The Dancing Plague of July 1518

Die_Wallfahrt_der_Fallsuechtigen_nach_MeulebeeckEngraving of Hendrik Hondius portrays three women affected by the dancing plague

An engraving by Hendrik Hondius portrays a similar outbreak in the 1560s.

In July of 1518, dancing mania – a phenomenon that occurred across Europe for several centuries – hit Strasbourg, Alsace (France). Approximately four-hundred people danced themselves to exhaustion, and even to their deaths.

The plague began when a woman named Mrs Troffea began to dance in the street.

At the time, it was decided that the people could be cured with more dancing, and so musicians were hired to encourage them – which resulted in more deaths.

One modern-day theory suggest that consumption of fungi containing psychoactive chemicals (similar to LSD) was to blame. Mass hysteria has also been suggested.

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On this day: the Battle of Lepanto

The Battle of Lepanto 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of European Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the fleet of the Ottoman Empire on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth.

On the 7th of October, 1571, the Holy League destroyed Ottoman Empire forces in the Battle of Lepanto.
The coalition, made up of European Catholic maritime forces and organised by Pope Pius V, met the Turkish forces sailing west at the Gulf of Corinth, Greece.

The battle concluded at about 4pm.

The Holy League lost around 7500 soldiers, sailors and rowers, but they freed about as many Christian prisoners. The Ottomans lost around 15000, and at least 3500 were taken prisoner.