Article ID: CBB312687537

Histories of Medieval Plague in Renaissance Italy (2023)


During the sixteenth century, Italian scholars revised their conception of the field of history so that its purposes went beyond providing political and morally edifying narratives. These scholars contended that history must also account for culture and nature in an encyclopedic fashion. In the same years, numerous newly available texts from antiquity, the Byzantine empire, and the Middle Ages provided insight into the character of earlier outbreaks of plague. Italian physicians, embracing new visions of the field of history, the culture of humanism, and an inductivist epistemology, used these texts to argue that there were continuities among ancient, medieval, and Renaissance epidemics. They catalogued plague and formed historical categories based on severity and perceived origins, leading to the rejection of the conclusions of fourteenth-century western Europeans who viewed the plague of 1347-1353 as unprecedented. These erudite physicians saw medieval plague to be one example of the extreme epidemics that have regularly occurred throughout history.

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Authors & Contributors
Varlik, Nükhet
Benedictow, Ole Jørgen
Bulmus, Birsen
Calabi, Donatella
Crawshaw, Jane L. Stevens
Heitman, Kristin
Bruniana & Campanelliana: Ricerche Filosofiche e Materiali Storico-testuali
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Economic History Review
Journal of World History
Past and Present
Seventeenth Century
Cambridge University Press
L'Erma di Bretschneider
Ashgate Publishing
Edinburgh University Press
McGill-Queen's University Press
Disease and diseases
Public health
Medicine and society
Boccaccio, Giovanni
Donzellini, Girolamo
Fernel, Jean François
Ficino, Marsilio
Ingrassia, Giovanni Filippo
Sacchetti, Franco
Time Periods
16th century
15th century
17th century
Early modern
18th century
Ottoman Empire
Venice (Italy)
London (England)

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