Abstract and Keywords
The Merovingian world has not usually been thought worth a chapter in histories of public health. Yet it seems to provide a striking example of measures taken by bishops to prevent the spread of a lethal epidemic, possibly the Justinianic Plague. It also gave rise to the first wave of hospital foundations in western Europe, hospitals that cared charitably for the poor and needy but that also offered therapy for the body as well as the soul. The chapter explores the best documented examples of such initiatives, placing them in the contexts of medicine, disease, poverty, and charity.
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