De rechtsgeleerde omgang met pestepidemieën | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1566-7146
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1611



From the fourteenth till the seventeenth centuries, European societies have been confronted with regular outbreaks of pestilence.

fn1Dit onderzoek kwam tot stand dankzij de financiële ondersteuning van KU Leuven – Interne Fondsen. De auteur dankt de reviewers en redactieleden voor hun opmerkingen.

In these times of crisis, jurists have had to respond to a variety of new and often unexpected legal questions. In their learned consilia, they developed creative reasonings based on the Justinianic sources and proposed solutions, also taking into account the advice by their medical and theological colleagues. In the early sixteenth century, the juridical response to pestilence-related cases was summarized in a few treatises, e.g. by Gianfrancesco Sannazzari della Ripa (1522) and by Girolamo Previdelli (1524). This contribution presents the main findings of these treatises. It offers a summary of the measures that have been proposed to prevent outbreaks and to cure the ill, of the ways of dealing with the socio-economic consequences of an epidemic, and of the possible relaxations of formal legal requirements regarding contracts, last wills and civil procedure. Based on a first exploratory research, this contribution adds references to Netherlandish legal literature, especially to some learned consilia.


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