- Everyday life in the Middle Ages - Revision 6 - KS3 History - BBC Bitesize
- The Middle Ages: Birth of an Idea
- 1st Edition
- Toxicology in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Any new building was on a far smaller scale than before. Roman landholders beyond the confines of city walls were also vulnerable to extreme changes, and they could not simply pack up their land and move elsewhere. Some were dispossessed and fled to Byzantine regions, others quickly pledged their allegiances to their new rulers.
In areas like Spain and Italy, this often meant little more than acknowledging a new overlord, while Roman forms of law and religion could be maintained. In other areas where there was a greater weight of population movement, it might be necessary to adopt new modes of dress, language and custom. The Catholic Church was the major unifying cultural influence, preserving Latin learning and the art of writing, and maintaining a centralized administration through its network of bishops. Some regions that had previously been Catholic were occupied by Arian Christians, which raised debates over orthodoxy.
Clovis I of the Franks is a well-known example of a barbarian king who chose Catholic orthodoxy over Arianism. His conversion marked a turning point for the Frankish tribes of Gaul. Bishops were central to Middle Age society due to the literacy they possessed. As a result, they often played a significant role in shaping good government. However beyond the core areas of Western Europe there remained many peoples with little or no contact with Christianity or with classical Roman culture.
Martial societies such as the Avars and the Vikings were still capable of causing major disruption to the newly emerging societies of Western Europe. The Early Middle Ages also witnessed the rise of monasticism within the west. Although the impulse to withdraw from society to focus upon a spiritual life is experienced by people of all cultures, the shape of European monasticism was determined by traditions and ideas that originated in the deserts of Egypt and Syria.
The style of monasticism that focuses on community experience of the spiritual life, called cenobitism, was pioneered by the saint Pachomius in the fourth century. Monastic ideals spread from Egypt to western Europe in the fifth and sixth centuries through hagiographical literature such as the Life of Saint Anthony. Saint Benedict wrote the definitive Rule for western monasticism during the sixth century, detailing the administrative and spiritual responsibilities of a community of monks led by an abbot.
Monks and monasteries had a deep effect upon the religious and political life of the Early Middle Ages, in various cases acting as land trusts for powerful families, centers of propaganda and royal support in newly conquered regions, bases for mission and proselytization, or outposts of education and literacy. Outside of Italy, building in stone was rarely attempted — until the eighth century, when a new form of architecture called the Romanesque , based on Roman forms, gradually developed.
Celtic and Germanic barbarian forms were absorbed into Christian art, although the central impulse remained Roman and Byzantine. High quality jewelery and religious imagery were produced throughout Western Europe, Charlemagne and other monarchs provided patronage for religious artworks and books.
Some of the principal artworks of the age were the fabulous Illuminated manuscripts produced by monks on vellum , using gold , silver and precious pigments to illustrate biblical narratives.
A nucleus of power developed in a region of northern Gaul and developed into kingdoms called Austrasia and Neustria. These kingdoms were ruled for three centuries by a dynasty of kings called the Merovingians, after their mythical founder Merovech. The history of the Merovingian kingdoms is one of family politics that frequently erupted into civil warfare between the branches of the family.
The legitimacy of the Merovingian throne was granted by a reverence for the bloodline, and even after powerful members of the Austrasian court took de facto power during the seventh century, the Merovingians were kept as ceremonial figureheads. The Merovingians engaged in trade with northern Europe through Baltic trade routes known to historians as the Northern Arc trade, and they are known to have minted small-denomination silver pennies called sceattae for circulation.
Aspects of Merovingian culture could be described as "Romanized," such as the high value placed on Roman coinage as a symbol of rulership and the patronage of monasteries and bishoprics.
Everyday life in the Middle Ages - Revision 6 - KS3 History - BBC Bitesize
Some have hypothesized that the Merovingians were in contact with Byzantium. The seventh century was a tumultuous period of civil wars between Austrasia and Neustria. Such warfare was exploited by the patriarch of a family line, Pippin of Herstal, who curried favor with the Merovingians and had himself installed in the office of Mayor of the Palace at the service of the King.
From this position of great influence, Pippin accrued wealth and supporters. Later members of his family line inherited the office, acting as advisors and regents. The dynasty took a new direction in , when Charles Martel won the Battle of Tours , halting the advance of Muslim armies across the Pyrenees. The Carolingian dynasty, as the successors to Charles Martel is known, officially took the reigns of the kingdoms of Austrasia and Neustria in a coup of led by Pippin III.
A contemporary chronicle claims that Pippin sought, and gained, authority for this coup from the Pope. At the time of his death in , Pippin left his kingdoms in the hands of his two sons, Charles and Carloman. When Carloman died of natural causes, Charles blocked the succession of Carloman's minor son and installed himself as the king of the united Austrasia and Neustria. This Charles, known to his contemporaries as Charles the Great or Charlemagne , embarked in upon a program of systematic expansion that would unify a large portion of Europe.
In the wars that lasted just beyond , he rewarded loyal allies with war booty and command over parcels of land. Much of the nobility of the High Middle Ages was to claim its roots in the Carolingian nobility that was generated during this period of expansion.
The Imperial Coronation of Charlemagne on Christmas day of is frequently regarded as a turning-point in medieval history, because it filled a power vacancy that had existed since It also marks a change in Charlemagne's leadership, which assumed a more imperial character and tackled difficult aspects of controlling a medieval empire. He established a system of diplomats who possessed imperial authority, the missi, who in theory provided access to imperial justice in the farthest corners of the empire.
He also sought to reform the Church in his domains, pushing for uniformity in liturgy and material culture. The former was delegated to the princes and their assistants, the nobles and knights, while the Pope administered the second himself assisted by his bishops and priests. The whole system worked because the authority of those who occupied positions of responsibility was believed to derive, ultimately, from God. If authority was not divine in origin, why should subordinates, whether noble or peasant, obey?
Why not replace them with someone else, or why not allow anarchy to replace the hierarchical system? Charlemagne's court in Aachen was the centre of a cultural revival that is sometimes referred to as the "Carolingian Renaissance. The English monk Alcuin was invited to Aachen, and brought with him the precise classical Latin education that was available in the monasteries of Northumbria. The return of this Latin proficiency to the kingdom of the Franks is regarded as an important step in the development of Medieval Latin.
Charlemagne's chancery made use of a type of script currently known as Carolingian minuscule, providing a common writing style that allowed for communication across most of Europe. After the decline of the Carolingian dynasty, the rise of the Saxon Dynasty in Germany was accompanied by the Ottonian Renaissance. While Charlemagne continued the Frankish tradition of dividing the regnum kingdom between all his heirs at least those of age , the assumption of the imperium imperial title supplied a unifying force not available previously.
Charlemagne was succeeded by his only legitimate son of adult age at his death, Louis the Pious. Louis's long reign of 26 years was marked by numerous divisions of the empire among his sons and, after , numerous civil wars between various alliances of father and sons against other sons in an effort to determine a just division by battle. He divided the rest of the empire between Lothair and Charles the Bald, his youngest son, giving Lothair the opportunity to choose his half. He chose East Francia, which comprised the empire on both banks of the Rhine and eastwards, leaving Charles West Francia, which comprised the empire to the west of the Rhineland and the Alps.
Louis the German, the middle child, who had been rebellious to the last, was allowed to keep his subregnum of Bavaria under the suzerainty of his elder brother. The division was not undisputed. A three-year civil war followed his death. By the Treaty of Verdun , a kingdom of Middle Francia was created for Lothair in the Low Countries and Burgundy and his imperial title was recognized.
East Francia would eventually morph into the Kingdom of Germany and West Francia into the Kingdom of France, around both of which the history of Western Europe can largely be described as a contest for control of the middle kingdom. Charlemagne's grandsons and great-grandsons divided their kingdoms between their sons until all of the various regna and the imperial title fell into the hands of Charles the Fat by He was deposed in and died in , to be replaced in all his kingdoms but two Lotharingia and East Francia by non-Carolingian "petty kings.
The breakup of the Carolingian Empire was accompanied by the invasions, migrations, and raids of external foes as not seen since the Migration Period. The Atlantic and northern shores were harassed by the Vikings , who forced Charles the Bald to issue the Edict of Pistres against them and who besieged Paris in — The eastern frontiers, especially Italy, were under constant Magyar assault until their great defeat at the Battle of the Lechfeld in The Saracens also managed to establish bases at Garigliano and Fraxinetum and to conquer the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily , and their pirates raided the Mediterranean coasts, as did the Vikings.
The Christianization of the pagan Vikings provided an end to that threat. The High Middle Ages were characterized by the urbanization of Europe, military expansion, and an intellectual revival that historians identify between the 11th century and the end of the 13th. This revival was aided by the cessation of invasions by Scandinavians and Hungarians, as well as the assertion of power by castellans to fill the power vacuum left by the Carolingian decline. The High Middle Ages saw an explosion in population. This population flowed into towns, sought conquests abroad, or cleared land for cultivation.
The cities of antiquity had been clustered around the Mediterranean. By the growing urban areas were in the centre of the continent, connected by roads or rivers. By the end of this period Paris might have had as many as , inhabitants. In central and northern Italy and in Flanders the rise of towns that were self-governing to some degree within their territories stimulated the economy and created an environment for new types of religious and trade associations.
Trading cities on the shores of the Baltic entered into agreements known as the Hanseatic League , and Italian city-states such as Venice , Genoa, and Pisa expanded their trade throughout the Mediterranean. This period marks a formative one in the history of the western state as we know it, for kings in France, England, and Spain consolidated their power during this time period, setting up lasting institutions to help them govern.
The Papacy , which had long since created an ideology of independence from the secular kings, first asserted its claims to temporal authority over the entire Christian world. The entity that historians call the Papal Monarchy reached its apogee in the early 13th century under the pontificate of Innocent III. Northern Crusades and the advance of Christian kingdoms and military orders into previously pagan regions in the Baltic and Finnic northeast brought the forced assimilation of numerous native peoples to the European entity.
With the brief exception of the Mongol invasions, major barbarian incursions ceased. Islamic scholars both preserved and built upon earlier traditions and also added their own inventions and innovations.
Islamic al-Andalus passed much of this on to Europe. The replacement of Roman numerals with the decimal positional number system and the invention of algebra allowed more advanced mathematics. Another consequence was that the Latin-speaking world regained access to lost classical literature and philosophy. Latin translations of the twelfth century fed a passion for Aristotelian philosophy and Islamic science that is frequently referred to as the Renaissance of the 12th century. Meanwhile, trade grew throughout Europe as the dangers of travel were reduced, and steady economic growth resumed.
Cathedral schools and monasteries ceased to be the sole sources of education in the eleventh century when universities were established in major European cities. Literacy became available to a wider class of people, and there were major advances in art, sculpture , music and architecture. Large cathedrals were built across Europe, first in the Romanesque , and later in the more decorative Gothic style. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Europe there was a radical change in the rate of new inventions, innovations in the ways of managing traditional means of production, and economic growth.
The period saw major technological advances, including the invention of cannon, spectacles, and artesian wells; and the cross-cultural introduction of gunpowder , silk , the compass , and the astrolabe from the east. There were also great improvements to ships and the clock. The latter advances made possible the dawn of the Age of Exploration.
At the same time huge numbers of Greek and Arabic works on medicine and the sciences were translated and distributed throughout Europe. Aristotle especially became very important, his rational and logical approach to knowledge influencing the scholars at the newly forming universities which were absorbing and disseminating the new knowledge during the twelfth century Renaissance.
Besides the general field of Medicine, there was a great development in knowledge about the heart, regarding its anatomy and physiology, diseases and their treatments. To demonstrate the scientific advancement of that time, we have chosen three Arab doctors who showed important contributions to the knowledge of the cardiovascular system: Haly Abbas? Haly Abbas. Haly Abbas was a Persian physician of the 10 th century, who lived at a time between two great names of Arab Medicine: Rhazes and Avicenna.
It is in this encyclopedic book that we can find the greatest references by Haly Abbas concerning the knowledge of the heart, in which we notice his remarkable effort to reject some of Aristotle's and Galen's outdated ideas. On the question of the venous and arterial system, Haly Abbas made the first distinctions between veins and arteries based on their thickness, in addition to a detailed description about the descending aorta of the thoracic structure [ 13 , 21 ].
Yet, his greatest contribution was making one of the first mentions about a connection between the venous and arterial system, describing it in the following way in the "Royal Book": " There are some foramina within the non-pulsating vessels [veins] that open to the pulsating vessels [arteries] Furthermore, he made great advancements in the anatomical description of the heart, although not with the nomenclature being used nowadays.
He described the heart as two main chambers, one on the right and another on the left, the latter being where the arteries would have their origin, and considering the liver the origin of the veins. He also recognized the existence of two atria and two auricles as well as the aortic and mitral valves, describing their characteristics and the presence of the pericardium [ 13 , 21 ]. The great Arab master Avicenna promoted what we consider the biggest set of developments related to medical science, in particular on the knowledge of the cardiovascular system, and he was the most influential Arab intellectual person in both the East and the West.
He was also originally from Persia. Avicenna was exceptional, having memorized the entire Persian literature at 10 years old, including the Qur'an , and becoming a famous doctor at the age of He wrote more than books, namely about astronomy, logic, philosophy and Medicine treaties. Avicenna wrote all this literature living a troubled life of persecution and escapes due to his political opposition to the Persian government. He made great progress in the anatomical knowledge of the heart, although he had accepted some of Galen's misconceptions, such as the existence of pores connecting the two ventricles of the heart, allowing the passage of blood from the right to the left side.
He recognized the origin of the arteries on the left side of the heart and veins in the liver; moreover, he identified the difference between the thickness of the left and right ventricle walls. In addition, he was the first to mention the difference in atria and ventricles contractions, as well as the existence of capillary circulation [ 22 - 26 ] Figure 6.
Avicenna was greatly influenced by Hippocrates' and Galen's humoral theories, and reproduced much of such theories in his writings, especially when he made descriptions of several diseases. However, even using humoral theory as a basis, it is evident the advancement of theorizing and observation of heart ailments made by Avicenna. Atherosclerosis was identified by him, though not by this name, because it was recognized that the abnormal accumulation of moods in the veins and other areas could cause obstruction, and the worst obstructions are those which happen in the arteries of vital organs, such as the brain, heart and liver.
Vasovagal syncope was also observed by Avicenna, although it received the name of al- Lawa. He discovered that patients who had tiredness, fatigue and flushing suffered from a humor disharmony during the distribution of humors throughout the body through the blood. According to Avicenna, there would be a predominance of bile, warm humors in the heart, and the brain would be predominantly cold with the phlegm, cold humor.
The al-Lawa would be the result of poor humor distribution around the body, with an excess of black and yellow bile, hot humors that caused brain malfunction, being sent to the brain.
The Middle Ages: Birth of an Idea
This would result in tiredness, fatigue and flushing, nowadays recognized as vasovagal syncope symptoms. Nevertheless, not all diseases referred to humor disharmony, such as palpitation, identified by Avicenna as a heart physiological distress caused by lesions in its external coating or in organs next to it. Palpitation, when it became acute, caused fainting, and when it became constant could cause death as well [ 23 - 25 ] Figure 7.
Persian calligraphy copy of the Canon of Medicine. Avicenna was also a pioneer in relating a patient's pulse rate with evils and internal feelings, thereby advancing in the studies of the arterial pulse and being the first to measure the wrist pulse. He identified several circulation changes related to the patient's conditions, such as age, gender, drinking and food consumption, anger, fear, pregnancy, diseases and even in relation to weather conditions.
Many recent studies have proven those associations [ 29 - 32 ]. In the end, Avicenna also ventured into the field of Medicines to cure diseases. His book about drugs for heart ailments has countless composition forms, some of them have effect on the cardiovascular system and are currently established as the 'zarnab' drug, which is a calcium channel blocker [ 29 ].
Finally, we present one of the less well-known Arab doctors of the 13 th century, who made perhaps the most important and surprising discovery about the heart anatomy and physiology. Ibn Al-Nafis was born in in Damascus. He studied at the school-hospital in the city. Physician and professor in Egypt, he was the author of several pieces of work, the most important ones being "The Comprehensive Book on the Art of Medicine" Kitab al-Shamilfi 'l-Sina'a al-Tibbiyya , which consisted of volumes, though it was not completed, and the "Commentary on Anatomy in Avicenna's Canon" SharhTashrih Qanun al , comprised of 80 volumes.
Ibn Al-Nafis stands out for the clear criticism of Galen and Avicenna, pointing out the flaws and mistakes in their theories, which was something almost unthinkable to be done at a time when the ancient writings represented the truth.
Toxicology in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Most likely he had dissected human bodies to have his greatest achievement: the discovery of the pulmonary circulation [ 33 - 35 ] Figure 8. Illustration of the minor circulation of blood according to Ibn al-Nafis. Ib-Al-Nafis described the pulmonary circulation like this: " The blood from the right chamber of the heart must arrive to the left chamber, however, there is no direct pathway between the two sides.
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The thick septum of the heart is not perforated and has no visible pores as some people thought referring to Avicenna or invisible pores in reference to Galen. The blood from the right chamber must flow through the vena arteriosa pulmonary artery to the lungs, spread through its substance, be mingled with air while in the lungs, pass through the arteria venosa pulmonary vein to reach the left chamber of the heart to form the vital spirit " [ 33 ]. Moreover, he was the first to describe the role of coronary arteries, which are truly responsible for nourishing the heart [ 33 ].
All this knowledge produced by the Arab masters, added to the various translations of the Greek classics into their language, reached the Christian West and changed deeply the way of teaching and practicing Medicine. The most remarkable contact between the Christian West and the Muslim East was clearly warlike.
The crusades greatly marked the way of thinking of the time, causing great aversion to Islam in Europe, especially among the religious ones. However, the contact with Arab culture as a result of the Crusades conduced to a search for Arab works and their translations in order to better understand the enemy against whom the Christian West fought [ 17 , 36 ].
Italy had already flourished in business since the 11 th century, keeping constant trade with the East, and the Muslim-ruled Iberia was quite open to contact with the European Christians, considering they were coming from a tradition of tolerance toward Christians and Jews within their own boundaries.
It was through those commercial and cultural contact centers that Arab scrolls entered the Western Christian world, being translated into Latin and influencing many intellectuals of the time [ 36 ]. Particularly noteworthy is a doctor called Constantine, the African, who worked for forty years in Syria, India, Egypt and Ethiopia before taking part in the doctors' and teachers' group at Salerno school, the first medical school in Europe.
He came up with several manuscripts, extensive background and medical techniques [ 9 ]. Thus, Greek classics which were forgotten for a long time in the West, such as Hippocrates', Galen's and Aristotle's, as well as new writings made by the Arabs in the fields of philosophy, arithmetic, Medicine, among others, entered the medieval Christian area early in the Late Middle Ages. During this period of time, between the 12 th and 13 th centuries, Europe experienced an outbreak and growth of cities, the creation of the first universities and a greater knowledge secularization.
Arab works, then, were read by intellectuals, scholars and even religious people, modifying gradually the philosophical and scientific conceptions of medieval Europe [ 9 , 36 ]. The reading of Arab medical works and the change in the intellectual scene in Europe generate important transformations in Medicine at the time. Gradually, professionals who had only practical knowledge go to universities in search of greater knowledge. During the 13 th and 15 th centuries, the graduated doctors fought against healers and barber-surgeons, with the purpose of being recognized as the most prepared ones to deal with patients.
Moreover, it is when the need for body anatomy knowledge in medical training arose in Europe. In , Emperor Frederick II, of Naples, insisted that it was necessary for the surgeons to have anatomy training. However, the first milestone in the history of public dissections at universities, in terms of teaching, occurred only in , in Bologna, by physician Mondino De' Luzzi; the same happened in Montpellier, only in , and in Paris in Despite being discreet and facing various religious difficulties, this first step towards an observation science marked the beginning of progress made in the Renaissance in Italy, mainly in the medical field [ 8 ].
Therefore, the great names of the Renaissance, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michael Servetus, Andreas Vesalius and William Harvey could dissect and observe corpses, making great advances in Medicine and especially on the knowledge of the cardiovascular system [ 9 , 21 , 37 ] , probably being great readers of Arab works on the subject.
Michael Servetus in his " Christianismi Restitutio " work of talks about Ibn Al- Nafis' great advances regarding pulmonary circulation, compiling part of his work. But, not mentioning the Arab author, pretending to be the original author of the groundbreaking discoveries until not long after finding Ibn Al- Nafis' books [ 9 , 33 - 35 ]. Medicine and cardiovascular science in the medieval times, rather than presenting a great stagnation, received important contributions from philosophical ideas, as well as Arab medical knowledge.
Arab medical science had already made great contributions in the sacred books of Islam, in particular on disease prevention and the cardiovascular system anatomy. At the same time, bright doctors and teachers, especially Avicenna, revolutionized cardiovascular knowledge, founded and taught at the first school-hospitals, and refuted the traditional knowledge present in Galen's work. During this time, when Europe remained under the aegis of the Catholic Church, it received strong and definite influence from the Arabs, such as the creation of the first medical schools and universities.
That influence provided advances concerning the knowledge of the cardiovascular system produced in the Renaissance. No financial support. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Braz J Cardiovasc Surg. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. E-mail: moc. Received Feb 2; Accepted Apr 1. Copyright notice. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract The historical period called the Middle Ages, a long interval between the 5 th and the 15 th centuries, is still commonly known as the Dark Ages, especially in the area of health sciences. Galen's Knowledge In the field of Medicine, specifically the one related to the knowledge of the cardiovascular system, the Middle Ages could see the hegemony of the knowledge created in the 2 nd century by Claudius Galen - ? Open in a separate window. Great Arab Doctors and their Contributions to Cardiovascular Medicine Medieval Arab Medicine culture, especially the one developed between the 8 th and 13 th centuries, provided the advancement of medical science knowledge at school-hospitals; this knowledge was based on ancient writings and practical experiences, supported by philosophical and religious bases [ 9 ].
The Late Middle Ages: the Arrival of Arab Medical Scientific Knowledge and its Transformations All this knowledge produced by the Arab masters, added to the various translations of the Greek classics into their language, reached the Christian West and changed deeply the way of teaching and practicing Medicine.
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