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The epidemic outbreak under the reign of King Jungjong(中宗) and its responses

  • 중앙사론
  • 2014, (39), pp.5-40
  • Publisher : Institute for Historical Studies at Chung-Ang University
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Kyung-Rok Lee 1

1연세대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article explores the development of the epidemic at the Pyongan Province(平安道) and its responses in 1524~1525 under the reign of King Jungjong(中宗). In two years around 23,000 people died, and the figure is equivalent to more than 0.5% of the Joseon(朝鮮) population. It was the most severe epidemic case during the early Joseon Dynasty. Depending on the size of the area and the damage, epidemic development can be divided into 3 steps. The step 1 was the epidemic outbreak at the 6 districts of the West Pyongan Province from January to August of 1524. In Step 2, the epidemic was spread to the 34 districts of the Pyongan Province from September of 1524 to January of 1525. And in Step 3, the epidemic was becoming severe, the damage was covered throughout the 42 districts from February to October of 1525. When the epidemic occurred, the Joseon government was taking the legal actions such as dispatching the doctors, distributing the medicines, reliefing the poor, burying the dead, and the memorial service for the ghosts. As the epidemic was getting worse, Ganibyeogonbang(簡易辟瘟方) was published on January of 1525. By reading the Ganibyeogonbang, the patients took an interest in individual hygiene. It seems to be a step in the theory of Nourishing Life(養生論) of 16th century. And the medical response had become inefficacy in Step 2, identifying the cause of the epidemic and seeking solutions in terms of politics emerged. That was the relationship theory between Heaven and Human(天人相應論). However based on that theory, the king and his servants were required to each other's personal reflection according to their own interests. Both sides were demanding the individual's reflection is noted. Ganibyeogonbang and the relationship theory between Heaven and Human were common to care about the individuals. This was a sign of the growing interest in the individuals in pre-modern society.

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