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Doctors and Medicine in Early Renaissance Florence

Doctors and Medicine in Early Renaissance Florence

Copyright Date: 1985
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    Doctors and Medicine in Early Renaissance Florence
    Book Description:

    Katharine Park has written a social, intellectual, and institutional history of medicine in Florence during the century after the Black Death of 1348.

    Originally published in 1985.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5500-1
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xi)
  5. Abbreviations and Note Concerning Transcriptions
    (pp. xii-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-14)

    In 1346, wrote the Florentine chronicler Matteo Villani, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn conjoined in Aquarius. In the same year a wave of pestilence appeared in the East, “toward Cathay and northern India,” and began to spread westward.

    It was a plague which touched people of every condition, age, and sex. They began to spit blood and then they died—some immediately, some in two or three days, and some in a longer time. And it happened that whoever cared for the sick caught the disease from them or, infected by the same corrupt air, became rapidly ill and died in...

  7. I The Guild
    (pp. 15-46)

    The society of early Renaissance Florence, like that of the other north Italian city-states, functioned less as a collection of individuals than as a network of overlapping collectivities.¹ Some of these collectivities, like families, served a multitude of public and private purposes. Some, like guilds or partnerships, were primarily economic in character, while others met needs of political organization or defense; among these were neighborhood militias, parties or factions, and the communal government itself. Still others embodied religious ties—parish churches, monasteries, hospitals, confraternities. Although such groups differed in size, permanence, cohesiveness, and legal status, they all represented, formally or...

  8. II The Doctors
    (pp. 47-84)

    The composition of the medical profession in Florence naturally reflected the policies of the Guild of Doctors, Apothecaries, and Grocers. The guild set standards for admission to medical practice in the city and countryside, but it defined those standards broadly and applied them laxly. Thus the Florentine example confirms for early Renaissance Italy what Danielle Jacquart has recently established for France and Margaret Pelling and Charles Webster for England: we can no longer think of the early medical profession as a small group of university-trained and theoretically oriented doctors who catered to the rich, while the rest of society made...

  9. III The Medical Marketplace
    (pp. 85-117)

    The late medieval Italian cities, as is well known, were central in the development of capitalist forms of economic organization. This does not mean, however, that the economy of a large and prosperous town like Florence functioned as a free and impersonal market of goods and services. It is better visualized as a cluster of marketplaces—like Florence’s manypiazze, dominated by their churches and lined with shops and houses, where the inhabitants came together not only to buy and sell but also to make contacts, close deals, exchange news and gossip, and in general to see and be seen....

  10. IV Medical Careers
    (pp. 118-150)

    In order to understand the world of medicine and medical practice in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Florence, it is not enough to consider only the profession as a whole and the corporate groups which shaped that world; we must also study the practitioners as individuals. Each doctor made his way among the competing demands and possibilities of guild and family, Church and state to shape a career in keeping with his abilities, ambitions, and opportunities. At various points he was faced with important decisions: which occupation to choose, how to train for it, whether to teach or practice, where to establish...

  11. V Doctors in Florentine Society
    (pp. 151-187)

    We must now return from the perceptions of doctors and their families to the social order in which they lived. In previous chapters I have described the conditions and aspirations which governed the professional life of the Florentine doctor; in this chapter I will discuss its economic, social, and political rewards. Aspiring doctors were attracted to medicine and provincial practitioners to Florence by promises ofutileandonore. To what extent were these promises fulfilled?

    We can begin to answer this question by looking at the economic status of doctors. Doctors varied strikingly in their personal wealth, but as a...

  12. VI Doctors in Florentine Culture
    (pp. 188-236)

    One of the reasons why doctors chose to immigrate to Florence was the city’s cultural vitality. We have seen in Chapter Four how educated men like Maestro Lorenzo Sassoli, languishing in the small towns of the countryside, were attracted by its university and its schools, its pool of literate and intellectually active inhabitants, its tradition of public and private patronage of learning and the arts. At the same time the city welcomed the cultural contributions of its doctors. The commune celebrated their discoveries in the acts of its councils,¹ called on them as consultants for artistic projects,² and included them...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 237-240)

    If florence did not assume a leading role in the sixteenth-century movement to reform medical learning, Florentines nonetheless participated in this endeavor; by the 1530s the city had produced a New Galenic Academy devoted to criticizing the works of the Arabs and to publicizing the new classical scholarship in medicine.¹ The most striking change in Florentine medicine in this period, however, concerned not the content of medical learning but the composition and organization of the medical profession. The mid-sixteenth century saw the resumption and intensification of efforts by university-educated physicians to establish a hierarchical structure within their guild’s branch of...

  14. APPENDIX I. Names, Dates, Places, and Money
    (pp. 241-244)
  15. APPENDIX II. Medical Curriculum at the University of Bologna (1405)
    (pp. 245-248)
  16. APPENDIX III. Doctors in the Catasto of 1427
    (pp. 249-252)
  17. APPENDIX IV. Index to Doctors’ Letters
    (pp. 253-256)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 257-284)
  19. General Index
    (pp. 285-292)
  20. Index of Doctors and Their Families
    (pp. 293-298)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 299-299)