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Amulet and charm, Bavaria, Germany, 1690-1710

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The charm written in Latin and pasted on to this decorative amulet with four metal pendants attached was believed to protect against plague. Folded into a paper packet and cloth, the amulet could be carried in a pocket. The paper features a series of illustrations that include Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Christian saints including St Francis, St Ignatius, St Antony of Padua and St Francis of Solanus. Saints are believed to protect people against illness, disease and other dangers and help them in times of need.

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    Glossary: amulet

    Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.

    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.

    Glossary: charm

    An object kept or worn in a belief that it has magical powers to protect against harm or to bring good luck.