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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

The Impact of Plague and Quarantine

The Impact of Plague and Quarantine

Chapter:
(p.118) Chapter 5 The Impact of Plague and Quarantine
Source:
Florence Under Siege
Author(s):

John Henderson

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300196344.003.0005

This chapter details the impact on the population of the policies discussed in the previous chapter. It first analyses the factors underlying the spread of plague, both through Florence and at a more local level in the city's largest parish, S. Lorenzo. Based on records of city and parish, it has been possible to analyse the number of people infected and buried in relation to the topographical and social profiles of individual streets. If this enables one to consider some of the environmental determinants of infection, it is also possible to assess the impact on mortality of the policy of removing the sick from their houses to Lazaretti, through comparing the number of people buried in extra-mural plague pits with those at the isolation hospitals. For contemporaries it was successful, since higher numbers died in Lazaretti, suggesting that they had managed to identify and remove the sick before they got worse. This policy remained in force the next year when a new strategy was introduced, with the imposition from mid-January of a general 40-day quarantine of the inhabitants of both the city and the surrounding countryside. Although this was an extremely expensive operation, since food and drink were being supplied daily to over 34,000 people, the continued drop in mortality led contemporaries to regard this as fulfilling their aims.

Keywords:   plague, Florence, infection, mortality, public health policies, burials, plague pits, isolation hospitals, quarantine

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