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Reversible Garb and Beak-Doctors (fwd)

Poster: clevin@ripco.com (Craig Levin)

Rowen ferch Rhys:

> I have 2 questions to change the subject: (well kind of)
> 1.  Most of the garb that I make now is reversible...Is this a period
> practice?  And how would such garb fair if entered into a competition?  Would
> it be looked upon as a negative aspect?

I can look around in a book I have on late Renaissance Venice and
the practice of magic. It seems that the "ladies of the town"
were ordered by the city fathers to wear one item of clothing or
another turned inside out. If I can find that book...damn moving
process...then you have proof that it was done, but a good reason
not to do it (if you've any desire to do late-Ren Italian, that

> 2.  What exactly is a beak-doctor?  I know that it is associated with the
> Plague in some way and I have a picture of one...but when my students ask
> about it I want to be able to inform them.

(Gosh, there _are_ advantages to working in a medical library!)
I've never seen references to them as "beak-doctors," but the
"beak" that physicians wore back in the Plague days had to deal
with one of the then-current theories of disease-the "bad air"
theiry. Supposedly, a maleficient influence (in Italian,
"influenza") in the air caused an illness to appear in a person.
Usually, these maleficient influences stank. If the air around
you didn't smell bad, on the other hand, you weren't going to be
affected by the influence. So, if you were at all interested in
your health, you carried around flowers or a pouch of nice-
smelling herbs, which you waved near your nose every so often.
Since a doctor was always around these maleficient influences, he
attached his herb pouch right up to his nose-and it looked like a

It's not such a half-baked theory as all that. Lots of diseases
come from germs in impure water, which smells bad, and others get
carried from one person to another by animals which like scummy
water (like mosquitos). If you don't have a microscope, and water
is just water, it's clear that the stench did it.

In Service,

Dom Pedro de Alcazar
Barony of Storvik, Atlantia
Storvik Pursuivant
Argent, a tower purpure between 3 bunches of grapes proper
Craig Levin
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