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Title: Trauma and surgery in the Crusades to the medieval eastern Mediterranean
Author: Mitchell, Piers Dominic
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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When we think of the crusades the first thought that most people have is of the medieval battlefield. This study investigates the evidence for weapon injuries as well as the treatment given to the injured in the Frankish states during the 12th and 13th centuries. A number of named medical practitioners have been identified as having joined one of the crusades from Europe and many indigenous doctors continued to practice once the crusaders arrived. Over sixty individuals are discussed, with origins from France, England, Italy, Hungary, Spain and the Middle East. Hospitals were established as fixed institutions in towns but also mobile field units that accompanied the army. There is detailed information about daily life, disease and treatment in the hospitals of a number of the major military orders such as the Order of St. John and the Order of the Temple. These are compared with hospitals known in neighbouring Islamic and Byzantine regions. The textual evidence for weapon injury and it's treatment allows an assessment of the proportion of individuals who died from weapon injuries as opposed to malnutrition and infectious disease. Surgery as actually practiced for wounds is presented, from the removal of arrows, suturing of wounds, manipulating limb fractures, treatment for skull fractures and excision of overgrown fungating tissue from the gums resulting from scurvy. The research presented here employs complimentary historical and archaeological techniques to investigate weapon injuries and their treatment in the crusades and gives a vivid depiction of the appalling conditions experienced by the medieval soldier.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (M.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available