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Beyond Leeches and Lepers: Medieval and Early Modern Medicine Conference

May 2, 2015
University of Edinburgh

Anatomy Lecture Theatre
United Kingdom

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There are many misconceptions about the quality of health care in the medieval and early-modern periods. Even Blackadder II, set in the sixteenth century, popularises the idea that early-modern medical practices were both limited and ineffective:

Edmund: I’ve never had anything you doctors didn’t try to cure with leeches. A leech on my ear for ear ache, a leech on my bottom for constipation.
Doctor: They’re marvellous, aren’t they?
Edmund: Well, the bottom one wasn’t. I just sat there and squashed it.

“Beyond Leeches and Lepers” refers to the intention of this conference to look beyond a simplistic coverage of these subjects that are commonly associated with medieval and early-modern medicine, and to explore this area of history more broadly and in greater detail. As a public engagement conference, this is an opportunity for postgraduate students and early career researchers to debunk some of the stereotypes of medicine in the "dark ages". Scholars will impart current understanding of medieval and early-modern medicine, and the public will engage with this old medicine and address their preconceptions.

The conference is to be held in the historic Anatomy Lecture Theatre in the Old Medical Building at the University of Edinburgh. This historically notable space will help to emphasise the seminal importance of medicine in the medieval and early-modern periods inside the long history of medicine. 

See the conference poster and programme here.

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May 2, 2015, 9:00am BST

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