1st Edition

Civic Medicine Physician, Polity, and Pen in Early Modern Europe

    332 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    332 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Communities great and small across Europe for eight centuries have contracted with doctors. Physicians provided citizen care, helped govern, and often led in public life. Civic Medicine stakes out this timely subject by focusing on its golden age, when cities rivaled territorial states in local and global Europe and when civic doctors were central to the rise of shared, organized written information about the human and natural world. This opens the prospect of a long history of knowledge and action shaped more by community and responsibility than market or state, exchange or power.

    Introduction: Civic Medicine

    J. Andrew Mendelsohn

    1. Public Practice: The European Longue Durée of Knowing for Health and Polity

    J. Andrew Mendelsohn

    Part I: Scholar in Town, Scholar in Office

    2. The Many Uses of Writing: A Humanist Physician in Sixteenth-Century Prague

    Michael Stolberg

    3. Promoting a Good Physician: Letters of Application to German Civic Authorities, 1500–1700

    Sabine Schlegelmilch

    4. "De Officiis": Doctors’ Oaths and Appointments in Early Modern Nuremberg

    Fritz Dross

    Part II: Evaluating, Reporting

    5. Reporting for Action: Forms of Writing Between Medicine and Polity in Milan, 1580-1650

    Laura Di Giammatteo and J. Andrew Mendelsohn

    6. Negotiating on Paper: Councillors, Medical Officers, and Patients in an Early Modern City

    Annemarie Kinzelbach

    Part III: Documenting, Locating

    7. Accountability, Autobiography, and Belonging: The Working Journal of a Sixteenth-Century Diplomatic Physician Between Venice and Damascus

    Valentina Pugliano

    8. A Sense of Place: Town Physicians and the Resources of Locality in Early Modern Medicine

    Gianna Pomata

    9. Physical City: A Royal Physician’s Warsaw

    Ruth Schilling

    Part IV: Translating, Translocating

    10. Transformative Itineraries and Communities of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe: The Case of Lazare Rivière’s The Practice of Physick

    Elaine Leong

    11. Trading Information: The City of Nuremberg and the Birth of a Latin Medical Weekly

    Annemarie Kinzelbach and Marion Maria Ruisinger


    J. Andrew Mendelsohn is Reader in History of Science and Medicine in the School of History at Queen Mary, University of London, having previously taught at Imperial College London.

    Annemarie Kinzelbach has published extensively on medicine, health, and society in early modern Germany.

    Ruth Schilling trained in early modern urban history and is Junior Professor for the History of Science at the University of Bremen and scientific coordinator of exhibitions and research at the German Maritime Museum.

    'It is rare for an edited volume to change the reader’s perspective on a whole field of studies. Civic Medicine, however, has the potential to do just that. It presents early modern European medicine as deeply entangled in the public life of civic communities. Building on a justified critique of the economically inspired concept of the "medical marketplace," J. Andrew Mendelsohn, Annemarie Kinzelbach, and Ruth Schilling propose a concept of early modern medicine that understands medical practices primarily as "civic activities" aiming at the "common good" much more than at "goods exchange". … Civic Medicine changes our perspective on several master narratives like professionalization or social disciplining and shows that understanding early modern medicine and its practices requires a focus on communal ties' - Bulletin of the History of Medicine

    'Civic Medicine offers a striking and pathbreaking perspective on medical knowledge in early modern Europe. Transcending influential approaches in which physicians and patients are viewed as caught up in the networks of the medical marketplace or else of modernising territorial states, Mendelsohn and his team focus instead on the role and activities of physicians in civic office across the continent. This provides a stimulating, holistic vision of the early modern physician and his world, now grounded in an enriched sense of community rather than the market or the state' - Colin Jones, co-author of The Medical World of Early Modern France

    'At last we are beginning to understand early modern physicians as full-fledged members of their urban polities, holding offices, taking oaths, and entering into the world of the experts who knew how to employ paper technologies. According to the authors of this volume, even the attentiveness of physicians to careful written descriptions of medical cases arose more from civic humanism than from medicalization, medical police, professionalization, the new science, or even commerce. In revisiting the history of city physicians, these studies offer new insights into medicine’s civic past' - Harold J. Cook, author of Matters of Exchange: Commerce, Medicine, and Science in the Dutch Golden Age