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August 30, 2007 at 2:50 pm #840
Drudge had a link to an article about a large grave or graves that were found within the past few years on the southern Venetian island of Lazzaretto Vecchio. The bodies (over 1500 of them) are from the late 15th Century through the next century or so. According to the article the sick were ordered to go to the island when they showed signs of sickness and they could not leave unless they either got better or succumbed to the disease. Mass Plague Graves Found on Venice "Quarantine" IslandIt is interesting, of course, to read about attempts to solve community or infrastructural issues at different points in history. Sending people off to their own island sounds like a cruel idea but it does make sense from a problem solving perspective. In fact the article mentions how this could have helped Venice get over the illness faster when the city was hit. I'm not sure of all the options that were available to Venice during that time, but I imagine shipping these people off to mainland Italy could have been a possibility. I wonder why the did not do this and set up a colony in some unpopulated area there.April 15, 2008 at 4:07 am #9671
Interestingly enough I'm doing a paper on a church that was built in thanksgiving for deliverance from the plague that hit Venice in 1629-1630. A third of the city was killed because of it.April 15, 2008 at 1:42 pm #9672skiguyModerator
When was the church built? Around the same time? It's easy to forget sometimes that the Plague went on for a lot longer than just a couple of centuries in the Middle Ages.April 16, 2008 at 3:54 am #9673
Yes, the church (Santa Maria della Salute) was begun in 1631 and was completed around 50 years later. At the time the Doge and Venetian officials made a vow to process to the church every year which the people of Venice still do in November (the Republic fell to Napoleon around 1797). It was built in honor of Mary and contains iconography which is both Marian and Venetian in nature.As I have been studying the topic I have found what a marvel the Venetian Republic was. It was somewhat at odds with Rome, yet both cities were Catholic. Whereas Rome had St. Peter, Venice had St. Mark, and through him they were in a way connected to Christ. Venetians believed in Venice's greatness, and also like Rome, they believed Venice had an almost "divine" beginning; the date of the city's founding goes to March 25, 421, which happens to be the Feast of the Annunciation when Christ was conceived. In the same way, Venice was "created" on such a day. This is one of the reasons why there is such great connection between the city and Mary.