The Bethlem Royal Hospital in London specialises in the treatment of mental illness. While it has changed locations and varied its name over the centuries, it has existed as a facility for the mentally ill since the 1300s, and is the world's oldest such institution. The word bedlam, meaning uproar and confusion, derives from one variation of the hospital's name.
Bethlem originated in 1247 as a priory of the Order of the Star of Bethlehem. Its first site was in Bishopsgate, where Liverpool Street Station now stands. In 1337 became a hospital. It admitted its first mentally ill patients in 1357, but did not become a dedicated psychiatric hospital until later.
For the first few hundred years, treatment amounted to little more than confinement. Dangerous patients were manacled and chained, and conditions were appalling and inhumane.
Things began to improve from 1700, when the hospital began referring to ‘patients’ rather than inmates. From 1725, patients were separated into ‘curable’ and ‘incurable’ wards – suggesting that efforts at treatment were actually being made.
Priam was king of Troy during the Trojan War. His son Paris (one of 50 sons and many daughters) caused the Trojan War, while his daughter Cassandra predicted it. Priam was killed during the Sack of Troy.
The quote is from Shakespeare’s King Henry IV, Part II (Act I. Scene 1):
Such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone,
Drew Priam’s curtain in the dead of night,
And would have told him, half his Troy was burn'd.
While Hercules and Hylas were travelling together, Hylas was abducted by water nymphs of the spring of Pegae. Heracles was distraught, and searched for Hylas for a great length of time. Hylas, however, had fallen in love with the nymphs, and was never found.
Salique or Salic law is a code of laws was the major body of Frankish law governing the Franks of Frankia during the Old Frankish Period, during the early Middle Ages. It is a direct ancestor of the systems of law in many parts of Europe today.
The original edition of the code was commissioned by the first king of all the Franks, Clovis (c. 466–511). Clovis originally ruled only the Salian Franks, before his unification of Frankia. Salic law precluded females from inheritance. Only a male relative, however distant he might be, can inherit the throne or fief. Similarly, the inheritance of land is exclusive to the male sex.
In ancient writings, bees symbolized eloquence , speech, and intelligence. Bees are said to have settled on the mouth of the child, Plato, ‘announcing the sweetness of his enchanting soul’ (Pliny) and also settled also on the lips of Saint Ambrose, the patron-saint of beekeepers.
Hudibras is an English mock heroic narrative poem written by Samuel Butler in the 17th century. The quote refers to the following verse:
Which on his rider he would flirt
Still as his tender side he pricked
With armed heel, or with unarmed, kicked:
For Hudibras wore but one spur,
As wisely knowing could he stir
To active trot one side of's horse,
The other would not hang an arse.
André Dacier (1651-1722) was a French classical scholar and editor of texts. His most important works were his editions of Pompeius Festus and Verrius Flaccus, and his translations of Horace, Aristotle, Sophocles, Hippocrates and Plutarch.
René Le Bossu (1631-1680) was a French critic. He wrote Parallèle des principes de la physique d'Aristote et de celle de René Descartes (1674), and Traité du poème épique (on epic poetry).
Marcus Valerius Martialis, known as Martial (40 AD – c.102 AD) was a Latin poet from Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula), best known for his twelve books of Epigrams published in Rome between 86 and 103 AD. His short, witty poems satirise city life and the scandalous activities of his acquaintances, and romanticise his provincial upbringing. They provide a colourful insight into Roman daily life at the time. He wrote a total of 1,561 poems, and is considered to be the creator of the modern epigram.
An example, poking fun at the medical profession:
"I felt a little ill and called Dr. Symmachus.
Well, you came, Symmachus, but you brought 100 medical students with you.
One hundred ice-cold hands poked and jabbed me.
I didn't have a fever, Symmachus, when I called you –but now I do.”
There is confusion as to her identity, and her story may be an amalgam of the lives of three different people – Jeanie Cameron who raised troops for the Jacobites, Jenny Cameron, mistress of Charles Stuart, and Jenny Cameron, a milliner from Edinburgh.
The main source of information about Jeanie Cameron is A Complete History of the Rebellion: From Its First Rise in 1745 to Its Total Suppression at the Glorious Battle of Culloden in April, 1746 by James Ray, published in 1752, although some of the details of her life may have been invented in an attempt to discredit her and other supporters of the Stuart cause. Ray claims that Jeanie was born in 1695, and had lived a life of sexual scandal. At the time of the Rebellion, she raised 250 men and joined the Jacobite cause, personally presenting her troops to the Prince and staying with him until the defeat at Stirling Castle. This would have made her rather old to be the Prince’s consort however.
Since Roman times, Bath’s hot mineral springs have pumped a quarter of a million gallons of spring water a day at a steady 49°c. The original Pump Room was erected in 1706. In 1708, Thomas Harrison built the Bath Assembly House, for which the public paid fees to dance and gamble. Visitors promenaded up and down the Pump Room, drinking the waters from 8am to 3pm, catching up on gossip, seeing and being seen, while an orchestra played in a semi-circular gallery above their heads.
During the mid-18th to early 19thcentury, Bath’s population exploded from 2,000 to 38,000, becoming the eighth largest city in England by 1801. The Pump Room was enlarged in 1751, a new portico added in 1786, and a new frontage constructed in 1791. The number of visitors continued to swell, however, and in 1796 an entirely new room was built, 85 feet long, 46 feet wide, and 34 feet high.