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Cures and other aspects of the business of plague: the medical marketplace Treating Plague o No approach offered any advantage in treating plague o All possible causes remained possible (celestial events, miasms, contagions, God’s wrath) o Thus educated individuals make no consistent choices other than flight o Individuals made personal decisions based on multiple causal models A film clip here with some of the range of cures and controls o Traditional approaches to plague as an environmental contamination: burning buboes, fumigating houses, altering the atmosphere in various spaces Different healers offered different cures o Elite physicians published approved, learned remedy books o Surgeons who stayed: treated sores, “tokens,” buboes & many other complaints Called “butcher doctors” by elite physicians. Did all manner of procedures. Examples: bloodletting, tooth-pulling, cupping, puking and enemas, lancing boils, blisters, buboes o Apothecary remedies emphasized both tradition and some new substances
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Unformatted text preview: Full range of options across the spectrum of the medical marketplace • Offered vinegars, pastes and salves, pomanders, fumigants, and advice books • Made house calls and many remained in the city Plague Remedies: traditional – • some contained animal and plant products in mixes that proprietors advertised • some were simple, such as vinegar • some were exclusively herbal Plague Remedies: non-traditional – linked to alchemical preparations, especially “fiery water” or distilled alcohol New Remedies – connected to the post-Columbus world, such as tobacco and nutmeg • The business of burying o Burials at night Final film clip: a modern filmmaker imagines a single businessman who stayed in the plague (much like Samuel Pepys). The text for the film comes from an 18 th century novel, but many of the added images and story are very modern....
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