Tag Archives: labyrinth of nature
Do myths tell profound truths about the world? The 17th century English philosopher and Lord Chancellor Sir Francis Bacon thought so. Bacon, who is widely regarded as having first developed a philosophy of experimental science, was a diligent student of ancient Greek and Roman mythology. Convinced that the ancient myths concealed deep mysteries, he wrote […]
One of the most enduring myths in the history of medicine is the legend of the French surgeon Ambroise Paré as the “liberator” of surgery from the dangerous practice of cauterizing gunshot wounds with a red-hot iron. Paré himself was the originator of the legend, having published an account of it in his book, Method […]
Continuing the theme of curiosity in the Renaissance that I began a couple of weeks ago with my post, “The Disease of Curiosity,” it makes sense to ask: What did it mean to be a curious person in the Renaissance? Which brings us to a quintessential but perhaps little known Renaissance figure: The Renaissance ‘curioso’.
One of my previous posts, “The Disease of Curiosity,” generated a lot of comment in the blogosphere [Daily Dig; Morbid Anatomy]; so I’ve decided to follow that post with a piece about what was surely one of the strangest curiosities of the Renaissance: The appearance in the town square of the snake handler.
Not so long ago, “alternative medicine”—a heterogeneous mélange of healing practices that includes everything from herbalism to acupuncture—was regarded as nothing more than a relic of medicine’s prescientific past or, worse, a cultish fad. That is hardly the case any longer. Each year, millions of Americans use some form of alternative medicine. In fact, according […]