A question popped into my head last night. The first one in months. Simple and unanswerable.
If women are paid medical compensation for injury at a reduced rate in Early Medieval Ireland would their kin group pay the difference?
I don’t have an answer as the evidence base is so slight.
Its vaguely interesting as I can run with the idea that to place such a financial burden on kin groups is a means to reduce violence and social tension by ensuring the financial decline in the status of legally targeted groups.
Long term the kin group would either have to make cultural changes in regard to the way it managed itself or face eradication of free status as its position and rank declined over time.
Secondary question raises its head, what is the relationship between rank and social status here and the development of medical theory and treatment?
According to the law texts treatment is given according to rank. Diet appears to be a part of medical treatment and what you are entitled to eat is dependent on social status.
It gives me at least a tentative suggestion that kin groups may have made up the difference and taken on the financial burden of treatment, as it would maintain the groups social position and standing.
Honor based culture maintaining and increasing its status a core function of its kin groups.
An, if, but, maybe question, which will be rather hard if not impossible to answer with much detail, given the nature of the evidence base.
It does raise a rather wider more general question ( a potential escape from a limited evidence base).
What is the relationship between a disease theory system and a health care system (refined the question)?
The practices in question from Early Ireland here relate to a health care system ( the way a society deals with the maintenance of health) and its legal aspects.
The relationship between diet and rank suggests that the relationship between theory of disease and wider social and political factors may be somewhat slippery.
What it does is gives me a more general question that I can attempt to answer using a wider comparative framework.
Which is just as well the evidence for this period is so slight I can’t firmly say that diet forms part of Irish medicines theory of disease although it certainly appears to be a feature of its health care system.
I know diet will later form part of its theory of disease at a later date as medical theory alters in the later medieval period.
Does social hierarchy play a role in the adoption of such ideas?
How tangled is the social with knowledge in regard to disease in these cases?