Patricia Raciti


Faced with sick patients, 15th-century physicians grappled not only with the oddities of their observations, but also the myriad of theories they inherited from ancient physicians from Hippocrates to Galen, often trying to unite what they saw with theories they had been taught. One such Florentine physician, Antonio Benivieni, wrote about his experiences in short vignettes of his patients, demonstrating that various theories were not mutually exclusive, but in fact, engaged in dynamic interaction. Rather than demonstrating the ‘simple mindedness’ of the Renaissance physician, Benivieni’s work represents an attempt at reconciling the many notions of disease that occupy the medical arena—a debate and a practice that many physicians and researchers still take part in today.



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