Plague remains the paradigm against which reactions to many epidemics are often judged. Here, John Henderson examines how a major city fought, suffered, and survived the impact of plague. Going beyond traditional oppositions between rich and poor, this book provides a nuanced and more compassionate interpretation of government policies in practice, by recreating the very human reactions and survival strategies of families and individuals.
From the evocation of the overcrowded conditions in isolation hospitals to the splendor of religious processions, Henderson analyzes Florentine reactions within a wider European context to assess the effect of state policies on the city, street, and family. Writing in a vivid and approachable way, this book unearths the forgotten stories of doctors and administrators struggling to cope with the sick and dying, and of those who were left bereft and confused by the sudden loss of relatives.
|Publisher:||Yale University Press|
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About the Author
Table of Contents
List of Plates, Maps, Figures and Tables ix
Abbreviations, Currency, Weights and Measures xiv
1 Plague and Public Health in Italy and Europe 1
Plague and Italy's Reputation in Europe
Historians and Plague in Italy
Plague in Florence: Themes and sources
Part I Florence Under Siege: Coping with Plague
2 The Invasion of Plague in Early Modern Italy 23
Plague Approaches Florence: Border controls and cordons sanitaires
Plague on the Outskirts of Florence, Summer 1630
Plague Mortality in the City, 1630-1
3 Medicine, the Environment and the Poor 51
Doctors and Diagnosis: 'A certain sickness with suspicion of contagion'
Preventive Measures and the Environment
'Filth is the mother of corruption': The sanitary survey August 1630
Marginalisation of the Poor: 'It was not the time to make the body of the city worse with such malign humours, the most inclined towards putrefaction'
Poverty and Charity: The growth of 'misery, necessity and sickness'
4 Treating the Body of the City and the Body of the Poor 84
Official Reactions in August
Public Health and Prevention
The Control of Plague
Doctors and Medicine: Treating the body of the poor
5 The Impact of Plague and Quarantine 118
The Spread and Impact of Plague
Coping with Death
Quarantine and the City
Quarantine and the Countryside
Part II Religion, Isolation and Survival
6 Religion in the Time of Plague 149
The Plague Approaches: The Church and preventive measures
Plague at its Height and the Practice of Religion
Celebrating with S. Antonino: The plague relents
Plague, Religion and the Grand-Ducal Court: The cult of Domenica da Paradiso
Religion and Quarantine: 'Providing for the health of the soul is more important than [providing for the health] of the body'
SS. Annunziata and Plague
The Madonna dell' Impruneta and the Return of Plague, 1633
7 Lazaretti and Isolation: 'More feared than death itself'? 183
First Experiments and the Hospital of Messer Bonifazio
The New Isolation and Quarantine Centres
Lazaretti: Form and function
'The Medicines in this Period Play an Important Role'
Assessing Patient Mortality: 'More feared than death itself?
Life, Death and Serving the Poor Sick: 'I desire that you pray God for me, because I am suffering under the heaviest of crosses'
Life in the Lazaretti: The perspective of the staff
8 Surviving Plague 229
Plague and the Law
Punishment and Enforcement
Prosecution: General Categories
Prosecuting the Popolo
9 Epilogue: The Return and End of Plague, 1632-3 277