In 1495 a new pandemic swept through Europe. Those infected suffered from a range of terrible symptoms, from eruptions of boils and pustules to extreme pains in their limbs. On 26 September 1496, the Nuremberg city council recorded that the French pox had arrived in their city and those infected were ‘to be cared for by the learned doctors’. However, the city’s physicians were unsure how to deal with this disease. Eventually, after almost one year, Nuremberg’s council found a medical practitioner who, they believed, efficaciously healed the poxed. This was the city’s first Franzosenarzt.

Dr Mona O'Brien, University of Glasgow