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Medicine at the Baroque Court in Munich, 1600-1750

Dr Claudia Stein

Dr Stein is analysing the social and professional lives and significance of medical practitioners attached to the court of the Bavarian Elector, one of the most powerful rulers in early modern Germany. This project seeks to illuminate the neglected area of medicine at princely courts, the role of medical practitioners in the wider intellectual and scientific communities, and the creation and functioning of power within courtly and civic fields.

The project traces the social and professional flexibility that characterised the lives of medical practitioners at the court in Munich. The household of the Bavarian Electors (since 1623), which encompassed over two thousands persons at the end of the eighteenth century, was one of the most substantial in the Holy Roman Empire. It was a stronghold of the Jesuit order and the Counter-Reformation. The self-fashioning of a range of practitioners including body physician (‘Leibmedicus’), court surgeon (‘Hofchirurg’) and court midwife (‘Hofhebamme’) will be investigated in the framework of the culture and codes of courtly behaviour and etiquette that shaped these individuals’ everyday activities. While predominantly focussing on the court-based articulation of their identities, Dr Stein’s study also explores their lives before they came to court. Moreover, it will investigate what kind of activities they pursued outside the courtly sphere while holding their court appointment.