Medical Science During the Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural and intellectual movement that began in the 1300’s and spread throughout Europe. This time period revived the significance of art, music, and architecture. However, while advances in those areas were strong, the medical science field did not grow at the same rate. Back then, it was thought that diseases and illnesses had natural as well as supernatural causes. Many believed that they were punishments from God for sinning. Because there were very few known antibiotics and medicines, prayers were frequently used as cures but many people still died. Medical care during the Renaissance is vastly different from today’s knowledge, care, and expectations.
Dating all the way back to Old Greek and Medieval times, there were traditionally four elements that formed the basis for a theory of medicine and later psychological typology known as the four humors. Each humor was associated with physical and mental characteristics that could also be linked to personality types. The four humors were Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, and Melancholic. Each humor was represented a different body substance, was produced by a different organ, and was shown as an element. These humors were seen as health as an equilibrium of the body as determined by the four humors.
Hospitals during the Renaissance were not like today’s modern facilities. The early Renaissance hospitals did not provide much care, as they did not have many physicians and other medical help, if any in some. The hospitals were mainly used to provide comfort for the weak and dying. They were also used for temporary shelters for pilgrims, widows, women, and orphans. Later in the 16th century, some hospitals began to train doctors on site, to start preparing them to treat seriously ill patients. Some select hospitals had pharmacists and surgeons on site to be ready when needed. The changes started to create what are known as today’s modern hospital...
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