Walking Corpses: Leprosy in Byzantium and the Medieval West by Timothy S. MillerWalking Corpses: Leprosy in Byzantium and the Medieval West by Timothy S. Miller

Walking Corpses: Leprosy in Byzantium and the Medieval West

byTimothy S. Miller, John W. Nesbitt

Hardcover | April 29, 2014

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Leprosy has afflicted humans for thousands of years. It wasn't until the twelfth century, however, that the dreaded disease entered the collective psyche of Western society, thanks to a frightening epidemic that ravaged Catholic Europe. The Church responded by constructing charitable institutions called leprosariums to treat the rapidly expanding number of victims. As important as these events were, Timothy Miller and John Nesbitt remind us that the history of leprosy in the West is incomplete without also considering the Byzantine Empire, which confronted leprosy and its effects well before the Latin West. In Walking Corpses, they offer the first account of medieval leprosy that integrates the history of East and West.

In their informative and engaging account, Miller and Nesbitt challenge a number of misperceptions and myths about medieval attitudes toward leprosy (known today as Hansen’s disease). They argue that ethical writings from the Byzantine world and from Catholic Europe never branded leprosy as punishment for sin; rather, theologians and moralists saw the disease as a mark of God’s favor on those chosen for heaven. The stimulus to ban lepers from society and ultimately to persecute them came not from Christian influence but from Germanic customary law. Leprosariums were not prisons to punish lepers but were centers of care to offer them support; some even provided both male and female residents the opportunity to govern their own communities under a form of written constitution. Informed by recent bioarchaeological research that has vastly expanded knowledge of the disease and its treatment by medieval society, Walking Corpses also includes three key Greek texts regarding leprosy (one of which has never been translated into English before).

Timothy S. Miller is Professor of History at Salisbury University. He is the author of The Birth of the Hospital in the Byzantine Empire and The Orphans of Byzantium. John W. Nesbitt has retired as Research Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks. He is coauthor of The Miracles of St. Artemios: A Collection of Miracle Stories by an Anonymous Au...
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Title:Walking Corpses: Leprosy in Byzantium and the Medieval WestFormat:HardcoverDimensions:9 × 6 × 0.39 inPublished:April 29, 2014Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801451353

ISBN - 13:9780801451355

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1. The Ancient World
2. Leprosy in the Byzantine Empire
3. Byzantine Medicine
4. Byzantine Leprosariums
5. Leprosy in the Latin West
6. Leprosariums in the Latin West
7. The Knights of Lazarus

Conclusion
Appendixes
1. Aretaios of Cappadocia, On Acute and Chronic Diseases (Books IV.13 and VIII.13)
2. Gregory of Nyssa's Oration, Regarding the Words "As much as you have done for one of these, you have done for me" (Matt. 25:40)
3. Selection from The Funeral Oration in Praise of Saint John Chrysostom (Chapters 60.17 to 67.1)

Editorial Reviews

"Timothy S. Miller and John W. Nesbitt have retrieved a wealth of source material to help elucidate the study of leprosy and its perception by society. Walking Corpses is written in an accessible way that should appeal to a broad audience of those interested in Byzantium and the Middle Ages as well as the history of disease and Christian charity."—Dionysios Stathakopoulos, King's College London, author of Famine and Pestilence in the Late Roman and Early Byzantine Empire