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Medieval Facts & Myths: Astrology as medicine?

“Sacrifice two rams and see me in the morning.” Would your Medieval doctor have sent this midnight reply to your message beckoning him to treat a headache? In other words, did physicians back then really use astrology to treat diseases and maladies?


Medieval physicians (exclusively male by law) thought the alignment of heavenly bodies influenced the cures they prescribed. According to one Medieval medicine book, it was most effective to bleed a patient with a fever when “the moon passes through the middle of the sign of Gemini.”

Moreover, doctors of the era believed the signs of the zodiac ruled different parts of the body. Aries, as the first sign of the zodiac ruled the head. Pisces as the last, ruled the toes. All the other zodiac signs were ordered in between. (Scorpio got the naughty bits, in case you were wondering.)

The common belief of the era was that all illness was a punishment from God for sinful behavior. When by chance a patient got better, this was a sign a physician’s cure worked. If not, it was the patient’s fault.

In hindsight, perhaps avoiding physicians might have been the best path to good health.


Medieval Facts & Myths is a blog series featuring KING ROBIN, a novel by R. A. Moss from Beck and Branch Publishers. LEARN MORE or ORDER NOW



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