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

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Sex and health

in the Middle Ages


Kaven Morasse

Presented to

          Daniel Perreault


Intro: Western History


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.

The diverse traditions and religions truly affected the way people of the Middle Ages perceived reproduction.  This is proven by the fact that in some civilizations reproduction was seen as a divine action though, in others, it was considered to be bad and evil (Wiesner p.132). The three major Western religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, all share some common beliefs about reproduction (Wiesner p.132). Being monotheists, each of them believe that reproduction has been established by God in the old testament when He said, in the genesis, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis in Wiesner p.132).  

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Even though reproduction was mostly a religious concern; human and medical methods were also accepted. (Wiesner p.132). Then, came the theory of the “four bodily humors”.  This assumption presumed that human body was composed of four principal elements; phlegm, black bile, yellow bile and blood.  They then believed that these humors determined personality and that diseases were caused by disproportions between them (Wiesner p.134). Thus treatments such as diets, drugs or blood letting were given in order to try to reestablish what they thought to be an imbalance of humors (Wiesner p.135).

The tree main western spiritual groups took ...

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