Tag Archives: Miasma

The memorial of Thomas Johnson, eighteenth-century barber surgeon

Stephen Martin Durham, UK, and Thailand   Fig 1. Monument to Thomas Johnson, Brancepeth. Source: photo © author. Public domain for non-commercial use In the churchyard of St. Brandon in Brancepeth1 village, County Durham, UK, is an unusual headstone monument.2 (Fig 1) Dating to the very last year of the eighteenth century, it has three […]

Giovanni Boccaccio on pandemics past and present

Constance Markey Chicago, IL   The plague of Florence, 1348; an episode in the Decameron by Boccaccio. Etching by L. Sabatelli the elder after G. Boccaccio. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)) Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) is universally celebrated for his masterpiece The Decameron, an appealing assemblage of one hundred loosely connected novellas, […]

Washing our hands

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Winter Sunshine, Halkidiki, Greece. Photo by the author Ever since Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, washed his hands before condemning Jesus Christ to death by crucifixion, this simple act of personal sanitation has been used as the figurative icon of a disclaimer, the denial of responsibility. Today, in […]