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Sex and Health in the Middle AgesSeveral centuries ago, in the population's mind, as well as for Jewish, and the Christians and/or Muslims, everything was about religion and God

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Sex and health in the Middle Ages By Kaven Morasse Presented to Daniel Perreault For Intro: Western History 330-910-RE November 8th 2004 Sex and Health in the Middle Ages Several centuries ago, in the population's mind, as well as for Jewish, and the Christians and/or Muslims, everything was about religion and God. Because of this, these religious groups were fully confident about the evidence that was given to them by the "intellectuals". Supported by religion, these "scholars", even though they were inaccurate most of the time, had answers for almost everything. Since their objectivity was often affected by diverse beliefs, these savants' way of thinking became the pillars of these societies. In the Middle Ages, though medicine and reproduction were often thought to be of a religious matter directed by God, human involvement was usually acceptable (Wiesner, p.132). These subjects are good examples of what kind of fundaments were anchored in people's thoughts. Three sources, written by philosophers of the middle ages, have been studied to demonstrate what kind of misconceptions they had; the Canon Avicenna, Constantine the African's treatises and Trotula of Salerno's writings.

Middle

The first important work that influences their convictions was written by a Greek named Galen who was inspired by Aristotle and Hippocrates. This guy, born in 130 of the Common Era, spent most of his life in Rome within the Roman Empire and died in 200 of the Common Era (Wiesner p.133). His findings, translated from Greek, were so large and touched so many subjects, that they influenced western civilizations for centuries (Wiesner p.133). One of his supporters, Avicenna (980-1037), an Islamic medical writer, affirmed that women's apparatus of reproduction was similar to men's penis except that it was smaller and inward (Avicenna extract in Wiesner p.140). Men and women were both thought to have sperm (Avicenna extract in Wiesner p.140). These two sperms were supposed to mix together in order to engender a life and then, the body of the "seed" was formed by coagulation of women's menses blood (Avicenna extract in Wiesner p.140). Another philosopher, Constantine the African (1065-1085), believed in diabolic spells that could interfere in intercourse and reproduction (Sigerist in Wiesner p.141). He also mentioned various remedies that could cure these "sorceries"; "Sprinkle the walls of the house with dog's blood, and it will be liberated from every spell..."

Conclusion

Because populations of the Middle Ages were uneducated and did not know much about medicine, "intellectuals" and priests were considered to be really advanced in this domain. Their methods were applied, whether they could cause great injuries or not. Today, in western societies, most people are educated and have a basic knowledge of medicine. If we compared ourselves with the actual doctors in medicine, we don't know much either. In studying history it is now possible to realize that as the objectivity of societies grow, the potential of knowledge becomes higher. Who knows, maybe that in a thousand years from now we will be chimpanzees to the new generation. The human being is really interesting to study. In history, we rapidly realized that we are the same than our ancestors and that we differ only from the environment in which we live. Today, we have different cultures, knowledge and technologies that make us think differently. However we still have the same identical nature than people from the Middle Ages. Humans have always tried to cure or to hurt each other, to make love or to create wars but moreover, to find senses to their existences.

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