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About Shakespeare's Time

Shakespeare for Kids

Elizabethans did not understand germs; they thought diseases were spread by bad smells.


They tried to prevent disease by keeping bad smells away. Women would carry small bouquets of herbs and flowers or hang a mixture of sweetly smelling substances called a pomander from their dresses.


In addition to keeping bad smells away from their bodies, people wanted to keep bad smells out of their homes.



Can you find the pomander on the woman?

Move your mouse over the image and see the circled pomander!


Crispijn van de Passe. A garden of flowers. Utrecht, 1615.

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