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Florence Under SiegeSurviving Plague in an Early Modern City$
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John Henderson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300196344

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300196344.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Plague and Public Health in Italy and Europe

Plague and Public Health in Italy and Europe

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 Plague and Public Health in Italy and Europe
Source:
Florence Under Siege
Author(s):

John Henderson

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300196344.003.0001

This introductory chapter provides an overview of plague and public health in Italy and Europe. Plagues, and more generally the campaigns mounted by governments to address emergencies caused by outbreaks of epidemic disease, have remained an important area of historical research, and continue to remain relevant to the present day. It is often portrayed as having provided a template for public health, with some of the main strategies developed in the Renaissance and early modern periods as models for later policies. Italy has been seen as central to this process, developing the first ‘effective’ plague measures; for, just as the Renaissance was viewed as gradually ‘civilising’ countries north of the Alps, so was the influence of Italian administrative reactions to epidemic disease. Focusing on plague in Florence, the book examines, on the one hand, the mixed motivations and attitudes of those who ran governments and, on the other, the varied reactions and activities of the lower levels of society, suggesting they were far from passive actors who accepted decrees and legislation from above.

Keywords:   plague, public health, Italy, Europe, epidemic disease, plague measures, Florence, Renaissance period

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