In this paper I would like to explore theories of disease and practices of healing in late medieval and early modern Europe, and to focus on two diseases, leprosy and plague. Much of the discussion will be based on Italian evidence since in this period, and especially in the sixteenth century, Italy was in the forefront of European medicine. Physicians were more numerous in Italy than in most European countries, and available not only in cities, but in small towns and rural communities. But disease and healing were not the exclusive concern of the medical profession. The church had not forgotten that healing had theological overtones. Equally there were the governments of the Italian states deeply committed to legislation for public health and to the control of epidemics.
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