The Medieval Hospital and Medical Practice: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Medieval Hospital and Medical Practice

1st Edition

Edited by Barbara S. Bowers


272 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138264748
pub: 2017-02-27
Hardback: 9780754651109
pub: 2007-01-03

FREE Standard Shipping!


Using an innovative approach to evidence for the medieval hospital and medical practice, this collection of essays presents new research by leading international scholars in creating a holistic look at the hospital as an environment within a social and intellectual context. The research presented creates insights into practice, medicines, administration, foundation, regulation, patronage, theory, and spirituality. Looking at differing models of hospital administration between 13th century France and Spain, social context is explored. Seen from the perspective of the history of Knights of the Order of Saint Lazarus, and Order of the Temple, hospital and practice have a different emphasis. Extant medieval hospitals at Tonnerre and Winchester become the basis for exploring form and function in relation to health theory (spiritual and non-spiritual) as well as the influence of patronage and social context. In the case of the Ospedale Maggiore in Milan, this line of argument is taken further to demonstrate aspects of the building based on a concept of epidemiology. Evidence for the practice of medicine presented in these essays comes from a variety of sources and approaches such as remedy books, medical texts, recorded practice, and by making parallels with folk medicine. Archaeological evidence indicates both religious and non religious medical intervention while skeletal remains reveal both pathology and evidence of treatment.


’This multi-disciplinary collection of essays showcases the variety, and wealth, of scholarship that has emerged in recent decades on medieval medicine and healing. Its major strength is its breadth. … Many essays centre on English material, but the collection has a welcome geographical sweep, including works on France, Spain, Italy and the Latin East that often provide good introductions to scholarship in these areas and languages.’ English Historical Review ’This is a valuable piece of interdisciplinary research for anyone interested not just in the medieval hospital but also in the way that research is carried out.’ Historians of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland ’With a number of excellent essays to recommend it, and two useful contributions on sources from the archaeologists, William White and Geoff Egan, this collection constitutes a welcome addition to the growing body of publications on medieval medical history… Barbara Bowers deserves our thanks for bringing these papers together.’ Medical History ’The AVISTA series was created to draw attention to medieval technology, science and art in the broadest meaning of the words, and to examine their interactions. The [volume] under review succeed in fulfilling their organisers’ aims.’ Metascience

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface, Barbara S. Bowers. Part I On Doing Medieval Medical Research: Research procedures in evaluating medieval medicine, John M. Riddle; The archives and library of the Sacre Infermeria, Malta, Theresa M. Vann; Historical research developments on leprosy in France and in Western Europe, Bruno Tabuteau. Part II Physical Evidence: Archaeology and Architecture Technology: Excavations at St Mary Spital: burial of the 'sick poore' of medieval London, the evidence of illness and hospital treatment, William White; Material culture of care for the sick: some excavated evidence from English medieval hospitals and other sites, Geoff Egan; The hospital of Notre-Dame des Fontenilles at Tonnerre: medicine as Misericordia, Lynn T. Courtenay; Function and epidemiology in Filarete's Ospedale Maggiore, Renzo Baldasso. Part III New Approaches to Written Sources: Religion and discipline in the hospitals of 13th-century France, James W. Brodman; A non-natural environment: medicine without doctors and the medieval European hospital, Peregrine Horden; Byzantine hospital manuals (iatrosophia) as a source for the study of therapeutics, Alain Touwaide; Medieval monastic customaries on minuti and infirmi, M.K.K. Yearl; Challenging the 'eye of newt' image of medieval medicine, Anne Van Arsdall. Part IV The Monastic Connection: De domo sancti lazari milites leprosi: knighthood and leprosy in the Holy Land, Rafaël Hyacinthe; The infirmaries of the Order of the Temple in the medieval kingdom of Jerusalem, Piers D. Mitchell; The Benedictine rule and the care of the sick: the plan of St Gall and Anglo-Saxon England, Maria A. D'Aronco. Index.

About the Editor

Barbara S. Bowers received her PhD in 2002 from Ohio State University and is currently Secretary of AVISTA.

About the Series

AVISTA Studies in the History of Medieval Technology, Science and Art

AVISTA Studies in History of Medieval Technology, Science and Art is a series organised by AVISTA (The Association Villard de Honnecourt for Interdisciplinary Study of Medieval Technology, Science and Art). The aim of the series is to promote the cross-disciplinary objectives of AVISTA by publishing in the areas of the history of science, technology, architecture, and art. The society takes its name from Villard (Wilars) de Honnecourt, an elusive persona of the 13th century whose autograph portfolio contains a variety of fascinating drawings and descriptions of both the fine and mechanical arts.

For further information about the series please contact Michael Greenwood at


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General