Public health problems in the medieval statutes of Vinodol, Vrbnik and Senj (West Croatia)
By Jozip Azman et al.,
Journal of Public Health, vol. 28:2 (2006)
Background The ancient Croatian statutes were written in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The aim of this study was to seek out regulations concerning public health in the oldest medieval statutes of the towns on the northern Adriatic coast (W Croatia).
Methods All translated text editions of the statutes of the three towns were examined. The statutes were written in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
Results The research of the materials revealed the examples of direct and indirect ways of protecting public health. Regulations on keeping towns clean and the rules for dealing with animal products were found. Additionally, witches and fortunetellers were found to be treated as a negative force and defined as the embodiment of evil: they were thus considered to be heavily connected to illness and misfortune.
Conclusion The aforementioned rules are not only important from the historical point of view, but also as a reflection of people’s awareness of public health as a condition of survival and the progress of the community as a whole. Furthermore, since those statutes were created from people’s customs that were to eventually become a law, they show substantial progress in medical history for that particular part of Croatia.