Monthly Archives: July 2013
Image taken from Silver Train at the Zurich Mdizinhistorisches Museum.
Often untrained, the Plague Doctor was the last, horrifying line of defense in treatment of the ill and disposal of the dead during the Black Plague in Europe. The outfit is stunningly ominous: a grey robe with a hood that covers a leather or ceramic mask that typically had a beak and portholes for sight. The beak was purely functional in regard to the scientific understanding of the time. The miasmatic view believed that diseases assaulted their sufferers through poor air and being around death.
In contrast the doctor would have his cane, prodding the afflicted so that they would not have to touch the victim. The doctor would smell of a mixture of pungent aromas and straw was thought to serve as a filter. Some doctors of note that served in the plague were Nostradamus and Paracelsus.