Wednesday, March 13, 2013

ERGOTISM, the bane of the Middle Ages - by Vijaya Schartz

For those of you who wonder what kind of hallucination-filled madness afflicts Sigefroi in Lady of Luxembourg, ERGOTISM is the answer. It was known at the time as St. Anthony's Fire, after the Saint who spent most of his life caring for the victims of the disease.

In a wet year, the grain that is not yet harvested, or already stored for the winter, often develops a fungus called ERGOT. In times of scarcity, eating tainted grain seemed better than dying of hunger. Consuming tainted grain, however, not only leads to illness, but creates vivid hallucinations and convulsions. The affected appear quite mad.

In medieval times, the suspicious grain was often fed to prisoners on purpose, not only because it was not safe to eat, but also because it made their urine extremely acidic, a desirable quality for the tanning of hides. Prisoners fed this diseased grain eventually died of kidney failure. Who said medieval societies were not practical? The prisoners of the time didn't have lawyers to protect their rights.

So you can see how such treatment in a dungeon would affect the mind. In this case, the mind of my hero, Sigefroi of Luxembourg. In this dire state, and under torture, can he keep Melusine's secret? Find out in LADY OF LUXEMBOURG.

Find this book and many others online, everywhere eBooks and paperbacks are sold. Here is the link to my author page on Amazon HERE

Vijaya Schartz
Medieval and Sci-fi Romance with a Kick

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