IMC 2017: Sessions

Session 1510: Water and Health: Religious, Social, and Environmental Perspectives, I

Thursday 6 July 2017, 09.00-10.30

Sponsor:Wellcome Library, London
Organiser:Elma Brenner, Wellcome Library, London
Moderator/Chair:Carole Rawcliffe, School of History, University of East Anglia
Paper 1510-aBuilding Wells and Cleaning Souls: Maintaining Spiritual Health in a Late Medieval Sermon Series
(Language: English)
Hetta Howes, School of English & Drama, Queen Mary, University of London
Index terms: Daily Life, Language and Literature - Middle English, Medicine, Sermons and Preaching
Paper 1510-bGutters and Cesspools: Waste Water Management and Sanitation in Medieval Montpellier
(Language: English)
Geneviève Dumas, Département d'histoire, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec
Catherine Dubé, Département d'histoire, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec
Index terms: Daily Life, Economics - Urban, Medicine, Social History

This session explores the connections between water and health in medieval urban and religious culture. Water had strong spiritual associations, especially with the cleansing of souls and miraculous healing. By the late Middle Ages, people were aware of the connection between polluted water and the spread of disease. The moral imperative to protect the purity of water sources was informed by both religious and environmental thinking. Offenders who polluted urban water supplies, such as butchers, were subject to opprobrium and ostracism. The papers address the multifaceted relationship between water and health by considering a range of sources, from sermons to municipal records.