Thursday, August 18

Why Cannibalism Was Considered Good Medicine In The Renaissance


  • Richard Sugg *
  • BBC HistoryExtra

Medieval illustration of an autopsy performed in the Middle Ages.  From the French manuscript

Image source, Getty Images

Caption,

Medieval illustration of an autopsy performed in the Middle Ages. From the French manuscript “The properties of things” by Bartholomaeus Anglicus, late 15th century.

An execution has just occurred.

Pushing themselves under the still trembling body there are several patients waiting for a cure. Those lucky enough to hear the blood splatter in the cups they hold gulp down the lovely cool, warm liquid.

They are under scaffolding in early modern Denmark.

Although the example is extreme, the idea that blood could cure epilepsy was supported by the highest medical authorities in Europe.


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