WHAT CURES OR PREVENTIONS

did people attempt to use against the Bubonic Plague?

Answer:

Although not really effective, numerous attempts were made to counter the Bubonic Plague such as using plague doctor’s cloak, magic spells and charms, church bell sounds, and quarantining homes and cities where the disease was rampant.


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What was the Bubonic Plague?

Also known as the Black Death, this was a plague that broke out in Europe between 1340-1400 and wiped out about one third of the population. It spread to humans through fleas that got the disease from rats, and it was more rampant in the cities than in the countryside due to the poor hygiene practices.
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The picture above, which comes from the Toggenburg Bible (1411), depicts two people infected with the Bubonic Plague. It gives us an idea of what the disease looked like at the time.


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Eleboration on the remedies used by people to try and counter the disease:

It was assumed by the people at that time that the disease was caused by toxic fumes in the air or brought by the decaying corpses lying around. Peasants would resort to magic spells, charms, talismans, and even incense or herbs to drive it away. Sound made with church bells and cannon fire would also be used. However, Jews were also blamed for the disease and executions were held under the presumption that they would stop the plague.

More effective attempts at suppressing the disease were made by churchmen and public officials who would quarantine by walling up homes that contained infected members, and in cities like Milan and Venice ships that came from areas known as infected would be diverted to separate islands. Pope Clement VI even (supposedly) resorted to sitting between two large fires in order for the excess hear to destroy bacterium.

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As illustrated above in Paul Furst's 1656 engraving, a plague doctor's robe was also used in some cases. This costume had a mask shaped like a large nose that held a filter which would be filled with perfumes and 'disinfectants', while the eye holes on the mask had lenses that would presumably 'protect the eyes from the poisonous vapour'.


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