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Abstract

This paper explores the trial of the Marquise de Brinvilliers for poisoning several of her relatives in mid-seventeenth century France during the reign of Louis XIV. This trial, as well as the Poison Affair that stemmed from it, have long drawn the attention of historians interested in the court of Louis XIV. However, historians have thus far failed to examine the types of poisons used, how they were compounded, and how this knowledge was obtained. This paper argues that two specific pharmacological texts, were written specifically for the average man, one written by Christopher Glaser and the other by Nicolas Lemery, were most likely what inspired the Marquise de Brinvilliers, her accomplices, and those who were tried during the Affair of the Poisons.

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