Iranian Journal of Public Health 2017. 46(3):286-292.

Medical Care or Disciplinary Discourses? Preventive Measures against the Black Death in Late Medieval Paris: A Brief Review
Yong Jin HONG, Sam Hun PARK


Background: This paper examined the political and social implications of the Compendium de epidemia prescription written by the Masters of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Paris in the mid-14th century during the Black Death. This study aimed to examine how the effects of power as a discourse owned by medical knowledge are revealed.

Methods: This paper outlines the composition of the contents based on the 1888 edition edited and translated by Émile H. Rébouis and notes the features of the prescription examined by the existing study of medical history rather than the causes of diseases.

Results: Compendium de epidemia seems to have been written primarily for the royal family and nobles who ordered them when looking at prescription-related technologies. At the same time, under the influence of Islamic-Arabic academia, it clearly distinguishes the world of faith and the world of academia (intelligence), explaining the pathogenesis and infection pathways based on causality. The onset substrate is due to heat and humidity, and the prescription is to prevent the two from overdoing in the body. In particular, issues related to heat are criticized in connection with the value of life of knight-noblesse. This is in response to political criticism of the ineffectual French royal family and nobility at the beginning of the Hundred Years' War and shows why this tract sets the utilitas publica at the forefront as an important purpose.

Conclusion: The conclusion has shown how medical knowledge produced on the Black Death pandemic how they function as discourses that have a sort of power effect on the value of life of knight-noblesse. It is necessary to conduct if these phenomena can be found in other contemporary medical writings.


Keywords: Black death, Medical treatment, Middle ages, Knowledge/power

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