Healthscaping a medieval city: Lucca's Curia viarum and the future of public health history

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Abstract

In early fourteenth-century Lucca, one government organ began expanding its activities beyond the maintenance of public works to promoting public hygiene and safety, and in ways that suggest both a concern for and an appreciation of population-level preventative healthcare. Evidence for this shift (which is traceable in and beyond the Italian peninsula) is mostly found in documents of practice such as court and financial records, which augment and complicate the traditional view afforded by urban statutes and medical treatises. The revised if still nebulous picture emerging from this preliminary study challenges a lingering tendency among urban and public health historians to see pre-modern European cities as ignorant and apathetic demographic black holes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-415
Number of pages21
JournalUrban History
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

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