18th-Century Apothecaries

This blog post is dedicated to the digital exhibition on Apothecaries from Harvard University (https://collections.countway.harvard.edu/onview/exhibits/show/apothecary-jars/sequence). Apothecaries were a branch of the tripartite medical system of apothecary-surgeon-physician which arose in Europe in the early-modern period. Well established as a profession by the seventeenth century, the apothecaries were chemists, mixing and selling their own medicines. They sold … More 18th-Century Apothecaries

Surviving the Corona Virus: Medieval Italian Style

The spread of the Covid-19 virus has triggered an epidemic of advice. This advice is important, but it seems destined to make our lives more miserable and isolated. However, there is an unusual source of counsel which offers another way to deal with an epidemic. That source is the Decameron. The Italian Renaissance author Giovanni Boccaccio wrote the Decameron in … More Surviving the Corona Virus: Medieval Italian Style

Platina on Italian Renaissance Househunting

The Italian writer Bartolomeo Sacchi, better known as Platina, composed On Right Pleasure and Good Health (De honesta voluptate et valetudine) in the 1460s, apparently for his friends.   It is mostly a cookbook, offering insights into healthy eating and other best practices for taking care of oneself. Early on his work he even provides … More Platina on Italian Renaissance Househunting

Caterina Sforza – The Alchemist

“THE ALCHEMIST’S DESIRE”: RECIPES FOR HEALTH AND BEAUTY FROM CATERINA SFORZA 03/03/2015 By Meredith K. Ray  In this blog post, I’m presenting material from my forthcoming book Daughters of Alchemy: Women and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015). The material in this post is drawn from Chapter One, “Caterina Sforza’s Experiments with Alchemy,” and Chapter Three, … More Caterina Sforza – The Alchemist