What was believed to cause diseases in the 17th century?
Doctors believed in a theory that had been invented by the Ancient Greeks more than 1000 years earlier, known as 'The Four Humours'. This theory states that the whole world is made up of four elements; Air, Fire, Earth and Water. In the body these elements are supposedely represented by:
They also believed that a lot of problems were caused by 'too much blood', so you had to get rid of some.
Surgical instruments included saws, knives, scalpels, clamps, hooks and probes that were often dirty and rusty. A trepan was used to drill holes in skulls. The cautery was one of the most horrific instruments. It was a red-hot iron used to stop bleeding and treat disease.