Riferimenti bibliografici e sitografici:
Delumeau, La Paura in Occidente, (XIV- XVIII secolo), il Saggiatore, 2018.
Riferimento all’intervista della virologa Ilaria Capua sul collegamento tra la Spagnola e il Covid-19: https://youtu.be/7QQ8adtZAek
Riferimento cinematografico “il Settimo Sigillo” di Ingmar Bergman (1957).
Traduzione in lingua inglese del saggio breve: (Translate in English Language of short essay)
Covid-19: historical narrative of the Spanish flu and connection with the most devastating epidemic in human history: the black plague.
Historically, the Spanish flu to a complex episode that lasted about a year, between 1918 and 1919, with the fallout between 1920 and 1921. In Spain, King Alfonso XIII also fell ill. The second phase of the Spanish flu spread all over the world starting from the month of August, with a consequent transformation of the virus. This extremely contagious flu spread to all continents. The authorities ordered to close public places such as theaters, cinemas and shops, or the suspension of sporting events. The western world was involved in a passage that concerned the study of the epidemic and went from a modality due to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, dysentery, or measles up to degenerative diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer. The Spanish did not originate in Spain, but came from a county of Kansas in a rural setting. The doctor who discovered this epidemic was Mainer who noticed symptoms. This virus took the name of Spagnola due to censorship, due to the military actions taking place and the first newspapers to talk about this virus were Spanish.
Cinematographic reference of the plague with the film “the Seventh Seal“.
The film begins with a scene in which the personification of the evil that challenges life is described and represented. In this film, in fact, the theme of the epidemic and pestilence is underlined. In some scenes the figure of the woman who was considered a witch because she had direct relations with the Devil is also analyzed; in fact, it was believed that the woman herself was the primary cause of the plague. In this cinematographic representation the plague was considered by the people as a real end of the world. The historical context in which the film is set concerns the influence of the Protestant Reformation for Martin Luther, man was considered the symbol of original sin; he had the aim of bringing the Church back to the purity of its Christian origins. In 1517 Luther allegedly posted his 95 theses against the scandal of the sale of indulgences on the door of the Castle Church of Wuttemberg, addressing the problems of penance, sin, and grace.
If you can find similarities between Covid 19 and the Spanish flu, it can be said that compared to the time, we currently have antibiotics, antivirals and vaccines that did not exist at the time. Virologist Ilaria Capua in an interview with the show Otto e Mezzo by Lilly Gruber says this: “Coronavirus, puts the individual to answer ethical questions such as respect for life and people, protect oneself from protecting others, the exercise of solidarity and collective responsibility “(taken from the interview with the virologist Ilaria Capua). From a methodological and historical point of view, in addition to the Spanish, other episodes of epidemic and plague occurred, the first source of reference was Boccaccio in the Decameron who reported in the introduction the description of the plague of 1348. The narrative wanted ten young people (consisting of seven women and three men) met at the Church of Santa Maria Novella and decided to move away from the city of Florence and wait in the countryside for the end of the epidemic. Between 1347 and 1352 the plague caused 25-30 million deaths which corresponded to almost a third of the population (14th century). The task of a historian on the subject of the plague consists primarily in proposing an analysis of the different perception of the danger between the poorer social classes and the clergy; in fact, to explain this phenomenon, the historian Delumeau, proposes three explanations about the plague epidemic: the first refers to the wise who sought the causes of the epidemic in celestial phenomena (such as earthquakes and volcanoes); the second refers to the mass which established that the cause of the plague was the greaser and the last the Church which established that the main cause of the plague was the apocalypse as if it were a scourge sent by God for the purpose of punishing the whole of humanity.
di Cecilia Pallotta, 7/08/2020