Hospitals and charity

Religious culture and civic life in medieval northern Italy

by Sally Mayall Brasher

Description
This is the first book in English to provide a comprehensive examination of the hospital movement that arose and prospered in northern Italy between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. Throughout this flourishing urbanised area hundreds of independent semi-religious facilities appeared, offering care for the ill, the poor and pilgrims en route to holy sites in Rome and the eastern Mediterranean. Over three centuries they became mechanisms for the appropriation of civic authority and political influence in the communities they served, and created innovative experiments in healthcare and poor relief which are the precursors to modern social welfare systems. Will appeal to students and lecturers in medieval, social, religious, and urban history and includes a detailed appendix that will assist researchers in the field.
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Endorsements

Originally intended to house pilgrims and comfort the dying, hospitals in medieval Italy evolved from religious institutions reflecting communal and personal piety to civic facilities providing comprehensive social welfare and medical services to the urban community. At the same time, they became a means for the new urban elites to acquire political power and social status. In Hospitals and charity, Sally Brasher provides the first comprehensive examination of the founding of small independent hospitals throughout the region. Beginning in the twelfth century, she considers the challenges to establishing and managing these hospitals in the face of ecclesiastical and political interference over the succeeding three hundred years. The charitable institutions that emerged reflected a nexus of lay initiative, religious culture and civic political life. Though their independent nature makes generalisation difficult, Brasher assembles evidence from over 175 hospitals covering a wide geographic and chronological expanse to create a picture of the internal life of the institutions and their place within the urban community. In so doing, she provides a new framework for understanding the rise of the central civic hospital in the fifteenth century, a phenomenon that has generally been seen as a particular product of the Renaissance. Hospitals and charity will be of interest to students and researchers of medieval social, religious, or urban history.

Reviews

Originally intended to house pilgrims and comfort the dying, hospitals in medieval Italy evolved from religious institutions reflecting communal and personal piety to civic facilities providing comprehensive social welfare and medical services to the urban community. At the same time, they became a means for the new urban elites to acquire political power and social status. In Hospitals and charity, Sally Brasher provides the first comprehensive examination of the founding of small independent hospitals throughout the region. Beginning in the twelfth century, she considers the challenges to establishing and managing these hospitals in the face of ecclesiastical and political interference over the succeeding three hundred years. The charitable institutions that emerged reflected a nexus of lay initiative, religious culture and civic political life. Though their independent nature makes generalisation difficult, Brasher assembles evidence from over 175 hospitals covering a wide geographic and chronological expanse to create a picture of the internal life of the institutions and their place within the urban community. In so doing, she provides a new framework for understanding the rise of the central civic hospital in the fifteenth century, a phenomenon that has generally been seen as a particular product of the Renaissance. Hospitals and charity will be of interest to students and researchers of medieval social, religious, or urban history.

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Bibliographic Information
  • Pub date: June 2017
  • 9781526119292 / 1526119293
  • United Kingdom
  • PDF
  • Primary Price: 125 USD
  • Manchester University Press
  • Readership: General/trade
  • Publish State: Published
  • Reference Code: 9687