How to Avoid the Plague, c. 1350

manuscript illustration of British Library, MS Egerton 2572, f. 51r

First we should talk about the epidemic, and then about keeping safe from it and the corruption of the surrounding air… You should know that all corruptions of air come from celestial causes. You should also know that in the year 1345 there was a conjunction of three planets, that is, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, in Aquarius… and this drew vapors from the earth and the water, corrupting the air.

Be sure to keep yourself from contact with those who are ill from the epidemic, because the disease is contagious and it infects those present merely by their breathing, or their extended presence.

Causa epidemiae et praeservatio eiusdem

Corrupt vapors! That’s concerning. Well, good thing the next big Jupiter-Saturn conjunction isn’t coming up until *checks astronomical chart* oh. December 21, 2020.

Breathe carefully, everyone.