- The Renaissance - disease and infection
- the decline in the influence of the catholic church and the development of protestantism meant that more people started to accept the fact the fact that disease had a natural cause
- The great plague of London in 1665 broke out and many people still believed it was a punishment from God
- Many doctors still believed in the theory of the 4 humours. It was this that lead to the survival of bleeding as a way of treating disease.
- Despite the development of surgery and anatomy doctors made no discoveries in the causes and treatment of disease. In 1700 ideas about the causes of disease had hardly changed since 1400.
- The most important doctor in England in the 17th century was Thomas Sydenham. He did not make any discoveries about the cause of disease but he did emphasise the importance of careful observation of patients and the keeping of accurate records