Article ID: CBB581429927

The Pugs and the Elephant: Dr Botkin and the Professional and National Identity of Physicians in the Russian Court (2019)


This essay explores lesser-known members of the Russian court’s medical community and the printed press to trace information on the working environment, events and attitudes surrounding the ‘Great Russian Asclepios’, Sergei Botkin. It first shows how the changing intellectual atmosphere (from slavophilism to nihilism) affected the course of events inside the sphere of court medicine when Nicholas I’s era turned into a reform era. Then it demonstrates how Botkin and his fellow physicians balanced their professional autonomy with their service to the central state, reveals some of the medical community’s archetypes and finally identifies the opposing medical forces around Botkin. Resisting professional and political attempts at isolation and court intrigues, Botkin really came to personify the main events of the era. The medical community of the court is viewed here as a micro-cosmos of the professional peculiarities observed elsewhere in the medical community of Tsarist Russia.

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Authors & Contributors
Eamon, William C.
DenBeste-Barnett, Michelle D.
Arrizabalaga, Jon
Stolberg, Eva-Maria
Trevor-Roper, H. R.
Bates, A. W.
Der Globusfreund: Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für Globen- und Instrumentenkunde
Dynamis: Acta Hispanica ad Medicinae Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Journal of Medical Biography
Korot: The Israel Journal of the History of Medicine and Science
Cronos: Cuadernos Valencianos de Historia de la Medicina y de la Ciencia
Yale University Press
Yale University Press, Metropolitan Museum of Art series
New York University
Courts and courtiers
Court sponsored science; patronage
Physicians; doctors
Medicine and politics
Mayerne, Theodore Turquet de
Louis XIV, King of France
Coronelli, Marco Vincenzo
Kepler, Johannes
López de Villalobos, Francisco
Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
Prague (Czechia)
17th century
19th century
16th century
20th century
18th century
Académie Royale des Sciences (France)
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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