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The medical resources and practice of the crusader states in Syria and Palestine 1096-1193.

Medical History
Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Medicine


THE MEDICAL RESOURCES AND PRACTICE OF THE CRUSADER STATES IN SYRIA AND PALESTINE 1096-1193 by ANN F. WOODINGS AT THE end of the eleventh century a spate of intellectual activity in all fields, usually known as the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, began in Western Europe. Medical knowledge, consequently, made considerable advances with the rediscovery, mainly from Arabic sources, of Ancient Greek medical texts and with the translation of the works of skilled Arabic doctors who practised according to Greek principles. This in- formation ifitered into Europe from two points where Moslems and Christians met, the kingdoms of Sicily and Spain. But, during the same period, another point of contact was established. The restlessness of growing Europe was harnessed, due to the interaction of many factors, to the notion of Holy War against Islam. In 1096, in response to a call by Pope Urban II, many people, both rich and poor, left their homes to go to Palestine to reconquer Jerusalem from the Turks. Thus, while scholars at Monte Cassino, Montpellier, Toledo and Barcelona patiently translated Galen, Hippocrates, Haly Abbas and Avicenna from the Arabic, Christians clashed with Moslems and sought immediate practical remedies for their wounds. The purpose of this essay is to discover what benefit, if any, the Franks derived from this direct confrontation with more advanced Moslem medical science. The medical facilities available in Syria and Palestine the training and examination of doctors, the development in these spheres, the adaptations and innovations made by the Franks in their own practice to combat the conditions of warfare in the East, therefore, will be examined. Medical knowledge had been well established in Syria and Palestine in the fifth century by Nestorian Christians who had fled in 431 from persecution in Alexandria, the great university and centre of Greek learning in the classical world. Centres for medical study, staffed by Nestorians and Jacobite clergy continued to flourish at Jerusa

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