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Public Persons During The Black Death

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the activities of public men whose professions involved serving the populace and maintaining public order: men of the law and state, such as government officials, judges, and notaries; practitioners of medicine; the clergy; and parish officials or ministrales cappellarum. This chapter begins by examining the response of the government to plague, which has always been a principal subject of scholarly investigation, and then adds new material to the historiography of the Black Death with a reconstruction of the activities of notaries, doctors, clergy, and lastly neighborhood officials during the epidemic. The neighborhood was a center of activity during the Black Death. Notaries, friars, and priests worked in neighborhoods variously characterized by two, three, or four adjacent parishes. The religious leaders of the parish, the parish priests, focused their attention on their parishioners during the crisis of plague.

Keywords: Black Death; epidemic; parish officials; plague; public persons



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