Why Did Medicine Not Move Forward In The Middle Ages?

Aimee Robbins
Mind Map by Aimee Robbins, updated more than 1 year ago
Aimee Robbins
Created by Aimee Robbins over 3 years ago


Mind map on the reasons why medicine didn't improve for so long including various reasons.

Resource summary

Why Did Medicine Not Move Forward In The Middle Ages?
  1. The Church
    1. The church dominated life from peasants to the incredibly wealthy, since heaven was desired, while hell was feared and respected. God was the reason behind everything and questioning God was a crime worthy of death called 'heresy' and heratics by name often were murdered.
      1. Also, people tend to say that it was forced upon the society at the time, while actually, given 80 days of holiday each year, the majority believed in the Pope and what he said went. He was the most powerful human alive, hand-selected by God to rule the church.
        1. Not only did people feel that God was in charge, but the Pope agreed with Galen and Hippocrates were correct, therefore nobody dared or wanted to challenge the theories.
        2. Work and Harvests
          1. Long hours were worked and even in the winter, when farmers couldn't work their farms, they would have additional jobs to do. This led to no time for education, allowing church to be the only common knowledge they had.
          2. Food Supplies and Transport
            1. Butchery was a big problem, where animal waste was concerned, since animals roamed the streets, until they were butchered and their remains were once again tossed into the streets. Despite each village having an area for butchery, waste was washed into various other areas of a village, adding to the foul smelling, streets. Even horses used for transport added to the state of the streets.
              1. Citizens would wear wooden overshoes, to prevent them dirtying their shoes on the excrement in the streets and laws were put in place to stop waste being put onto the streets, leading to people being fined, yet the government had no responsibility or money to provide public services. In the end, nobody cleaned their home area as they were supposed to and also were not punished.
              2. Attitudes
                1. Barely anybody thought for themselves and it was frowned upon to seek further knowledge past God, another way of being convicted of heresy.
                  1. Furthermore, people couldn't afford or understand new and different material, so they had no way of getting alternative views really.
                  2. Education
                    1. The only education provided was in church, taught by monks and nuns. It was to write out and repeatedly read the Bible, meaning that literate people were still incapable of believing other sources.People who were educated would become a monk or a nun, leading to many physicians and surgeons being monks.
                    2. Communications
                      1. In order for information to be sent, people had to either send a letter or an oral message, which would arrive days later by horse. Many people wouldn't leave their village in their whole lifetime, therefore there was very little contact between the people of different vollages.
                        1. This improved somewhat in the 1470s when printing came to England, something obviously not everyone could afford, but something that people were able to communicate using.
                          1. If somebody has a new idea, there was no way to spread it or ingluence others.
                          2. The King and His Government
                            1. At the time, the government had very little power, which they exerted on wartime mainly. The church held power over the government and they were discouraged from thinking for themselves.
                              1. They provided no public services; there were no police or cleaning methods, leading to a very unhealthy environment for people to live in and healers had to make the best of what they had and the foul streets which didn't look to improve.
                                1. Furthermore, the government were the only other institute of power besides the church and they fed the church's ideas to their public, so the only thing citizens were hearing from any figure of power was that the Church was their life.
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