Healing professions of the Middle Ages

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Healing professions of the Middle Ages
Healing professions of the Middle Ages

Doctores, Bader, Charlatans

In the Middle Ages, a diverse range of healers from different social classes de alt with the practical aspects of medicine.

Anyone who fell ill in a medieval town had access to a wide range of experts who knew the art of healing. Bathers, barbers and surgeons, midwives and wise women provided solid craftsmanship. Rarely did one seek out an academically trained doctor, if there was one. These specialists faced competition from itinerant quacks and charlatans, toothbreakers and star cutters. The humanist Sebastian Brandt aptly expressed the patient's goal-oriented attitude in his moral satire "Ship of Fools" in 1494: "The sick person strives for he alth where help comes from, but he doesn't pay attention." Away from the urban he alth market, rural people trusted the village barber, the midwife or the herbalist.

A diagnosis of what was wrong with them was of no interest, the goal was rapid recovery, restoring their ability to work. Hospitals only offered temporary accommodation, which is why some merchants bought "perpetual beds" that guaranteed medical help for themselves and sick peers at all times - an early form of he alth insurance that was only available to very few peopleā€¦

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