Health and Disease in Zygmunt August's and His Sisters' Letters of the Second Half of the 16th Century Cover Image

Zdrowie i choroba w korespondencji Zygmunta Augusta i jego sióstr z drugiej połowy XVI wieku
Health and Disease in Zygmunt August's and His Sisters' Letters of the Second Half of the 16th Century

Author(s): Agnieszka Januszek-Sieradzka
Subject(s): History
Published by: Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL & Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II
Keywords: letters; medicine; The Jagiellons; King Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572); Isabelle Jagiellon (1519-1559); Sophia Jagiellon (1522-1575); Anne Jagiellon (1523-1596); Catherine Jagiellon (1526-1583)

Summary/Abstract: According to the epistolographic principles of those times the Jagiellons devoted a lot of place and of attention to the problems of the health in their letters. This subject was a dominant one especially in the letters written by the King’s sisters: Isabelle, Sophia, Catherine, and first of all Anne Jagiellon; but in King Sigismund II Augustus’s letters this issue was quite often present. In the royal letters information can be found concerning not only their authors, but in fact the whole Jagiellonian family. The analyzed epistolary material allows to define Jagiellons’ state of health and the kind of the diseases they suffered from, to present the medical personnel working in the circle of Sigismund II Augustus and his family including folk healers, and to indicate the treatments and cures used at the royal court, including magical manipulations and jewels so popular in the Renaissance Europe. In the light of letters written by the last generation of the Jagiellons a certain typicality of diseases they suffered from is clearly seen; it is connected with their living standards and characteristic of social layers whose situation was best, and also connected with the wrong diet they had. The letters also throw light on the significant issue of the effect of the state of the monarch’s health on the way the state functioned as well as the effect of the epidemics spreading on Polish and Lithuanian territories in the 16th century on the efficiency of the state apparatus.

  • Issue Year: 57/2009
  • Issue No: 02
  • Page Range: 37-67
  • Page Count: 31
  • Language: Polish