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PLAGUES, POX AND PANDEMICS: THE HISTORY OF DEATH AND DISEASE – TAKE HOME TEST

UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA


SCHOOL OF POPULATION HEALTH SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES (HISTORY)

PLAGUES, POX AND PANDEMICS:


THE HISTORY OF DEATH AND DISEASE

ANSWER SHEET
2018

FAMILY NAME: Shao_______________________ GIVEN NAMES: Henry________________

STUDENT ID: 2 1 3 3 5 5 7 6

 Time Allowed: 2 WEEKS FROM START OF WEEK 8

 DUE AT MIDNIGHT ON MONDAY 7TH MAY (START OF WEEK 10) and posted
ONLINE
 Any test received after midnight on Monday will be automatically lose 5%. A
further 5% will be deducted for each day overdue.

 Please upload as a WORD DOCUMENT NOT A PDF. If you upload a PDF you
will be asked to submit again.

 Total Marks: 20% of the total for the unit

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PLAGUES, POX AND PANDEMICS: THE HISTORY OF DEATH AND DISEASE – TAKE HOME TEST

INSTRUCTIONS
You MUST complete:
Q1. A COMPULSORY QUESTION on Galen/Galenic theory and its legacy
(= 8 marks out of 20)
PLUS
YOU MUST CHOOSE TWO QUESTIONS FROM THE FOLLOWING THREE TOPICS:
Q2. The Black Death/ Impacts of plague in the 1300s (= 6 marks out of 20)
Q3. Renaissance medicine (= 6 marks out of 20)
Q4. The “Columbian Exchange” of disease (= 6 marks out of 20)

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Do not write more than 2 pages (2 sides of an A4 sheet) for Q1.


Do not write more than 1 page (1 side of an A4 sheet) for Q2, 3 and 4.
Please use 11 or 12 size font for your answers.
Answers may be single-spaced.

****

You SHOULD INCLUDE short sections of the text (e.g. several words/a sentence or two for each
relevant comment/statement) to support your argument.

If you include any references from academic books, peer-reviewed journal publications or other
reputable academic sources, you can use simple in-text format e.g. (Einstein, 1905)

You do NOT need to use any referencing for quotes from the readings included in the test itself.

You do NOT need references for material from lectures and workshops.

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PLAGUES, POX AND PANDEMICS: THE HISTORY OF DEATH AND DISEASE – TAKE HOME TEST

COMPULSORY QUESTION 1. GALENIC THEORY AND ITS LEGACY


YOU MUST ANSWER THIS QUESTION
YOUR ANSWERS TO THIS QUESTION SHOULD NOT EXCEED 2 PAGES (TWO SIDES OF AN A4 SHEET) IN TOTAL.

Q.1.1 Discuss how the medical discussion in these letters draws on some of the basic principles of
Galenic theory (including the theories of the Hippocratic School that Galen later expanded and
promoted).
In the letter, Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny writes to a doctor named Master Bartholomeus about his
previous medical treatment and seeking for better advice on his condition. Peter explains that the pressure of
cases he had being working on and meetings had caused him to postpone his regular bloodletting routine he
does every two months. Peter then further explains that he had come in contact of a disease called catarrh,
which further postponed his regular bloodletting routine. This was because he was told that if one was to
perform bloodletting while under catarrh would cause one to lose their voice and be life threatening. After
some time, Peter’s catarrh did not go away, and he feared that the build-up of blood and phlegm would cause a
fever. Eventually after four months he could not postpone this regular bloodletting anymore, so he withdrew
two large amounts of blood in the span of three weeks. The catarrh did not go away and Peter’s voice suffered
for 3 months just like how he was told and in addition his chest started to hurt and continued to produce large
amounts of phlegm.
Peter later consulted other local practitioners and was told by them to use hot and moist foods and medicine.
Peter did not agree due to the Galenic theory of cure by contraries, he thought a cold and moist disease should
be treated by hot and dry remedies. Bartholomeus suggested to stop bloodletting until the catarrh got better,
and for Peter’s headache, he suggested cautery of the head. Bartholomeus relied on the Galenic complexion
theory for his reasoning that medicines that are moist could actually be dry and be appropriate for a moist
disease.

Q.1.2 The physician Bartholomaeus trained in the southern Italian city of Salerno. Briefly explain the
significance of this city in the history of Western medicine.

Salerno hosts the first medical school in the world during the early middles ages. The medical school at that
time was the most important source of medical knowledge in Western Europe. People all around the world
would travel to Salerno to heal and to learn. Islamic medicine was the most advance during the medieval times
and those Arabic medical treatises were translated to Latin in Salerno. As a result, the practitioners at the
medical school received much more advanced medical knowledge than anywhere else in the world.

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PLAGUES, POX AND PANDEMICS: THE HISTORY OF DEATH AND DISEASE – TAKE HOME TEST

QUESTION 2 or 3 or 4
YOUR ANSWERS TO THIS QUESTION SHOULD NOT EXCEED 1 PAGE (ONE SIDE OF AN A4 SHEET) IN TOTAL.

2.1 Identify and discuss the explanations for the emergence (arrival and spread) of the Black Death in Europe,
and the various options for treatment, that are referred to in this reading.

The black plague, one of the most devastating plagues that ravaged Europe and Asia in the mid 1300’s, caused
by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, when 12 ships docked at the Sicilian port of Messina. Most of the sailors had died
and those remaining, were on the verge of death. In 1348, according to Guy de Chauliac, the plague last 7
months of which came in two stages. The first killing those infected within 3 days and the second stage, killing
the infected within 5. The infected was characterised by fever and spitting of blood, as well as swelling, boils and
tumours. The plague had become so contagious that many assumed that by just looking at the infected, one’s
self can catch the plague. People heard of the first epidemic and the extent of the plague but to no notice of it
until it had hit their own homes, none before were as great. The plague commonly spread through coughing or
sneezing, containing droplets of the bacteria, then another person inhaling this. The fear of contamination grew
to such a great extent that father would not go near son and son to a father in the fear of becoming ill. No cure
had been discovered for the plague leaving many to die and physicians useless and ashamed of the lack of help
they can offer.

In fear and lack of understanding of the cause of the plague, the easiest thing to do was blame someone else for
it. Some places blamed the Jews; therefore, they were killed, in other places believed that it was the caused by
the mutilated poor so in the attempts to cure the plague ran them out. Fear had cause cities and towns to
isolate themselves from any new comers and foreigners and any unknown substances were feared as they
thought it would be brought in to poison them but ultimately people were dying in great magnitudes.

In desperation, man looked for preventative treatments, the best being to flee the area where the infection was
bountiful before catching the illness. Many options were presented and many tried them as there was no actual
cure, assuming at the time anyone was willing to try anything such as downing as many pills as possible, in the
belief that it may rid of the bacteria in their system or to get rid of any possible infected blood cells by making an
incision in the vein to drain the body of the blood or to purify the air with fire, killing bacteria that may be in the
atmosphere and to strength the heart by eating fruits and “good-smelling” things so that the body had the
strength to fight and survive.

People used figs and cooked onions mixed with yeast and butter to stop further swelling and bring to the point
where it would no longer grow, then they were opened up and treated as if they were ulcers. Whilst heated
glass was applied onto the skin where the tumour was located so that blood would be drawn from the area and
then shallow cuts were made or acid or a hot material would be applied so that the tumour was to blister or
burnt.

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PLAGUES, POX AND PANDEMICS: THE HISTORY OF DEATH AND DISEASE – TAKE HOME TEST

QUESTION 2 or 3 or 4
YOUR ANSWERS TO THIS QUESTION SHOULD NOT EXCEED 1 PAGE (ONE SIDE OF AN A4 SHEET) IN TOTAL.

3.1 Discuss what this overview of health care of Henry VIII indicates about the different responsibilities of,
and relationships between, the various “health professionals” in the Renaissance. Refer to the material in
Lecture 5 and Tutorial 3 to help guide your answer. (3.5 marks)

Throughout King Henry VIII’s rule many and most health professionals with a certain level of qualifications were
obligated to serve him and many were responsible for keeping him alive and somewhat healthy. Royal
Physicians that served Henry were regularly trained in medicine and were considered highly qualified as well as
had a wide knowledge of other subjects, as expected nothing but the best for the king. Physicians of Henry’s
often recommended bleeding and cupping for his disorders such as headaches, fevers and sinusitis. Physicians
often tried to introduce a better way of life to help the king lose weight and various activities but all in vain.
Physicians were responsible for the examination of the king’s faeces, urine and sputum. They were rewarded
highly, often with large salaries, valuable properties and knighthood, assumingly their relationship with the king
must be good. Royal Apothecaries required extensive knowledge in pharmaceuticals and were skilled
herbalists, therefore created medicine and oral treatments. They were responsible for managing Henry’s gout,
haemorrhoids and constipation which they usually cured with rhubarb. Later in life, Henry developed ulcers
and fistulas on his limbs that were foul-smelling and pus-filled, which many assumed he had retained from a
wound or bone that had been an infection draining out through the skin, they often treated with bandages and
poultices. Like the royal physicians, they were rewarded with a high paying salary and landholdings. The royal
barber-surgeons were responsible for bloodletting and managing injuries and wounds. They weren’t as
favoured as the other professions, therefore receiving a much lower pay rate. Other health careers the king
relied on but not as often as the other three were priests for prayers as well as moral support and Astrological
advisors on his birth to predict future health problem they may come across. Henry didn’t approve of untrained
people practising medicine, resulting in punishment and/or lower pay rates if they were accepted into his
health care.

3.2 Discuss how the various health care options for Henry VIII might have compared with those available to a
low-income labourer from rural England in the same period.

As expected, a king has a wider range of options for health care compared to someone living in rural England on
low-income. Usually someone producing low-income wouldn’t be able to afford the professional fees of a
physician or apothecaries. If the king were to get sick, hundreds of health professionals would be at his feet
within a day to find any means necessary to cure him, as well as the health professionals would like benefit
from curing the king such as a high salary, their own property and even knighthood, whilst if they were to cure
someone who could barely pay them their fee, they would gain nothing. King Henry would have had a list of
health care options whilst someone in rural England wouldn’t even have the option of a health carer. Low-
income families rely on each other to aid one another when one is sick.

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