Research Article| Volume 20, ISSUE 2, P109-113, March 2002

Cutaneous infections and infestations in historical (iconographic) perspective

from variola to aids
      Hardly any group of diseases caused so many fantasies and so much fear, pain, and death throughout history as did epidemics of infectious diseases, leaving profound marks in human memory. A variety and diversity of testimonies about countless epidemics of the past were recorded: holy scriptures, chronicles, travelers’ reports, literary and art works, etc. Although narratives are a valuable source of historical data and (retrospective) epidemiology, art is a much more expressive vehicle for demonstrating disease, malformation, and death. Albeit rare, illustrations to medical texts paralleled the written word on a small scale, and they are almost as old as texts themselves. Furthermore, illustrations could also be understood over the centuries by the illiterate.
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