Hospitals and Healing from Antiquity to the Later Middle Ages: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Hospitals and Healing from Antiquity to the Later Middle Ages

1st Edition

By Peregrine Horden


352 pages

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pub: 2019-04-15
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The first part of this collection brings together a selection of Peregrine Horden's papers on the history of hospitals and related institutions of welfare provision from their origins in Late Antiquity to their medieval flourishing in Byzantium and the Islamic lands as well as in western Europe. The hospital is seen in a variety of original contexts, from demography and family history to the history of music and the liturgy. The second part turns to the history of healing and medicine, outside the hospital as well as within it. These studies cover a period from Hippocratic times to the Renaissance, but with a particular focus on the Mediterranean region - Byzantine, Middle Eastern and Western - in the Middle Ages.


'Students of medieval hospitals will rejoice at the publication of this collection, but all historians of ancient and medieval medicine will find here some food for thought. In particular, they will encounter methodological insights that offer an alternative to discourse studies and epistemological relativism' - Social History of Medicine.

‘Historical studies on medieval medicine have undergone profound renewal in recent decades. The works of… Peregrine Horden are an outstanding example of this renewal as well as of the fruitfulness of the anthropological perspective in historical-medical studies of the pre-modern world… In sum, Hospitals and Healing from Antiquity to the Later Middle Ages constitutes a valuable addition to our knowledge of western medicine’ [translation from original Spanish] – Dynamis.

'The Variorum Collected Studies Series has a long-standing tradition of presenting the best articles by individual established scholars in an easily accessible and useful format, and this volume continues that tradition. The sixteen essays collected in this book highlight the impressive breadth of Peregrine Horden’s interests and abilities. … Peregrine Horden’s essays are insightful, valuable and a good read. Whether analysing a historiographic tradition (essay VII) or addressing a specific historical theme, the articles in this volume point us in new directions that will benefit scholars in fields as varied as the history of medicine, ecology, spirituality and medieval culture' - Medical History.

'Ein Werk, das in der entsprechenden Abteilung einer medizinhistorischen Bibliothek nicht fehlen sollte' - Sudhoffs Archiv.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Part 1 Hospitals and Institutions of Care: How medicalized were Byzantine hospitals?; The confraternities of Byzantium; Ritual and public health in the early medieval city; Religion as medicine: music in hospitals; A non-natural environment: medicine without doctors and the medieval European hospital; Family history and hospital history in the Middle Ages; A discipline of relevance: the historiography of the later medieval hospital. Part 2 Sickness and Healing: Pain in Hippocratic medicine; Travel sickness: medicine and mobility in the Mediterranean from Antiquity to the Renaissance; The death of ascetics: sickness and monasticism in the early Byzantine Middle East; Saints and doctors in the early Byzantine empire: the case of Theodore of Sykeon; Responses to possession and insanity in the earlier Byzantine world; Disease, dragons and saints: the management of epidemics in the Dark Ages; Mediterranean plague in the age of Justinian; The Millennium bug: health and medicine around the year 1000; Continuity and discontinuity in the history of Mediterranean music therapy; Addenda; Index.

About the Author

Peregrine Horden is Professor of Medieval History at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Medieval