Mountebanks and Medicasters – A history of italian charlatans
edited by Piero Gambaccini
Ultimo aggiornamento: 28/07/2016 13:09
Italian medical charlatans accompanied real medicine like a dark shadow during its slow progress. Over the centuries, these cunning individuals attracted the crowds with their spiels, enchanting and amusing them with inexhaustible chatter and fantastic spectacles. While orthodox physicians imperiously ordered torrential enemas, pitiless bloodletting, and medicines as costly as they were useless, charlatans sold simple remedies that all could afford, along with consolation and words of hope. Sometimes new and courageous ideas were hidden beneath their posturing.
This history recounts the adventures of ingenious Italian medical quacks who were sought after and imitated all over Europe, relying on research into Italian State Archives, judicial proceedings, newspaper articles, and books and manuscripts from all over the world. The reasons for the charlatans' success, the placebo effect, and the nature of the doctor-patient relationship are topics covered.