HDS 3589

Crusades, Plagues and Hospitals: Medicine, Religion and Society in the Medieval Mediterranean

Ahmed Ragab


The arrival of the Crusading armies to the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean was a remarkable event in the history of the Middle East and Europe, which led to a sea of changes over three centuries, during which the Latin crusaders ruled over most of the Levant. During alternating periods of war and peace, a new order emerged and new societies came to life representing the connections, exchanges and wounds of contact with the other, who was always redefined along several political and religious factors. Medicine was not only another scientific activity in these changing societies, but also a practice at the intersection of religion, charity, politics and science. Surgeons were dealing with the fallen soldiers and the victims of the long wars, physicians were treating poor pilgrims and victims of epidemics, and tending to the nobility and the high classes, hospitals were being built by Muslim rulers and by the crusading military orders and capable physicians were dispatched as ambassadors of good will. In this world, medicine was recast as a social and scientific practice reflecting the changing culture and the growing society. This course traces the story of the crusades from a cultural and social perspective, lending a careful ear to the society, its changes and its development and taking medicine as a lens to see and to analyze the cultural, religious and scientific life of the Middle East; with its Latin, Byzantine and Islamic domains, from the eleventh to the thirteenth century.

Enrollment Limited: No
Open to BTI Students: Yes
Jointly offered as History of Science 113


0.50 credits
Spring 2013
M W F 11am-12pm
FAS Science Center Room 469

Relationship to Program Requirements

Program Requirement Area / Category / Art / Designation
MTS Area(s) of Focus
  • Comparative Studies
  • Islamic Studies
  • Religion, Literature, and Culture
MDiv Distribution Category/ies
  • Christianity
  • Islam
MDiv Art(s) of Ministry
  • Preaching and Worship
Language Course Designation(s) None