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Title: Health and disease in Medieval and Tudor Norwich
Author: Fay, Isla Helen Hood.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3458 5017
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis comprises a thematic survey of health and disease in an English community: the city of Norwich c. 1200-c. 1600. It brings a new approach to an understudied subject, because it gives equal weight to evidence from archaeology, history, palaeopathology and art history. A survey of published work on health and the urban environment to date highlights some anachronistic approaches that are frequently encountered when interpreting the medical paradigms of the past. We then consider how Norwich's ruling elite used the symbolism of the healthy human body in its civic ceremonies and demonstrated an active interest in protecting the health of the residents. Ancient Galenic and Hippocratic ideas formed the basis of contemporary theories concerning the potential risks to health inherent in the urban environment. As the impact of these ideas has not been adequately explored before in a civic context, a summary is presented of the assumptions about human physiology current during our period. An explanation is given of how these ideas reached Norwich's citizens. The heart of the thesis analyses a famous prospect of the city by William Cuningham, published in 1559. This map or plan is placed into the context of the Classical Greek ideas described above. The medical significance of this illustration is fully investigated for the first time The remaining portion of the thesis looks in detail at how Norwich's residents implemented schemes that, they believed, would safeguard their health. Balancing the picture from the perspective of ill-health, a chapter is dedicated to the examination of those diseases observable in archaeologically excavated human remains. It is argued that funerary arrangements reflected attitudes towards individuals suffering from crippling or disfiguring diseases, as well as to the concepts described in previous chapters. Finally, the evidence from Norwich (and in particular the activities of an elite group of Norwich aldermen) is placed in the wider context of civic humanist literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available