Medal showing St Hubert and St Roch, France, 1831-1900
St Hubert (c. 656-c. 728) is shown on the medal on the bottom left hand side. Hubert was a Christian bishop and was usually called upon through prayer to cure and protect against rabies. The reverse shows St Roch (1295-1327), a Christian saint. Roch was a Christian pilgrim who was believed to cure those with, and protect against, plague. Once plague was no longer a threat in Europe, St Roch’s protection was transferred to other diseases, such as cholera. Amulets have been worn for thousands of years to protect the wearer from illness, ill fortune and bad luck. It is shown here with two other amulets featuring images of St Roch (A677845 and A678713).
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Rabies is a disease which infects domestic and wild animals. It is a virus transmitted to other animals and humans through close contact with saliva from those infected (i.e. bites, scratches, licks on broken skin). Once symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is fatal.
Small pieces of metal, usually gold, silver, or bronze, bearing a relief design on one or both sides and having a commemorative purpose; not used as a medium of exchange. Medals may also be created to commemorate individuals or events or even as works of artistic expression in their own right.
An acute contagious fever with high levels of mortality. Both the 'Black Death' that swept Europe in the 1340s and the Great Plague of London in 1665 are believed to have been bubonic plague.
A severe infection of the small intestine commonly contracted through eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea, leading to dehydration, which can be fatal.