Gl’ Ill.mi: Et Ecc.mi Sig.ri: Sopra Proveditori, et Proveditori alla Sanità…. Antonio DAMUGLIANO.
Gl’ Ill.mi: Et Ecc.mi Sig.ri: Sopra Proveditori, et Proveditori alla Sanità…
Gl’ Ill.mi: Et Ecc.mi Sig.ri: Sopra Proveditori, et Proveditori alla Sanità…
Gl’ Ill.mi: Et Ecc.mi Sig.ri: Sopra Proveditori, et Proveditori alla Sanità…
Gl’ Ill.mi: Et Ecc.mi Sig.ri: Sopra Proveditori, et Proveditori alla Sanità…
Licensing Medical Practice in Early 18th-Century Venice
Illuminated Vellum Manuscript, Finely Bound
[MEDICINE] / [VENICE].
Venice, 1717

Gl’ Ill.mi: Et Ecc.mi Sig.ri: Sopra Proveditori, et Proveditori alla Sanità….

4to manuscript on vellum [23.5 x 17.1 cm], (7) ff., (4) ff. vellum blanks, including a full-page frontispiece illumination of Venetian Lion of St. Mark, each text page with foliate borders in gold ink, headings and initials in gold ink. Bound in contemporary Venetian morocco, elaborately gold tooled, gold block-printed foliate pastedowns. Edge wear and minor rubbing to spine and boards, manuscript loose in binding, oxidizing to edges of pastedowns. Marginal flaws to frontispiece illumination just touching border in places, a few small wormholes elsewhere, minor handsoiling.

Finely illuminated, early 18th-century Venetian manuscript issued by the city’s Magistrato alla Sanità (Health Department) as a license to certify the physician Antonio Damugliano (d. 1747) to practice medicine in the Venetian Republic using his propriety formula for topical salves (balsami) to treat “wounds and ulcers” (f. 3v-3r). The manuscript, ornately written out and decorated in gold and colored ink, opens with a full-page image of the winged Lion of San Marco in the Venetian landscape which serves as an official seal of the document’s authenticity, and is inscribed by five Provveditori of the Magistrato and one notary who witnessed the certification.

 

This pharmaceutical license represents a rare material survival of how Venice’s Magistrato alla Sanità regulated the practice of medicine in its territories, even down to the level of controlling how individual practitioners could work with specific drugs. Damugliano presumably was required to keep the document on his person while plying his trade and to present it to the relevant authorities (or even to his patients) should his practice be called into question. The text of the document is written out twice – first in Italian and then in Latin – to suit the linguistic preferences of both the common Venetian citizen and the professional medical class.

 

Damugliano, also known as Antimo Damulianos, is noted in the document (dated April 1717) as being a native of the Ionian island of Zante (or Zakynthos, at the time a Venetian colony) and having recently returned from Moscow, “where with good success and for a long time he practiced medicine with full official permission of many noteworthy people” (f. 2v). Damugliano is said to have studied medicine in Europe, likely in Italy, specializing in contagious diseases and eventually practicing in Asia Minor, Persia, India, China, Egypt, Constantinople, and Trieste, and to have been ordered by Emperor Charles VI (1685-1740) to treat the sick of a plague outbreak in Corinth (see L. Zoes, passim). Damugliano’s name is also associated with a 1725 treatise entitled ‘Medicina’ which circulated in manuscript form in Venice and dealt with the use of salves, pills and stones to treat hydrophobia (see L. Zoes; we have been unable to locate a copy of this treatise). Damugliano is also recorded as having worked in Vienna, where an April 1746 news magazine comments that the “very famous” Damugliano, having traveled through numerous kingdoms, has arrived to demonstrate the curative powers of “the wondrous Chinese stone called Bezoar,” which is effective against fevers, snake bites, fatigue, colic, etc. (Nachtrag, p. 64). The bezoar stone, an indigestible mass formed in the digestive tract of ruminants, was lauded from the middle ages as a universal antidote to poison.

 

* R. Palmer, “Pharmacy in the Republic of Venice in the Sixteenth Century,” in A. Wear, et al., eds., The Medical Renaissance of the Sixteenth Century, pp. 100-17; Epeteris: Hetaireia Byzantinon Spoudon, vol. 43-44, (1977), p. 417; H. Schmuck, Grieschischer Biographischer Index, vol. 1, p. 247; L. Zoes, Lexikon historikon kai laographikon Zakynthou, vol. 1; S. Carbone, Provveditori e sopraprovveditori alla Santità della Repubblica di Venezia; P. Selmi, “Il Magistrato all Sanità,” in Difesa della Sanità a Venezia, Secoli XIII-XIX, pp. 28-50; Nachtrag zu denen wöchentlich-kurtzgefaßter historischer Nachrichten Der neuern Europäischen Begebenheiten auf das Jahr 1746, p. 64.

Price: $7,500.00

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