Tag Archives: Middle Ages

COVID-19 and the Black Death

Colleen Donnelly  Denver, Colorado, United States   A street during the plague in London with a death cart and mourners. Colour wood engraving by E. Evans. Wellcome Library no. 6918i. Source During the fourteenth century waves of the bubonic plague washed across Europe. Doomsday books of the age described an apocalypse that wiped out one-quarter […]

In the heart of Damascus

Kera Panni Seaside, California, United States   Propaganda in support of President Bashar al-Assad between the Citadel of Damascus and the entrance to the suq, (May 2007). Personal archives, photo taken by author Even as a child in the American suburbs, I knew my blood flowed from Syria. Relatives said my Jiddoo’s parents were farmers […]

Blood and bandages

Patricia A. Unsworth Bolton, England, United Kingdom   Photograph by the author. The notorious Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street, is possibly the first thought that comes to mind at the mention of barber surgeons, but how far from reality was this character of Victorian fiction? Perhaps not so far removed as one […]

Bloody women

M.K.K. Hague-Yearl Montréal, Québec, Canada   Calendar depicting scenes relating to health. Both bloodletting scenes show a woman being bled. Bibliotheca Osleriana 7424A, Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University. Source Sitting with little fanfare inside a twentieth-century red hardcover binding is a single leaf whose bibliographic record contains brackets of uncertainty: “[Calendar […]

A case of toxic blood

Shruthi Deivasigamani Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   The Dancing Mania by Hendrick Hondius (1642). Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY On a blustery winter day, a molecule of water condenses around a particle of dust in the air. The structure grows in size as it falls closer to earth, and before it hits the ground outside, it has […]

Bloody beginnings of hematology

Sherin Jose Chockattu Bengaluru, India Bloodletting in 1860 – one of only three known photographs of the procedure. This photo is from the Burns Archive collection. Source His pole, with pewter basins hung, Black, rotten teeth in order strung, Rang’d cups that in the window stood, Lin’d with red rags, to look like blood, Did […]

Medicinal leeches in art and literature

Martin Duke Mystic, Connecticut, United States   Figure 1. Woman applying a leech to her forearm. A large jar containing leeches is next to her. Belgium woodcut by Guillaume van den Bossche, 1639: National Library of Medicine Unique ID: 2315020R. For more than two thousand years, the extraordinary blood-sucking abilities of the medicinal leech (Hirudo […]

Maria Lorenza Longo and the birth of the “Incurabili” Hospital in Naples

Marco Luchetti Milano, Italy   Maria Lorenza Longo. Source In the Middle Ages hospitals were charitable institutions that took care of those that could not afford a doctor at home, such as the poor, elderly, orphans, and single mothers. In Naples there was an urgent need for a large facility with many doctors where “incurable” […]

Collections complete: experiential centres of learning

Lynsey Grosfield Rude, Denmark   The period between roughly 1520 and 1590 was a time of growing efforts to understand the world of science through hands-on exercises in collecting and cataloging natural objects, observation, dissection, and experimentation in the fields of anatomy, botany, and museum science. This was also the time of the High Renaissance […]

Carl von Rokitansky (1804-1881)

For a brief period between 1860 and 1910, Vienna became the cultural capital of Europe, just as Constantinople had been in the Middle Ages and Florence during the Renaissance. It had become an attractive metropolis of two million people, capital of an empire that in the wake of two serious military defeats had abandoned its […]