The Decameron – The Medical Significance Outweighs the Sexual Obscenity

Avatar

/ published 5 months ago

The Decameron – The Medical Significance Outweighs the Sexual Obscenity

The plot of the book is set in Italy during the time of the Black Death (a plague resulting in deaths of 75 to 200 million people across Europe and Asia). During the plague, a group of seven young women and three young men flee from Florence to a deserted villa in the countryside for two weeks

The Decameron s a novel by Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio. The plot of the book is set in Italy during the time of the Black Death (a plague resulting in deaths of 75 to 200 million people across Europe and Asia). During the plague, a group of seven young women and three young men flee from Florence to a deserted villa in the countryside for two weeks. During the evenings, every member tells a story each night, except for one day per week for chores, and the holy days during which they do no work at all. The end result is ten nights of storytelling over the course of two weeks, and by the end of the fortnight, they have told 100 stories.



The primary title exemplifies Boccaccio’s fondness for Greek philology, as the book combines two words, one meaning ten and the other day, forming a term that literally translates to “ten-day event”.

A common perception among historians is that the supposed obscenity led to the book being banned and suppressed here and there by powerful groups. For example, the Roman Catholic Church banned the book, but knew they cannot eventually obliterate the widely circulated work. In the end, they tried to fix it, but later on that.

While many people focus on the sexual obscenity of The Decameron, the book actually has a wide medical and historical significance.

The historical significance of The Decameron

The Decameron is primarily a work of fiction. But the introduction of the book has emerged as an important historical record of the social, physical, and psychological effects of the previously unknown “Yersina pestis” bacteria. This was the bacteria causing the Black Death. It is one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in death of an estimated 75 to 200 million people in Eurasia and Europe. The bacteria result in different forms of plague.

The Decameron provides a philosophical insight into the medieval psyche as Europe faced the alarming and unprecedented epidemic of the 1348 Black Plague. Whether Boccaccio was in Florence as the Black Plague swept the city is uncertain. However, one thing is certain without a doubt, and that is that he had access to authentic information on the abject suffering caused by the plague, as well as the social ramifications.

The author managed to discuss the contemporary view that the plague was from the uncivilized East, “where it propagated itself without respite from place to place and so calamitously had spread into the West”, and the alternate belief that the pestilence had been sent by “God in His just wrath by way of retribution for our iniquities”.



The Decameron provides a valuable insight to the altered human moral behavior during the Black Plague. For starts, the willingness to persecute foreigners and Jewish people, the harsh ostracism of the sick, the self-imposed exile of the healthy, and much more. Boccaccio mentions the deterioration of social institutions, including medical, religious, public health, and legal, as well as their inability to affect and take any control of the progress of the disease.

Nowadays, the Decameron remains one of the most famous surviving documents detailing the effects of the Black Plague. While his profession as a novelist and poet raises questions regarding authenticity and accuracy, the reality of the epidemic is well described in his work.

How the Church managed the Decameron?

The Church and its management is widely used in the Decameron. But not in a good way. Therefore, the Church tried to ban the book, but couldn’t stop people from reading it. So, they decided to manage it. In the early 1570s, a team of clerical scholars led by Vincenzo Borghini set about emending its text. What they did was cloak the religious people. They enhanced the language. The erotic elements, the obscenity, and other key elements of the tale and the meaning were left. However, the references to the clergy had been removed. The Church’s biggest problem was the dignity of the Roman Catholic Church, and they managed to keep it intact by removing references to priests, nuns, monasteries, and so on.

From Around the Web

Related Videos

History
Studio 54 documentary
youtube icon
01:03:41
Music +1

Studio 54 can often be described as Sodom and Gomorra. The club became famous the best place to be for having fun and partying in the late 1970s.Everything started in 1976, w...

  • 242
  • 1 week ago
  • 8(2)
History
ancient egypt secrets
youtube icon
45:52

Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa. The civilization was concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place that is now the country Egy...

  • 439
  • 2 weeks ago
  • Not Rated
Health
scoliosis surgery
youtube icon
12:46

More than 25,000 people on a yearly basis suffer from a severe case of scoliosis, to the point they require surgery. Spinal fusion is the most frequently performed surgical p...

  • 125
  • 3 weeks ago
  • Not Rated
Medicine
abu al qasim
youtube icon
05:02
Health +1

Abu al-Qasim, popularly known as Al-Zahrawi, is considered the father of modern surgery. He is a proof that many of the things we have nowadays, have Islamic heritage. A lot ...

  • 335
  • 1 month ago
  • Not Rated
Related Articles
She tackled issues regarding the political, economic, and social standing of black people in America through her writing...
  • 266
  • 2 weeks ago
The Micro CT scan revealed a small brain combining ape-like and human-like features. The scan shows that the brain of Li...
  • 276
  • 1 month ago
The history of Onna-bugeisha dates long before the samurai. In fact, even before the emergence of samurai, Japanese figh...
  • 496
  • 2 months ago
ack in Ancient Egypt, people used cinnamon in their embalming mixtures, and it was also used by Moses as an anointing oil
  • 589
  • 3 months ago