Medieval Mediciners, Administering Miraculous Cures During The Crusades

Richard the Lionheart on his way to Jerusalem, James William Glass (1850) (Public Domain)

Medieval Mediciners, Administering Miraculous Cures During The Crusades

History fails to record the names of any of the mediciners who accompanied the chivalric orders on their Crusade, but when each of the noblemen of western Europe pledged their oath to take up the cross and follow their king to the Holy Land, they were bound by their allegiance to the crown to provide an agreed number of men-at-arms to fight at their side. As well, they were obliged to take with them sufficient mediciners to care for their men, who were often accompanied by their wives and children, together with a good number of peasants and serfs seeking their fortune in foreign lands. These mediciners were further required, should the need arise, to attend to not only the fighting men of the remainder of the Crusader army but also the medical need of the enemy and whatever civilians might be caught up in the conflict.

Healing the sick, fresco by Domenico di Bartolo. Sala del Pellegrinaio (hall of the pilgrim), Hospital Santa Maria della Scala, Siena. ( Public Domain )

The Crusading mediciners were divided into two groups, those of physicians and surgeons, and it was suggested that each would be accompanied by a number of assistants and nursing staff, usually made up of volunteer nuns and the wives and daughters of the mediciners themselves.

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