals to stay in business?

Fasting and the female body : from the ascetic to the pathological


Importantly, the dietary practices of the early Christians cannot be understood as a single corpus of ideas or practices. It could mean going without food altogether, as in the case of one of the desert fathers, Simeon Stylites, who ate nothing for the whole of lent.

Post-mortem Ablation of the Heart: a Medieval Funerary Practice

leonardo da vinci - anatomical human heart

In the Middle Ages the heart represented the whole body. Unlike modern man for whom the brain is the centre of higher function, medieval Christians saw the heart as the moral and intel- lectual centre. Saint Augustine contributed much to this attitude by describing the heart not only as the seat of intelligence, will power, memory, emotion, and other feelings but also as the authentic and indivisible source of life.

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