Plague Psychology

Samuel K. Cohn

in Cultures of Plague

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199574025
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722530 | DOI:
 						Plague Psychology

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter explores the psychological ramifications of plague that provoked social conflict and mass fear, which doctors and others in 1575–8 now saw as adding significantly to plague mortalities. This turn to the psychological and moral ramifications of plague did not mean that the crisis of 1575–8 was fought under the dark cloud of Counter‐Reformation piety and authority, a return to apocalyptic notions of plague and a rejection of medical ‘realism’. Instead of a Church–State conflict embracing two fundamentally different views of the plague's cause, the chapter shows mutual respect and cooperation in combating the pan‐Italian plague of 1575–8: both passed ordinances steeped in the realisation that plague spread because of human contagion and the contamination of goods.

Keywords: social conflict; mass fear; psychology; Counter‐Reformation; piety; Apocalypse; plague ordinances; contagion; contamination

Chapter.  15025 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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