The Early Quarantine in the Western Balkans

Études Balkaniques (Sofia), 2023, N 1


Institute of Balkan Studies & Center of Thracology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences


Abstract: The subject of the emergence and spread of the „Black Death“ has been extensively studied by numerous researchers around the world. This publication focuses on one of the main medical practices, which proved to be the most effective against the spread of the disease – quarantine. One of the earliest applications of quarantine were precisely in the lands of the Western Balkans. On July 27, 1377, the Senate of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) issued an order forbidding the entry of people arriving from regions with recorded cases of plague into the city. The infected were isolated on the island of Mrkan and in the Old Town (Cavtat) for a period of about one month. Related to the preventive measures against the plague, the population of Ragusa was forbidden to have contact with the isolated sick people. In case of violation of the ban, the offender also had to be isolated for a period of about a month. Persons specially designated by the Senate took care of the quarantined, supplying them with food and other essentials. In addition to examining the issue of the emergence of the concept of quarantine in Europe, the article also reviews information on the spread of the plague epidemic from the 14th century.

Keywords: Plague, Quarantine, Late Middle Ages, Ragusa, Medicine

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