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Social Perception of Infertility and Its Treatment in Late Medieval Italy: Margherita Datini, an Italian Merchant's Wife

Title
Social Perception of Infertility and Its Treatment in Late Medieval Italy: Margherita Datini, an Italian Merchant's Wife
Authors
Nam, Jong Kuk
Ewha Authors
남종국
SCOPUS Author ID
남종국scopus
Issue Date
2016
Journal Title
KOREAN JOURNAL OF MEDICAL HISTORY
ISSN
1225-505XJCR Link
Citation
vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 519 - 556
Keywords
Marglierita DatiniFrancesco DatinifertilityMedieval EuropeFlorencePratomedical booksGoddevildiseasesocial perception
Publisher
KOREAN SOC HIST MED
Indexed
AHCI; SCOPUS; KCI WOS
Abstract
Because the perception of infertility in medieval Europe ranged from the extremely religious view of it as a malediction of God or the devil's work, to the reasonable medical conception of it as a sort of disease to treat, it is very difficult to determine the general attitudes of ordinary people towards infertility. This article seeks to elucidate the common social perception of infertility and its treatment in late medieval Europe by analyzing the case of Margherita Datini, an Italian merchant's wife who lived in the 1400s. It relies heavily- on the documents left by her and her husband, Francesco Datini; the couple left many records, including letters of correspondence between them, Margherita and those around her regarded infertility not as the devil's curse or a punishment by God but as a disease that can be cured. Margherita and her husband, Francesco, tried hard to cure their infertility. They received treatment and prescriptions from several doctors while also relying on folk remedies, religious therapies, and even magical remedies. The comparative analysis of Datini documents, medical books, and theoretical treatises or prescriptive essays by clerics suggests that the general perception of infertility in medieval Europe was located between the extremely religious and modern medical conceptions of it.
DOI
10.13081/kjmh.2016.25.519
Appears in Collections:
인문과학대학 > 사학전공 > Journal papers
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