Medicine in the Byzantine empire

Prof. A.A. Oparin. Kharkiv Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education. Departament of Terapy, Rheumatology and Clinikal Pharmacology.

It is shown that the history of medicine in the Byzantine Empire is characterized by almost complete stagnation of development throughout the entire thousand years of the empire, for which characteristic was the domination of religious and magical practices represented as astrology, magic, occultism, neoplatonism over scientific ones, extremely low levels of education and training of doctors. The article points out that one of the leading causes of stagnation of the development of medical science in the Byzantine Empire was the formation of the civil church, which was completely controlled, both in administrative and doctrinal terms, by imperial government, which led to the secularization of the church and its transformation in a great feudal lord; to introduction of pagan beliefs and provisions to the church; to formation and prosperity of superstitions and rituals characteristic of paganism. It is shown that the state subjugating church lost its necessary spiritual foundation (without which it is impossible to  build a healthy and prosperous society) resulting in the formation of extremely backward socio-economic situation of Byzantium, with long persistence of slave relations, pervasive embezzlement, huge bureaucracy, corrupt executive system, sharp stratification of society, low level of science in general and medicine in particular.

Key Words: Byzantium, medicine, scholasticism, alchemy.

Oparin AA. [Medicine in the byzantine empire]. Shidnoevr. z. vnutr. simejnoi med. 2016;2:77-95. Russian.
https://doi.org/10.15407/internalmed2016.02.073

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