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Hippocrates – (c.460 BC – c.370 BC)


Hippocrates, (born c. 460 bce, island of Cos, Greece—died c. 375 bce, Larissa, Thessaly), ancient Greek physician who lived during Greece’s Classical period and is traditionally regarded as the father of medicine. It is difficult to isolate the facts of Hippocrates’ life from the later tales told about him or to assess his medicine accurately in the face of centuries of reverence for him as the ideal physician. About 60 medical writings have survived that bear his name, most of which were not written by him. He has been revered for his ethical standards in medical practice, mainly for the Hippocratic Oath, which, it is suspected, he did not write.

Life & Works

It is known that while Hippocrates was alive, he was admired as a physician and teacher. His younger contemporary Plato referred to him twice. In the Protagoras Plato called Hippocrates “the Asclepiad of Cos” who taught students for fees, and he implied that Hippocrates was as well known as a physician as Polyclitus and Phidias were as sculptors. It is now widely accepted that an “Asclepiad” was not a temple priest or a member of a physicians’ guild but instead was a physician belonging to a family that had produced well-known physicians for generations. Plato’s second reference occurs in the Phaedrus, in which Hippocrates is referred to as a famous Asclepiad who had a philosophical approach to medicine.

Meno, a pupil of Aristotle, specifically stated in his history of medicine the views of Hippocrates on the causation of diseases, namely, that undigested residues were produced by unsuitable diet and that these residues excreted vapours, which passed into the body generally and produced diseases. Aristotle said that Hippocrates was called “the Great Physician” but that he was small in stature (Politics).

These are the only extant contemporary, or near-contemporary, references to Hippocrates. Five hundred years later, the Greek physician Soranus wrote a life of Hippocrates, but the contents of this and later lives were largely traditional or imaginative. Throughout his life Hippocrates appears to have traveled widely in Greece and Asia Minor practicing his art and teaching his pupils, and he presumably taught at the medical school at Cos quite frequently. His birth and death dates are traditional but may well be approximately accurate. Undoubtedly, Hippocrates was a historical figure, a great physician who exercised a permanent influence on the development of medicine and on the ideals and ethics of the physician.

Hippocrates’ reputation, and myths about his life and his family, began to grow in the Hellenistic period, about a century after his death. During this period, the Museum of Alexandria in Egypt collected for its library literary material from preceding periods in celebration of the past greatness of Greece. So far as it can be inferred, the medical works that remained from the Classical period (among the earliest prose writings in Greek) were assembled as a group and called the works of Hippocrates (Corpus Hippocraticum). Linguists and physicians subsequently wrote commentaries on them, and, as a result, all the virtues of the Classical medical works were eventually attributed to Hippocrates and his personality constructed from them.
The virtues of the Hippocratic writings are many, and, although they are of varying lengths and literary quality, they are all simple and direct, earnest in their desire to help, and lacking in technical jargon and elaborate argument. The works show such different views and styles that they cannot be by one person, and some were clearly written in later periods. Yet all the works of the Corpus share basic assumptions about how the body works and what disease is, providing a sense of the substance and appeal of ancient Greek medicine as practiced by Hippocrates and other physicians of his era. Prominent among these attractive works are the Epidemics, which give annual records of weather and associated diseases, along with individual case histories and records of treatment, collected from cities in northern Greece. Diagnosis and prognosis are frequent subjects. Other treatises explain how to set fractures and treat wounds, feed and comfort patients, and take care of the body to avoid illness. Treatises called Diseases deal with serious illnesses, proceeding from the head to the feet, giving symptoms, prognoses, and treatments. There are works on diseases of women, childbirth, and pediatrics. Prescribed medications, other than foods and local salves, are generally purgatives to rid the body of the noxious substances thought to cause disease. Some works argue that medicine is indeed a science, with firm principles and methods, although explicit medical theory is very rare. The medicine depends on a mythology of how the body works and how its inner organs are connected. The myth is laboriously constructed from experience, but it must be remembered that there was neither systematic research nor dissection of human beings in Hippocrates’ time. Hence, while much of the writing seems wise and correct, there are large areas where much is unknown.
The Embassy, a fictional work that connects Hippocrates’ family with critical events in the history of Cos and Greece, was included in the original collection of Hippocratic works in the Library of Alexandria. Over the next four centuries, The Embassy inspired other imaginative writings, including letters between Hippocrates and the Persian king and also the philosopher Democritus. Though obviously fiction, these works enhanced Hippocrates’ reputation, providing the basis for later biographies and the traditional picture of Hippocrates as the father of medicine. Still other works were added to the Hippocratic Corpus between its first collection and its first scholarly edition around the beginning of the 2nd century ad. Among them were the Hippocratic Oath and other ethical writings that prescribe principles of behaviour for the physician.




Technical medical science developed in the Hellenistic period and after. Surgery, pharmacy, and anatomy advanced; physiology became the subject of serious speculation; and philosophic criticism improved the logic of medical theories. Competing schools in medicine (first Empiricism and later Rationalism) claimed Hippocrates as the origin and inspiration of their doctrines. In the 2nd century ad, the physician Galen of Pergamum developed his magnificent medical system, a synthesis of preceding work and his own additions that became the basis of European and Arabic medicine into the Renaissance. Galen was argumentative and long-winded, often abusive of contemporaries and earlier physicians, but at the same time, with exaggerated reverence that ignored five centuries of progress, he claimed that Hippocrates was the source of all that he himself knew and practiced. For later physicians, Hippocrates stood as the inspirational source, while the more difficult Galen offered the substantial details.

As time went on, reverence for the past had to contend with new notions of scientific method and new discoveries. In the process, Galen’s authority was undone, but Hippocrates’ eminence as father of medicine remained. Scientific progress in fields such as anatomy, chemistry, microbiology, and microscopy, especially beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries, demanded that Galen’s medicine be criticized and revised part by part. Arguments against Galenic medicine were often more effective when they were presented as returns to true Hippocratic medicine. New scientific methodology argued for a return to observation and study of nature, abandoning bookish authority. The simple and direct writings of the Hippocratic Collection read well as sample empirical texts that eschewed dogma. By the late 19th century, Galen was irrelevant to medical practice, and general knowledge of Hippocratic medical writings was beginning to fade. However, today Hippocrates still continues to represent the humane, ethical aspects of the medical profession.


Hippocratic Oath

Classic Version of the Hippocratic Oath


I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfil according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art – if they desire to learn it – without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

If I fulfil this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.

A Modern Version of the Hippocratic Oath

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

The classical version of the Hippocratic Oath is from the translation from the Greek by Ludwig Edelstein. From The Hippocratic Oath: Text, Translation, and Interpretation, by Ludwig Edelstein. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1943.

The modern version of the Hippocratic Oath was written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University.


Source – Britannica | About Encyclopedia Britannica
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Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich – (1815 – 1877)

Biography of Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich

Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich was the son of a chief district physician – Oberamtsarzt, later Medcinal-Rath. Following the death of his father in 1824, he moved to Stuttgart with his mother. He graduated from the Gymnasium in 1832. His mother then wanted him to study for the priesthood, but Wunderlich wanted otherwise.
He spent a year in Stuttgart and made the friendship of the psychiatrist and neurologist Wilhelm Griesinger (1817-1868), and the surgeon Wilhelm Roser (1817-1888). In 1833 he entered the University of Tübingen to study medicine. He was not satisfied, however, as all the members of the medical faculty strictly adhered to the ruling system of medicine, ignoring or rejecting the advances made in France and England.

Besides his youth friends Griesinger and Roser, Wunderlich was influenced by the then newly appeared textbook of physiology by Johannes Peter Müller (1801-1858) and from 1835 by the Privatdozent Albert Friedrich Schill (1812-1839), who communicated many of the latest advances in medical theory and practice, and made English and French works available.

After passing the Rigorosum with distinction in Tübingen in 1837, Wunderlich went to Paris, staying for one year to attend the clinics and lectures of the luminaries of the medical sciences.

From July 1, 1838, Wunderlich held the position of an assistant at the Katherinen-Hospital in Stuttgart. He obtained his doctorate in Tübingen in November 1838. Late in 1839 he went to Paris once more for some months, before staying the winter in Stuttgart, giving lectures to military physicians. The death of Dr. Schill occasioned his habilitation at the University of Tübingen in early 1840. In Tübingen, after having stayed for a sustained period of time in Vienna, he wrote the Wien und Paris, a paper that was met with great attention.

In April 1841, despite some doubts in the medical faculty, Wunderlich was made the assistant to the ailing clinical professor Georg Heermann (1807-1844). In 1843 he became Heermann’s deputy and from 1846 he was ordentlicher Professor and director of the medical clinic in Tübingen.

Wunderlich remained in these positions until he was called to Leipzig to succeed Johann von Oppolzer (1808-1871) as professor and head of the St. Jakob university clinic. He commenced his teaching on October 27, 1850, and St. Jakob soon became one of the best attended teaching hospitals in Germany.

Besides his ordinary duties, Wunderlich gave annual lectures on special pathology and therapy, repeatedly on psychiatry, balneology and Klimacurorte, on sickness thermometry, and once, in 1858, on the history of medicine. Besides his duties as an academic teacher Wunderlich ran a rather busy consultative private practice, and from 1854 he was in charge of the Geschäfte des Medicinalbesitzers bei der k. Kreishauptmannschaft zu Leipzig.

Wunderlich’s capacity was used fully during the severe cholera epidemic that broke out in Leipzig in 1866, and during the Franco-Prussian war the entire Kriegs-Medicinalwesen in Tübingen was under his directorship.

In 1859 Wunderlich turned down an invitation to Breslau, and in 1871 was offered to change his tenure at Leipzig for the position of personal physician (königlicher Leibarzt) as well as president of the Landes-Medicinal-Collegium in Dresden. In 1871 he was appointed to the Department of Medicine’s organisational commission for the construction and design of psychiatric hospitals.

He enjoyed a strong health until November 1866, when he fell ill with a severe pneumonia, which left him with an increased irritability for a long time. He recovered, however, not least due to a sustained stay in southern France, and was able to resume his work. His son, however, also a physician, fell severely ill in the winter of 1869/1870, and this had a deteriorating effect on the health of the father. He recovered once more, but after the sudden death of his son in 1873, he was unable to recover once more. He died four years later,

From 1842 to 1859 Wunderlich, Roser and Griesinger (from 1847) published the journal Archiv für physiologische Heilkunde.

Today Wunderlich is particularly remembered for pioneering efforts in the use of the thermometer in diagnostic work, introducing the fever graph. Before him, French physicians had suggested that the average body temperature was about 37 °C (98.5F).

Wunderlich set out to prove it. Using a foot-long thermometer that took more than 15 minutes to give a reading, he took the underarm temperature of 25,000 patients several times over, a total of more than a million readings.


Works by others:

  • George Martine (11702-1741):
    Essays medical and philosophical. London, A. Millar, 1740.
    First important work on clinical thermometry, and the only scientific treatment of the subject before Wunderlich.
  • Johannes Müller:
    Handbuch der Physiologie des Menschen für Vorlesungen. 2 volumes. Coblenz, 1834-1840.
    English translation by Baly (London, 1840-1843); French translation by Jourdan (Paris, 1845).

Works by Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich:

  • Ueber die Nosologie des Typhus. Doctoral dissertation, Stuttgart, 1838.
  • Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte und Beurtheilung der gegenwärtigen Heilkunde in Deutschland und Frankreich. Wien und Paris, 1841.
  • Versuch einer pathologischen Physiologie des Blutes.
    Stuttgart : Ebner & Seubert, 1845.
  • Ueber Pulsdifferenz. Tübingen, 1850. With Benno Heilbut.
  • Handbuch der Pathologie und Therapie.
    Stuttgart, 1850-1852; 2nd and expanded edition in 4 volumes, 1852-1856.
    In this work Wunderlich emphasised the importance of strict scientific methods.
  • Adnotatiunculae quaedam de viribus herbae digitalis. Leipzig, 1851.
  • Ein Plan zur festeren Begründing der therapeutischen Erfahrungen.
    Rede, gehalten beim Antritt der Professur zu Leipzig.
    [Schmidt’s] Jahrbücher der in- und ausländischen gesammten Medicin, Leipzig, volume 70, 1851.
  • De actionibus quibusdam acidi nitrici caustici in corpus humanum intromissi.
    Leipzig, 1856.
  • Grundriss der speciellen Pathologie und Therapie. Stuttgart, 1858.
  • Geschichte der Medicin.
    Stuttgart, Ebner & Seubert, 1859; Dutch translation, Tiel, 1861.
  • Cholera-Regulativ, herausgegeben mit Griesinger, Pettenkofer und Hirsch.
    München : Oldenburg, 1866-1867.
    Wilhelm Griesinger, Max Josef von Pettenkofer (1818-1901) and August Hirsch (1817-1894).
  • Das Verhalten der Eigenwärme in Krankheiten.
    Leipzig, Verlag von Otto Wigand, 1866; 2nd edition, 1870; translated into several languages. English translation by the New Sydenham Society in 1871.
    This classic work on temperature in disease laid the foundation of modern knowledge regarding clinical thermometry. Garrison said of Wunderlich that he “found fever a disease and left it a symptom”.
  • Erfolge der Behandlung der progressiven Spinalparalyse durch Silbersalpeter.
    Archiv der Heilkunde, Leipzig, 1860, 2: 193-208.
  • Ein weiterer Fall von postmortaler Temperatursteigerung bei einem Tetanischen.
    Archiv der Heilkunde, 1862, 3: 175-178.
  • Weitere Erfahrungen über die Heilwirkung des Silbersalpeters bei progressiver Spinalparalyse (Ataxie locomotrice progressive).
    Archiv der Heilkunde, 1863, 4: 43-46.
    Bulletin général de thérapeutique médicale et chirurgicale, Paris, 1863, 64: 249-254
  • Ueber die Eigenwärme am Schluss tödtlicher Neurosen.
    Archiv der Heilkunde, 1864, 5: 205-227.
  • Ueber Fälle von epidemischer Cerebrospinal-Meningitis in Leipzig.
    Archiv der Heilkunde, 1864, 5: 417.
    Archiv der Heilkunde, 1865, 6: 268.
  • Nachruf auf Griesinger. Archiv der Heilkunde, 1869, 10: 113-150.
    Archiv der deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychiatrie und gerichtliche Psychologie verbunden mit dem Correspondenz-Blatte, 1869, 16: 70-91, 170-183. Leipzig: Wigand, 1869?
  • W. Griesinger, biographische Skizze.
    Lepizig, 1869, from Archiv der Heilkunde, Leipzig.
  • Ueber die Gesundheitsverhältnisse in den productiven Lebensaltern. Rede beim Antritte des Rectorats 1871.
  • Ueber luetische Erkrankungen des Gehirns und Rückenmarks.
    [Volkmanns] Sammlung klinischer Vorträge, Leipzig, Nr. 93, 1875.
    Wiener medicinische Presse, 1876, 17: 607, 647.
    Clinical Lectures by German Authors, London, 1877. 2nd series: 377-402.

    Source –

Anton Van Leeuwenhoek – (1632 – 1723)


Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was born in Delft on 24 October 1632. In 1648, van Leeuwenhoek was apprenticed to a textile merchant, which is where he probably first encountered magnifying glasses, which were used in the textile trade to count thread densities for quality control purposes. Aged 20, he returned to Delft and set himself up as a linen-draper. He prospered and was appointed chamberlain to the sheriffs of Delft in 1660, and becoming a surveyor nine years later.

In 1668, van Leeuwenhoek paid his first and only visit to London, where he probably saw a copy of Robert Hooke’s ‘Micrographia’ (1665) which included pictures of textiles that would have been of interest to him. In 1673, he reported his first observations – bee mouthparts and stings, a human louse and a fungus – to the Royal Society. He was elected a member of the society in 1680 and continued his association for the rest of his life by correspondence.

In 1676, van Leeuwenhoek observed water closely and was surprised to see tiny organisms – the first bacteria observed by man. His letter announcing this discovery caused widespread doubt at the Royal Society but Robert Hooke later repeated the experiment and was able to confirm his discoveries.

As well as being the father of microbiology, van Leeuwenhoek laid the foundations of plant anatomy and became an expert on animal reproduction. He discovered blood cells and microscopic nematodes, and studied the structure of wood and crystals. He also made over 500 microscopes to view specific objects.

He also discovered sperm, which he considered one of the most important discoveries of his career, and described the spermatozoa from molluscs, fish, amphibians, birds and mammals, coming to the novel conclusion that fertilisation occurred when the spermatozoa penetrated the egg.

Van Leeuwenhoek died on 30 August 1723.

Microscopic monopoly

One of the original explorers of the microscopic world, van Leeuwenhoek used homemade microscopes to investigate the world around him. All microscopes at the time were largely homemade but he was particularly good at grinding lenses. Essentially, using no more than extremely powerful magnifying glasses (single lens microscopes) he could magnify objects up to two hundred times. His contemporaries could only magnify things twenty to thirty times despite using more technically advanced compound microscopes. This gave him a monopoly on early microscopic discoveries – much to the envy of his contemporaries.

Letters to the Royal Society

In 1673, he began writing to the recently-formed Royal Society (in London), where he described what he saw. Despite never actually writing a proper scientific paper, his work was very well regarded. Indeed, his work was considered so important that Henry Oldenburg learnt Dutch just to be able to translate it. van Leeuwenhoek also gained fame outside the scientific community: many visitors came to see the curious things he was describing. He even demonstrated circulation in an eel to Tsar Pete the Great of Russia in 1698. 

Microscope to space station and microbiome

Science has moved on a great deal since 1683. We not only know what bacteria are, we can see inside them and understand how they work. Although structurally diverse; nearly all bacteria have a single piece of circular DNA.  We have found them in nearly every habitat on earth. They have even been able to survive space in the International Space Station. Of course, no list of bacterial habitats would be complete without the human body. So significant are these bacteria that we have a name for them (microflora) and their genetics (microbiome), and a branch of science dedicated to understanding them.

Source – The Naked Scientists

SeeBacterium | Image Gallery | Microscope

Medicine Of Templars

The Medicine Of The Templars

At Paris, 18 March of 1314, on the island of the Seine in front of the
Garden real, Jacques de Molay, the last Great Master of the Templars,
and Geoffroy de Charny, preceptor of Normandy, were burned as heretics.

finishes the history of the Knights of the Temple after two centuries.
The Templars would have been in possession of the most hidden secrets of
alchemy. They were first to use the IPERICO on burns and hurts from
cut, like antiseptic, astringent, healing, and in order to improve humor
of the soldiers that remained immobilized in bed for months.

Templars created a mixture with pulp of Aloe, pulp of Hemp and wine of
Palm called “ELISIR of GERUSALEM”, with therapeutic and nourishing
properties, they used the Arborescens ALOE for its antiseptic,
bactericidal and fungicide actions and for its capacity to penetration
in the deeper layers of the skin. Robert Anton Wilson, in his book on
the Templars, asserts that they used the hashish and practiced a shape
of Arabic Tantrism; the doctrine of enlightenment as the realization of
oneness of one’s self and the visible world, combining elements of
hinduism and paganism, including magical and mystical elements.

The authors of Holy Blood and Holy Grail,
Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln, comment that the Templars need to treat
wounds and illness, made them experts in the use of drugs and the Order
in advance of their time regarded epilepsy not as demonic possession but
as a controllable disease. Interestingly, cannabis is the safest
natural or synthetic medication proven successful in the treatment of
forms of epilepsy.

esoteric inheritance and the alchemical-spagyrics acquaintances were
handed from the Templars to the Crocifers. From these Orders, that one
of Saint Giacomo or Jacobite managed many Hospitals during the XV
century. To the Jacobite monks , in quality of experts in the cure of
the diseases of the skin, the task was entrusted to cure the wounded
soldiers during the Crusades, in the Hospitals of Malta and Cyprus.

them, in fact, was attributed the capability to create miraculous
ointments. In such historical context it must estimate the work of the
Templars concluding with recognizing that they, anticipating the times,
had a modern vision of the Medicine and, although were considered
heretics and consigned to the fire, recently a document has been
recovered in Archives Vaticans from the studious Barbara Frale that
demonstrates as Pope Clemente V secretly pardoned Templars in 1314,
acquitting their Great Master from the heresy accusation.

parchment for Templar Leaders including Jaques de Molay by the
Apostolic Commission “ad inquirendum” of the 3 papal legates Bérenger
Frédol, Etienne de Suisy and Landolfo Branacci
Chinon, Tours diocese, 1308 august 17-20. Archivum Secretum Apostolicum Vaticanum, Archivum Arcis, Armarium D 218.
trial of the Templars in the Papal State and the Abruzzi” (Città del
Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1992) 2)Aries, P. 1985. Aries,
P. 1985. Images of Man and Death. Harvard University Press, 271p.
3)Chronicon Monasterii S. Salvatoris Venetiarum Francisci de Gratia
(1141-1380), ed. A. M. Duse, Venezia 1766, pp. 69-70. 4)L. Green
Chronicle into History. An Essay on the Interpretation of History in
Florentine Fourteenth-Century Chronicles Cambridge 1972. 5)A. Coville
Documents su les Flagellants «Histoire littéraire de la Françe» 37
(1937),pp 390-411 6)Tononi AG. La Peste Dell’ Anno 1348. Giornale
Linguistico de Archeologia, Storia e Letteratura 1884;11:139–52.
7)Horrox R, editor. The Black Death. Manchester: Manchester University
Press; 1994. p. 14–26. 8)Hecker JFC. The epidemics of the Middle Ages.
London: Sydenham Society; 1844. 9)R. Guarnieri, Prefazione storica, in
M. Porete, Lo specchio delle anime semplici , traduzione di Giovanna
Fozzer, prefazione storica di Romana Guarnieri, commento di Marco
Vannini, Edizioni San Paolo 1994, p. 39. 10)Alfred D. Berger,
“Marijuana,” Medical World News, July 16, 1971, pp. 37-43; reprinted in
Marijuana Medical Papers. 11)B. Guenée Storia e cultura storica
nell’occidente medievale. Bologna 1991, pp. 255-61. 12)V. Rutenburg
Popolo e movimenti popolari nell’Italia del ’300 e ’400, introd. di R.
Manselli, Bologna 1974, p. 109. 13)N. Biraben Les hommes et la peste en
France et dans les pays européens et méditerranéens, voll. 2, Paris – La
Haye 1975-76 (Civilisations et Sociétés 35-36), 2, p. 69. 14)Umberto da
Romans, De eruditione praedicatorum, II, XCII, in Malato, medico e
medicina nel Medioevo di J.Agrimi-C.Crisciani, Torino 1980.

15th Congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, Rhodes-Greece
Prof. Camillo O. Di Cicco, M.D.

Author – Camillo Di Cicco
Source –

The Mysterious Dancing plague of 1518

The Mysterious Dancing plague of 1518

Dancing plague of 1518, event in which hundreds of citizens of Strasbourg (then a free city within the Holy Roman Empire, now in France) danced uncontrollably and apparently unwillingly for days on end; the mania lasted for about two months before ending as mysteriously as it began.

In July 1518, a woman whose name was given as Frau (Mrs.) Troffea (or Trauffea) stepped into the street and began dancing. She seemed unable to stop, and she kept dancing until she collapsed from exhaustion. After resting, she resumed the compulsive frenzied activity. She continued this way for days, and within a week more than 30 other people were similarly afflicted. They kept going long past the point of injury. City authorities were alarmed by the ever-increasing number of dancers. The civic and religious leaders theorized that more dancing was the solution, and so they arranged for guildhalls for the dancers to gather in, musicians to accompany the dancing, and professional dancers to help the afflicted to continue dancing. This only exacerbated the contagion, and as many as 400 people were eventually consumed by the dancing compulsion. A number of them died from their exertions. In early September the mania began to abate.

The 1518 event was the most thoroughly documented and probably the last of several such outbreaks in Europe, which took place largely between the 10th and 16th centuries. The otherwise best known of these took place in 1374; that eruption spread to several towns along the Rhine River.

Contemporary explanations for the dancing plague included demonic possession and overheated blood. Investigators in the 20th century suggested that the afflicted might have consumed bread made from rye flour contaminated with the fungal disease ergot, which is known to produce convulsions. American sociologist Robert Bartholomew posited that the dancers were adherents of heretical sects, dancing to attract divine favour. The most widely accepted theory was that of American medical historian John Waller, who laid out in several papers his reasons for believing that the dancing plague was a form of mass psychogenic disorder. Such outbreaks take place under circumstances of extreme stress and generally take form based on local fears. In the case of the dancing plague of 1518, Waller cited a series of famines and the presence of such diseases as smallpox and syphilis as the overwhelming stressors affecting residents of Strasbourg. He further maintained that there was a local belief that those who failed to propitiate St. Vitus, patron saint of epileptics and of dancers, would be cursed by being forced to dance.

Author – Patricia Bauer
Source –

Further coverage of this fascinating subject can be found in the following video by Smart by Design entitled – ‘Mass Hysteria And The Dancing Plague Of 1518″

Mass Hysteria And The Dancing Plague Of 1518
Watch this video on YouTube.

Topics Covered –

1918 Spanish Flu historical documentary | Swine Flu Pandemic | Deadly plague of 1918

1918 Spanish Flu historical documentary | Swine Flu Pandemic | Deadly plague of 1918
Watch this video on YouTube.
Play Video

1918 Spanish Flu historical documentary | Swine Flu Pandemic | Deadly plague of 1918


An in-depth documentary which examines the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. It’s causes, origin, transmission & treatment

Topics Covered.

Spanish Flu pandemic. Historical pandemics. World War 1. Army living conditions. Civilian living conditions. Troop movements, War machine. Disease contagion. Epidemiology. Civilian population. Civilization. Southeast Asia origin of flu pandemics. Incubation. Public health issues. Food shortages. Viral mutation. Viral species transfer. Flu symptoms. Secondary infections. Pneumonia. Controversy. Political mismanagement. American Medical Association. Dengue. Vertigo. Headaches. Blindness. Double vision. Mucus excretions. Poison gas. Hemorrhagic fever. Oxygen starvation. Delirium. The ‘Blue Death’. Speed of death. High death rate. Hospital overcrowding. Quarantine. Philadelphia. San Francisco. Avian flu. H1N1. John Hopkins Center. Immunization. 2009 Swine flu.


“I had a little bird. Its name was Enza.
I opened the window & in-flu-Enza”

Children’s rope jumping song. 1918


Chromosome8. Youtube. Oct 1, 2018