Journal:Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis
Volume 43 (2022): Defeating Disease in the Changing Society of the Southeast Baltic from the 18th to the 20th Century = Ligų įveika besikeičiančioje Pietryčių Baltijos visuomenėje: XVIII–XX amžiai, pp. 131–145
The press (books, newspapers, magazines, calendars, etc) in the Lithuanian language educated its readers extensively on the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in the early 20th century. However, the frequent outbreaks of various epidemics from the 1900s to the 1930s raises the question whether this information really reached its target audience, especially when, as folklore sources show, folk medicine was still heavily relied on in the provinces. The article addresses this question by taking cholera as an example. It compares the methods of protection against cholera and its treatment, as presented in Lithuanian periodicals and professional publications, with narratives of folk medicine collected in archives. In the collected material, the author looks for definitions of the folk concept of communicable diseases (limpamos ligos, the name given to infectious diseases at the time), which may have influenced the limits to which people followed the recommendations of medics in the first half of the 20th century.
Volume 88, Issue 1 (2022), pp. 63–79
The article presents the discourse of folk medicine concepts in contexts of historicity, the social environment, and scientificity category interfaces. One of the essential features of folk medicine is its intra-disciplinary nature, necessitating basing the already-mentioned categories on a context analysis of theoretical and practical approaches to folk medicine. The article consists of four parts, which correspond to the approaches of discourse analysis on the concept of folk medicine. The first part presents the anthropological evaluation of folk medicine approaches to the social environment, historicity and scientificity. The second part highlights the context of the historicity of folk medicine, which raises the question whether folk medicine is an endangered legacy or a changing tradition? The third part analyses the expression of folk medicine in approaches to the coverage of the social environment: from village to city, from nation to humanity. The fourth part leads to an evaluation of the interfaces between folk medicine and scientificity as a problem of rationality/irrationality. In conclusion, it is emphasised that by presenting the discourse of folk medicine concepts in the already-mentioned segments (social environment, historicity, scientificity), folk medicine’s theoretical and practical expression is evaluated in contexts of today’s and past experiences.
of the pre-Christian religion, performed various duties, including therapeutic activities. The descriptions in sources indicate that the nature of the therapeutic assistance they provided varied according to the magic activity they performed. The healing activities of vaidilučiai have not been systematically studied. This article analyses data on the therapeutic activities of different groups of vaidilučiai in 15th to 18th-century written sources, and identifies traces of these activities in 19th to 21st-century folk medicine based on archival records and the author’s healing faith records. The research helps us to trace the meaning and origins of some therapeutic methods of folk medicine, and the possible development of traditions.
According to 15th to 18th-century written sources, priests-vaidiluciai, successors to the servants of the cult of the pre-Christian religion, performed various duties, including therapeutic activities. Descriptions in sources indicate that the nature of the therapeutic assistance they provided varied according to the magic activity they performed. The healing activities of vaidiluciai have not been systematically studied. This article extends the analysis of data on the therapeutic activities of different groups of vaidiluciai in 15th to 18th-century written folk sources, and identifies the reflection of these activities in 15th to 18th-century folk medicine based on archive records and healing faith records. The research helps to trace the meaning and origin of some therapeutic methods of folk medicine, and the possible development of traditions.
In the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, an opposition between official medicine and folk medicine, partly based on ethnic aspects, formed in Lithuania. The article analyses the alternation in the ‘self-other’ opposition in the choice of treatment. Folk medicine traditions existed alongside standard medicine in the town of Aukštadvaris, which was characterised as multi-confessional in the first half of the 20th century (despite the tensions, Lithuanians, Poles, Jews and Tartars lived together harmoniously). Faith healers with extraordinary qualities or powers were classified as ‘other’. So the choice of treatment reveals two aspects: the concept of ethnicity, and mythical perception (when dealing with those engaged in other activities). Studies have shown that in a disaster or illness, the ‘self-other’ opposition declines. An opposition between official medicine and folk medicine did not form in the Aukštadvaris area.