Gli effluvi, lo spirito del mondo e le cure magnetiche

Silvia Parigi

Abstract


In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, physicians and natural philosophers such as Paracelso, Della Porta, Libavius, Goclenius, Oswald Croll, Francis Bacon, Sennert, Mersenne, van Helmont, Fludd, Digby, Kircher, Gassendi, Glanvill, Boyle, Frommann and Vallemont discussed the possibility, the efficacy and the nature of ‘magnetic’ cures, so called in a wide, though usual, meaning of the term. They were some remedies, considered capable of acting at a distance, healing wounds (weapon-salve, sympathetic powder) or any disease ‘transferable’ from the human body to an external, living subject (transplantatio morbid).
The debate on sympathetic cures intersects medicine within which the most interesting opinions are those held by ‘chemiatrics’, who were willing to accept chemical remedies without completely rejecting the ancient medicine, nor adhering to the compelx Paracelsian cosmology, rather than the more orthodox Galenic or Paracelsian positions and natural philosophy: it was a challenge to well-established hegemonies.

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