A discussion of the diseases in the medieval period

One good example are Tibetan and other Himalayan societies, where their environment supports so few people that even small population growth is not very welcome. They came up with some cultural solutions that could easily be adapted to a medieval European setting: Sending surplus sons to the monastery was also a common way of managing your inheritance in European history.

A discussion of the diseases in the medieval period

Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice. They brought some diseases, such as malaria, with them from Africa, and newly encountered others, such as plague, in Eurasia.

Regional changes in climate played a role in human health, not simply due to their influence in determining the success of year-to-year harvests and grazing lands, but also because periods of warming or severe and sudden cooling shifted the interactions between humans and the flora and fauna that made up their environment.

Exchanges of disease between the two continents would continue up through the medieval era. Whereas vast distances and low population density likely shielded Eurasian populations from frequent epidemic outbreaks up through the Neolithic period, by the beginning of the common era, with its vastly intensified trade networks, Eurasia would begin to see a new phenomenon: Because they have all persisted to the present day with the exception of smallpoxmodern science plays an important role in their historical reconstruction.

Eurasia was never completely separated from Africa, and the land bridge connecting the two continents has been in constant use for the past million years. The disease ecologies of these two largest continents therefore need to be considered together.

The geography of infectious disease is important because, as living organisms, pathogens—that is, the bacteria, viruses, and other microparasitic entities that cause disease—all have histories linked to time and place.

Every widely distributed disease originated as a local outbreak. Of the main infectious diseases that circulated in Eurasia in the medieval period, at least two—malaria and perhaps smallpox—had their origins in Africa. Plague and possibly also leprosy both originated in Eurasia, and were then both transmitted to Africa.

Population density is a critical variable in epidemiological history. Rome was the first urban concentration to reach a population level of one million people, so it is no coincidence that the Roman Empire is now said to have ushered in the Age of Pandemic Disease.

Therefore, it is likely that reliable statistical assessments of the impact of infectious diseases in medieval Eurasia will continue to elude us. This is largely due to developments in genetics since the s.

Having their own genetic identities, pathogenic microorganisms carry the stories of their development and proliferation in their genes.

The reconstruction of those Stories can be approached from two angles. On the one hand, on the basis of complete genome sequences from modern samples, it is possible to work out the relative relatedness of any one sample to another.

Thus, for example, the huge variety of tuberculosis strains in the world today can, when fully sequenced, produce a phylogeny that is, a family tree that tells the story of how those thousands of different strains arose and diverged from each other. On the other hand, a second development in genetics, involving fewer researchers but producing equally decisive results, has been the rise of palaeogenetics.

Biologists involved in this field have developed techniques to reconstruct genetic material from historical remains. The earliest and most extensive work in this field has been done on plague the disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestishence the length of that section in this article.

But comparable work on leprosy, tuberculosis, and smallpox is allowing ever more robust stories to be told.

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The as yet unequal geographic distribution of palaeogenetics studies is in part a function of comparably unequal distributions of archaeological work; palaeogeneticists cannot work without samples provided them by archaeology. Climate plays a role in disease history in several ways.

First, for obligate pathogens that have only humans as their host—such as tuberculosis, leprosy, and smallpox—ambient temperatures affect levels of human dress and the degree of indoor congregation for warmthwhich in terms of transmission either aid or reduce the success of disease generation.

Tuberculosis, leprosy, and smallpox are all transmitted via respiration, sneezing, or coughing, with droplets or aerosols propelling the microscopic pathogen from one host to the next. These methods of transmission are generally more effective in colder weather.

Malaria and plague, in contrast, rely on insect vectors for transmission. Plague can also be transmitted secondarily via respiration.

A discussion of the diseases in the medieval period

Malaria and plague thus rely on environmental conditions supportive of vector replication to sustain chains of transmission. Since the linkages between climatic changes and disease are far from secure in the current state of investigation, I limit observations about both climate and disease together to my discussion of plague, which, of these several major infectious diseases, seems to be the one most closely susceptible to pronounced shifts of climate.

Many other factors affect health, of course, besides the presence or absence of infectious diseases. Nutrition, access to sunlight, and absence of social stresses are the most important. Livestock diseases have also been critical to human existence, with the cattle panzootics of the tenth and fourteenth centuries being particularly influential across Eurasia.

This article, therefore, will recount some elements of the stories of four major infectious diseases to have afflicted humans in Eurasia from the Bronze Age up to the period of regular global connectivity:APWH STUDY. • to C.E. medieval period in Europe following the collapse of the western empire.

• Dangers of overpopulation, disease, or lack of resistance to diseases they have never been exposed to. Discuss the isolation of the societies of the Americas and Oceania. How were these societies shaped by this.

The differentiation of the 2 diseases from each other was often a matter of medical debate, from the sixteenth up until the nineteenth century, many authors believing that the symptoms of gonorrhoea (clap or gleet) were the early stages of syphilis (the pox).

A discussion of the diseases in the medieval period

Health and medicine in Medieval England were very important aspects of life. For many peasants in Medieval England, disease and poor health were part of their daily life and medicines were both basic and often useless. Towns and cities were filthy and knowledge of hygiene was non-existent.

The Black Death was to kill two thirds of England’s. Technology in the Middle Ages Many historians mention the medieval period of Europe as ‘Dark ages,’ a period when reason and logic was sidelined with belief and religion.

However, the late medieval period offered a great advancement in technology. If the lack of diseases was a constant on your world then the populations evolved with this and will lack the need to have a large number of children in fact more children will be an hindrance on the family and society will become one that discourages having more children.

Water Elf Disease (Existed throughout the Middle Ages) The Problem: Sufferers of this strangely named disease developed sores, blackened nails, and watery eyes. .

Medieval Diseases