Madness in the Middle Ages: an Examination of the Treatment of the Mentally Ill in the Medieval Era Based on Order and Gender

Elkin, Bailey Grace (2017) Madness in the Middle Ages: an Examination of the Treatment of the Mentally Ill in the Medieval Era Based on Order and Gender. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Frances Kneupper from History, The University of Mississippi.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the treatment of the mad in Europe during the Middle Ages. I read various primary and secondary sources in the course of my investigation. Several of the secondary sources used quotes from primary sources, so I used some of that evidence as well. My conclusions were that the treatment of the mad varied based on gender and estate. When someone from the third estate went mad, family members tried mostly religious cures, since those were the only resources available to them. When members of the second estate went mad, relatives, other members of the nobility, and the king stepped to either find a cure, or appoint a guardian to care for the mad and their land. If the landowner or monarch was a woman, it seems that people did not attempt to cure them in the same way that they tried for a man. When a member of the first estate went mad, it seems that their bishop would appoint a guardian to assist the mad man in his duties. It seems that no accusations of spiritual weakness were made. The treatment of the mad was certainly varied, but for the most part, the mad seem to have been treated well.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Elkin, Bailey Grace
Student's Degree Program(s): B.A. in History
Thesis Advisor: Frances Kneupper
Thesis Advisor's Department: History
Institution: The University of Mississippi
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
Depositing User: Bailey Grace Elkin
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2017 20:58
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2017 20:58
URI: http://thesis.honors.olemiss.edu/id/eprint/746

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