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The Control of Plague in Venice and Northern Italy 1348-1600

Palmer, R. J (1978) The Control of Plague in Venice and Northern Italy 1348-1600. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86158) (KAR id:86158)


The classical theory that plague was caused by breathing in corrupt air was challenged by the Black Death, which was seen to be contagious. Civic authorities responded more quickly than the medical-profession and were increasingly involved in attempts to prevent the spread of plague. Particularly influential-was Milan, where a permanent Health Office, responsible for plague control, was established before the mid fifteenth century, Venice maintained a Health Office from 11+90. At first its concerns were civic, but later it took responsibility for the whole Venetian mainland and for the work of provincial Offices. Plague control came to be conceived in broad territorial terms, and by 1600 the Health Offices of the. Northern Italian states were in close cooperation to control disease the Health Offices banned infected areas, preventing the movement of persons and merchandise by cordons sanitaires and health. passes. From the fifteenth century lazarettos were established, at first as hospitals for the plague sick and later as centres for quarantine and disinfection. Although hampered by administrative problems, the plague measures corresponded remarkably to the needs of the situation. The knowledge-of plague gained inductively by the Health Offices stood in uneasy relation to theological and classical theories about epidemics. In the mid-sixteenth century Fracastoro and other physicians sought a synthesis.. Writers on the epidemic. in Venice and Padua in 1555-6 believed that. plague might arise initially by corruption of the air and then spread elsewhere by contagion alone. In the plague of 1576, however it was doubted whether plague in which contagion alone was operative could be called 'true plague'. The resulting disputes revealed the continued vigour of classical theory in the late sixteenth century. The survival of theological views of plague was promoted at the same time by the gathering pace of the Counter Reformation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86158
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Uncontrolled keywords: History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D203 Modern History, 1453-
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:31 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2022 10:32 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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