Saturday, November 21, 2009
November 21: Bargains in Wives (Vol. 34, pp. 93-97)
Voltaire came down with smallpox in November 1723, which is why we get today's piece on smallpox innoculation. The ancient Circassians seem to have noticed that innoculating the young with the disease would prevent a worse outbreak down the road, which is why the daughters — in high demand by the sultans — were protected. The supposedly "civilized" culture of Europe took a long time to figure this out.