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Statue of St Roch, Germany, 1401-1500

St Roch is the Catholic saint who has traditionally been invoked against the plague. He was said to be a Christian, born in the late 1200s, who went on a pilgrimage at the time of a plague epidemic. He helped nurse those with the disease and was believed to cure them of plague until he caught the disease himself. To prevent the spread of the disease, he went to the woods alone. The story describes how a dog looked after him and brought him bread. As such, St Roch is almost always shown accompanied by a dog and pointing towards a plague bubo, which is clearly visible on his own leg.

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Glossary: statue

A sculpture in the round representing human or animal figures or small figure groups; a statuette is a smaller sculpture.

Glossary: pilgrimage

No description.

Glossary: plague

An acute contagious fever with high levels of mortality. Both the 'Black Death' that swept Europe in the 1340s and the Great Plague of London in 1665 are believed to have been bubonic plague.