By Maria Pia Donato
In 1705-1706, through the struggle of the Spanish Succession and years after a devastating earthquake, an 'epidemic' of mysterious unexpected deaths terrorized Rome. In early glossy society, a unexpected loss of life was once perceived as a mala mors since it threatened the victim's salvation through hindering repentance and final confession. designated lots have been celebrated to implore God's clemency and Pope Clement XI ordered his own surgeon, Giovanni Maria Lancisi, to accomplish a sequence of dissections within the collage anatomical theatre on the way to become aware of the 'true explanations' of the lethal occasions. It was once the 1st research of this sort ever to happen for a situation which used to be no longer contagious. The e-book that Lancisi released in this subject, De subitaneis mortibus ('On surprising Deaths', 1707), is likely one of the earliest glossy clinical investigations of loss of life; it used to be not just an comprehensive instance of mechanical philosophy as utilized to the lifestyles sciences in eighteenth-century Europe, but additionally heralded a brand new pathological anatomy (traditionally linked to Giambattista Morgagni). furthermore, Lancisi's tract and the full affair of the unexpected deaths in Rome marked an important holiday within the conventional angle in the direction of death, introducing a extra lively procedure that might later turn into the perform of resuscitation drugs. unexpected loss of life explores how a brand new medical interpretation of loss of life and a brand new perspective in the direction of demise first got here into being, breaking unfastened from the Hippocratic culture, which looked loss of life because the noticeable restrict of physician's skill, and prime easy methods to a trust within the 'conquest of demise' by way of drugs which is still in strength to today.
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Additional info for Sudden Death: Medicine and Religion in Eighteenth-Century Rome
These animal spirits produce sense and motion in the nerves; apoplexy occurs when the ventricles are obstructed by morbid matter. This account of apoplexy was undermined, more than by the simple discovery of the 110 36 Sudden Death: Medicine and Religion in Eighteenth-Century Rome blood, from which some sparks, similar to burning acid, passed into the nerves’; depending on the ‘greater or lesser resistance which they found, they produced a diversity of symptoms of varying severity, and in greater or lesser time either killed or maimed’.
Ever since ancient times, a doctor had principally 86 Baglivi, De praxi medica, in Opere, pp. 124–5. In contrast, he considered coffee excellent in that ‘it cures headache after lunch’. Consumption of chocolate had become rather widespread in the mid-seventeenth century during times of fasting, despite some opposition on the part of canonists and moralists. 87 Virtù del Kafe bevanda introdotta nuovaente nell’Italia con alcune osservazioni per conservar la sanità nella vecchiaia, Rome, 1671; Dichiaratione delle virtù della bevanda del caffé, Rome, 1683.
1, Budapest, 1956, pp. 380–81. 64 J. Berlioz, ‘La foudre au Moyen Âge: l’apport des exempla homilétiques’, in Les catastrophes naturelles dans l’Europe médiévale et moderne, ed. B. Bennassar, Toulouse, 1996, pp. 165–74. 66 In January 1706, proclaiming the indulgences, the Cardinal Vicar Gaspare Carpegna attributed these ‘accidents’ to the sins of the people and lamented ‘how brief was the correction of our conduct, and now, alas, we see that the wrath of God continues because of our obstination in sin, and justly threatens us with ever more serious disasters’.