Languedoc in the Sixteenth Century
N.M. Sutherland describes how two Swiss brothers, studying medicine at Montpellier, recorded the tenor of life in sixteenth century Southwestern France.
This glance at life in Languedoc in the sixteenth century is based on the diaries of the brothers Felix and Thomas Platter who journeyed from Basle to spend some four years studying medicine in the celebrated faculty of Montpellier. They both qualified as bachelors, later taking their doctorates at Basle, where they eventually became distinguished physicians.
The Platter diaries are not only interesting and amusing in themselves, more particularly that of Felix; they are also precious social documents. They provide a wealth of information about the Germanic world from which the Platters came, the great trade route through Lyons and Avignon into southern France and on to Spain, as well as about Languedoc, with all its visible reminders of Rome, and its marked Catalan influences.
The interest of the diaries is enhanced by the fact that Thomas, the child of a remarkably late second marriage, was thirty-eight years younger than Felix, to whom he referred respectfully as mein Herr Brüder. Thus, while Felix was a student from 1552-7, just when Calvinism was beginning