The Epidemics of the Middle Ages


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(4.3 stars; 9 reviews)

Justus Friedrich Carl Hecker (1795-1850) was a German physician and medical writer, whose research focused on the history of epidemics, in a broad sense of the term that included pandemics like the Black Death as well as the group of social phenomena known as dancing mania. The Epidemics of the Middle Ages comprises three of his works -- The Black Death, The Dancing Mania, and The Sweating Sickness -- translated by the English epidemiologist Benjamin Guy Babington. Despite what the name of the book may suggest, the events it describes are not limited to the Middle Ages.

The Black Death recounts the history of the bubonic plague in Europe, with particular attention to its cultural ramifications, such as the Flagellant movement and persecution of the Jews. The Dancing Mania describes mysterious social phenomena that occurred mainly in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries, in which groups of people engaged in apparently uncontrollable dancing. The nature of the dancing mania continues to be a subject of debate, and Hecker's book remains one of its most comprehensive descriptions. The Sweating Sickness was a series of epidemics that struck England and later continental Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. Hecker's account pays particular attention to its impact on political history.

Hecker's books were written before the germ theory of disease became widely accepted. While his accounts of epidemics are based on critical examination of historical evidence, modern readers are likely to disagree not only with his epidemiological theories, but also with his assessments of the evidence itself. These disagreements can provide a striking illustration of how the prevailing views of one's time may affect one's judgements about credibility of primary sources.

The audiobook includes appendices which contain source materials, including (for The Sweating Sickness) a 1552 treatise by the English physician John Caius and (for The Dancing Mania) examples of music as well as short texts in Latin, German, and the early modern German dialect of Cologne.(Summary by Kazbek) (14 hr 57 min)

Chapters

General Preface 8:10 Read by Kazbek
Hecker's Address to the Physicians of Germany 20:11 Read by Kazbek
The Black Death. Translator's Preface 8:43 Read by Kazbek
The Black Death. Preface 4:14 Read by Kazbek
The Black Death. Chapter I, General Observations 3:37 Read by Kazbek
The Black Death. Chapter II, The Disease 22:03 Read by Kazbek
The Black Death. Chapter III, Causes--Spread 25:32 Read by Kazbek
The Black Death. Chapter IV, Mortality 24:47 Read by Kazbek
The Black Death. Chapter V, Moral Effects 43:03 Read by Kazbek
The Black Death. Chapter VI, Physicians 42:07 Read by Kazbek
The Black Death. Appendix I, The Ancient Song of the Flagellants 6:06 Read by Kazbek
The Black Death. Appendix II, Examination of the Jews accused of poisoning the … 14:55 Read by Kazbek
The Dancing Mania. Translator's Preface 6:57 Read by Kazbek
The Dancing Mania. Preface 2:05 Read by Kazbek
The Dancing Mania. Chapter I, Dancing Mania in Germany and the Netherlands 45:42 Read by Kazbek
The Dancing Mania. Chapter II, Dancing Mania in Italy 53:02 Read by Kazbek
The Dancing Mania. Chapter III, Dancing Mania in Abyssinia 14:38 Read by Kazbek
The Dancing Mania. Chapter IV, Sympathy 34:57 Read by Kazbek
The Dancing Mania. Appendix I, [LATIN] Extract from "Vita Gregorii XI," &c.; 4:51 Read by Kazbek
The Dancing Mania. Appendix II, [LATIN] From "Chronicon Magnum," &c. 5:26 Read by Kazbek
The Dancing Mania. Appendix III, [GERMAN] From "Die Limburger Chronik," &c. 3:04 Read by Kazbek
The Dancing Mania. Appendix IV, [KÖLSCH] From "die Chronica van Coellen," &c. 3:09 Read by Kazbek
The Dancing Mania. Appendix V, From "an Account of Convulsive Diseases in Scotl… 35:18 Read by Kazbek
The Dancing Mania. Appendix VI, Music for the Dance of the Tarantati, &c.; 4:27 Read by Kazbek
The Sweating Sickness. Preface 7:07 Read by Kazbek
The Sweating Sickness. Chapter I, First Visitation. 1485 28:19 Read by Kazbek
The Sweating Sickness. Chapter II, Second Visitation. 1506 35:18 Read by Kazbek
The Sweating Sickness. Chapter III, Third Visitation. 1517 48:01 Read by Kazbek
The Sweating Sickness. Chapter IV, Fourth Visitation. 1528, 1529 (part 1) 44:26 Read by Kazbek
The Sweating Sickness. Chapter IV, Fourth Visitation. 1528, 1529 (part 2) 24:50 Read by Kazbek
The Sweating Sickness. Chapter IV, Fourth Visitation. 1528, 1529 (part 3) 33:31 Read by Kazbek
The Sweating Sickness. Chapter IV, Fourth Visitation. 1528, 1529 (part 4) 45:07 Read by Kazbek
The Sweating Sickness. Chapter V. Fifth Visitation. 1551 37:39 Read by Kazbek
The Sweating Sickness. Chapter VI. Sweating Sicknesses 1:01:44 Read by Kazbek
The Sweating Sickness. Appendix. A Boke, or Counseill against the Disease commo… 45:50 Read by Kazbek
The Sweating Sickness. Appendix (continued) 48:39 Read by Kazbek

Reviews

Very educational book


(5 stars)

This book is wonderfully read. The reader's voice is very pleasant and easy to listen to. Enjoyed this book!