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The Black Death: medieval medical thinking

Join us for episode four in our six-part series examining how the Black Death shook the Middle Ages…

Published: April 13, 2022 at 1:35 pm

How do you fight a disease, when you don’t know what causes it? In this episode, Ellie Cawthorne speaks to Elma Brenner about medieval medical thinking and how it informed responses to the Black Death, from ideas about how bad air and misaligned planets could make you sick, to the rituals and remedies used to treat plague victims and the state of 14th-century hospital care.


Note: the primary sources quoted in this series are taken from:

  • The Black Death, translated and edited by Rosemary Horrox (1994)
  • The Black Death, The Great Mortality of 1348-1350: A Brief History with Documents, John Arberth (2005)
Want to hear more? Browse the rest of the episodes in our podcast series on the Black Death


Ellie CawthornePodcast editor, HistoryExtra

Ellie Cawthorne is HistoryExtra’s podcast editor. She also contributes to BBC History Magazine, runs the podcast newsletter and hosts several live and virtual BBC History Magazine events.


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