Tag Archives: History

Book Review of Viruses, Plagues, and History by M. B. A. Oldstone

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover The first edition of Viruses, Plagues, and History was published to great acclaim twenty years ago and has now been updated to include the pandemics of the twenty-first century. These include the SARS, MERS, and Zika virus outbreaks, which have now been eclipsed by COVID-19. The early […]

Medicean optics: an analysis of Raffaello’s Portrait of Pope Leo X and Two Cardinals

Vincent P. de Luise  New Haven, Connecticut, United States   Portrait of Pope Leo X (Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici) and his cousins, the cardinals Giulio de’ Medici and Luigi de’ Rossi. Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael). ​o​il on panel 154 cm x 119 cm (​61 in. ​x 4​9​ ​in​). 1518-1519. Galleria degli ​Uffizi​, ​Firenze​. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Myopia, or nearsightedness, is […]

Otology in late Victorian Ireland

Tony Ryan Cork, Ireland   Figure 1: Unblocking the eustachian tube using Politzer’s bag. Source Introduction Henry MacNaughton Jones (1844-1918) was born in Cork City and graduated MD at Queen’s College, Cork, in 1864. Just four years later he founded the thirty-bed Cork Ophthalmic and Aural Hospital, where he practiced as a physician and surgeon. […]

Mount Everest and a medical atlas

Tony Ryan Cork, Ireland   This is a story of a medical atlas, the author, the illustrator, and her great-uncle. The book, the Atlas of the Diseases of the Membrana Tympani, was written by Dr. Henry MacNaughton Jones in 1878. This atlas of diseases of the “eardrum” was illustrated by nurse and artist, Margaret Boole. […]

The first effective chemotherapy for cancer

Marshall A. Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   Caution: Chemotherapy. Photo by Justin Levy. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0   Sulfur mustard gas had no influence on the outcome of the battle at Ypres during World War I despite the many deaths and severe injuries it inflicted. Since then, chemical weapons have been used in […]

Giovanni Boccaccio on pandemics past and present

Constance Markey Chicago, IL   The plague of Florence, 1348; an episode in the Decameron by Boccaccio. Etching by L. Sabatelli the elder after G. Boccaccio. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)) Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) is universally celebrated for his masterpiece The Decameron, an appealing assemblage of one hundred loosely connected novellas, […]

Teddy Roosevelt: did a speech really save his life?

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1. Roosevelt’s Eyeglass Case. Photo by Rickster77. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 Figure 2. Roosevelt’s Speech With Bullet Hole. Houghton Library, Harvard University. Part Of the Theodore Roosevelt Collection. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Figure 3. Roosevelt’s Bloody Shirt. Houghton Library, Harvard University. Part Of the […]

Asclepius at Epidaurus

L. J. Sandlow George Dunea Chicago, Illinois, United States   An Athenian seeking a cure for his afflictions in the fourth century BC had the option of visiting several competing sanctuaries, at Delphi, Olympia, or Epidaurus. To reach Epidaurus, the Athenian would bypass Megara and Corinth, then turn south and find himself at the shrine […]

Friedrich Nietzsche—much afflicted philosopher

Friedrich Nietzsche By Edvard Munch. 1906. Thielska Gallerie, Sweden. Via Wikimedia. Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most important philosophers of the nineteenth century. Though often misinterpreted, his influence has been enormous. Like his compatriot Schopenhauer, he questioned the comfortable beliefs of the conservative bourgeoisie of his time. His writings have fascinated generations of readers, […]

The Philosophers’ Stone: history and myth

S.E.S. Medina Benbrook, Texas, United States   The ouroboros and the squared circle. The ouroboros is an ancient symbol where the metaphysical property of infinity is represented by a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail. Its image is often used in alchemical texts from the Middle-Ages. Contained within the ouroboros is the squared circle, an […]