Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Magic, heresy and the broom riding midwife witch - the Inquisition trial of Isabetta Caruana
Authors: Cassar, Carmel
Keywords: Witchcraft -- Malta -- History -- 16th century
Malta -- History -- Knights of Malta, 1530-1798
Midwives -- Malta -- History -- 16th century
Caruana, Isabetta
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Malta Historical Society
Citation: Cassar, C. (2004). Magic, heresy and the broom riding midwife witch - the Inquisition trial of Isabetta Caruana. Proceedings of History Week 2003, 25-41.
Abstract: In pre-industrial societies, as indeed in most modern day traditional communities, each household was expected to provide much of its own health care, a task that usually devolved on the housewife rather than the physician. In reality, even in the most advanced modern societies health care is still far from being the exclusive preserve of physicians. The major difference between the past and the present is that in earlier centuries even the very concept of a medical profession was challenged. On their pan physicians did try to assert monopoly rights through closed corporations and licensing but their efforts had little effect since they were usually only one among the many sources of medical expertise, which constantly tended to merge into one another. Surgeons, apothecaries, clerics, men of some learning, and local wise women, routinely offered medical advice as much as the physicians. Midwives in particular played a vital role in society at large, and even more so in small scale communities by attending at childbirth practically without any aid from the officially trained physicians, or other men of medicine, such that they often had to combine midwifery with improvised healing activities that often contained some form of practical magical techniques. All these elements can be seen in the trail of Isabetta Caruana, a midwife in 16th century Gozo that was brought in front of the Inquisitor accused of being a witch.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacEMATou

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Magic,_heresy_and_the_broom_riding_midwife_witch_2004.pdf503.95 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in OAR@UM are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.