Not only is this moment a lewd allusion to flatulence and rectums, which was one staple of mountebank humor, the mention of clysters
and pipes is also a reference to mountebank cures.
Not surprisingly, the French led the fashion: the 17th century is described in France as the "Golden Age of the Enema", or clyster
, as it was called.
In some sense residing at the opposite dietetic pole of food intake, phlebotomy was an evacuative technique (along with purging, blistering, and the giving of clysters
) that constituted a normative part of dietetic regimen.
In one cartoon, Cardinal Fleury administers a clyster
from the rear.
1552, Cristovao Rodriguez de Oliveira refers to the existence of fifty-seven physicians (most of whom, in all probability, had not acquired their training at university); (91) sixty surgeons; forty-six apothecaries; 197 barbers (including barber-surgeons and others); twenty-five midwives; and twenty women who administered the clyster
ffor grete quantite of salt makeb sone be clistery for to haste to be goyng out (MEMT, Arderne, Clysters
Renaissance travelers sometimes prepared to start their physical journey by purging, either by clysters
or emetics, and bloodletting (purgatio ac venae sectio).
De Graaf's authoritative 1668 work on the male regenerative organs, Tractatus de Virorum Organis Generationi Inservientibus, appeared in a volume that also included his brief essay on the syringe and the use of "clysters
" (enemas), which had become enormously popular in Europe at the time.