In the monastic period pharmacy was to a great extent under the control of the religious orders, particularly the Benedictines, who, from coming into contact with the Arabian physicians, devoted themselves to pharmacy, pharmacology and therapeutics; but, as monks were forbidden to shed blood, surgery fell largely into the hands of barbers, so that the class of barber-surgeons came into existence, and the sign of their skill in blood-letting still appears in provincial districts in England in the form of the barber's pole, representing the application of bandages.
Other persons attached to a temple were priests, augurs, sacrificers, barbers, officials in charge of the curtains, masons, &c. (NSI.
They have blacksmiths, coppersmiths and goldsmiths among them, besides carpenters, barbers and other artisans.
In later documents mention is made of eighteen gilds of work-people, whose names are nowhere given, but they probably included workers in wood, workers in metal, workers in stone, weavers, leather-workers, potters, ivory-workers, dyers, fisher-folk, butchers, hunters, cooks, barbers, flowersellers, sailors, basket-makers and painters.
Their descendants, the Atherstones, Bowkers, Barbers, Woods, Whites, Turveys, and a number of other well-known frontier families, are to-day the backbone of the eastern district of the Cape, and furnish the largest portion of the progressive element in that province.
Even in modern times travellers relate how, when an auspicious day has been proclaimed by the astrologers, the streets of Bagdad may be seen running with blood from the barbers' shops.