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Doctors and Medicine in Early Renaissance Florence

by Katharine Park

Doctors and Medicine is a social, intellectual, and institutional history of medical organization and practice in Florence during the century after the Black Death of 1348.  North Italian cities like Florence were among the first to develop a well defined medical profession that ministered to the needs of both rich and poor.  Emphasizing the diversity of medical practice in the city, Katharine Park discusses the institutions of guild and university, hospital and confraternity, Church and state, which shaped the medical world of the early Renaissance, and she places them in the general context of Florentine civic life and culture. 

The book also focuses on the doctors themselves, describing their social position and their intellectual life, including their participation in the scientific, literary, and artistic culture of the Florentine Renaissance.  Park argues that the advent of plague marked a crisis in the life of the medical profession, transforming its composition and the conditions of medical practice.

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