2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference


Medieval Women Healers: Trotula and Hildegard
Meredith M. Heist
Dr. Betsy Delmonico, Faculty Mentor

Two important women who left their mark on healing in the Middle Ages, both remarkable and controversial, were Trotula of Salerno and Hildegard von Bingen. Hildegard’s Physica and Causae et curae and Trotula’s three books which make up The Trotula have survived the centuries. Similarities and differences in them reveal common beliefs and the roots of medicine practiced by men and women in the Middle Ages. Their texts show that some women had access to ancient written works and took an active part in healings themselves. Trotula and Hildegard offer treatments mostly for women such as methods of birth control, treating uterine diseases, and concoctions for proper hygiene, but cures are also provided for children and even men. They cross boundaries of gender and religion combining pagan healing, Christian practices-Muslim in Trotula’s case-and Latin and Greek texts. Most importantly, these women reinforce the existence and importance of Medieval women healers.

Keywords: Middle Ages, healers, medicine, women, contraception


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 35-2
Location: OP 2111
Time: 2:30

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