Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/4/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Wicked king suffered from intestinal parasites, brought on by poor hygiene

According to playwright William Shakespeare, British monarch Richard III was a dastardly, Machiavellian hunchback. Scientists now say the favored historical villain had bad personal hygiene as well - his remains betray the fact he was plagued with intestinal parasites.

Richard III ... had a personal problem that, judging from this painting, he didn't want to discuss.

Richard III ... had a personal problem that, judging from this painting, he didn't want to discuss.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/4/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Richard III, intestinal parasites, autopsy, scourge on mankind, bad hygeine


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Uncovered at the Grey Friars Church excavation site in Leicester in September of last year, Richard III's remains reveal he suffered from roundworms.

"This is the first time anyone has studied a king [or] noble in Britain to look for ancient intestinal parasites," Piers Mitchell, a paleoparasitologist and orthopedic surgeon said in an email. A sample taken from the king's remains have found the eggs of Ascaris lumbricoides, a simple roundworm.

"[T]hey may have been spread to Richard by cooks who did not wash their hands after using the toilet, or by the use of human feces from towns to fertilize fields nearby," Mitchell explained. Perhaps "salad vegetables became contaminated with eggs and were then eaten," he suggested.

An analysis included an image of isolated roundworm egg seen under an optical microscope.

"Despite Richard's noble background, it appears that his lifestyle did not completely protect him from intestinal parasite infection, which would have been very common at the time," Jo Appleby, lecturer in human bioarcheology at the University of Leicester said in a release.

Roundworm eggs were not found at other locations on the site, suggesting the worms were buried with the king. Had the king sought treatment, it would have involved the medieval practices of  "bloodletting, modification of the diet, and medicines to get rid of the excess phlegm and so return humeral balance to normal," Mitchell explained.

Poor sanitation is a major contributor to spreading infection. While the parasite is "uncommon" in the U.S., it afflicts up to 1.2 billion people worldwide. Roundworms claim 60,000 lives, mainly children, every year.

Roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms have been infecting humans for thousands of years. Among the oldest evidence, 10,000-year-old human fecal droppings from caves in Utah yielded traces of pinworm infection.

In a related bit of history, researchers in June of this year showed that Richard the Lionheart's crusading armies were being cut down from within - waging and losing a war with gut parasites on their travels.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Europe

Fears regarding Pope Francis' health resurface after he says he is 'a bit old and sick' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Telling parishioners he is "a bit old and a bit sick," new fears for the health of Pope Francis have resurfaced. The pope asked a group of elderly and disabled people to pray for him, warning that he was also suffering from heath problems. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Queen Elizabeth meets royal baby Charlotte Elizabeth Diana Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The royal newborn baby to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, was finally visited by the 89-year-old Queen. She went to Kensington Palace and was introduced to her fifth great-grandchild Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, born May 2, 2015. The baby's first ... continue reading


Papal visit to Iraq possible, but staff 'will not allow him to at present' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Large swatches of Iraq are under the iron-fisted rule of the Islamist States. Members of the Christian minority there have been forced from their homes where they seek refuge. Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil says he has spoken to Pope Francis about ... continue reading


Welcome to Liberland: Small patch claims to be world's newest country Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Liberland, the world's newest country, is a "pocket-sized" land that already has its own flag -- decorated with an eagle and a sun -- and its own motto: "To live and let live." Located by the River Danube, the self-declared nation's founders argued that it was neither ... continue reading


Putin's super soldier program? Russian military to equip army with mind controlled exoskeletons Watch

Image of Russia's recent announcement to equip its military with this technology by 2020 may alter the face of modern warfare.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It seems that Russian President Vladimir Putin is giving his army of aggression a new toy to play with, at least if recent claims by Russian media are to be believed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Straight out of a science fiction book, Russia's state run ... continue reading


Pope's 'who am I to judge' put to test with appointment of French gay ambassador to Vatican Watch

Image of France nominated Laurent Stefanini earlier this year. The Vatican has yet to accept the appointment. Stefanini, a Catholic who worked for years in the French Embassy at the Vatican, is openly gay.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Of being gay, Pope Francis exclaimed, "Who am I to judge?" Vatican-watchers say that is now being put to the test with the first openly gay ambassador to the Vatican, Laurent Stefanini from France awaiting approval. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - France ... continue reading


Terrorist attack plans AGAINST THE VATICAN unveiled during police raids in Italy Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An al-Qaeda-linked terror cell, who once had direct contact with Osama bin Laden and planned an attack on the Vatican, has been uncovered and broken up during raids by the Italian police this week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The group in question is believed ... continue reading


North African immigrants flooding Italy - as many as 200,000 could be there in a year Watch

Image of Arrivals of migrants usually spike in the spring and summer months due to more inclement weather in the Mediterranean.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Italy has become a gateway for many African and Middle Easterners fleeing their war-torn lands for peace and prosperity. It is estimated that as many as 5,000 migrants a week arrive in Italy by sea from North African ports. This is leading to a crisis, with ... continue reading


Pope urges Christians and Jews to UNITE to defeat persecution in Europe Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Meeting with a 30-member delegation of the Conference of European Rabbis, Pope Francis said that European Christians and Jews must stand together to defend one another from discrimination and persecution around the world. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading


Money running out, Greek government orders raid on government coffers Watch

Image of Hopes of securing a deal by the end of the month have faded, following a fraught week in which debt drama moved temporarily to Washington for the IMF's spring conference.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Greek government has ordered a mandatory transfer of cash reserves from state-owned enterprises to the central bank. The action is a frantic bid to gather enough cash to remain solvent. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Citing "extremely urgent and ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 15:1-6
1 Then some men came down from Judaea and taught the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:1-8
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 6th, 2015 Image

Bl. Edward Jones
May 6: Blessed Edward Jones and Anthony Middleton, Martyrs Edward Jones ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter