Communities and Crisis

Bologna during the Black Death


Bologna is well known for its powerful university and notariate of the thirteenth century, but the fourteenth-century city is less studied. This work redresses the imbalance in scholarship by examining social and economic life at mid-fourteenth century, particularly during the epidemic of plague, the Black Death of 1348. Arguing against medieval chroniclers' accounts of massive social, political, and religious breakdown, this examination of the immediate experience of the epidemic, based on notarial records--including over a thousand testaments--demonstrates resilience during the crisis. The notarial record reveals the activities and decisions of large numbers of individuals and families in the city and provides a reconstruction of the behavior of clergy, medical practitioners, government and neighborhood officials, and notaries during the epidemic.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
Shona Kelly Wray, Ph.D. (1999) in History, University of Colorado at Boulder, is Associate Professor of History at the University of Missouri--Kansas City. Her publications concern the experience of the Black Death and notarial culture in late medieval Bologna.
List of Tables, Figures, and Maps
A Note on Currency, Names and Titles


1. The Notarial Evidence: Testaments in the Libri Memoriali, Demaniale, and the Provvisori
2. Illuminating the Dark Century: Notarial Evidence on Bologna's Civic Life
3. Social Reactions of the Populace during the Black Death
4. Public Persons during the Black Death
5. Neighbourhood Activity during the Black Death
6. The Individual and the Family

Map of Bologna
Map of Parishes of Bologna
List PArisches for Map of Parishes of Bologna
Appendix A
Appendix B
General Index
Index of Medieval Bolognese Individuals (1348)
Those interested in the Black Death and medieval Italy: students; educated lay public; History instructors at survey, upper-division undergraduate, and graduate levels; specialists in the history of medicine, history of the family and inheritance, urban history of medieval Italy, the notariate.
  • Collapse
  • Expand