The Dark Ages

As the Roman Empire was slowly being replaced by less organised societies, Britain and Europe descended into what we know today as The Dark Ages. The Italian Scholar, Francesco Petrarch, was the first to coin this phrase.
The Dark Ages were being fuelled by religious extremism. The Catholic Church wanted to control what the civilised and un-civilised world should and should not do. The penalties for breaking their religious laws of the time were extreme. 

If you healed somebody, using methods that were not approved by the Roman Catholic Church and the treatment was successful; their suspicion of the cure would lead them to accuse you of sorcery, as it would be their opinion that the substances being used were magic potions. Even the tying of blood vessels was seen as sacrilegious, the use of hot irons and boiling oil was imposed.

You could be tried as a witch or a warlock. Before the trial, the accused would have to endure torture that most men and women would find difficult if not impossible to tolerate.

The torturers were good at their trade they, during these periods handed down their techniques to their apprentices who improved on them, the idea being to keep the person alive as long as possible so they would eventually give in to the horrendous torture and confess what the questioner wanted them to confess, guilty or not.
Eventually they would confess to any crime they were accused of just to stop the barbaric torturous ordeal. Most of the victims were then burnt at the stake, although some were garrotted as a reward for confessing to the allegations prior to the fire being lit.

To say that this was what the Christ wanted them to do, is the greatest insult to his life and death on the cross at Calvary. Yes the Catholic Church has a lot to answer and appologise for.

The picture is of the armchair of spikes which the defendant is strapped into and the mechanism is turned to allow the spikes to enter the body slowly until the defendant confesses or dies.
It in most cases ended with the death of the defendant, either due to the injuries received from the tortures, or by confessing after torture, you were killed anyway.75
It was the catholic church of Rome who supported this form of torture as it scared most into becoming an active catholic and that meant more tithes to the church to help build its cathedrals and increase the fineries of the Vatican.
The progression in medical advancement was stagnated by the threats of this period within the Christian occupied world.
It was during the height of this Inquisition that Columbus discovered America (or at least the Dominican Republic/Haiti)
It did not take too long for European diseases to infect the Native American peoples.
Europe had exported its greatest killers in the form of viruses and bacteria.

As the Native Americans existed like that of the early Europeans, they relied upon their ritual healing by witch doctors and sorcerers and these were ineffective against these unseen enemies.


Inscription at the entrance to Hell:

"Abandon all hope, you who enter!”76



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The History of Surgery and Anaesthesia was created as a free resource to educate Students or indeed anyone wishing to understand the beginings of surgery and Anaesthesia.

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