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What Is Medicine?Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing$
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Paul Unschuld

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257658

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257658.001.0001

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Relighting the Torch of European Antiquity

Relighting the Torch of European Antiquity

50 Relighting the Torch of European Antiquity
What Is Medicine?

Paul U. Unschuld

University of California Press

This chapter sheds light on the developments of the Early Middle Ages in Europe. Jacob Burckhardt called the Middle Ages, an era in which the life was very colorful and rich. The remaining historical sources are unclear. The Renaissance in Europe occurred under entirely different preconditions, and was not a rebirth in the literal sense of something dead being revitalized. The ancient medicine had indeed passed away in late antiquity and the Early Middle Ages but medicine had not totally disappeared. It is easy to understand why medieval medicine narrowed ancient medicine down to only the fraction that might suffice to treat common afflictions. One could list the impulses for the so-called European Renaissance in Italy from about 1350. There were so many changes in the political landscape there that it affected thinking in art, literature, architecture, and science. The original Greek sources were translated into the conventional Latin in the twelfth century. Greeks were still present as mediators in southern Italy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Keywords:   Early Middle Ages, historical sources, ancient medicine, medieval medicine, European Renaissance

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