Monthly Archives: August, 2010

The Renaissance Curioso

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’.

The Renaissance Snake Handler

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.

Book Signing at Barnes & Noble

I will be signing my new book, The Professor of Secrets: Mystery, Medicine, and Alchemy in Renaissance Italy on Tuesday September 7, 2010, from 12pm to 2pm at the Barnes & Noble University Bookstore in Corbett Center at New Mexico State University. Please stop by and say hello if you’re in town!

The University of War

In Physician, one of the writings collected under the name of Hippocrates in the fifth century B.C., the aspiring surgeon is instructed to follow the armies in order to learn the art of surgery.  In times of peace, writes Hippocrates, rarely if ever, “even in a whole lifetime,” does one encounter the kinds of severe […]

The Disease Called Curiosity

Nowadays we think of curiosity as an emotion necessary for the advancement of knowledge, indeed as the well-spring of scientific discovery. It was not always so. Saint Augustine, in the fourth century, stated the traditional medieval view of curiosity, and it wasn’t favorable.  In the Confessions, the Bishop of Hippo made inquisitiveness in general the […]

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