The article analyzes the use of history in medicine. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries both in printed medical treatises and in manuscript documentation produced by the health magistrates, authors resorted to historical reconstructions. Sometimes the end was simply rhetorical, but above all in epidemiology a heuristic purpose was assigned to history. At the turning point between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries this paradigm was challenged by iconoclastic figures such as Giovanni Rasori who promoted new tools such as those offered by statistics. Yet, all the same, Rasori was prepared to write a history when he himself faced an epidemic in Genoa, (1799-1800), admitting the usefulness of historical knowledge for medicine. Thus, history would continue to play a relevant role in those branches of medicine most linked to public health, with the use of historical narratives as a guide in facing the unknown and a justification for one’s different approaches to emergencies.

Medicina e storia: l’uso del passato nella sanità pubblica tra Sette e Ottocento

Giulia Delogu
2024-01-01

Abstract

The article analyzes the use of history in medicine. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries both in printed medical treatises and in manuscript documentation produced by the health magistrates, authors resorted to historical reconstructions. Sometimes the end was simply rhetorical, but above all in epidemiology a heuristic purpose was assigned to history. At the turning point between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries this paradigm was challenged by iconoclastic figures such as Giovanni Rasori who promoted new tools such as those offered by statistics. Yet, all the same, Rasori was prepared to write a history when he himself faced an epidemic in Genoa, (1799-1800), admitting the usefulness of historical knowledge for medicine. Thus, history would continue to play a relevant role in those branches of medicine most linked to public health, with the use of historical narratives as a guide in facing the unknown and a justification for one’s different approaches to emergencies.
2024
50
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5059341
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