Institute for Mediterranean Studies

Social Aspects and Implications of the Disease Phenomenon: A Historical Approach

Social Aspects and Implications of the Disease Phenomenon: A Historical Approach

The aim of the project was to collect historical information on the phenomenon of the disease in Crete during the Ottoman period, to organise these historical testimonies in a digital database accessible to the academic community and to the public, as well as the historical processing of the above-mentioned sources. The project was implemented under the Agreement between the General Secretariat for Research and Technology and the Foundation for Research and Technology in the frameworks of the Compromise Agreement between the Hellenic Republic and Siemens.

Scholarly Supervision: Antonis Anastasopoulos

Research Team: Christos Kyriakopoulos, Petros Kastrinakis, Maria Tzoulaki

The aim of the project was to collect historical information on the phenomenon of the disease in Crete during the Ottoman period, to organise these historical testimonies in a digital database accessible to the academic community and to the public, as well as the historical processing of the above-mentioned sources. The project was implemented under the Agreement between the General Secretariat for Research and Technology and the Foundation for Research and Technology in the frameworks of the Compromise Agreement between the Hellenic Republic and Siemens.

In the framework of the project, a number of archival and other testimonies concerning the phenomenon of the disease, health institutions, and the medical profession were identified and organised for the first time in a digital database, with reference to the Ottoman period of Crete (1645-1898) and emphasis on the important urban centre of Herakleion.
The digital database reveals, on the one hand, the constant concern of the population of Crete and the local authorities on health issues, which becomes more systematic and effective in the 19th century, and, on the other hand, the existing limits of this concern at the level of scientific knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, and the organisation of institutions. The systematic historical interpretation and analysis of the information collected in the database refers mainly to the already published literature. The aim of the database is to facilitate the work of researchers and anyone interested in the further historical processing and synthetic re-interpretation of the available sources and of other information.


Products of the project

  • Database http://healthincrete.ims.forth.gr/
    The collection of data was based on four axes: a. Recording of diseases affecting the population of Herakleion and Crete in general during the Ottoman period, b. social attitudes towards the disease, c. medical service providers, and d. state health policy. The entries of the database were the result of the processing of: a. Ottoman pre-judicial records, b. traveller accounts of the Ottoman period, c. sultanic decrees and other documents of the central administration, d. 19th century newspapers, and e. secondary literature.
  • Α. Anastasopoulos and Ch. Kyriakopoulos, «Ασθένεια και θάνατος στην οθωμανική Κρήτη: σταθερές και μετασχηματισμοί στις κοινωνικές αντιλήψεις και την κρατική πολιτική», forthcoming in the Proceedings of the 12th International Cretological Congress.
  • A. Anastasopoulos and Ch. Kyriakopoulos, "Treating Hernias in Ottoman Crete (c. 1670-1760): The Legal Imprint of a Medical Procedure", forthcoming in the journal Social History of Medicine.

Project Team

Antonis Anastasopoulos

Associate Professor
Department of History and Archaeology, University of Crete
Curriculum vitae

Petros Kastrinakis

PhD candidate

Christos Kyriakopoulos

PhD candidate
AEGREGIS