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Thread: Leprosy originated in Europe?

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    Default Leprosy originated in Europe?

    “For centuries there has been a question mark over where leprosy originated; most assumptions believing it started in China and the Far East,” said Helen Donoghue, a co-author of the latest work and scientist at University College London. “This latest research shows all the strains of the leprosy bacterium, were in fact present in medieval Europe, which strongly suggests leprosy originated much closer to home, possibly in the far south east of Europe, or western Asia.”
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/...me-from-europe

    Interesting, but I'm a little puzzled at their subhead: "Skeletal analysis shows the oldest strains of the disease came from Europe, the oldest from Greater Chesterford, Essex circa 500AD" given how prominently leprosy figures in the Bible. Not to mention Ben-Hur.

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    Default Re: Leprosy originated in Europe?

    Leopardstown was originally named because there was a lepers' hospital there.
    "If you go far enough to either extreme of the political spectrum, Communist or fascist, you'll find hard-eyed men with guns who believe that anybody who doesn't think as they do should be incarcerated or exterminated. " - Jim Garrison, Former DA, New Orleans.

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    Default Re: Leprosy originated in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by pluralist View Post
    Leopardstown was originally named because there was a lepers' hospital there.
    Galloping Green which is an area near Leopardstown is said to be so named because people would gallop past so as not to catch Leprosy. I have my doubts about the origins of both Leopeardstown and Galloping Green names. Haven't read any historic stuff to back up the story. Could be makey up yarn, but then again I could be wrong.

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    Default Re: Leprosy originated in Europe?

    The name Desart or Dysart comes up here there and everywhere in Ireland, is an old spelling of desert and was a name associated with leper colonies.

    Lepers having been driven out of towns to 'desert' - uninhabited places - in the time of Christ and in pre Christian times.
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    Default Re: Leprosy originated in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    The name Desart or Dysart comes up here there and everywhere in Ireland, is an old spelling of desert and was a name associated with leper colonies.
    Probably more to do with Christian monastic settlements. There was a lot Eastern influence on Celtic/Irish Christianity and it was less Roman, from what I remember reading.

    Regards...jmcc

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    Default Re: Leprosy originated in Europe?

    Dysart, as jmcc says, generally means hermitage... But maybe there are others

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    Default Re: Leprosy originated in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcc View Post
    Probably more to do with Christian monastic settlements. There was a lot Eastern influence on Celtic/Irish Christianity and it was less Roman, from what I remember reading.



    Regards...jmcc
    The Irish church for a long time was very different to the Western European church, classified now as insular Christianity, it didn't have the same centralised system and was viewed as backward namely for it's easter calculation and liberal marriage laws...coming from brehon.
    A lot of the reason Henry II was backed in taking the kingship of Ireland.

    Seems to be Coptic links with early Irish Christianity too

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    Default Re: Leprosy originated in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraxinus View Post
    The Irish church for a long time was very different to the Western European church, classified now as insular Christianity, it didn't have the same centralised system and was viewed as backward namely for it's easter calculation and liberal marriage laws...coming from brehon.
    A lot of the reason Henry II was backed in taking the kingship of Ireland.

    Seems to be Coptic links with early Irish Christianity too
    Funny about the Easter thing as the Irish calculation was based on Astronomy rather than pig-ignorance as was the Roman version. There's a quote from one of the Irish saints claiming that "Christ was his Druid". The Irish church was more Druidic in nature than the centralised Roman church and thus it was a major threat to Roman Christianity and the Feudal society.

    Regards...jmcc
    Last edited by jmcc; 12-05-2018 at 07:42 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Default Re: Leprosy originated in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcc View Post
    Probably more to do with Christian monastic settlements. There was a lot Eastern influence on Celtic/Irish Christianity and it was less Roman, from what I remember reading.

    Regards...jmcc
    The eastern leper colonies were all in the desert. I've read an article on this, but can't locate it immediately. Not every 'desart' in Ireland was a leper hospital, but some were.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
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    Default Re: Leprosy originated in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcc View Post
    Funny about the Easter thing as the Irish calculation was based on Astronomy rather than pig-ignorace as was the Roman version. There's a quote from one of the Irish saints claiming that "Christ was his Druid". The Irish church was more Druidic in nature than the centralised Roman church and thus it was a major threat to Roman Christianity and the Feudal society.

    Regards...jmcc
    Amazing, I knew astronomy was used but didn't realise how advanced! The role of lay erenaghs is also interesting. This was a church and society that still remained in touch with that which existed before Christianity becoming mainstream. It must have been abhorrent to the Roman /European feudalists.

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    Default Re: Leprosy originated in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraxinus View Post
    Amazing, I knew astronomy was used but didn't realise how advanced! The role of lay erenaghs is also interesting. This was a church and society that still remained in touch with that which existed before Christianity becoming mainstream. It must have been abhorrent to the Roman /European feudalists.
    Was the lay erenagh role a continuation on of something pre-Christian, do you think ? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erenagh

    There was a time of coursein the 5th century when Christianity was pretty well gone in 'mainland Europe' and was revived by the arrival of the Irish holy men and women some of whom were made saints (St Fiaghra, the gardening saint is one of my favourites). At the same time as Ireland became Christianised, roughly, Constantine made it the religion of the empire with its centre in Constantinople. This church was originally in charge of the Bishops / Popes in Rome. Irish Christians made it across to England and right across France and Switzerland and Italy taking learning and the Christian teachings. In the case of Saint Fiachre, also taking useful things like spades and knowledge of growing things. Some parts of Europe came very late to Christianity - Lithuania only top down by order in the 14th century and probably never fully replacing paganism. I don't think the Sami in N. Sweden are Christian ( I have met and talked with them and really no sign of it - they are reindeer herding people and have their own version of everything). Irish Christianity as practised in Ireland had pre-Christian elements. Women could be bishops. Saint Brigid, of milk, feels like a pagan goddess. The Roman Church later stamped its authority and then the Normans when invading in the 12th century used the pretext that Irish Christianity was being done all wrong to override important Irish-Roman treaties and agreements. Rural Christianity in Ireland remains full of pagan practices, such as worship at trees, rocks and holy wells, the gathering of spring flowers to place at the door. Maybe dying out now, except in the Traveller community who maintain these traditions.

    Going back to leprosy, the crusades spread it along their travels - when, and where, Hapax, do you think is the earliest case of leprosy identified by archaeologists ?
    Last edited by C. Flower; 20-05-2018 at 07:36 AM.
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    Default Re: Leprosy originated in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraxinus View Post
    Amazing, I knew astronomy was used but didn't realise how advanced! The role of lay erenaghs is also interesting. This was a church and society that still remained in touch with that which existed before Christianity becoming mainstream. It must have been abhorrent to the Roman /European feudalists.
    The Celtic "day" began at midnight apparently. I remember reading about Celtic calendars carved on standing stones. The problem with the Roman calendar was that it had to be continually modified to keep it in synch with the seasons. Roman Christianity as per Constantine (who was a Pagan) was a military intelligence structure (not unlike the Stasi, Gestapo or KGB) intended to exert control on a society. Celtic Christianity seemed to be far more individualistic, distributed and, for the Romans, dangerously democratic. Roman Christianity was more of a centralised system with the high priest of Rome (I think that some of the symbols haven't changed from Pagan Rome to Christian Rome) as its leader.

    Regards...jmcc

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    Default Re: Leprosy originated in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hapax View Post
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/...me-from-europe

    Interesting, but I'm a little puzzled at their subhead: "Skeletal analysis shows the oldest strains of the disease came from Europe, the oldest from Greater Chesterford, Essex circa 500AD" given how prominently leprosy figures in the Bible. Not to mention Ben-Hur.
    It's hard to square that report with this - which says there is genetic evidence for an African or Eastern origin of leprosy way before medieval times, and that it was accurately described in China more than 200 years B.C. Perhaps the Guardian misreported ? Not uncommon with science reports in the newspapers.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_leprosy
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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