Jacqueline Felice de Almania

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Jacqueline Felice de Almania (Italian: Jacobina Felice· Latin: Jacoba Felicie), (fl. 1322) was reportedly from Florence, Italy. She was an early 14th-century French physician in Paris, France who was placed on trial in 1322 for unlawful practice.

Career[edit]

Referring to herself as nobilis mulier domino Jacoba, indicating that she was of a high social class, Jacqueline Felice de Almania was known as a health specialist, treating both men and women for medical conditions. She had a reputation for having successful outcomes of her treatments. It was reported that individuals were directed to her if their previous treatment for fever, paralyses, or other medical conditions had failed. Individuals also went to her for medical attention when licensed physicians did not treat their conditions. She believed in the concept of "women's secrets"- the idea that a woman should look at other women's private parts, breasts, belly etc., as a barrier to keep men from knowing about "women's business".[1]

Jacqueline Felice did not receive training at a University, and this caused physicians to feel offended because she used techniques as licensed physicians did, such as visiting the ill, examining urine by its physical appearance, touching the body, and prescribing potions, digestions, and laxatives.[2] Her medical practice had a policy of not charging a fee unless there was a cure following the treatment.

Trial[edit]

In 1322, however, Jacobina Félicie was put on trial for unlawful practice.[3] She was placed on trial against the Medical Faculty of Paris solely for the reason that she practiced medicine without a medical license. In her defense, Jacobina believed that it was improper for men to palpate the breasts and abdomens of women. During the trial, there were eight witnesses, all being her patients besides one, that testified to her medical skills. According to one witness, she was reputed to be a better physician and surgeon than any of the French physicians in Paris.[3] By being a better physician and surgeon as well as not charging patients if her treatments were unsuccessful, she seemed to anger male physicians.[4]

At the end of the trial, Jacqueline Felice de Almania was found guilty and was threatened with excommunication if she was ever caught practicing medicine again. She was also banned from practicing medicine, although it is unknown if she continued to be a medical healer after the trial, and she was handed a fine of 60 Parisian pounds. The prosecution's case was based upon the absence of formal training at a university, but no effort was made to test her knowledge of medicine. Despite the testimonies that she was able to cure people the male physicians had given up on, the court reasoned that it was obvious that a man could understand the subject of medicine better than a woman because of his gender. This decision is considered to have banned women from academic study in medicine in France and obtaining licenses until the 19th-century.

Notes[edit]

  • Jacobina Félicie's story is the fullest account that is documented to have actual hands-on practices of a historical female medical practitioner.

References[edit]

  • Howard S. The hidden giants, p. 35, at Google Books, ch. 2, p. 35 (Lulu.com; 2006)
  • Nina Burton (2006). Den nya kvinnostaden. Pionjärer och bortglömda kvinnor under tvåtusen år (in Swedish). Albert Bonnier Förlag. pp. 238–239. ISBN.
  • Practical medicine from Salerno to the black death AvLuis García Ballester
  • Teaching history AvHilary Bourdillon

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Green, Monica (2006). "Getting to the Source: The Case of Jacoba Felicie and the Impact". Medieval Feminist Forum. 42: 49–62.
  2. ^ Minkowski, William (February 1992). "Women Healers of the Middle Ages: Selected Aspects of Their History". American Journal of Public Health. 82: 288–295.
  3. ^ a b Garcia-Ballester, Luis (1994). Practical medicine from Salerno to the Black Death (1. publ. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN 0521431018.
  4. ^ Minkowski, William (Fall 2017). "Women Healers of the Middle Ages: Selected Aspects of Their History" (PDF). American Journal of Public Health. 82: 288–295. doi:10.2105/ajph.82.2.288. PMC 1694293. PMID 1739168.