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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 1005: New Approaches to Medical History

Wednesday 8 July 2015, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Iona McCleery, Institute for Medieval Studies / School of History, University of Leeds
Paper 1005-aChangelings: An Examination of 'The Holy Greyhound' and other Medieval Sources in Light of Recent Developments in Medical and Childhood Studies
(Language: English)
Rose A. Sawyer, School of History / School of English, University of Leeds
Index terms: Folk Studies, Medicine, Mentalities, Social History
Paper 1005-bThe Signs of Death in the 15th Century
(Language: English)
Jyrki Nissi, School of Social Sciences & Humanities, University of Tampere
Index terms: Hagiography, Medicine, Social History
Paper 1005-cGalen and the Horse-Doctors: Interrogating the Importance of Humoural Theory to Medieval Veterinary Medicine
(Language: English)
Sunny Harrison, School of History, University of Leeds
Index terms: Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Medicine, Science

Paper -a:
Jean-Claude Schmitt's The Holy Greyhound was originally published in 1979; in the thirty-five years since then, the study of medieval childhood, disability and medicine has flourished. Schmitt was writing at a point when the scholarly backlash against the idea that medieval parents did not love their children was just beginning to take shape. Now, we have reached the point where William MacLohese, in A Tender Age (2008), has argued that there was a greater sense of ambiguity surrounding children during the medieval period than the backlash would suggest. Considering this expansion in the complexity of our ideas about the Middle Ages, there seems to be no time like the present to re-visit and expand upon Schmitt's study.

Paper -b:
In the Middle Ages death was not as clearly defined as it is nowadays. The aim of this paper is to find out how people acknowledge the arrival of death in the 15th-century hagiographic material. Hagiographic material gives us interesting information on this subject since it was important for the validity of miracles to be absolutely sure whether someone was dead or not. The commissioners of the canonization processes were frequently asking the witnesses how they knew if someone was dead. In this paper I have two questions I am trying to answer: Who declared someone to be dead? What were the signs of death from which the conclusions were drawn? In order to answer these questions I have studied Italian and Swedish hagiographic material. This way I will make a comparison of the signs of death used in the North and South of Europe.

Paper -c:
Jordanus Ruffus's De medicina equorum (c. 1256) is the foundation for a tradition of horse medicine encompassing dozens of texts and hundreds of manuscripts. However, the study of Jordanus and other veterinary writers has been sporadic and underdeveloped, and there is still much about the various traditions of medieval animal medicine that we only understand poorly. For instance, the importance of Galenic four-humoural theory to veterinary writers such as Jordanus has often been assumed without further interrogation. I will use a number of horse medicine treatises, including De medicina equorum to explore the importance, or otherwise, of humoural pathology to the practitioners of medieval non-human medicine.