In the 1300’s and 1400’s a horrible disease was sweeping Europe. Its symptoms deserved of its name the Black Death.
Beliefs on how to cure the plague demonstrate how the supernatural had a huge influence on medicine during the time of the renaissance. There are two kinds of plagues, with the first kind victims receive swellings called buboes about the size of an egg or an apple. The swellings oozed blood and pus. In the second stage boils and internal bleeding appeared.
The second kind of plague was respiratory. The symptoms included continuos fever and the spitting of blood. These cases died even more quickly, sometimes within the first 24 hours. In both cases everything admitted from the body smelt foul.Order now
When doctors could not explain the plague they looked to magic or the supernatural. Many believed that the plague was transmitted though the air so they burnt incense or herbs. “There was little distinction between the magical and the sensible. “( )animal compounds and metallic substances were commonly used.
The church barred the investigation of anatomy, but some still defied the church. In 1340 Montpellier held anatomy lessons every two years. These lessons would last for days.People believed it was a divine punishment from god for mans sins.It was looked at as “the extermination of mankind.”()In the city of Rouen, people believed that anything that could anger god should be abolished.They got rid of gambling, drinking and cursing.The pope organized marches called Penitent processions.In these marches the pope and four cardinals dressed completely in red would lead hundred of praying and crying “sinners”.They would sometimes beat themselves with whips or choke themselves with ropes tied around their necks.Doctors recommended bland diets, avoidance of excitement or anger (especially before going to bed).People were removed from dank places like swamps.Many cities were quarantined.Vinegar was sprinkled on hands, nostrils, mouths and floors.The doctors also used various methods to try to draw to poison from the body.They tried bleeding, lancing or cauterizing the swellings, hot plasters, myrrh, saffron and powdered staghorn.A patients sense of therapeutic was in proportion to their expense.Bibliography: