Relighting the Torch of European Antiquity

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI:
Relighting the Torch of European Antiquity

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This chapter sheds light on the developments of the Early Middle Ages in Europe. Jacob Burckhardt called the Middle Ages, an era in which the life was very colorful and rich. The remaining historical sources are unclear. The Renaissance in Europe occurred under entirely different preconditions, and was not a rebirth in the literal sense of something dead being revitalized. The ancient medicine had indeed passed away in late antiquity and the Early Middle Ages but medicine had not totally disappeared. It is easy to understand why medieval medicine narrowed ancient medicine down to only the fraction that might suffice to treat common afflictions. One could list the impulses for the so-called European Renaissance in Italy from about 1350. There were so many changes in the political landscape there that it affected thinking in art, literature, architecture, and science. The original Greek sources were translated into the conventional Latin in the twelfth century. Greeks were still present as mediators in southern Italy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Keywords: Early Middle Ages; historical sources; ancient medicine; medieval medicine; European Renaissance

Chapter.  1495 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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