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March 21, 2017 7:40 AM   Subscribe

"Romances and Play-books too much gratifie the Humours of the Populace; but humble and sincere Christians, with Delight recall to minde Gods Mercies, and with Awfulness tremble at His Judgments," quoth the anonymous editor of London's Dreadful Visitation, a compilation of the weekly bills of mortality collected in the year 1665. While intended to provide a record of the course of that year's plague, these bills inadvertently provide a cross-section of the ways people died in a 17th-century metropolis, including Kingsevil, Grief, Wormes, Lethargy, Griping in the guts, Purples, French-pox, Livergrown, Stone, and Suddenly.

Medieval Death Bot (previously) will cover all of your pre-modern mortality needs (e.g.: "John de Stattton, died 1348, smote in the throat with a knife worth twopence"). For even more antique dooms, try Lactantius's late-Roman Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died, you weirdo.

(thx UK comedy game shows and phunniemee for inspiring this post)
posted by theodolite (18 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Kingsevil, Grief, Wormes, Lethargy, Griping in the guts, Purples, French-pox, Livergrown, Stone, and Suddenly.

I think I have all of those right now.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:48 AM on March 21, 2017 [9 favorites]


I'd love to know more about the one person who died "Frightened".
posted by easily confused at 7:58 AM on March 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Ten died of cancer...and wolf.
Makes me think of this snl skit.
posted by phunniemee at 8:05 AM on March 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Olave was ſubjected to the Strangury
Bennet fell ill with the Lethargy
Mary got the Fever and she paſsed away
Murther took Peter from the world today
Dunſtan was Kild By A Fall Down Stairs
He looked undignified when he died
He was a friend of mine

Thoſe are people who died, died
Thoſe are people who died, died
Thoſe are people who died, died
Thoſe are people who died, died
They were goodly folk, and they died
posted by Greg Nog at 8:08 AM on March 21, 2017 [27 favorites]


Griping in the Guts would be a great name for a death metal band.
posted by jonmc at 8:11 AM on March 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'd love to know more about the one person who died "Frightened".

Squire Frederick of Sanford, much affrighted by the spendthrift ways of his onlie Sonne, did clutch at his Bosom crying out, "'Tis the big one, Queene Elizabeth! Shortly I come to meet you!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:14 AM on March 21, 2017 [23 favorites]


Hey! I actually have an opportunity to add a relevant Jonathan Coulton & MC Frontalot link: Diseases of Yore.
"You don’t meet a lot of people in emergency rooms
who’ve got ANTHRACOSIS, CONSUMPTION
or WOMB FEVER. June Cleaver never suffered.
She had the penicillin, no expiration when she mothered
her no-good little death-proof brats. "
posted by kikaider01 at 8:31 AM on March 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


This may be of general help. I was really wondering about "rising of the lights." I am starting to get a bit older and so am shopping around, and at first blush, that seems like a pretty decent end. Turns out, probably not so much.
posted by rtimmel at 8:34 AM on March 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Rage, rage, against the rising of the lights.
posted by Segundus at 8:39 AM on March 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


a bit more specifically about king's evil (scrofula), because stuff like the royal touch is totally my jam

Voltaire scornfully wrote that he had lost confidence in the royal touch upon hearing that a mistress of Louis XIV died of scrofula "despite being very well touched by the king" holy shit
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 8:40 AM on March 21, 2017 [6 favorites]


a mistress of Louis XIV died of scrofula "despite being very well touched by the king

Dubious. I give you this exploration of the question by Terry Pratchett (emphasis mine)

You're not Death! Who are you?" cried Rincewind.

"Scrofula."

"Scrofula?"

"Death couldn't come," said the demon wretchedly. "There's a big plague on in Pseudopolis. He had to go and stalk the streets. So he sent me."

"No-one dies of Scrofula! I've got rights. I'm a wizard!"

"All right, all right. This was going to be my big chance," said Scrofula, "but look at it this way - if I hit you with this scythe you'll be just as dead as you would be if Death had done it. Who'd know?"

"I'd know!" snapped Rincewind.

"You wouldn't. You'd be dead," said Scrofula logically.
posted by Naberius at 8:54 AM on March 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I was recently looking through all the records I could find about my ancestor's (American) Civil War regiment, and one of the documents I read was a list of all the men who had been exempted from the draft in his county. Scrofula and paying for a substitute were the top two reasons for exemption.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:26 AM on March 21, 2017


Is this a menu? I'd like Suddenly please.
posted by Billiken at 10:23 AM on March 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


For "teeth", read "dental abscess".

By coincidence, I was recently reading a 16th century Italian sheet of medical advice which tells us that bad gums can be dealt with by rubbing them with onion paste. The paste will also whiten teeth that have turned black. Perhaps word had not reached the British islands.

(A list of olde timey medical terms can be found here.)

on post view - sorry, missed rtimmel. But the above is in the same vein.
posted by BWA at 1:24 PM on March 21, 2017


collected in the year 1665

A terrible year for London indeed! I hope the next year was much better.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 1:43 PM on March 21, 2017 [7 favorites]


collected in the year 1665

A terrible year for London indeed! I hope the next year was much better.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 4:43 PM on March 21 [+] [!]


Epyro-sterical.
posted by aureliobuendia at 1:59 PM on March 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


The Medieval Death Bot is fascinating!!!

Hints of mayhem and mystery:
Henry de Stodley, died 1346, being very drunk, stumbled into his chamber and fell upon a bare knife, which cut his throat

Yeah...maybe not.
That's even more suspicious than this one:
Henry Costentin, died 1267 after his feet slipped and fell upon a pole of his wheat cart, which did penetrate into his fundament (buttocks)

Absolute WTF? cause of death:
Simon of Langenhoe, died 1270 being stricken with ‘mau del launke’ while milking a cow

Cost of implements of death:
Henry Debordesle, died 1343 ... smote himself ... with a knife worth one penny
Hugh de Leghe, died 1343, smote ... with a bodkin worth one penny
Adam Pede, died 1343, slain ... knife worth 1d .
Henry Curteis, died 1300 from falling down the stairs .... The step he fell off of was valued at 12 pence.
Simon de Teye, fell in 1301 from the top of a ladder.... The ladder is valued at 2s.
Robert le Wyther, died 1305, drowned in a sunken boat worth 4s. 6d.


Important horse identification facts:
Richard Newtone, died 1387 in the close of the monastery, leading to water a cream-coloured horse which kicked him in the left breast.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:55 PM on March 21, 2017


A terrible year for London indeed! I hope the next year was much better.

I know! Let's ask The Whelk! He'll know!
posted by Naberius at 10:49 PM on March 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


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