Medieval Conspiracy Theories: The Lepers’ Plot of 1321

The hysteria quickly spread and local authorities used it as an excuse to attack both Jewish and leper communities. Introduction The 1321 lepers’ plot was an alleged conspiracy of French lepers to spread their disease by contaminating water supplies, including well water, with their powders and poisons.[1] According to the American historian Solomon Grayzel, lepers[…]

Leprosy and the Colonial Gaze in the Dutch West and East Indies, 1750–1950

Leprosy and compulsory segregation were connected through the ‘colonial gaze’. Abstract This article is looking at colonial governance with regard to leprosy, comparing two settings of the Dutch colonial empire: Suriname and the Dutch East Indies. Whereas segregation became formal policy in Suriname, leprosy sufferers were hardly ever segregated in the Dutch East Indies. We[…]

‘Walking Corpses’: Life as a Leper in Medieval Eurasia

Medieval society was compelled to adapt to the presence of the chronically ill. Conventional narratives tell us that medieval lepers were pariahs who lived out their days as rejected invalids, rotting away in decrepit asylums, quarantined from society. Some of this is true. The disease became so common in Europe, however, that medieval society was[…]