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

By Roger French | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4

Scholastic medicine

INTRODUCTION

The natural context of the Rational and Learned Doctor was scholastic medicine. The term 'scholastic' is taken here in a simple sense to mean that which relates to the schools. The schools were the incorporated studia generalia, and within them, the incorporated medical faculty. Scholastic medicine flourished most vigorously from the beginnings of the faculties in the late thirteenth century to the middle of the fourteenth century, when the Black Death arrived. In terms of personalities, it spanned the period from the floreat of Taddeo Alderotti to the death of Gentile da Foligno. This was the high point in the history of rational and learned doctors: their reputation was growing, their numbers were small and they were patronised by popes and monarchs. 1 Instead of breaking down the period into smaller fragments, this chapter presents the story of the scholastic doctor from entry into the studium to his practice of a potentially lucrative trade. 2


BECOMING A RATIONAL AND LEARNED DOCTOR

Where to go

It was known in the twelfth century that Salerno and Montpellier were good places to go to learn how to be a doctor. Bologna, too; and in the north, the size of the city of Paris gave many opportunities for medical practice, and

____________________
1
See Joseph Ziegler, Medicine and Religion c.1300. The Case of Arnau de Vilanova, Oxford (Clarendon Press), 1998, p. 19. It has been estimated that there were between one and six university-trained physicians for every 10,000 people in southern Europe. See Luis García-Ballester, Michael McVaugh and Augustín Rubio-Vela, Medical Licensing and Learning in Fourteenth-Century Valencia (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 79, part 6), Philadelphia, 1989.
2
Medicine was not always lucrative for teachers and practitioners. The doctors who secured a retained position in a great household generally did better. See Nancy Siraisi, Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine. An Introduction to Knowledge and Practice, Chicago (University of Chicago Press), 1990, p. 21.

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