Essay | Leprosy in the 12th and 21st century | Introduction to leprosy

The following parts of my essay have my own copyright in formulation of words, opinions and otherwise sources are mentioned.

The past couple of weeks I have followed the History of Healthcare course as an elective course to broaden my knowledge.
We had to give a presentation about a free chosen subject. I chose to give a presentation about the ‘Antiquity and the Olympics | Medicine in the pre Hippocratic Era’.
And as a final product I chose to write an essay about ‘Leprosy in the 12th and 21st century’.

For these blog posts I will divide my essay into four parts: ‘Introduction‘, ‘What is Leprosy?’, ‘Leprosy in the 12th century’, ‘Leprosy in the 21st century and a conclusion part’.

Greetings by Sophie

Introduction to leprosy

Leprosy exists already for centuries and it was not clearly known and investigated until the eleventh and twelfth century. During that century in the Middle Ages of Europe, leprosy took a jump in spreading of the contagious infection disease and isolating the infected persons from their environment. I have heard of leprosy for the first time when I was watching the film Ben Hur (1959) (Wyler, 1959). It touched me because why would people be banned from their homes, from their city?

At the history lessons in high school, leprosy was often explained as an aggressive disease that would cause the loss of limbs. And now and then it was entangled with the Black Plague. Following this course about the ‘History of Health Care’ I thought I should figure out what leprosy is in general and why it was such a special disease during the Middle Ages, and why it still exists nowadays.

With this essay and with this introduction and the provided index; I want to give a clear overview of the comparison between leprosy in the 12th century and leprosy in the 21st century. Through several little topics I discuss the information that is provided through lots of sources and many points of view. In the conclusion I will summarize again this comparison of the two centuries.

This essay is aimed for any human that is interested in learning a bit more about the still existing disease leprosy. It is also aimed for any student of any high school or college level, to have a general correct knowledge and recognition about this disease. It can happen to anyone and therefore it should be more aware among the ever-growing world population.

Written by Sophie van den Akker,

Rotterdam, January 2017

Figure 1: 'Jesus heals a leper' Copyright
Figure 1: ‘Jesus heals a leper’ Copyright
  • Wyler, W. (Director). (1959). Ben Hur [Motion Picture].

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