Patienthood in medieval Tuscany: beliefs and cures

Med Humanit. 2016 Jun;42(2):76-80. doi: 10.1136/medhum-2015-010835. Epub 2016 May 12.


This paper focuses on intersections of holy and sick bodies in the Tuscan Middle Ages to examine how the faithful accessed miraculous cures from contact with, or belief in, the relics of the saints. Rather than examine the relationship between the long dead martyrs (whose relics were abundant), however, it will look at the relationship between relatively recent saints and their devotees. The miracles discussed are traditional-that is, they are found in the lives of many saints and are not exceptional. It is hoped, however, that by concentrating on Tuscany, some insights can be secured on the relationship between Tuscan individuals of the late middle ages and those of their community who were recognised, either officially or through vox populi, as saints.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Culture*
  • History, Medieval
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Patients / history*
  • Religion and Medicine*
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Saints / history*