By Attia, A.; Buisson. G. (ed.)
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Extra resources for Advances in Mesopotamian Medicine from Hammurabi to Hippocrates
43 Transmission of ‘the pocks’ was recognized to occur through sexual contact which Clowes elides readily with ‘stinking sinne . . the originall cause of this infection’ (sig. 44 In this regimen it is ‘sinne’ which ‘stinks’ and the ‘sickenes’ which is ‘odious’ (sig. B2v): the nostril-assaulting epithets of miasmic exhalations are transferred to the disease, the sin associated with it, and to the ‘uncleane persons’ who suffer from it (sig. B4r). Clowes’s discourse of syphilis is thus highly unstable and emotive, sliding as it does between the metonymic and the metaphoric and consequently between physical disease and moral and social domains.
Regimens against the plague written in the last 20 years of the six- The Humoral–Paracelsan Body 39 teenth century, and subsequently, reveal a similar, though far less hostile and pronounced tendency, to localize and stigmatize the ‘disordered’ infected and to advocate measures to conﬁne them. Thomas Lodge, for example, represents the poor as the focus of the plague – ‘For where the infestion most rageth there povertie raigneth among the Commons’ (sig. 46 His treatise prescribes Orders for cleaning up the environment and containing infection and dwells disturbingly on the mysteries and ‘evil’ of ‘Contagion’ – ‘an infection proceeding from one unto another by communication of a pestilent and infected vapour’; or ‘an evil qualitie in a bodie’ (sig.
In fact, this is one of a handful of instances where Elyot backs up a medical point with biblical authority: ‘Also in the boke called Ecclesiasticus, Sorowe hathe kylled manye, and in it selfe is founde no commoditie’ (f. 66r). Occasionally, too, he demonstrates the wide range of his humanist scholarship, wittily illustrating a medical aphorism by drawing on ancient philosophy and history – a practice which becomes increasingly popular in subsequent regimens. Disease in The Castel is rarely a moral affair though Elyot does rail against the ‘contynuall gourmandyse .