[RPG] What could you call medical doctors in a medieval/fantasy setting


This is a follow up to Medieval Medicine in a Fantasy Setting?.

What could you call a medical doctor in a medieval/fantasy setting? I'm thinking along the lines of how an "alchemist" is more appropriate in a medieval/fantasy than a "chemist".

So is there an equivalent setting-appropriate term for "doctor"?

Best Answer

Medical practice as we now thing of it was not extant until the 17th Century; the various providers of medical treatment included a variety of individuals with various titles. Some of the trends

Laech, Physicker, Leech: Generally, a practitioner of Roman medicine. Leaches, salves, ointments, unguents, and caurterization, perhaps some stitching of lacerations (via thread or ant heads)

Barber: Bloodletting, some surgery, dentistry, and often potions. Plus hair and beard trimming.

Chirurgeon/Chiurgeon, Surgeon: Bone setting, bullet and arrow removal, cauterization, possibly some potions.

Chymist/Chemist/Alchemist, Pharmacist: Toxins, drugs, some antidotes, potions.

Wisewoman, Geriffa, Witch: potions, herbs, ritual.

Clergy, Friars & Monastics: prayers, herbs, some Roman medicine, Ritual.

Wife or Mother: most nursing care was simply done by the women of the house.

Note that clergy in Historical Europe had various titles.... but turning to clergy was a common resort, and many clergy of both Roman and Greek pagan faiths, as well as a surprising number of Catholic Clergy, had some practical knowledge of healing. Hospital orders often included monks or friars with backgrounds in the various other fields.

The one title that was almost unheard of: Medical Doctor. Until the renaissance, almost no colleges taught medicine. Doctor, being an academic title for one who has completed their licentiate/masters and fellowship (post masters instructional period), meant 10+ years of study in university (often from age 14). Even when medicine was taught, it was taught as part of a general arts degree, rather than a specific subject, and from Roman sources. With the early renaissance, and the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic ban on autopsy and dissection became far less often enforced, allowing many colleges to add Surgery to their list of specialties offered, and the Reformation lead also to such training being better than mere apprenticeship.

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