Seminar: “‘Reduced wretchedly to nothing’: Hospitals, Leprosaria, and Corruption in the Medieval West”
Anna Peterson (Mellon Fellow, PIMS)
Jacques de Vitry described hospitals and leprosaria as ‘ministering to the destitute and infirm devoutly and with humility,’ and was deeply troubled by the emergence of corruption and malfeasance in these institutions in the thirteenth century. The history of these establishments is far from straightforward and, in the case of leprosy, it has experienced a significant paradigm shift since the early 1990s. This presentation will focus on how historians, among others, have reconstructed and understood these assistive institutions and how these houses fit into the emergence of secular institutions and the rise of municipal authorities in the mid-thirteenth century.