In the Middle Ages, people had different ideas about what caused illness?

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  • In the Middle Ages, people had different ideas about what caused illness...
    • Astrology
      • People in the Middle Ages thought that illness had something to do with the stars and planets.
      • When the Black Death killed a lot of people they blamed it on a bad alignment of the planets.
    • Religion
      • People were very religious came up with lots of ideas based on God.
      • Some thought that God gave illness as a punishment for sinful behaviour
      • Others thought that Satan sent illness and disease to test their faith.
      • People believed that God sent illness to purify your soul
    • The theory of the Four Humours
      • The Ancient Greeks made up this theory.
      • The Theory:    the universe is made of four basic elements so the body must be too.
      • You were supposed to keep all the Humours equal. When the mix was unbalanced you became ill.
    • Miasma
      • Miasma means bad air which carried disease.
      • Some people in the Middle Ages thought that swamps, corpses and other rotting matter could  transmit disease.
      • Smells and miasmata also was linked with God:
        • Churches burnt incense to purify air
        • A clean-smelling house meant a spiritual home.
        • Homes that smelt bad suggested sinfulness and ccorruption
      • Un-washed people and lepers was believed to carry miasma and you were supposed to avoid them or you would get ill.


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