Book ID: CBB689805866

Saint Anthony's Fire from Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century (2019)


After the discovery of the ergotism epidemics (poisoning caused by ingesting the fungal toxin of rye) and its etiology, eighteenth-century physicians interpreted medieval chronicles in their medical texts in order to recognize the occurrences of ergotic diseases through retrospective diagnosis. They assumed that St. Anthony's fire and ignis sacer ("sacred fire") recorded in medieval texts represented the same disease, ergotism. This interpretative method, lacking a textual basis in the sources, has been incorrectly followed by historians till now. This book examines this historical prejudice through textual analysis, comparing diverse medieval and early modern sources. A striking semantic complexity emerges that changes the concept of St. Anthony's fire and modifies our understanding of diseases in general. This research illuminates aspects of the history of medicine, society, and hospitals.

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Authors & Contributors
Mazzola, Roberto
Holliday, Timothy Kent
Andresen, Christopher Schroeder
Rose, Arthur
Ballestriero, Roberta
Daidoji, Keiko
Laboratorio dell'ISPF
Würzburger Medizinhistorische Mitteilungen
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
Past and Present
Queen's University (Canada)
Georgetown University
W. Kohlhammer Verlag
University of California, Los Angeles
L'Erma di Bretschneider
Disease and diseases
History of medicine, as a discipline
Historical method
Public health
Andresen, Christopher Schroeder
Kincaid, Jamaica
Ladoo, Harold Sonny
Cassin, Frieda
Rosenberg, Charles E.
Paracelsus, Theophrast von Hohenheim
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
20th century
21st century
17th century
16th century
Philadelphia, PA
Naples (Italy)
United States
Habsburg, House of

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