27 October 2021 - 16 h 00 min - 18 h 00 min
The first session of the “Thermalisme et Politique (17e siècle – 19e siècle)” seminar for 2021-2022 will be hold face-to-face and online on wednesday, october 27th (16h – 18h) :
– face-to-face : Université de Paris, Campus des Grands Moulins, Bâtiment Olympe de Gouges, room 829
– online : on Zoom
To attend to this seminar, please register to the organizers, specifying a face-to-face or online preference :
Vous recevrez un mail de confirmation avant la séance avec la salle et le lien Zoom.
In this session, dedicated to religious practices in water cities, we will welcome:
- Andrea Toffolon (Università degli studi di Padova, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia) : « Holy Spas. Religion and Medicine in Early Modern Venice. »
- Liesbeth Corens (Queen Mary – University of London) : « « Out of Time: Temporality and Confessional Relations in an International Spa Town »
The summaries of the interventions are online on the booklet Hypothèses : https://thermal1719.hypotheses.org
The seminar is supported by IHRIM (Université Clermont Auvergne), LARCA, ICT and the Institut la Personne en Médecine (Université de Paris), as well as the Labex Comod and the City of Vichy.
« Holy Spas. Religion and Medicine in Early Modern Venice. »
Andrea Toffolon (Università degli studi di Padova, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia)
In the early fifteenth century, a soldier saw a Marian apparition in the city of Monteortone, near the Paduan baths of Abano; the Madonna promised to heal his wounds if he would have taken the water of the nearby thermal source. The soldier followed the instructions and so he was healed; then he found an image of the Madonna in the water. Subsequently, a small oratory (that incorporated the thermal source) was build, and a few years later this was enlarged and became a church, with an annexed convent of the Augustinians. This sequence adheres to the typical Marian apparitions stories and legends, but there is more to it. In the Counter-reformation period, this story was used by the local erudite historian and bishop Giacomo Filippo Tomasini to justify the presence of the Augustinians and to testify the importance of the monastery and its miraculous thermal water. His printed book on the history of the Madonna of Monteortone (1644) suggests a more effective healing power of the Monteortone thermal water, due to its sacred feature, than that of the famous and nearby Abano spas. Moreover, this book and other historical sources attest the attempt to delimitate the fields of medicine and religion – a process, carried out by medical and religious authorities, that was not always successful. I will discuss this case study in order to demonstrate the long history of the overlap between medical and religious aspects in the development of thermal sources and spas; moreover, I will underline the rhetorical aspects and the common propaganda features of treatises on spas, written by physicians or clerics.
« Out of Time: Temporality and Confessional Relations in an International Spa Town »
Liesbeth Corens (Queen Mary – University of London)
Spa, a little town, hidden deep in the Ardennes, has for centuries attracted international visitors by virtue of its acidic waters. It was a place of retreat and détente, where rivalries between nations and confessions were seemingly put on hold, for the sake of healthcare. This paper takes that temporal coexistence as starting point. Foregoing retrospective assumptions of ‘Enlightened’ values, it looks at the concrete motivations and practices by which coexistence was made possible. Bracketing out disputes for the time of the health retreat, interwoven calendars, and fluctuating priorities all ensured that this town, which promised a time out of daily preoccupations, was, nonetheless, very firmly of its time.