Covers key facts and necessary information that is likely to come up in the exam.

HideShow resource information


After the Roman Empire collapsed there was no stable government, therefore no money, no roads meaning no easy way for communication, and no public health. Very few people in this time period could read or write - with the exception of monks - so any discoveries that were made could not be recorded or published. This meant that development of medicine was slow, as scientists couldn't communicate their ideas easily. The most powerful and influential organisation after the collapse of the Roman government was the Church. Books that did not agree with the teachings in the Bible were banned - this included some medical books that could have helped doctors in the Middle Ages develop medicine. The ideas that Galen had suggested were allowed because the Bible also taught that God had created the human being as a perfect image of himself, however some of Galens idead were later proved to be incorrect. Poverty was high as the major towns were very heavily populated, and animals roamed freely, this increasing infection and the spread of disease. Water collection pits were often situated near poorly-lined cesspits that were irregularly emptied. This contributed to problems such as high infant mortality rate, a low life expectancy, and women dying young, especially as a result of the poor care during childbirth.

1 of 2


Living conditions improved slightly during the later half of the Middle Ages. Although over-population was still a problem and specific Public Health measures were not put in place, things did improve during this period. 

Improvements include: Better harvesting, steadier houses with proper roofs and walls were built by carpenters, cesspits were lined with brick or stone and emptied when full, the Abbey of Saint Mary's had a stone built sewer and a supply of clean water.

Changes in London: Butchers selling bad meat were punished and, in 1343 animals had to be killed away from towns. People were not allowed to throw things into the streets, gutters were installed, rakers were employed to remove waste from streets. Fines were also set up to stop people from throwing items into the streets or if they had filth outside their houses. In 1364 people could be arrested for throwing rubbish into the streets.

2 of 2


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Medicine through time (OCR History A) resources »