Medicine before Science: The Business of Medicine from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment

By Roger French | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3

Medieval schools

INTRODUCTION

The Latin medical tradition was a long time in forming. Medicine remained Greek with Galen, and might have become Latin with Celsus, but the loss of the Western Empire a little over two centuries after Galen's death meant the end of any elaborate form of Roman medicine. 1 All of Celsus and most of Galen remained unknown until the Middle Ages. Learned and rational medicine survived in a Greek form in the Eastern Empire, which lasted a thousand years longer than the Western. The Eastern Empire tried to recover the Western by establishing exarchates, for example in Italy, and it seems to have been in such places that some Greek medical works were translated into Latin. 2 There were two main centres of teaching in the east, Constantinople and Alexandria; there was an Alexandrian medical tradition in the Salerno area in the sixth and seventh centuries, and it is known that the Abbey of Montecassino received a copy of the Aphorisms as a gift in the tenth century. In the mid-twelfth century there were schools in Salerno favoured by Jews; there were Greek monasteries in the area; and the political and economic growth of Salerno also favoured its cultural development. 3 But in the seventh century Alexandria was taken over for a

____________________
1
Further south and east it was a different matter. St Augustine used Hippocratic medicine in discussing astrology (which he was tempted with but wanted to deny). He was a friend of the medical man Vindicianus, who may have informed him about Hippocratic medicine. See O. Temkin, Hippocrates in a World of Pagans and Christians, Baltimore and London (The Johns Hopkins University Press), 1991, pp. 132—6. In general, philosophy and medicine were useful in 'Christian anthropology' and the Christians recognised that these disciplines supplied many things of which they were ignorant. Bishop Nemesius' Nature of Man was an anthropology and was paraphrased into Latin by Archbishop Alfanus of Salerno when the medical school there was growing in reputation.
2
See Loren C. MacKinney, Early Medieval Medicine with special reference to France and Chartres, Baltimore (The Johns Hopkins University Press), 1937. See also David C. Lindberg, 'The transmission of Greek and Arabic learning to the West', in his Science in the Middle Ages, Chicago (University of Chicago Press), 1978, pp. 52—90. The pre-Salernitan summa (see below) seems to have originated in such translations of the fifth to seventh centuries.
3
See Patricia Skinner, Health and Medicine in Early Medieval Southern Italy, Leiden (Brill), 1997, pp. 128, 130—3, 140.

-59-

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Medicine before Science: The Business of Medicine from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Medicine Before Science *
  • Medicine Before Science - The Business of Medicine from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment *
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Sources *
  • Chapter 1 - Hippocrates and the Philosophers 9
  • Chapter 2 - Galen 34
  • Part II - The Latin Tradition *
  • Chapter 3 - Medieval Schools 59
  • Chapter 4 - Scholastic Medicine 88
  • Chapter 5 - The Weakening of the Latin Tradition 127
  • Part III - The Crisis *
  • Chapter 6 - The Crisis of Theory 157
  • Chapter 7 - Resolutions 185
  • Chapter 8 - Enlightenment, Systems and Science 222
  • Select Bibliography 260
  • Index 270
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