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Medical historians have traditionally claimed that modern hospitals emerged during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Premodern hospitals, according to many scholars, existed mainly as refuges for the desperately poor and sick, providing patients with little or no medical care. Challenging this view in a compelling survey of hospitals in the East Roman Empire, Timothy Miller traces the birth and development of Byzantine xenones, or hospitals, from their emergence in the fourth century to their decline in the fifteenth century, just prior to the Turkish conquest of Constantinople. These sophisticated medical facilities, he concludes, are the true ancestors of modern hospitals. In a new introduction to this paperback edition, Miller describes the growing scholarship on this subject in recent years.
A medical historian argues that the sophisticated medical facilities of the Byzantine Empire are the true ancestors of modern hospitals.
Timothy S. Miller is associate professor of history at Salisbury State University in Salisbury, Maryland.
A very important book that will be consulted by students and scholars in diverse aspects of medicine... Guaranteed to excite controversy... [and] engender a long overdue interest in the medical procedures of one of the great world civilizations. * Isis * Dr. Miller is a learned and enterprising historian with a fascinating theme. He shows beyond a doubt that the Western hospital tradition goes back to the early Byzantine Empire in the fourth century. * Medical History * Those who look into Byzantine health care with Professor Miller as their guide will gain a much more favorable impression of the subject than now prevails. En route they will learn in this readable book a great deal about other aspects of Byzantine society and much about classical and medieval medicine in general. * Bulletin of the History of Medicine * When this book was originally published in 1985, it marked the first comprehensive treatment of the history of the Byzantine hospital... In a new introduction to his text Miller defends his earlier line of argument in detail. -- Lawrence I. Conrad * Social History of Medicine *