Tag Archives: 15th century

The wounds of Christ and Prometheus – two of a kind?

Julia van Rosmalen Thomas van Gulik Amsterdam, Netherlands   Fig. 1. Peter Paul Rubens, Prometheus Bound, 1611-1612. The eagle has buried its claws into the face and leg of Prometheus and uses its beak to tear out part of his liver that it has extracted through the right side of his chest. In the lower […]

A detailed depiction of a “crime scene” circa 1455

Daniel Gelfman Indianapolis, Indiana, United States   The use of forensic science to determine the etiology and manner of death has been attempted for millennia. Early autopsies involved inspection of the deceased individual and possibly an internal examination. The performance of autopsies has been greatly influenced by religious and political forces.1 There is a record […]

Guaiac and “the old Guaiacum test”

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Guaiacum officinale. Photo by Forest and Kim Starr. July 27, 2007. Via Wikimedia. CC BY 3.0. “The old Guaiacum test was very clumsy and uncertain.” — A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle, 1887   So declares Mr. Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel A Study […]

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543)

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Statue of Copernicus, Warsaw, Poland. Photo by Arpan K. Banerjee. Nicolaus Copernicus was born on 19 Feb 1473 in the Prussian town of Torun, now part of Poland. He studied at the Jagiellonian University of Cracow, and although his main subjects were mathematics and astronomy, he […]

Book review: Greco-Roman Medicine and What it Can Teach Us Today

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: Greco-Roman medicine and what it can teach us today. The Republic of Rome was founded in the sixth century BC. In the third century BC, the western Roman Empire began to spread outside the borders of Italy. Roman rule came to Britain in AD 43 with the […]

Guadalupe: one of Spain’s oldest schools of medicine

Nicolás Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. The Monastery of Guadalupe. Main entrance. Photo by Rafa G. Recuero. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 ES. Guadalupe, a small Spanish town in the district of Cáceres, Extremadura, arose around a monastery. Legend says that a shepherd named Gil Cordero was looking for a stray sheep when […]

Strabismo di Venere—Michelangelo’s David

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1: Eyes of David. Photo by George M. Groutas. 2019. Via Wikimedia. CC BY 2.0. It is one of the most recognizable sculptures in Western art, the work of an acclaimed Renaissance artist. For over 600 years, it has been viewed by millions of tourists and […]

John Caius, the polymath who described the sweating sickness

Philip Liebson Chicago, Illinois, United States   John Caius (1510-1573), Master of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge. 1563. Unknown painter. Credit: Gonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge. Imagine being a physician in a rural community in England in the mid-sixteenth century, always concerned with the reappearance of the Black Death. Late one summer you […]

St. Godric and the lost leper hospital of Darlington

Stephen Martin UK   Fig 1. Godric praying to the Virgin, c 1400. PD-US, accessed: wikimedia, original: ©British Library Board, Cotton, Faustina, VI, ii 16 V. In the late 1100s, the English monk Reginald of Durham wrote an account in Latin of the hermit St. Godric, whom he knew personally.1 Reginald attributed over two hundred […]

Ghirlandaio, humanism, and truth: the portrait of an elderly man and young boy

Vincent P. de Luise New Haven, Connecticut, United States   Figure 1. Portrait of an Elderly Man and Child (Ritratto di un Vecchio e Nipote) Domenico Ghirlandaio, tempera on poplar panel. 1490. Louvre. Source. “. . . There is no more human a picture in the entire range of Quattrocento painting, whether in or out […]