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.

On this day: Emilie of Saxony was born in 1516

Emilie of Saxony was born on the 27th of July, 1516. As a teenager she was married off to Margrave George the Pious of Brandenburg-Ansbach. Her husband – more than three decades her senior – had had two wives before her.

Emilie of Saxony was born on the 27th of July, 1516. As a teenager she was married off to Margrave George the Pious of Brandenburg-Ansbach. Her husband – more than three decades her senior – had had two wives before her.

'Princess_Emilia_of_Saxony',_by_Hans_Krell_(about_1530)_Liverpool_museums

A strict Lutheran, she was known to be pious and wise. She died in 1591 and was survived by four children.