Early Medieval Charitable Institutions and Hospitals, c. 500–1000 CE
The decline of the Roman Empire signaled many changes for Western Europe, including the evolution of the early medieval hospital. Prior to the early Middle Ages, hospitals and healthcare were the responsibility of governments and private individuals. A lack of stabilizing forces c. 500 CE obliged others to provide healthcare. Christians, and especially monasteries, took up the reins; the concern that Christians had for those less fortunate merged with the Roman notion of Amor civicus , love for one’s city. The end of the early Middle Ages witnessed a major change as new concepts of healthcare, from Byzantium, and medical treatises, especially from the Islamic world, made their way into Italy, setting the stage for an explosion of lay hospitals in the next two hundred years.