What caused illness in medieval England, and who would have helped to cure you?

Hippocrates and Galen had established that the human body was made up of four humours: blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. These corresponded to the four elements: air, water, earth and fire. If any one of these humours grew too strong it could cause illness or death.

The stars also played a part, and could determine whether a person would be healthy or sick. Their alignment could impact when treatments should be applied, or even cause accidents and injury. Illnesses sometimes had supernatural causes. Unseen forces including elves, demons and phantoms were believed to be at large, bringing sickness to their victims.

Explore these web pages to discover more about health and healing in medieval Harrogate and beyond.

The Windows on the Past display has been provided by The JORVIK Group.
Archaeology Live is a new event from The JORVIK Group and York Archaeology. Every Summer, we will be hosting a mixture of live events, livestreamed tours and pre-recorded videos to bring a host of archaeological stories to a global audience.