The western traditional medicine tries to explain disease without the use of supernatural forces and Jacme's idea differs from the traditional western framework in this regard. [3 W.H.S. Jones, Breaths 6, (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1923).]

3.0 Jacme's Symptoms of Pestilence and the Western Traditional Medicine Framework

Jacme notes celestial signs and symptoms of the impending pestilence. Jacme states that the people in the community to be infected by a pestilence witness fiery bodies moving across the sky as a foreboding of pestilence. Another indication of the coming pestilence according to Jacme is that there appear rapid fluctuations in the temperature of the air so that the temperature rises and drops randomly and unusually. There are visible changes in the appearance of the air and surrounding atmosphere that indicate that the area is already infected by a pestilence. In particular, Jacme states that the air appears to be cloudy but does not result in any rainfall. Secondly, the air appears to be more dusty than usual and may even appear to have assumed a green or yellow colour. People also develop fevers rapidly that can be deceptive in that the body temperature seems normal but the individual may still have a fever. There occur problems with stool and flatulence. Bad breath is also an indication of pestilence present. The fevers give rise to bad sores and abscesses on the body. The fruit also appears to be blighted as an indication of pestilence.

Jacme's ideas about the symptoms of pestilence can be explained in terms of the western traditional medicine framework. The traditional framework interprets symptoms as part of the diagnosis of the disease. The typical symptoms studied under this framework include changes in temperature and the appearance of the skin, which is also a part of the symptoms presented by Jacme. The western traditional medicine framework also diagnoses the disease on the basis of the examination of the stool and urine. Jacme also describes the appearance of the excreta such as stool as part of the symptoms of pestilence. Hippocrates too studied symptoms appearing on the skin, eyes as well as fevers. Galen also mentioned fever and diarrhea as symptoms during the Antoine Plague of 165 CE (Kohn, 2008)[footnoteRef:4]. [4: George Child Kohn, Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence 3, (New York NY: Infobase Publishing, 2008), 9.]

4.0 Jacme's Advice for Avoiding the Plague and the Western Traditional Medicine Framework

Jacme's advice for avoiding the plague involves maintaining a clean and healthy environment to prevent the alteration and putrefaction of air. In order to cure the pestilence, Jacme suggests doing the opposite of what caused the plague. So, for instance, if the air is hotter than usual, the patient should be placed within a cool environment. Similarly, if the air is cooler than usual, the patient should occupy a warm environment. Furthermore, the patient should have heavy meals and get enough exercise to keep the body warm and at a stable temperature. Jacme also identifies herbal remedies that can be administered to cure the pestilence.

Jacme's ideas are well-supported by the western traditional medicine framework. His ideas are based on the combination of regimen and drugs which are two of the fundamental components of Hippocratic therapeutics (Prioreschi 1996)[footnoteRef:5]. The importance of healthy living and exercise is part of the Hippocratic regimen while the use of various drugs and procedures such as cautery are part of the drug component. [5: Plinio Prioreschi, A History of Medicine 2, (Horatius Press, 1996), 267.]


Duran-Reynals, M.L., Translator, Jacme d'Agramont: "Regiment de Preservacio a Epidimia o Pestilencia e Mortaldats," Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 23 (1949) p. 57.

Hergenhahn, B.R. An Introduction to the History of Psychology. Cengage Learning, 2009.

Jones, W.H.S. Breaths 6. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press and London: Heinemann, 1923.