Walking Corpses: Leprosy in Byzantium and the Medieval West

Walking Corpses: Leprosy in Byzantium and the Medieval West

Timothy S. Miller, John W. Nesbitt


Leprosy has bothered people for millions of years. It wasn't until eventually the 12th century, besides the fact that, that the scary ailment entered the collective psyche of Western society, because of a daunting epidemic that ravaged Catholic Europe. The Church replied through developing charitable associations known as leprosariums to regard the quickly increasing variety of sufferers. As vital as those occasions have been, Timothy Miller and John Nesbitt remind us that the background of leprosy within the West is incomplete with out additionally contemplating the Byzantine Empire, which faced leprosy and its results good prior to the Latin West. In Walking Corpses, they provide the 1st account of medieval leprosy that integrates the historical past of East and West.

In their informative and fascinating account, Miller and Nesbitt problem a few misperceptions and myths approximately medieval attitudes towards leprosy (known this day as Hansen’s disease). They argue that moral writings from the Byzantine international and from Catholic Europe by no means branded leprosy as punishment for sin; quite, theologians and moralists observed the disorder as a mark of God’s prefer on these selected for heaven. The stimulus to prohibit lepers from society and finally to persecute them got here now not from Christian impression yet from Germanic standard legislation. Leprosariums weren't prisons to punish lepers yet have been facilities of care to provide them help; a few even supplied either female and male citizens the chance to control their very own groups less than a sort of written structure. expert via contemporary bioarchaeological study that has enormously increased wisdom of the sickness and its remedy by means of medieval society, Walking Corpses additionally contains 3 key Greek texts relating to leprosy (one of which hasn't ever been translated into English before).

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