Medicine in the Crusades: Warfare, Wounds and the Medieval Surgeon

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This is the first book to be published on any aspect of medicine in the crusades. It will be of interest not only to scholars of crusades specifically, but also to scholars of medieval Europe, the Byzantine world and the Islamic world. Focusing on injuries and their surgical treatment, Piers Mitchell considers medical practitioners, hospitals on battlefields and in towns, torture and mutilation, emergency and planned surgical procedures, bloodletting, analgesia and anaesthesia. He provides an assessment of the exchange of medical knowledge that took place between East and West in the crusades, and of the medical negligence legislation for which the kingdom of Jerusalem was famous. The book presents a radical reassessment of many outdated misconceptions concerning medicine in the crusades and the Frankish states of the Latin East.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a stimulating book...A diligent and generally careful study of a substantial corpus of works...provide a sound historical basis; integrated with this is an array of archaeological evidence...the scene is set for a comprehensive study of the original and significant book, breaking fresh ground for the history of the crusades and medieval Europe."
-Jonathan Phillips, Royal Holloway, University of London, Journal of Military History

"...Mitchell is to be commended for bringing together medical expertise, documentary and narrative sources, and the fruits of archaeology in a very productive way. His evidence provides graphic illustration of the hazards and brutality of war as well as of the pragmatic measures that the Western medical community adopted to cope with the casualties of conflict."
James William Brodman, Ph.D., University of Central Arkansas, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences

"The themes of this book are...central to the history of the crusades, yet this is the first systematic, full-length study of crusade medicine...a fascinating account that both tests the assertions of the past and brings to bear the new techniques of the present...This is an excellent book, enlightening on several areas of medieval life beyond its specific subject."
-Malcolm Barber, University of Reading, American Historical Review

"Piers D. Mitchell's perception of military medicine covers a rich spectrum: not only battlefield injuries and their treatment and injuries resulting from torture, but also complementary fields, such as medical practicioners, hospitals, elective surgery, and medical legislation."
-The International History Review

"This is a very useful book, which provides well-founded information on an important subject and dispels myths about medieval medicine...Mitchell has clearly established that the crusades were a stimulus for Western medical development,"
-John France, University of Wales, Swansea, Journal of Medieval Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521036603
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2007
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Piers D. Mitchell is Research Fellow at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London and Honorary Lecturer at Imperial College London. He is the author of numerous articles on disease in the crusades.

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Table of Contents

1 Medical practitioners in the Frankish states 11
2 Hospitals on the battlefield and in the towns 46
3 Archaeological evidence for trauma and surgery in the medieval period 108
4 Torture and mutilation 124
5 Injuries and their treatment 137
6 The practice of elective surgery and bloodletting 184
7 Exchange of medical knowledge with the crusades 205
8 Frankish medical legislation 220
Frankish medical licensing and negligence regulations from the Livre des Assises de la Cour des Bourgeois 232
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2005

    Excellent and first-ever exploration of medicine in the crusades

    An excellent book from a practicing trauma and orthopaedic surgeon and paleologist, and a must-have for those working with the crusades, the crusader military-religious orders, and/or medieval European or Middle Eastern medicine. Really the only current summary of recent medieval crusader medical research. Mitchell also extensively uses paleopathological research and medieval historical accounts. Also look for Mitchell's forthcoming book which tackles topics he didn't get to in this one, including more on disease.

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