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August 17, 1517 Andrea Ammonio dies of the sweat

Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for August 17.

Today in 1517 Andrea Ammonio died of the sweating sickness. He was a leading humanist scholar, Italian cleric, and became Latin secretary to Henry VII, sent by the Pope. He was good friends with Erasmus, and he spent the last part of his life in London.

He died of the sweating sickness, which was a relatively new illness, different than the plague. It’s likely that Henry VII’s mercenary soldiers brought it over with the invasion in 1485, and it would come back to haunt England every few years for nearly a century. It was different than the plague in that a person could feel quite well, then suddenly feel sick, then sweat profusely, then die. The whole process could take only hours. It generally affected well off men rather than poorer people, though no one was exempt. Even Anne Boleyn got sick from it, though she recovered. Interestingly, recovering didn’t mean that you were immune, and there are stories of people getting it three or four times, eventually dying from it.

Andrea Ammonio, scholar and humanist, died today.

That’s your Tudor Minute. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com.

Seamus O’Calleigh at the Tudor Summit on Tudor Medicine