DOI: 10.17720/2409-5834.v6.4.2019.03c

Dmitry A. Nikolaev1
Leonid N. Akimov2,
Ekaterina A. Akimova3
1National Research Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod
23 Prospekt Gagarina, Nizhny Novgorod 603950, Russia
2Linguistics University of Nizhny Novgorod (LUNN)
31a Minina St., Nizhny Novgorod 603155, Russia
3Nizhny Novgorod Institute of management ‒ branch of RANEPA
46 Prospekt Gagarina, Nizhny Novgorod 603950, Russia

When Napoleon invaded the Russian Empire, various Russian provinces were asked to form “people’s militias” as part of the mobilisation plans of the country’s military command. Nizhny Novgorod Province was expected to put together five infantry and one cavalry regiments. As the Nizhny Novgorod militia was being put together, there were serious difficulties with manning the officer corps, which consisted exclusively of nobles, many of whom had serious health problems. The goals of this study were to identify the main ailments suffered by officers of the Nizhny Novgorod militia and to create a tentative collective “medical map” of a specific (provincial) class/section of a local community. To this end, we have attempted to define the “semantic peculiarities” in the diagnosis of ailments according to certificates and other documents from the time and to identify features of the administrative relations and interactions within a certain class (the nobility) in the context of the particular health problems of specific individuals. Our research reveals that the militia officers rarely suffered from diseases of the cardiovascular system and not at all (based on external descriptions) from cancers. Their most common ailments were impairments to the limbs (as a result of old wounds), rheumatism, arthritis (arthrosis), diseases of the internal organs, and problems with hearing and vision, but even obvious signs of serious conditions were not enough for an officer to be discharged.

Keywords: Nizhny Novgorod militia of 1812, Nizhny Novgorod Province, military medicine, officers’ illnesses, officer corps

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