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Y. Perez





Joined: 08 May 2012

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PostPosted: Fri 11 May, 2012 7:58 pm    Post subject: Plague Doctor         Reply with quote



Does anybody knows if this garment used by plague doctors (beak doctors) started in 14th century or it was a special costume invented by Charles de L'Orne in 1619...?
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Fri 11 May, 2012 8:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This outfit was invented by Mad Magazine.


I kid, of course. Happy

As far as I have seen evidence for, this costume did not exist before Charles de Lorme in the 17th century, with variations existing in later time periods. Even if the mask predates the costume (and I don't know of any evidence supporting that), I have never seen a hat like that from any 14th century sources.

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Bryan W.





Joined: 27 Oct 2007

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PostPosted: Fri 11 May, 2012 8:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The mask is older than the rest of the garment if I recall and is indeed circa 14th century if I remember correctly. The whole mask with the beak was based on the idea of miasmas ("bad air/smells" ) causing infection so they would put various spices and scented objects in the beak to basically "protect" themselves from the smells. Its a fairly old idea.

However, as Bill mentioned, the head to toe garment and hat came much later in the 17th century as an attempt at further protecting the physician.

EDIT: I don't recall ever seeing a primary source article however showing a picture of a 14th century mask....so take the above with a grain of salt. However the miasma theory was certainly prevalent around that time so its plausible. There are several medical treatise from the 1300s-1400s which discuss the use of various tactics and odoriferous items to protect oneself from the plague.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Fri 11 May, 2012 10:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the beak masked doctor is seen among the streets of italian cities in the recent games assasins creed 2 and brotherhood, set in the days of cesare/ rodrigo borgia, macchiavelli and leonardo da vinci (not just set, but you fight chesere and leonardo helps make you new gear, plus you get to drive his various war machines particularly the tank, which was fun.
that said i thought the mask was part of the commedia dell arte carnivale of venice ,which i see WAS 17th century
(as usual it seems ubisoft is giving you stuff that is 100 years too far into the future (on\btainable weapons include the sciavona for example)

that said, the description of doctors noted the mask acted as a 'gas mask' of sorts, and the long robes with waxed strips of cloth covering exposure points, the getup supposedly served to act like, aas i said, a bit of a primative biohazard suit for the 17th Century
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Philip Melhop




Location: Wokingham, Berkshire, UK
Joined: 24 May 2008

Posts: 131

PostPosted: Sat 12 May, 2012 7:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I could be wrong here, but I seem to remember some elements of this costume being displayed at the Wellcome Collection in London. Well worth a look for all kinds of medical history information. Also worth visiting Level 5 of the Science Museum.
See http://www.wellcomecollection.org/Default.aspx
and http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/g...icine.aspx

Both well worth a visit if in London
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Y. Perez





Joined: 08 May 2012

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sat 12 May, 2012 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryan W. wrote:
The mask is older than the rest of the garment if I recall and is indeed circa 14th century if I remember correctly. The whole mask with the beak was based on the idea of miasmas ("bad air/smells" ) causing infection so they would put various spices and scented objects in the beak to basically "protect" themselves from the smells. Its a fairly old idea.

However, as Bill mentioned, the head to toe garment and hat came much later in the 17th century as an attempt at further protecting the physician.

EDIT: I don't recall ever seeing a primary source article however showing a picture of a 14th century mask....so take the above with a grain of salt. However the miasma theory was certainly prevalent around that time so its plausible. There are several medical treatise from the 1300s-1400s which discuss the use of various tactics and odoriferous items to protect oneself from the plague.


So that could explain why they called them 'beak doctors' since they only use the mask without the specialized garment. According to Wikipedia Charles de L'Orne "adopted the idea of a full head-to-toe protective garment..." that implies it predates the garment. I think is plausible that these was first introduced in 14th century but 'upgraded' later in 17th.
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David Lewis Smith




Location: NC
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PostPosted: Sat 12 May, 2012 9:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

this masque was talked about on a travel show on PBS a few weeks ago.

(so i need to say that I had hernia surgery and codeine has me a bit foggy)

any how

the show was about Vienna and the masque was used by doctors and nurses to treat plague victims.

Sorry for the lack of clarity, codeine has me a bit 'cotton brained'

David L Smith
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Y. Perez





Joined: 08 May 2012

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PostPosted: Sun 13 May, 2012 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

^ Hehe I guess you were counting knights mounted on golden clad horses instead of sheeps.
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