The article discusses the limits of a prosopographical approach based exclusively on private charters for the study of medical practitioners of early medieval Italy (Lat. medici), using as a case study the archives of the Tuscan town of Lucca—one of the richest collections of original medieval documents of the West. So far nobody has attempted to draw percentages between the total number of available documents and the number of attested medici; as a result, up to this point it was impossible to determine how typical the identified individuals were. In this study it is argued that the total number of documented medical practitioners is too low to propose a prosopography of the entire group of medici of the early Middle Ages. On the other hand, if we change the “prosopographical population,” focusing not on the whole medical population but only on the part of that group which appears in the documents, it becomes possible to make specific statements about the attested medici and to characterise them without generalizing.
"Medieval Charters and Sources for Prosopographical Analysis: The Case of the Medici of Lucca, Eighth to Eleventh Centuries,"
Medieval Prosopography: Vol. 31
, Article 4.
Available at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/medpros/vol31/iss1/4