Black Death – a plague that killed a third of Europe’s population. Throughout history, the plague has been described as a nightmare and even punishment by God. However, some historians have suggested it caused the regeneration of medieval Europe. A plague victim exhibits the following symptoms: pustules (known as buboes) appearing in the groin, armpits, and neck which ooze blood and pus; acute fever; intense vomiting; death. The following verse was sung by children beginning in the 18th century, and is still a popular nursery rhyme in present-day. It describes: the black ring around the buboes (“Ring around the rosie”); the flowers people carried in their pockets to mask the stench of the pustules; the ashes of cremated bodies falling from the sky because death was so very common.
Ring around the rosie. A pocketful of posies. Ashes, ashes. We all fall down.
For the Love of God – (Per L’amor di Dio) a sculpture created in 2007 by Englishman Damien Hirst. It consists of a human skull cast in platinum and covered in 8,601 flawless diamonds. It cost roughly $19,000,000 to create and was sold for almost $68,000,000. In Inferno, the skull is found in Palazzo Vecchio. Langdon believes For the Love of God may hold the key to his clue, “The truth can only be glimpsed through the eyes of death.”
Lo Studiolo – a small room in the Palazzo Vecchio (connected to the Hall of Five Hundred) designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1570 to meet the needs of Francesco I de’ Medici. Francesco used it as a study, laboratory, and place to hide his trinkets, oddities, and valuables. Each of the magnificent frescoes lining the walls opens up to reveal secret cabinets. Langdon points out the following frescoes:
by Gordon Nickerson