Confraternities and the Plague in Orvieto: 1340–1410

Alexandra R. A. Lee

Abstract


Confraternities can be seen as a barometer of social and cultural trends. This article explores the use of confraternity sources as records for the impact of plague. Using Orvieto (Umbria) between 1340 and 1410 as a setting, this article assesses the response to plague by the town’s population through their joining the confraternity of San Francesco. My analysis demonstrates the serious impact of the Black Death on Orvieto. It also reinforces the importance of studying subsequent outbreaks of the plague to better understand the role of epidemic disease in expressions of popular piety as well as the importance of situating the study of disease and confraternities in their local context.

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